English exploration and colonization of the United States started here more than four hundred years ago. In 1587, a party of colonists arrived who were destined to become Sir Walter Raleigh’s “lost colony” on Roanoke Island. It was not until 1663 that serious efforts were once again made to settle this region. In that year, Charles II granted a royal charter for land in North America to eight influential supporters and appointed them the Lords Proprietors of Carolina.
In 1664, Albemarle County was created and within a few years, it had been split into four large, regional precincts: Chowan, Currituck, Perquimans, and Pasquotank. The majority of early eighteenth-century settlers were English and came from neighboring Virginia. They usually came across overland trails and inland waterways rather than via the perilous coastal waters. North Carolina grew to become a royal colony in 1729.
Although the Albemarle’s wide rivers, sounds, creeks, and canals aided inland trade and transportation in the early years, the barrier islands (now known as the Outer Banks) have discouraged large-scale commercial shipping and development of large cities. Because of the inadequate inlets and ports, the northeastern coastal region has long kept a strong rural tradition with an economy based primarily on agriculture and, in later years, tourism.
This area is known to be a sportsman’s paradise with bountiful hunting and fishing. Swimming, powerboating, sailing, and kayaking places are plentiful and the unspoiled, scenic landscapes and waterways are rightfully one of its greatest characteristics. Many historical sites and buildings have been preserved due to the slower-paced growth of villages and towns. There are many arts festivals like the one in Historic Hanson, Kentucky. You’ll have the time of your life exploring all the historic sites that the area has sto offer,
As you begin the Historic Albemarle Tour, which travels through 17 North Carolina counties along the coast and over two dozen sites, you’ll discover that the tale of this historic coastal region is the story of America’s own emergence and development. You will meander along our rivers, waterways, and ocean beaches to explore plantations, historic downtowns, museums, living history exhibits, English gardens, and ancient lighthouses.