Edenton : North carolina


What It Is Like to Retire in Edenton

Edenton is a beautiful small town located on the coastline of North Carolina, known for its lovely homes and tree-lined streets. It is increasingly the choice of many 55+ boomers looking for a quiet place to retire. The waterfront and the wide main shopping street are exceptionally beautiful. Many of the homes are mansions dating from before the Civil War.  The first permanent settlement in North Carolina, Edenton is proud of its history, which includes one of the signers of the Constitution. Residential and the commercial district lead to a picturesque, grassy waterfront that is a favorite spot for residents and tourists alike. The screw-pile (the piles were screwed into the sea bed), square-sided lighthouse (pictured) is historic and worthy of a postcard. Fifty-one women in Edenton, led by Penelope Barker, signed a protest petition agreeing to boycott English tea and other products, in what became known, decades later, as the Edenton Tea Party. The Edenton Tea Party is the first known political action by women in the British American colonies. The population is just under 5,000.

For a more thorough text and photo tour see our article, "A Town So Pretty It Hurts".


Where to Retire in Edenton and Home Prices

Edenton has historic homes, condominiums, and single family homes. There are several active developments and more are coming in the future. There is a very large development in nearby Hertford, also on Albermarle Sound.
Zillow reports that the median home value was $186,764 in early 2022, but stately homes can go for much more.


What Is Special about Edenton

Edenton is a classic old small coastal town with a community theater, art galleries, shops, and restaurants.  It is the oldest permanent settlement in North Carolina. Edenton served as the capital of North Carolina from 1722 to 1743. Boating is remarkable here with wide and safe waters to many destinations at your call. The Chowan County Courthouse is considered the finest example of a Georgian style courthouse in the U.S. Historical markers line the streets celebrating famous politiicians, doctors, and generals who lived in the city. Harriet Jacobs, an enslaved African American who escaped and fled to the North. She became a writer and spoke publicly as an abolitionist. The Cupola House is a famous local landmark.


What Is Not Special about Edenton

Edenton has very long, hot summers which may be unappealing to some. It is a very small town with a southern feel, outsiders probably have to work at getting to know people.  It is very far to any city - 2 1/2 hours to Raleigh-Durham and an hour to Elizabeth City.


Who Will Like Retirement in Edenton

Those looking for low cost-of-living and a laid back, picturesque, historic small town might like retiring here. It is definitely quiet. Average age is 42, about 5 years older than the rest of NC.


Local Economy Is Driven by

The economy is driven by retail, health care and manufacturing.

Climate and Physical Environment

Edenton is located in northeastern North Carolina at the mouth of the Chowan River where it meets the Albermarle Sound.  It is little more than an hour south of Norfolk (VA) and west of the Outer Banks and Kitty Hawk. Winters are mild and summers are long and hot.


Restaurants & Cultural Scene

Edenton has a community theater and a variety of civic and social clubs, as well as festivals, recreational activities, and a senior citizens center.


Crime in Edenton is low.

Medical Facilities

Vidant Chowan Hospital is located here


The nearest major airport is Pitt-Greenville Airport in Greenville NC, about 70 miles away.

Valuable Links

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