Back in the 1870s, Louis B. Midyette escaped a gale by anchoring his sailboat in the waters of Oriental. While there he went ashore, climbed a tree and fell in love with the beautiful landscape and waterfront. When he returned home to Dare County, Midyette persuaded others to join his family and move to the area. Since that time, sailors from across the globe have followed "Uncle Lou's" example and have made Oriental "The Sailing Capital of North Carolina." Today it is estimated that the town is home to 900 permanent residents and roughly 2,700 sailboats, sport fishing boats and commercial trawlers.

Located on the Intracoastal Waterway, not far from where the Neuse River meets the Pamlico Sound, Oriental has long been a popular stop for folks cruising south for the winter and heading back home for the summer. In fact, many residents first visited the town while sailing to other destinations, but decided to come back and make it their home. There's no mystery as to why sailing enthusiasts love Oriental. The town has an extensive waterfront, created by the river and creek systems, numerous large marinas and great sailing conditions. Each year it is host to countless regattas and fishing tournaments, and paddle trails are open every day of the year.

There is more to Oriental than sailing, though. The laid-back community also boasts a thriving artists' colony. Aspiring and world-renowned artists and photographers exhibit their work at galleries throughout the year. Amateur and professional theatrical and musical productions are staged at the Pamlico County Civic and Cultural Center, home of the Pelican Players.

For a bit of local color, there's the "Croaker Festival," a Fourth of July Festival, The Spirit of Christmas and the Dragon Walk every New Year's Eve. In Oriental, you will find excellent shopping opportunities, restaurants that offer dishes to tempt any palate and lodging for any price range.

Perhaps the best thing that can be said about Oriental, though, is that it is "a blend of the best from past lifestyles married to only the quality, not the quantity, of the 21st century." A place "where a sunrise or sunset, mirrored in creek or river, never becomes commonplace, mundane or the same; where joggers, cyclists, longboarders and walkers are safe any hour...any time."

See Also: Top North Carolina Retirement Towns

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