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.