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Down East, NC


Atlantic, NC Sunrise
A morning drive along HWY 70 through Atlantic provides beautiful sunrises like this.

Atlantic is located in the northern part of “Down East” and is the furthest point on Highway 70 East. The community was historically called Old Hunting Grounds because of its plentiful wild game such as deer, fowl and bear. Today’s Atlantic boasts the largest supermarket in the “Down East” area, a harbor full of fishing boats of all types, and Atlantic’s elementary school is rated one of the best in the county and the state. A boat ramp is available at Eugene’s for those with their own boats. For those who wish to purchase seafood fresh from the boat, stop at Fulcher’s or Smith’s fishhouses.


Cast netting is a common sight along the waterways Down East

Bettie, which is also known as the “Gateway to Down East”, is the first community on Highway 70 East after crossing North River Bridge (coming from Beaufort). Bettie was originally named Simpson according to early records. The community is primarily a farming and fishing community, with the descendants of the early settlers still living there today. Bettie is known for Simpson Greenhouse and farm which sells some of the county’s best fresh local produce, such as strawberries, tomatoes, corn, and other seasonal vegetables.


Otway, located after Bettie, is the second community on Highway 70 East after crossing North River Bridge (coming from Beaufort). The community was originally settled in the 1700s, but later named after one of Carteret County’s most famous residents, Otway Burns, a ship captain and privateer around the time of the War of 1812. Locally, Otway is known for its farm produce of sweet potatoes and collards. Many residents also still make their living off the water and one can often see them clamming or oystering in Ward’s Creek along Highway 70 East. Otway has several stores, a large bed and breakfast, and a large campground with swimming pool for RVs.


Serene landscape in Marshallberg
Beautiful sunset along Marshallberg Harbor

Marshallberg is located along Sleepy Creek, near Gloucester, in the middle section of “Down East.” During the pre-Civil War era, Marshallberg was originally called Deep Hole Point because of the huge hole in the Sleepy Creek creek bed which was excavated to provide soil for construction of the ramparts at Fort Macon. Marshallberg has traditionally been a fishing and farming community, with Marshallberg Harbor serving the fishing community. The community has one small grocery store, a volunteer fire department and a beautiful picnic area overlooking the water from which Cape Lookout Lighthouse can be seen.


Straits Township, which encompasses the community of Gloucester, was settled as early as the pre-Colonial period by commercial whalers and fishermen from the Chesapeake Bay and New England areas. After a sea journey by Capt. Joe Pigott, Gloucester was named after Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1904. The communities are primarily residential, with fishing and boat building and boat repair still serving as traditional occupations. Construction, recreation, and saltwater activities are the primary businesses.


Smyrna is located at the junction of Highway 70 East on the left, leading to Cedar Island, and on the right, the road leading to Marshallberg. The community was settled around 1700, but had a number of names until 1853, when the community was actually named Smyrna. One of “Down East’s” three elementary schools is located in Smyrna. Smyrna also is home to Eastern Park which provides recreational activities, such as baseball, tennis, and basketball, and also features a children’s play area. The community is also home to the Crissie Wright Lodge and has a number of businesses located along Highway 70.


One of the many waterways within Williston

One of the many waterways within Williston

Williston is located between Smyrna and Davis along Highway 70 East heading toward the northern part of “Down East.” One of Williston’s earliest settlers, John Jarrott, received a land grant from King George in 1719 for the area which now includes Williston. Jarrett Bay was named after John Jarrott. A seafood plant specializing in clams was opened in Williston during the 1920s and Williston soon gained a reputation as North Carolina’s “clam capitol.” Williston features a small commercial garden center, stained glass shop, and small art gallery.


Alger's Ferry at Davis Shore

Alger's Ferry at Davis Shore

Davis is located between Williston and Stacy along Highway 70 East. The community was settled as early as 1752 according to old land grants. Traditional occupations of farming, fishing and fishing-related activities, such as net making, are still prevalent in Davis today. Alger’s Ferry in Davis provides ferry services to Core Banks and Alger’s fishing camps. There are several small stores in Davis as well as a volunteer fire department. Eastern Gateway Realty also maintains a small information booth along Highway 70 East in Davis.


Stacy is located between Davis and Sea Level along Highway 70 East heading toward the northern part of “Down East.” Stacy is bordered by Core Sound and Nelson Bay as well as Open Grounds Farm on the north and east. Open Grounds, comprised of 32,000 acres, is one of the largest farms in the country and the world and produces soybeans, cotton and corn. The area is known for its abundance of wildlife including many deer and one can often see geese and swans in the waters off of Highway 70 East in the Stacy area. Farming and fishing are traditional occupations.

Sea Level

Beautiful sunset along the waterways in Sea Level

A location perfectly represented by it’s name. This is the lowest area of land in Carteret County. The area originated as one of “The Hunting Grounds” in 1702 by Captain John Nelson. It was know for it’s plethora of game, fish and oysters. The same is true for today as you will find many folks out in Core Sound gathering their fruits of the sea.

Cedar Island

Beautiful beach setting along the shores of Cedar island
Fisherman wait for their morning catch along the Cedar Island Ferry

Located at the end of our county, this community offers boat ramps, Ferry service to Ocracoke Island, grocery shops, a post office, and horse back riding services. A wonderful place to get away and explore the coastal waters where the Pamlico and Core Sounds meet. Most of the area is the Cedar Island Wildlife Refuge where you may hike near the end of Lola Road.

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