Albemarle Waters of North Carolina

Albemarle Sound and the Coastal Plain of Northeast North Carolina

This is a history, really, a series of stories about this land and its people from early explorers to modern life.

I wanted to tell people about how special this area is. Even today the Albemarle is a little known backwater of the country that is little understood by outsiders. There are no major cities here, no colossal tourist attractions. (Though you can find great ice cream cones in small towns.)

Prothonotary warbler preparing to stuff a tree cavity with moss. Roads End Naturalist photo

There is abundant wildlife and rich history here. In many ways the Albemarle’s path through centuries has mirrored the paths our country took as it grew. Yet there is a timeless quality about the land and people that is truly beautiful – and peaceful. It is a step out of today’s frantic world and a step back to another time where you can dally in towns or chat with folks or explore wild landscapes.

Sunset on Albemarle Sound

The series can be read as a whole, or parts can be read as independent entries.

A Place Like No Other traces my growing love for the area, first as a gardener, then as an environmentalist advocating for sensible land use.

Kayaking in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge USFWS

Voyage Through Centuries focuses on the people of the coastal plain, how they adapted, how they shaped its history, and the inevitable tension between man and nature.

The arrival of the English, showing the Outer Banks, Roanoke Island, and the mouth of Albemarle Sound

A Table of Contents for Voyage Through Centuries is listed below.

Profiles of Rivers tell the story of how rivers influenced life in the Albemarle. Each river has a unique story to tell. There are five: The Alligator River, The Chowan River, The Pasquotank River, The Perquimans River, The Roanoke River.

The wild wetlands of the Roanoke River

Voyage Through Centuries

Table of Contents

Part I: Water Rules the Land

But the Waters Can Deceive
Freshe Water With Great Store of Fishe
Rivers and Change
The Albemarle-Pamlico Sound
Oregon Inlet and Long Shore Currents
The Barrier Beaches
Lighthouses and Life Saving Stations
Albemarle Sound: Capricious Waters
Osprey and Baldcypress

Part II: Estuaries: Cradles of Life

Great Shoells of Herring
Blue Crabs and Underwater Grasses
Waterfowl and WildlifeRefuges
Easy Living: Summer Homes in Swamp, Forest and Field

Part III: The History and the Mystery of the Lost Colony

Initial Explorations
Great Expectations
The Colonists Sail, A Baby is Born
A Colony in Need
An Empty Settlement
Croatan and the Mystery
Artifacts and Archeological Work

Part IV: Early Settlement, Survival, Rebellion, Disease

Why Did People Come?
But First They Had to Get Here
Early Relations with Native Americans
The Duke of Albemarle and the Lords Proprietors
Culpeper’s Rebellion
Noxious Disease
A Rosy Outlook?

Part V: The Inevitable Road to Independence

Taxes Taxes Taxes
The Stamp Act and Angry Colonists
The Royal Governors and Defiance
The Intolerable Act, Boycotts and Generosity
A Governor Flees
The Lexington and Concord of the South
The Role of Albemarle Counties
The Fighting Men
The Independence Hurricane

Part VI: Navigating the Sound, the Rivers, and the Swamp

Everyone was a Boat Builder
The Kunner (An Early Boat)
Building Roads
Ferries and the Railroad
Steamboats and a Showboat
The Beloved Shad Boat

Part VII: Antebellum Albemarle

Planters and Merchants
The Working Man
Slaves: Power without Destiny
Religious Revival
Slaveholders Tighten Restrictions
The Panic of 1819
Cashing in on Natural Resources
Logging the Forests; Farming Cotton

Part VIII: A War that Wasn’t Wanted

North Carolina Reluctantly Secedes
Privations of Soldiers and Losses
Gunboats and Guerillas
The Freedman’s Colony
The Expedition Hurricane
The Merrimack and the Monitor
Picking up the Pieces

Part IX: The Mighty Herring Fisheries

The Joy of Fish Returning to Spawn in Spring
An On-the-Scene Description of the Work
Night Fishing
Why the Herring Fisheries failed

Part X: Legacy

Fighting for Environmental Justice
Creative Approaches to Conserving Land
A Change of Identity
Eco-Tourism and Green Industry

Part XI: Rising Seas and Sinking Land

Batts Grave
Rising Seas and Sinking Land
Glaciers and Climate Change
Strategies for Tomorrow

Yes, you can farm crops on a wind farm. Continuous blinking lights on blades warn birds during night flights