“I’ve always enjoyed the gorgeous view of Oriental Harbor,” says Alice Underhill, a 69-year-old former North Carolina state lawmaker who owns a waterfront townhome in the center of the village of Oriental, N.C. “It’s so relaxing to sit on our porch and just watch the water and the boats.”
She and her husband, Reed, 72, a New Bern, N.C., physician, purchased their getaway in 2006, but now are downsizing. Their two-story, three-bedroom, 1-1/2-bath townhome with a two-car garage is on the market for $499,000 (the furnishings are negotiable). Dockominium slips ranging from 30 by 15 feet to 50 by 20 feet are available at the adjacent Oriental Harbor Place Marina.
Former powerboaters, the Underhills now just enjoy the relaxing, boating-oriented ambience of the self-proclaimed “Sailing Capital of North Carolina,” where boating and sportfishing are year-round activities. Oriental, located where the Neuse River and Green Creek flow into Pamlico Sound, is just off Intracoastal Waterway mile 182 — 24 miles from Beaufort Inlet to the Atlantic Ocean.
The village prides itself on its services for boaters, who range from long-distance ocean and ICW cruisers to kayakers who gunkhole on the surrounding waterways.
The Underhills’ townhome has a two-car garage on the ground level; the unit conforms to North Carolina flood regulations.
Above, the main level boasts a wraparound porch, accessible through sliding glass doors in the living room, which has a gas-log fireplace. Nine-foot ceilings with crown moldings, wide board hardwood floors and multiple waterfront windows enhance the spaciousness.
“I love to cook, so I love this big [26-by-13-foot] kitchen,” Underhill says. Black granite countertops, a Jenn-Air range with a gas grill top and other stainless steel appliances complement the shipwright-built, custom pickled wood cabinets. A screened porch just outside is a favorite spot for family meals; the Underhills often host six or eight for dinner in the adjacent dining room.
Upstairs the master bedroom has a sitting area and a private porch “with the best view in the house,” she says. The Underhills often enjoy morning coffee or quiet evenings overlooking the marina. The master bath includes a walk-in shower and two vanities. Twin dormers illuminate one of the other two bedrooms and the bath between. (There is a half-bath on the main level.)
A heat pump provides climate control to the HardiePlank-sided end unit, which has public water and sewer service. Annual taxes are about $3,200; condominium dues are $100 a month.
“Oriental is such a welcoming, sociable village, a fun combination of boaters, fishermen, retirees … Everyone’s so friendly. You can walk to everything — four or five nice restaurants, Oriental Yacht Club, the fisheries docks, shops and the well-stocked Village General Store,” Underhill says.
Oriental residents drive 10 miles on state Route 55 to Grantsboro for major chain store shopping or 30 miles farther to New Bern, the Craven County seat, for performing arts, dining and additional shopping.
Suzanne Gwaltney (252-249-1787) of Century 21 Sail/Loft Realty, Oriental, N.C., (252-670-3739; sailloftrealty.com) lists the property.
This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue.