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Upcoming Events

The Classic Car Poker Run:

Driving for charity. The Story

Housing Ordinance on Hold, Fines for Illegal Dumping:

October 2020 Town Board Meeting. The Story

Pamlico Arts Accepting Applications for Arts Grants:

Submit by November 2, 2020. The Story

A Trike Made for Fishing:

Folk art goes for a ride. The Story

Music in the Creeks:

Pirate Jam returns. The Story

Opinions and Noses:

Part 1 - Everyone has them. Captain's Blog

Pamlico County November Election Information:

Sample Ballot, Voting Deadlines, How and When to Vote. The Story

A Walk on Styrontown Beach:

What the high water left behind. The Story

Old Theater’s Got Talent:

Time to show off. The Story

What's Next For Oriental's Recreation Park?:

Take the survey. The Story

Talking Trash; Recycling Changes Coming:

Town Board Meeting September 2020. The Story

Styron Accepts Plea Agreement:

Jeff Styron in his own words. The Story

Camping in the Creeks:

Spartina and Annie. The Shipping News

A New Space For Heartworks:

Brand-new classrooms raise the bar. The Story

After the Cough is Gone:

Emerging aftereffects of COVID-19. Guest Columnist

Solo Cruiser Emily Greenberg:

Life aboard SV Søhund. The Shipping News

Jon Webster, 1964-2020:

From philosophy to motorcycles to The Bean porch. The Story

Oysters Are Coming, Dilapidated Houses Are Going:

COVID Testing Proposed at August 2020 Town Board Meeting. The Story

Prepping for Hurricane Isaias:

Marinas and boat yards prep for the storm. The Story

Hurricane Boat Prep:

The right prep makes for a calmer storm. Captain's Blog

Miss July 2020 - Paige:

Motherhood just isn't for everyone. Pet Of The Month

An Online Scammer Tries and Fails:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The Story

Herd Immunity:

What is it? How do we get it?. Guest Columnist

Oriental Dental Closes:

But the dental team stays. The Story

Surprisingly Little to Learn:

Sailors beware. Captain's Blog

Letters: Engage Your Heart Instead of Your Mouth:

Supporting a beloved town. Letters To The Editor

Man Overboard:

Safety drills on a river crossing. The Story

Letters: Signs of the Time:

Don't steal political signs. Letters To The Editor

A Bear on Hodges:

Chainsaw artist. The Story

No Tigers Allowed:

Wild and dangerous animals banned in the village. The Story

COVID-19 in Pamlico County:

Community spread and a sharp rise in case numbers. Guest Columnist

Board Finalizes Budget, Looks at Dilapidated Properties Ordinance:

Town Board Meeting July 2020. The Story

Maegan Is Home:

124 days and 5 hospitals later - home in Oriental. The Story

Croakerfest Regatta Goes on:

Sunfish and FJs, Lasers and a Vanguard. The Story

Aerosols Are The Answer (and the problem):

What happens when we cough, sneeze, talk, and sing. Guest Columnist

Name That Dragon - Vote Here:

Cast your vote. The Story

Letters: A Reason to Cancel:

An Ol' Front Porch Music Festival board member explains. Letters To The Editor

Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival 2020 Cancelled:

Unanimous Board Vote Cancels Event Due To Covid-19 Virus Concerns. The Story

COVID-19: It’s Not Just A Cough Anymore:

New symptoms & when to get help. Guest Columnist

Mr. June 2020 - Louis:

Canine embraces new retail career. Pet Of The Month

Face Masks Required For Retail & Restaurant Employees:

Governor Cooper cites increased levels of COVID-19 hospitilizations. The Story

A Dragon in Need of a Name:

Provision Co. Revives Oriental Tradition. The Story

Paula Winston, 1949 - 2020:

The heart & soul of the Inland Waterway Treasure Company. The Story

A Roof in Progress:

Two old roofs come down. The Story

Stubby Pencil Planning:

Reducing risk at sea. Captain's Blog

Roof Delays Brewery Reopening:

New Brewery has to fix century old roof. The Story

N.C. Ferry Service Schedules:

Cherry Branch / Minnesott Beach Ferry On Increased Schedule. The Story

Marlene Miller, 1946-2020:

Artist, educator, beloved wife. The Story

Alan Stewart lands at Oriental’s “Minuscule Beach”, having completed WaterTribe’s NC Ultra Marathon Challenge – a 96 mile race around from Oriental, to Beaufort, to Cedar Island, and back again. click for the big pic and Alan sailing in

Thursday October 29, 2020

5:25p Water levels now down 1.5 ft.

3:55p The threat of bad weather (high southwest winds) caused several competitors to drop out of WaterTribe’s NC Ultra Marathon before the race even began. Twelve competitors entered the water and set off yesterday. As winds increased and the weather worsened, seven of those have dropped out: Daniel MacElrevey, Scott Henderson, Anthony Vandenber, Jeff Prideaux, Ed Nelson, Dan Gilbert, and Joseph Frohock.

The remaining four are on a weather hold; they’re anchored or camped out until the weather turns again.

Tony Pascone and Kevin Lopez are in sailing vessels, holding near Cedar Island. Peter Oudheusden and Galina Stepanchak are in kayaks, waiting it out near Atlantic.

Weather may keep the four “holding” for two days.

Alan Stewart is the only person to complete the challenge so far.

3:42p The Cherry Branch / Minnesott Beach ferry is about to shut down due to low water levels. From Sue Kinner at Cherry Branch:

ferry logoThe 1600 Ferry (4pm) from Minnesott will be our last. In the last hour the river level has rapidly dropped several inches & we are having difficulties getting under our ramps. If the winds die out, we MAY be able to go back in service.

Water levels are dropping rapidly in Oriental from the strong southwest winds.

12:50p As the stormy weather approached this morning, the barometer dived – and the wind picked up in a hurry. High wind so far today 41mph just a few minutes ago. From the Oriental Weather Station:

click image for larger view

These high southwest winds will be causing local water levels to drop. You can track that with the online level gauge.

9:26a The first boat is back in the Watertribe NC Ultimate Challenge – Alan Stewart of B & B Yacht Designs (Vandemere NC) finished first. Alan sailed a boat of his own design – a trimaran he calls an “Expedition Canoe”.

Stewart left at 5:27a yesterday and sailed all night (no stopping) to finish so quickly. The course is 96 miles, and competitors sail and sometimes paddle to make progress.

Several participants have already dropped out, citing concerns about not finishing before the weather turns rough this afternoon.

The NC Ultimate Challange route runs counter clockwise down Clubfoot Creek to Beaufort, Harkers Island, Core Sound, around Cedar Island and back to Oriental. Scroll down this page to see a map of the route.

8:40a Winds are calm this morning, but forecast to strengthen by early afternoon. The warning states: GALE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM NOON EDT TODAY THROUGH THIS EVENING …LOW WATER ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM THIS AFTERNOON TO 8 AM EDT FRIDAY

We’re in for a couple days of high winds. The Neuse marine forecast:

- Today… S winds 10 To 15 knots, becoming SW 25 To 35 knots.
- Tonight… SW winds 20 To 30 knots with gusts up to 35 knots.
- Fri… W winds 20 To 25 knots, becoming NW in the afternoon.
- Fri Night… N winds 15 To 20 knots. Gusts up to 30 knots in the evening.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Newport Morehead City NC Weather Radar
Neuse River at Oriental Water Level Gauge

8:28a This record breaking year for tropical storms and hurricanes has been fortunate in our fair city. The closest brush we had was Hurricane Isaias back in early August (Isaias passed to our west and actually caused water levels to lower).

This morning in Louisiana 1.7 million people are without power, after yesterday’s landfall of Hurricane Zeta. Zeta is now inland, reduced to a tropical storm. Zeta has moved so quickly inland that at this writing the storm is over the western North Carolina mountains. The remains of Zeta will move over Virginia and then back out to sea, becoming post-tropical.

Zeta becomes the 6th hurricane to hit the continental US coast this year (the others were Hanna, Isaias, Laura, Sally and Delta). This ties a record previously set in 1886 and again in 1985. Of the six hurricanes, five of them struck the Gulf coast.

Tropical Storm Zeta Tracking Chart
Tropical Storm Zeta Forecasters Discussion
Tropical Storm Zeta Public Advisory

Wednesday October 28, 2020

5:04p Usually it’s high water that we look out for. This time it’s low water. Really. From NOAA:


Why the low water? Thursday afternoon the winds are forecast to increase – becoming southwest at 20 To 25 knots with gusts to 30. Thursday night the same forecast. Those high southwest winds will push the water away… and down our levels will go.

It is simply the opposite of the effect of high northeast winds… which deliver higher water levels in our area.

You may be able to observe this out your window – or you may prefer checking the online level gauge.

4:05p Pamlico County Emergency Management announced the third COVID related death in Pamlico County. The patient was 80 years old and had several underlying conditions. Read the full press release here.

The NC state database reported 3 more cases of coronavirus in Pamlico County, bringing the total to 318. An updated zip code map and more numbers from the state dashboard are here.

10:44a A Halloween Regatta? It’s the first annual – check out the details here.

9:51a This is the route of WaterTribe’s North Carolina Ultra Marathon Challenge, a 96 mile small boat race that starts in Oriental today. The route runs counter clockwise down Clubfoot Creek to Beaufort, Harkers Island, Core Sound, around Cedar Island and back to Oriental.

The vessels in the race are small sailboats and even kayaks. Most are sailed solo, a few with a two-person crew. Originally scheduled for June, the event was pushed back to October and scaled down due to COVID restrictions and concerns.

Participants in the Watertribe Ultra Marathon (18 of them) have 3-4 days to finish the route and return to Oriental. The weather becomes an issue starting Thursday evening (winds to 30 knots). While departing this morning Tony Pascone told TownDock that his plan was to sail all night and finish by 5p Thursday, in an effort to finish before the bad weather.

You can track the race on a map at watertribe.com.

8:32a Oriental’s Piggly Wiggly store has specials every week. Here are the deals for Oct 28 through Nov 3.

Sunny and near 80 today, and on the Neuse a light 5 knots from the south.

Those light winds are about to change. Thursday gusts up to 30 knots in the afternoon and evening.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Newport Morehead City NC Weather Radar
Neuse River at Oriental Water Level Gauge

Hurricane Zeta is forecast to land at the Louisiana coast today as a Category 2 storm, 100 mph winds. This same area has had multiple hurricane hits this year, including Hurricane Delta earlier this month that landed as a Category 3 storm.

The satellite view of Hurricane Zeta’s track:

Tuesday October 27, 2020

10:55a Whittaker Point’s restoration is nearly complete. One of the final missions to make sure the restored point stays in place is the placement of oysters. It’s done by hand – Town Manager Diane Miller writes in:

We’re almost at that point where we could use some volunteers to help place oysters at Whittaker Point.
The targeted dates are November 18 (rain date November 20). Anybody who has not already forwarded their information who would like to help, please forward name, email address, phone number to manager@townoforiental.com by next Friday, Nov 6, 2020.
Anyone who chooses to join us should have knee high or better boots or waders to get the placement correct.

Here’s a drone’s eye look at Whittaker Point from last month.

9:06a A foggy morning gives little hint of the sunny day ahead. Sunny and 75 comin’, meanwhile we are lost in a fog…

ferry logo8:40a The fog has stopped the Minnesott Beach / Cherry Branch ferry.

Monday October 26, 2020

5:22p Five decks of cards. Over thirty cars, including deux, deux chevaux. The 1st annual Classic Car Poker Run was Saturday. Take a look…

Down in the Gulf, Zeta is now Hurricane Zeta.

12:54p There’s no Chili Cookoff this year – the annual Old Theater fundraiser was cancelled along with most other in-person events. But it didn’t stop them from putting on a show.

Singers, actors, musicians, and a treat-loving canine contributed their talents to the first Old Theater’s Got Talent fundraiser.

Click here to watch the talent, donate to the theater, and cast your vote for best video.

8:00a Way north of us, Hurricane Epsilon went into cold waters and is no more. Way south of us, Tropical Storm Zeta is expected to develop into a Category 1 hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico later today. Hurricane Zeta will come ashore Wednesday somewhere between Florida’s western Panhandle and western Louisiana. The waters in the Gulf have cooled, preventing Zeta from becoming a more powerful storm.

Light fog is out there. After it lifts some blue sky should appear, delivering a partly sunny day. High today just near 70, mid 70s Tuesday, then back to near 80 mid week.

Today’s cooler temps are thanks to north winds. On the Neuse 10-15 knot north winds today, calming to 5-10 Tuesday, and a placid 5 knots Wednesday.

Before noon today, the Old Theater’s Got Talent Show will be online.

Sunday October 25, 2020

1:40p Three zip codes in Pamlico County that previously showed no COVID cases now have case counts: 1 case in 28537, 5 cases in 28587, and 3 cases in 28583.

Previously, if a zip code had a population of less than 500 and a case count of less than 5, state data would include it in the overall county number but not the count for that zip code.

View the zip code map, and updated state data, here.

10:16a Over an inch of rain has fallen… it started just after 7a this morning. More of the same is forecast today, then partial clearing Monday, and back to dry days for Tuesday & Wednesday.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Newport Morehead City NC Weather Radar
Neuse River at Oriental Water Level Gauge

Saturday October 24, 2020

5:08p One more storm – it won’t be a local visitor. Invest 95 has developed into Tropical Depression Twenty-Eight. The storm is south of Cuba, and bound for the Gulf on a route that has been very familiar in 2020.

The Louisiana / Mississippi / Alabama coasts will get another tropical storm, possibly a Category 1 hurricane. Twenty-Eight is forecast to strengthen into Tropical Storm Zeta Sunday, making landfall in the Gulf Wednesday.

Tropical Depression 28 Tracking Chart
Tropical Depression 28 Forecasters Discussion
Tropical Depression 28 Public Advisory

2:11 Pamlico County is now at 312 cases.

10:20a Thirty something classic cars headed out on the Poker Run this morning, starting from the Minnesott Beach Golf Club. Here’s the start:

7:12a It’s deep fog over Oriental this morning, but after it lifts a sunny warm day is ahead.

The TownDock web cams have the London fog view:


Friday October 23, 2020

2:50p Saturday promises all sunshine and upper 70s. On the water, light 5 knots winds.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Newport Morehead City NC Weather Radar
Neuse River at Oriental Water Level Gauge

The Tasty Thai Food Truck that was scheduled to be at the brewery this afternoon has had to cancel due to a family emergency. Update – Jasmine Tasty Thai Food Truck will be at the brewery today. Pad Thai plans rejoice.

1:42p Late October… and a storm is brewing in the southern Caribbean. Invest 95 is south of Cuba, and now has a 70% chance of becoming a declared tropical system in the next 48 hours. Early models are confused:

This would get the next name in the Greek Alphabet – Zeta:

Thursday October 22, 2020

4:57p Pamlico County Emergency Management now reports 307 cases. Here’s the updated info.

1:55p Garland Fulcher Seafood is open today, Friday and Saturday 10a-5p. Just visit the fish shack on Hodges, or call Buddy to order for curbside pickup at 252-671-7853.

Some folks are planning to attend the Classic Car Poker Run Saturday – with more than one hand of poker going on in a car. If you want to do that – you have to register again for each person playing (which is fair as each hand could win the $). More about the Poker Run here.

8:10a PAWS normally holds a Pet Parade in March, with many of the entries in costume. While that event didn’t happen this odd year, PAWS is hoping you might dress up your pet for Halloween. There’s a photo contest – more details here.

Wednesday October 21, 2020

5:28p It is fortunate that Hurricane Epsilon’s projected path keeps it away – the storm is now Category 3, 115 mph winds. Epsilon’s track is expected to pass about 150 miles east of Bermuda, and after that take a tour of the northern Atlantic high seas.

Back here in river city – the weekend forecast is all sunshine.

1:28p Five members of the Cherry Branch / Minnesott Beach Ferry staff have tested positive for COVID-19. From NCDOT:

CHERRY BRANCH – The N.C. Department of Transportation has reported that five employees on the Neuse River ferry route between Cherry Branch and Minnesott Beach have tested positive for COVID-19.
ferry logoThe five employees are recovering at home under quarantine for at least 14 days. They last worked on the route Tuesday October 20. Seven other employees that were in contact with the crew have not tested positive, but are also under quarantine.
The Craven County and Pamlico County health departments and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services have been notified of the positive tests. The M/V Neuse, which currently runs the Pamlico River route, has been cleaned extensively using COVID-19 procedures. The terminals at both Cherry Branch and Minnesott Beach have also been cleaned and sanitized since the positive tests. During the pandemic, all ferries have undergone frequent cleanings while in service.
Service on the Cherry Branch-Minnesott Beach ferry route has not been affected. All ferry crews are required to wear face coverings when on board, while passengers are strongly encouraged to practice social distancing and wear face coverings while on ferry decks or in passenger lounges.
Passengers who think they may have been exposed to the virus should contact their local health departments.

12:12p “Bring a broom.” These are instructions one might not normally get.

But this is an invite to practice the Witche’s Dance, tonight at 5:30p at the corner of First and King St. More info here.

9:32a After some spotty rain & deep clouds early this morning, a partly sunny day is with us. Highs again upper 70s / near 80. Those warm autumn temps are forecast to be with us for at least a week.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Newport Morehead City NC Weather Radar
Neuse River at Oriental Water Level Gauge

6:44a The storm’s name comes from the Greek alphabet. Now Epsilon is a hurricane – the 10th hurricane of this storm season.

Hurricane Epsilon will pass near Bermuda Thursday night, but far enough away that they should just receive Tropical Storm level conditions.

Hurricane Epsilon’s forecast keeps it out in the Atlantic and away from our shores.

Here’s the Epsilon view from the GOES East satellite. There’s a whole lotta lightning goin’ on:

Tuesday October 20, 2020

9:50a The chance of rain that was in Saturday’s forecast has kindly gone away, providing an “all clear” for a couple events.

This Saturday is the 1st Annual Classic Car Poker Run. You start at Minnesott Golf & Country Club at 8:30a – getting your first card. There are then three stops around the county (another card added to your hand at each stop) – finally finishing up at the waterfront near Lou Mac park. More info here.

Marlene Miller passed away in May. This Saturday you can join friends in a celebration of her life and art. It’s from 2-4p at The Silos and The Red Rooster. You’re invited.

9:21a This has been similar to other recent foggy mornings: The fog seemed to lift… then came back even thicker.

Take a foggy look with the TownDock web cams:


After it all lifts some sun should appear this afternoon, highs trying to reach 80.

Monday October 19, 2020

2:02p Earlier today clouds were forecast to arrive tonight. They’re early… the sky is now a solid cloud bank. We at least did get that mid 70s high.

11:22a And the storm system gets a name – now Tropical Storm Epsilon. Epsilon is the 5th letter of the Greek alphabet.

Tropical Storm Epsilon Tracking Chart
Tropical Storm Epsilon Forecasters Discussion
Tropical Storm Epsilon Public Advisory

9:19a Tropical Depression Twenty-Seven has been declared on the Atlantic. This won’t threaten the US east coast – it is forecast to stay at sea (from our perspective).

It is headed towards Bermuda, and could gain hurricane strength:

9:05a Enjoy a hint of summer…. sunny & mid 70s today, near 80 Tuesday through Friday.

Winds have become northwest, allowing water levels to begin to subside.

Sunday October 18, 2020

1:35p COVID cancelled the 2020 Oriental Classic Car Show. The Rotary crew was missing having a fall event, so they adapted.

Announcing the 1st Annual Classic Car Poker Run – this coming Saturday October 24. Details here.

12:01p With a forecast of 10-15 knot northeast winds, racing continues today on the Neuse. It is the 2nd and final day of the Oriental Cup Regatta.

Sailor Joe Mattea sent in some video from Saturday’s racing. Joe explains:

This was shot aboard my Etchells, s/v September Morn’. With me was Don McGuire(at the tiller), me in the Middle (Spinnaker Trimmer) and Cole Wise (Foredeck). There were 3 other Etchells out there and about 10 other big boats.

This was on a beat from the Start (which was near one of the fisher markers a little South of Pierce Creek channel up to and around Gum Thicket Shoal gov’t mark. It was really honkin’ out there!

Take a look:

11:50a COVID cases in Pamlico County have reached 300.

7:03a Fifty degrees. It’s been a while since it cooled down to 50, but that was the overnight low.

The Oriental Weather Station tracks the thermal trend:

A sunny 70 degree Sunday is ahead.

On the Neuse, 10-15 knot northeast winds.

Those north winds are pushing water levels up…. now almost 1.5 ft: Check the Oriental Water Level Gauge.

You can see the higher levels in the HarborCam view.