The town of Washington is rapidly becoming one of the highlights of North Carolina's Inner Banks due to its small town charm, incredible location along the Pamlico River, and eclectic blend of boutiques, restaurants, and attractions. This small community of just under 10,000 residents has a maritime culture all its own, with dozens of colorful crab statues lining the downtown streets, hundreds of boats, big and small, lining the waterfront, and miles of open Tar and Pamlico River views, extending in virtually every direction. Quaint and quiet, but with enough activity to keep anyone entertained, Washington is an ideal long weekend retreat for visitors who want to experience the heart and unique culture of coastal Eastern North Carolina.
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.