The little town of Belhaven may be a blink-and-you'll-miss-it town, but Eastern North Carolina visitors who decide to take the long way home along US Highway 264 will be rewarded with a visit to a picturesque waterfront town that is filled with historical and coastal charm. This small community of less than 2,000 residents has a prime location on the north shore of the Pungo River, just eight miles away from the massive Pamlico Sound which separates North Carolina's Inner Banks from its Outer Banks. As a result, visitors here will find exceptional fishing, incredible open water views, and a hardy, salty culture that is typical of North Carolina's life on the water.
Originally named Jack's Neck, Belhaven was once a bustling industrial town with a half-dozen lumber companies and a branch of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad.
Nearby Pamlico River and Pamlico Sound, along with the railroad, provided the transportation necessary to move the hundreds of tons of wood products produced in Northeastern North Carolina. These same waters still provide a living for residents today, as they yield their plentiful bounty of crabs, fish and shrimp to local fishermen.
Many of the grand homes built in the later 1800s and early 1900 still stand today. The finest of all is River Forest Manor, completed in 1904. Its first owner was John Aaron Wilkinson, president of Roper Lumber Company, and vice-president of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad. Today this magnificent building is a country inn, restaurant and marina which boasts of many famous visitors throughout the years.