Down East, NC

 Come spend some time exploring the unique and creative traditions of Core Sound’s Down East heritage (8 miles from Beaufort, NC). Head out of Beaufort east on Hwy 70 and enter the real Down East at Bettie after crossing North River. This is a beautiful natural area of marshes and wetlands, forest, farm and 12 unincorporated communities of watermen, many descended from those who originally settled the area in the 1700s.

Harkers Island is a small community along the sound steeped in commercial fishing and Carolina “flared bow” boatbuilding traditions. It was once home to Tuscarora Indians, but by the turn of the 20th century, the only thing left was a great mound of sea shells at the east end of the island, now known as Shell Point. Here you’ll find the National Park Service office which offers a wealth of information regarding the areas natural resources and coastal wildlife and a park for viewing Cape Lookout lighthouse. Along Harkers Island Road are local ferries and charter boats to take visitors to Cape Lookout National Seashore for sightseeing or unparalleled fishing and shelling.

Back out on Hwy 70E, drive through the local communities to Sea Level where you pick up Hwy 12 to continue to the Cedar Island Ferry past the spartina and junkus grass marshes of the Cedar Island Wildlife Refuge.