From Pirate Legends to Historic Charm: Exploring Bath, NC

From Pirate Legends to Historic Charm: Exploring Bath, NC

Y’all, I don’t know what has happened to me, but since I took that trip to California with my oldest daughter to visit her and her husband, I can’t seem to sit still. This year I have been to Nashville and Charleston and the She Speaks Conference, and just the other day, I visited Bath, NC. Not sure why I wanted to visit Bath, but I am all about exploring the state I love to call home. I realized in all my traveling that I never really had to chance to travel my own state, but I am changing all that I visited Selma and Smithfield, and have a trip planned for Waxhaw coming soon. But enough about where I have been or am going to be, today is all about exploring Bath, NC.

From Pirate Legends to Historic Charm: Exploring Bath, NC

You probably already know one of Bath’s most famous residents, Edward Teach, the infamous pirate Blackbeard. It was rumored that his last house was in Bath. This honestly doesn’t surprise a bit since Bath sits on the Pamlico River, which feeds into the Atlantic Ocean. And Blackbeard loved to ride up and down the coast on his boat Queen Anne’s Revenge doing pirate stuff 😉

While touring the exhibit hall in Bath, I learned a little bit about Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge. Did you know it was originally a slave ship called La Concorde for seven years? Blackbeard and his crew seized the ship in the Caribbean in November 1717 and renamed the ship Queen Anne’s Revenge. The wreckage of that ship was found in 1996 off the coast of North Carolina near Fort Macon.

From Pirate Legends to Historic Charm: Exploring Bath, NC

Although Blackbeard’s house isn’t still standing, there are several other houses and places of interest to explore in Bath. Personally, I love old churches and old cemeteries. Anytime I can explore these, I am hooked. That was one of the things I loved about Charleston- the history. I was so excited to find out that not only is Bath the oldest town in NC- they are also home to the oldest church in North Carolina- St. Thomas Episcopal Church, established in 1734. I was honestly a little surprised that the doors of the church were open and we could spend a little time inside admiring the beauty. There is something about old churches that just bring a smile to my face. What really surprised me is that the church still has an active membership, and they still hold services there.

Just steps from the doors of the church is the cemetery. I love walking through cemeteries looking at the dates and the names of people. There is just something like calls to me. I did find a grave for a Pat Dempsey – no, not the one who played Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy. The graveyard was very well-kept, and I found myself snapping pictures as we walked through. Not only of the graves but the statues that adorned the yard.

From Pirate Legends to Historic Charm: Exploring Bath, NC

In front of the church and cemetery is the Glebe House. This house was normally given to the preacher in lieu of money. They were invited to live there as long as they worked for the church. They had land at their disposal to make money from. The Glebe House was home to many people over the years. But one of its famous residents is John F. Tompkins, who was the founder of the NC State Fair.

Bonner's Point

Walking a little bit from The Glebe House down Main Street, you will run into Bonner’s Point runs along the banks of the Pamlico River. The town of Bath knows how to treat the tourist right as they have placed benches all around the town, most overlooking the water so people can either sit, watch or listen to the waves. Or where they can have moments of quiet contemplation. It is definitely a small town with a big heart.

View From One of Benches

(Speaking of small towns, did you know that there are less than 300 residents in the town? Yep that it is that small. More on that later.)

The Bonner House

Across from Bonner’s Point sits The Bonner House. It was built in 1835 and was the home of John Lawson, the founder of Bath. Fun fact here: My great-grandmother’s maiden name was Bonner. How cool is that?

Church Bell

Walking just beyond the Bonner House, you see a marker with only a cast iron bell sitting to the side. It was believed to be the site of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Little is known about the church because the cast iron bell is the only thing that remains from the church.

Lone marker

Just a little further down from there are 2 lone gravestones. Not sure if they were part of a cemetery or if these were the only ones who stood the test of time, but it made me wonder about why they were there. ( I will try to find out more and let you know what I find.)

Bath is also the setting of a book by Edna Ferber called Showboat. Showboat was made into a movie (actually, several movies were made) and a musical. One of the movie adaptions from the book starred none other than Ms. Ava Gardner, who was born near Smithfield, NC. You might remember my visit to the museum honoring her.

I loved walking around Bath it was so peaceful and quiet. But here are a few tips for you

Bring a picnic and enjoy the river. There are several places at Bonner’s Point to sit and enjoy. However, if you want to find food there, you might find it hard. But if you don’t want to pack a picnic, you can always pick up food in the nearby town of Little Washington.

The website site says that you can tour two of the houses, but we couldn’t find any that were open to tour.

We wanted to shop for something to remember our trip by, and I thought that The Pirate Giftshop would be open as I checked the website and the times on the door. But when we went up, the doors were locked, and it wasn’t even noon yet. They do offer a small gift shop at the exhibit hall, but I didn’t buy anything because nothing caught my eye.

Take bug spray. You are near the river, so the gnats and other bugs can get on your nerves very quickly, especially if you plan on walking around the town, which we did. We were able to walk the whole town in about 30 minutes.

So if you are interested in visiting Bath, I suggest you do a little research before going and enjoy your time there soaking in the town that never grew. The town has old-fashioned southern charm right at its fingerprints. The town that time forgot.

I can’t wait until I explore more for you. But for now, I have checked Bath off of my list. On to the next town.

Copyright note: If you come across this on a different blog, please be aware that it is plagiarized content taken from Adventures of Frugal Mom. You can read the original post here.

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