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For sailors, a Carolina home base

Like many residents of Oriental, N.C., Michael and Diane Paling came for the sailing. The town sits amid eight navigable creeks near the confluence of the Neuse River with Pamlico Sound (and the Intracoastal Waterway). Some sailors say Oriental is the northernmost spot in the United States where you can sail all year. And the 2,700 registered sailboats outnumber residents 3-to-1.

The home's screened porch has a view of Whittaker Creek.

The Palings’ 2,400-square-foot home on Whittaker Creek overlooks much of this sailing activity. Across the channel is Deaton’s Yacht Services, almost next door is Whittaker Creek Marina and just downstream is Whittaker Point Marina.

“Yachts participating in the Wednesday and Sunday races parade past our porch or we sail out to watch them race,” says Diane, a retired counselor. The Palings have frequently weekended and daysailed their Morgan 25 sloop on the Neuse.

With health problems now preventing them from sailing, the Palings have their 0.6-acre property with 260 feet of water frontage (some bulkheaded), a multi-slip dock and four-bedroom, four-bath home with a three-car garage on the market for $499,900.

“Raising the original [1981 ranch-style] house one story was the best thing we did,” Diane says. “On the ground level we created a 1,500-square-foot workshop that can hold three cars and/or boats. It gets a breeze and lots of sun, so we use part as a greenhouse.” The lower level also has a full bath.

An expansion lifted the house and created two full stories.

Adjacent to the garage, the entry foyer’s stairs ascend to a spacious living room on the upper, or main level. Hardwood floors, multiple windows and glass sliding doors access the waterfront screened porch.

Maple cabinets and updated appliances line two corner walls, forming the kitchen. “I love the living room’s openness, the way traffic easily flows at a party,” Diane says. Sliders open to a side deck, where they grill.

In nice weather the Palings spend “wonderful hours” on the screened porch, where they can see up and down Whittaker Creek to the Neuse River.

The expansion allowed them to add a master suite and bonus bedroom over the original garage. The master bedroom’s glass-sided, gas-log fireplace also warms the clawfoot tub. Beyond the large twin closets is the master bath, which has a tiled shower, vanity and toilet room. Sliders open from the bedroom to a sunny deck overlooking their dock and the creek.

From the ground level a path leads directly to their dock, which has accommodated a 50-footer and a 42-footer together. The outer face has about 6 feet of water at mean low tide. The inside face offers more sheltered dockage for shallower-draft boats.

Although the Palings usually made short sails, neighbors often cruise farther — on nearby Smith Creek or the Neuse, on the ICW or out to Ocracoke Island.

Sliding glass doors in the living room open to the porch.

Their property has public water and sewer. A heat pump provides climate control. Annual taxes are about $2,800.

It is within walking or bicycling distance of downtown Oriental, which has a growing number of shops, restaurants and retail services. In town are all major boating services, ranging from chandleries and sail work to electronics and hull repairs. The nearest major city, New Bern, is 30 miles northwest on state Route 55.

Suzanne Gwaltney of Sail/Loft Realty in Oriental ( lists the property.

August 2013 issue