Edgecombe, Nash, Pitt and Wilson County

isitors who want the quintessential eastern North Carolina experience should plan a trip to this region. This is where the Piedmont gives way to the coastal plain and long, wide farm fields, often bordered on the horizon by a line of hardwood trees, start to dominate the landscape. Strawberries, blueberries, melons, pumpkins, and even collards—that green, leafy vegetable with a flavor between cabbage and kale—are found in abundance at produce stands and farmers’ markets. Connoisseurs also travel to this area in order to sample the fabled barbeque of eastern North Carolina—smoked and flavored with a spicy vinegar sauce.

Residents in these parts value arts and culture and this trail is rich with galleries, arts centers, and music venues reflecting the vitality and the spirit of the Heart of the East. In Rocky Mount the old Imperial Tobacco Factory, a massive brick structure dating from the early 20th century, has been transformed into beautifully designed spaces that are perfect for visual arts exhibitions, theater performances, classroom studios and a children’s museum and science center. Greenville, home to East Carolina University, has year-round offerings in all arenas of the performing and visual arts. 

Be sure to check out the programs of local arts councils in the four counties. These organizations present an array of outstanding artists, some known mainly in the region and others nationally acclaimed. Their venues include a classic vaudeville theater house, a renovated Baptist church, and a 1903 bank building.

Visitors with interests in history should wind their way to historic Tarboro to tour the 1808 Blount-Bridgers House. This national historic landmark features a collection of furniture, artifacts and artwork that documents Edgecombe County history and culture over the past two hundred years. Another unique resource is the Country Doctor Museum in Nash County. Founded as a tribute to the contributions of rural physicians, the museum preserves thousands of medical artifacts and historic texts gathered from across the nation. In Pitt County, enjoy viewing Colonial and Victorian homes and buildings preserved in the historic districts of the small towns of Ayden and Farmville.

The dark waters of the Tar River run through this region and provide ample recreational opportunities for fishing, canoeing or kayaking.  Plan your trip to the “Heart of the East” using the drop down list of towns and the map at the right, or by the category links on the left.

 
 

Scenic Byways
   
Photo Credits:
African Mask - East Carolina University School of Art & Design
Stained Glass by Amy Sawyer, Imperial Centre for Arts & Sciences
 
 

 

     
 
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