Thanks to its unique natural setting and rich culture and history, Currituck County is home to a wide variety of unusual attractions. A collection of interesting places to eat and shop, as well as a wide variety of historic sites, can be found on the Mainland. Each community provides distinctive local flavor and preserves its own history and culture. In addition, the county?s wide, clean, beautiful beaches have been called ?the best undiscovered beaches on the East Coast." The Currituck Sound is home to fish, crabs and a variety of birds, providing excellent opportunities for fishing and wildlife observation.
There are abundant natural attractions and wildlife preserves throughout Currituck County. Currituck Banks National Marine Estuarine Reserve covers more than two miles and is inhabited by wildlife native to the maritime forest environment. Mackay Island National Wildlife Refuge is adjacent to Knotts Island. The Great Marsh Trail and the Mackay Island Road are open year-round for driving, walking, biking, fishing and wildlife observation. The Mackay Island Trail and the Live Oak Point Trail are open from March 15 to October 15 for hiking and to access the three duck ponds for fishing. The refuge also offers a small-boat launch and 20 miles of canals and creeks ideal for canoeing. Virginia?s Back Bay and the Currituck Sound can be reached from the refuge.
Another major attraction of the county is the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla. Built in 1875, the 163-foot structure is still used as an aid for navigation. The distinctive, unpainted lighthouse is open to the public from mid-March through Thanksgiving. Visitors who climb the 200+ steps to the top of the building are treated to breathtaking views of the Atlantic Coast and the Currituck Sound.
Two of the oldest buildings in North Carolina are the Currituck County Courthouse and Jail. The original Courthouse was constructed in the city of Currituck in 1723. The building was replaced in 1842 and now houses county government offices. The Currituck Jail was built in 1790 and is the oldest standing jail in North Carolina. Both buildings are located near the ferry dock.
Knott?s Island was originally called Fruitville Farms because of the acres of farms found there. It is still home to farm fields, orchards and vineyards. Martin?s Vineyard and Moon Rise Bay Vineyard offer tours and wonderful food to taste. The Peach Basket allows you to pick your own fruit. Knotts Island is also home to artists and craftsmen, whose wares can be purchased at the many shops and galleries on the island. In addition, Knott?s Island is a great place to kayak and fish.
Moyock is the location of Shingle Landing walk, a three-block area of historic homes which are a hundred years old or more. Port Shingle Landing was a thriving seaport in the late 19th century. By the early 20th century, a train station was added to help transport goods to market. Several fine examples of Victorian architecture can be found in Moyock, including the Martin C Poyner House and the Fiske-Welch House. The office of Dr. Stuart Mann, built in 1907, has a double gate design that is unlike any other in Shingle Landing. Built in the 1890s, the Creekmore-Bell House has its original stained glass back door and mantles, and the original smokehouse is still standing. The Billy West House, built in the 1920s, is a rare two-story bungalow.
The opening of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal in 1859 contributed greatly to the early growth and development of the Currituck County Mainland. Now known as the Intracoastal Waterway, the canal separates the northern Mainland from the southern Mainland and was originally spanned by a drawbridge. The old Coinjock drawbridge was used until 1986, when it was torn down and replaced with a high-rise bridge. The construction of this vital and busy waterway is commemorated at the Currituck Library in Barco, where the bell from the original Coinjock Bridge sits in the courtyard. The waterway is now used by both commercial and pleasure vessels. The Currituck County portion of the waterway is home to restaurants as well as marinas and other boat facilities.
Another point of interest on the Currituck County Mainland is the Grandy Schoolhouse built in 1908. It is on the Historic Register and has been restored. The building now houses an activity center.
Currituck County Mainland has something for everyone. Although the county is quickly growing, it still manages to balance the promotion of new development with preservation of the environment. Schools are excellent, with the Currituck County School system consistently ranked among the best schools in the state. In addition, the county is also being recognized as a major golfing destination. Five 18-hole courses can be found throughout the county, along with a nine-hole course, a driving range and a mini-golf course. Currituck County Mainland provides entertainment and activities to satisfy everyone.
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