Day Trip: 5 Best Things to Do in Perquimans County, NC
Grab a Bite to Eat
Whether you want to grab a fresh baked elephant ear or a lavender lemon cookie and a coffee at Carolina Moon Bakery or a bacon, egg, and cheese from TNT Grill or a Cobb salad at 252 Grill, there are great dining options in Hertford. If you opt to drive out to Belvidere, then be sure to check out the Nicholson House for lunch or afternoon tea. Click here more food options in Perquimans County. As always, be sure to check business times before making plans.
Shop Local at these Perquimans County Staples
While you’re in town, definitely check out the great selection of shops. Your first stop will be at Hertford Mercantile, which has something for everyone! The shop owner, Thomas Waller, moved to Hertford from New Orleans, and carries chicory coffee and Cafe du Monde beignet mixes, gorgeous tea sets, sassy cocktail accessories, and Perquimans County themed items.
Then, head around the corner to shop on Church Street. Your first stop is at Sugar Chic Boutique for a wide variety of women’s clothing and accessories. Be sure to check out the upstairs, Sugar She Shed, for all your Annie Sloan Chalk Paint needs and electric home furnishings.
Make a stop in the Hertford Hub to see the plans for restoring State Theatre across the street from the shops and Barrow’s Alley. They also carry lots of locally made gifts, including beautiful, handmade bird houses.
Keep strolling down Church Street to go antiquing at Church Street Antiques. There are some true gems in this antique shop, including beautiful pieces of furniture and so much milk glass. I could have spent hours in here going through the record collection alone!
Once the Perquimans Art League Gallery and Gift Shop opens back up (it experienced some water damage), be sure to stop by and support local artists!
Head over to Belvidere to the Nicholson House Gift Shop for gorgeous clothing and accessories for her. They were just putting out new spring arrivals when I visited and there are some seriously cute pieces in the shop! Plus they had a great collection of statement earrings. Pst… this gift shop is in the same restored 130-year-old Victorian Home that the Nicholson House restaurant is located in!
Drive a couple of minutes up the road to Layden’s Supermarket. Layden’s is a country store known for its local produce, meats, hoop cheese, and old fashioned way of doing business. They had collards growing on the front porch for you to pick your own plus the front section of the story is for local produce. And the hoop cheese, y’all. Delicious.
Learn Local History in Perquimans County
Perquimans County History Museum
The Perquimans County History Museum is new and offers great insights to the county. I most appreciate that there is chronological order to the organization of the museum, plus highlights famous Perquimans citizens and their accomplishments. For baseball fans, there is a great deal of information about Jimmy “Catfish” Hunter, who grew up in Perquimans County before heading off to the MLB.
In addition, there is speculation that George Washington stayed in Hertford at the Ye Old Eagle Tavern and there are a several land grants in the Perquimans County Courthouse with his signature on it. I also learned that there were 2 Rosenwald Schools in Perquimans County, and they are working to define where they were located to include on the African American Experience Trail.
I also learned that the first transaction where a Native American was paid for their land by a white settler in North Carolina happened in Perquimans County. There is a replica of the deed in the museum on display. There are also quite a few artifacts from Native American tribes included in the Museum.
A key piece of Perquimans County history is the impact of Quakers on the community. Escaping religious persecution, Quakers were among the earliest settlers in the Albemarle area. Perquimans holds the oldest meeting house in NC at Piney Woods Friends Meeting (1723).
Newbold-White House and the Periauger
Image via Visit Elizabeth City
If you’d like to experience history, be sure to visit the Newbold-White House, which is the oldest brick house in North Carolina. It has been authentically restored and features a seasonal garden as well. Usually onsite is the Periaguer, a double-masted 30-foot boat; while a replica, it is the only known example of the work boats of the Colonial era. It sails from Hertford Bay Marina and other local waterfront festivals.
Photo via Beaufort North Carolina History
This replica was built in Beaufort at the North Carolina Maritime Museum by the Periauger Project. The project was a unique partnership of the Perquimans County Restoration Association (the parent organization of the historic 1730 Newbold-White House in Hertford, NC), the North Carolina Maritime Museum, Perquimans County and East Carolina University’s Program in Maritime Studies. The project was made possible by a successful private fundraising campaign and through a grant from the NC Department of Transportation’s Enhancement Program.
The Perquimans County Courthouse is the oldest courthouse in North Carolina that still operates on a daily basis. It’s a showpiece right in the center of Hertford on the town’s main street, Church Street with a view of the Perquimans River. The Courthouse in Edenton is the oldest, though it only operates on special occasions when the NC Supreme Court comes to hear cases.
Photo via Visit Perquimans
If you decide to walk through Hertford, you’ll see that many of the buildings and houses have markers with historic information included. Take in the beautiful architecture and learn even more about Perquimans County by taking a walk through historic Hertford.
Photo via NCPedia
Perquimans County holds one of very few monuments in the United States of America that honors the African American soldiers who fought for the United States in the Civil War. The USCT Monument, found on the corner of King Street and Hyde Park Street in Hertford honors those US Army black troops from Perquimans County who fought during the Civil War.
Explore the Perquimans River by Kayak
While it was a bit too cold for kayaking on my trip (I even got to see snow flurries in March!), booking a kayaking trip in Perquimans County would be a great way to explore the Perquimans River and continue experiencing the history of the area. Kayak rentals are available at Barley & Vine in downtown Hertford and Native Girl Kayaking offers guided tours.
Enjoy a Hertford Happy Hour
Stop by Barley & Vine to sample wine and grab a couple of bottles of wine and NC beer while you’re there. Shop owner, Lisa Verrastro, also carries pasta, sauces, chocolates, and other items that make for a great hostess or housewarming gift.
And before you leave, be sure to check out Hertford Bay Tap House for a glass of wine or a beer. They also have trivia on Thursdays, karaoke on Fridays, and live music on Saturdays. They have a great outdoor patio area plus an area of the bar for games such as foos ball.
If you decide to stay overnight, be sure to check out Springfield Bed & Breakfast, which is located right outside of Historic Hertford.
Fun Fact: The song, “Carolina Moon” was written by Benny Davis as he admired the moon rising over the Perquimans River in Hertford. It was performed by Connie Francis, Perry Como, Dean Martin, and many others.
Thank you to Stacey Layden and Perquimans County for hosting me for the day. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a Tourism Director give me a tour of their town/county and I must say, Stacey sure does love where she lives. She is incredibly knowledgeable about the county’s history and is proud of her community. It was a true delight and I hope you’ll go visit the kind people of Perquimans County soon!