We get excited over the opening of a new trail, so imagine our excitement over the opening of a new park. Then multiply that by two because two new parks are actually opening. It’s all happening this Saturday as part of the Year of the Trail Weekend Festival in Edenton.
Actually, it’s the Grand Opening for just one of the parks; the other is more of a sneak preview.
Officially opening for good is Bertie Beach, a 147-acre tract of wildness (pictured at top), also referred to as Tall Glass of Water, that sits on the Albemarle Sound in Bertie County. Bertie Beach gets its name from the 2,200-foot sand beach that eases into Albemarle Sound, the nearest beach for miles. But the tract has so much more:
- Hiking. There’s a 2-mile trail that weaves through the coastal woods and wetlands that dominate the tract. Flat hiking that exposes you to a land reclaiming its natural state after years of agricultural use. Eventually, there will be 7 miles of trail.
- Swimming. The beach marries the best of the natural world with modern convenience, including restrooms, outdoor showers, a water bottle refill station and a picnic pavilion.
- Primitive camping. A good cool-weather option at the coast.
- Canoe and kayak access. In addition to access, there’s also a kayak storage kiosk.
Much of this will be open or partially open Saturday.
As if this weren’t enough of a draw, you can also get a sneak peek at the new Salmon Creek State Natural Area, which adjoins the Bertie County property.
If you haven’t heard of Salmon Creek, it’s no surprise. In short succession, the original 1,000-acre tract, which surrounds its namesake creek, was purchased in 2017 by the N.C. Coastal Land Trust, which realized that the land’s natural beauty and archaeological attributes (native Algonkin artifacts have been found at the site) far outweighed in importance the threatened 2,800-unit development with a 212-slip marina planned for the site. The site was given to the State of North Carolina in December 2018, and in July 2020, the Coastal Land Trust threw in another 297 acres. Combined with the Bertie County site, that’s more than 1,400 continuous acres of exploring.
Saturday morning, N.C. State Parks is hauling its two Big Canoes — Hellbender and Loggerhead — to Salmon Creek for your exploring pleasure. Both canoes seat about 12 folks and will be able to navigate a ways upstream. Trips depart at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
Again, Salmon Creek has not officially opened, so this is a rare opportunity to explore without, technically, trespassing.
I should mention, too, that there will be paddling Friday afternoon on Bennetts Millpond, Friday evening on Pembroke Creek, and Saturday afternoon into evening on Edenton’s Queen Anne’s Creek. The latter coincides with Edenton’s Sounds of Summer Music Festival at the waterfront Colonial Park: enjoy live music from the water!
For more information on Edenton’s Year of the Trail Weekend Festival, go here.
It’s a great way to spend a sultry summer weekend.