Smith Creek and Green Creek merge in front of Marilyn Arnone’s home to flow past Oriental — North Carolina’s self-proclaimed “Sailing Capital” — into the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound. “While looking for a retirement home, we fell in love with this beautiful view across the water,” says Arnone.
Arnone and her husband, Joe, a retired sales and marketing executive for Bristol-Myers Squibb, completed the unfinished house in 1994. In 2002 they raised the more than 2,000-square-foot structure above flood level and remodeled the interior into a contemporary open plan. “Now we must leave this oasis,” says Arnone, an associate professor of practice and research associate professor at Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies. “We’ll downsize and move nearby to [the city of] New Bern.”
Their three-bedroom, two-bath home on 0.75 acres has 200 feet of bulkheaded waterfront, a concrete dock with a 13,000-pound boat lift and 4-foot water depths, an attached two-car garage, a detached outbuilding and a heated 8-by-15-foot spa pool. It is offered for $487,900.
A wide front porch protects the leaded-glass-trimmed front door. This is where Arnone’s husband has his early morning coffee, listening to the birds and “making sure the sun gets up” — usually in a gorgeous sunrise. The yard is landscaped with fig, pear, crepe myrtle and other mature trees, and rose and perennial gardens. It’s very quiet and very sheltered, she says.
Inside the house, views of the water through an arched window dominate the 10-foot-high great room. Columns divide the space into a cozy sitting room, a living room with a gas-log fireplace and a dining room beneath the window. An angled granite-topped peninsula separates the dining area from the kitchen, which is lined with white cabinetry and stainless steel appliances. An adjacent laundry room connects to the garage.
The waterfront screened porch off the great room opens to the concrete patio adjoining the lap pool. “That porch or deck is my favorite place,” Arnone says, “just sitting, reading, watching the water, dolphins or passing boats.
“Our house is a fantastic place to entertain,” she says. “Joe grills on the patio’s outdoor kitchen while we watch the boats or, on July 4, fireworks across the creek. Sometimes we’ve entertained 80 to 100 people.”
The private master bedroom wing has a walk-in closet and an en-suite full bath with a double vanity. Sliders access the deck and pool. In the other wing, two guest bedrooms each have twin closets. They share a tiled full bath that is also accessible from the great room.
Hardwood covers the living-area floors; there is tile in the dining room, kitchen and bathrooms, and carpet in the bedrooms. A 3-ton heat pump provides climate control.
Their 140-foot dock is a favorite fishing spot, and neighbors often tie up for impromptu gatherings. The Arnones enjoy kayaking the area’s seven creeks. Joe fishes from his pontoon boat for flounder, speckled trout or red drum in the creeks or the artificial reef in the 5-mile-wide Neuse River. “Oriental is one of the most amazing towns I’ve ever lived in,” says Arnone. “It’s a quaint little fishing village with art galleries, boutiques, camaraderie and spontaneity.”
Oriental’s marinas and associated businesses make the area a favorite stop for cruisers. New Bern — North Carolina’s first capital — is about 30 miles away and provides services, restaurants, attractions and chain stores.
Suzanne and Larry Gwaltney, (252) 670-3797, of Century 21 Sail/Loft Realty in Oriental list the property. Annual taxes are about $2,400. sailloftrealty.com
This article originally appeared in the September 2016 issue.