Oriental is a small town in North Carolina on the Neuse River, just off of the Pamlico Sound. This small town is a cruiser hotspot, as all the shops and locals seem to cater to the constant passing of yachts and their crews. Their busiest seasons are spring and fall, when the cruisers migrate north in the spring and south in the fall.
The town was named Oriental because of a ship named Oriental that wrecked on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The wife of the postmaster found the nameplate on the beach and liked the name, then deciding to name the town Oriental because she felt it needed a better name than the one it had.
Years later, the name has stuck and the locals seems to have taken a liking to it. Chinese dragons can be found all over the town, in the forms of paintings, lawn decorations, or even stuck in inconspicuous places! Maddie and I had a grand time wandering around the town looking for dragons in different places.
The best part of Oriental is certainly the people. They are very welcoming and warm towards cruisers that are passing through. They will invite you to local events and treat you like one of the locals, even though you are merely passing through.
Along the lines of being cruiser friendly, there is a town dinghy dock, where it is free to tie up, along with two free town docks that you can tie your sailboat up to. They have numerous recycling bins at the dock, making trash runs quick and easy! The town also has a marine consignment shop, where you can find what you need or something close to what you need at a very reasonable price.
As you come ashore, you will find a cruiser grocery store that has another consignment shop in the back, along with a smattering of parts that frequently break on a boat, all at very reasonable prices. If that wasn't enough, they also have a WestMarine store a bit up the street! All in all, this town is a great place to stop if you want to relax and unwind, or if you need to carry out some repairs.
If a wonderful and welcoming town wasn't enough of a reason to stop at Oriental, they also have wonderful weather. The jetty stops any waves from forming in the harbor, and the town provides plenty of protection from the wind. During strong storms, it would be blowing 30 knots in the Pamlico Sound, and only 10 knots in the anchorage, also with no waves formed either.
Oriental is a wonderful place to stop, even if it is out of the way of your cruise. One taste of the local ice cream parlors inexpensive and delicious ice cream will make you glad you took a little detour!