If you are looking for a quiet, peaceful and quaint town, Bath, North Carolina, may be the place, as it located on a scenic peninsula near the mouth of the Pamlico River. Incorporated in 1705, it is known as the state's oldest town and first port, with a population of only about 250 residents. John Lawson, who was considered to be the town father, was a naturalist and explorer, and laid out the town plan dividing Bath into lots along the waterfront, which today is known as Main Street. The most famous resident here was Blackbeard, the pirate (aka Edward Teach ), who settled in Bath for a short time in 1718, when he was granted a royal pardon. (It didn’t last long as he soon left to start piracy once again.)
Because of its location near the Pamlico Sound, Bath is a destination for sport fishing and water recreation, but it also draws tourists every summer because of its beauty and many historic sites. Edna Ferber wrote Show Boat using Bath as the novel’s setting, which was later produced as the famous Broadway musical, Showboat. Photo of Pamlico Sound as seen from The Inn on Pamlico Sound courtesy of Wikipedia and Captain-tucker; photo of the Bonner House, a historic home built about 1835 on land once owned by John Lawson, founder of Bath, courtesy of Wikipedia and Tradewinds; photo of St. Thomas' Church by American photographer and photojournalist Frances Benjamin Johnston, dated 1936, courtesy of Wikipedia and Library of Congress (public domain); photo of a pair of small commercial buildings on Main Street, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, courtesy of Wikipedia and Nyttend (public domain); photo of the Palmer-Marsh House, a historic house museum and a National Historic Landmark, courtesy of Wikipedia and Jack Boucher (public domain).
Watch this short Youtube video of a Walking Tour of Bath presented by UNC-TV.
Where to Retire in Bath and Home Prices
Because the town is so small, there are few homes on the market, and summer rentals are at a premium. Most homes sold are vacation or second homes for retirees. Zillow reports the typical home value to be $293,341, in late 2021, but homes on the water can be much higher.
What Is Special about Bath
The small waterfront town offers stunning views of both the Pamlico River and Bath Creek, and has an interesting history with several preserved historic sites. Its natural beauty and protected harbor boasts a peaceful environment along with great fishing and crabbing, boating and water recreation.
What Is Not Special about Bath
Bath may be too small for some and a bit isolated. You need a car to go shopping and to get medical care. The number of tourist swell during the summer months as many stop on their way to the Outer Banks.
Who Will Like Retirement in Bath
Bath must be a nice place for retirees as the median age here is 63. Those who want to live on the water away from it all and love seafood and boating, would enjoy living here. The town is walkable with an interesting history and a few quaint shops, restaurants, and a library. There is also a ferry to take you and your car across the river.
Local Economy Is Driven by
City-Data.com reports the most common occupations were in Administration, Business, and Sales.
Climate and Physical Environment
January's average temperature is 44 degrees, with July's average 80 degrees.
Restaurants & Cultural Scene
There are a few restaurants and shops in Bath. The small, historic town has walking tours of the many sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including St.Thomas Episcopal Church established in 1734, and still offering Sunday services.
The crime rate is below the national average.
The nearest hospital is in Washington, NC, about 14 miles from Bath.
The nearest airport is in Greenville, about 35 miles away, but the closest International airport is in Raleigh, about 135 miles away.
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