Out in the north east corner of the state, about an hour and a half away from Raleigh, is the little town of Halifax. This small town has few buildings and farms. It is situated by the Roanoke River, which runs into the Albemarle Sound. Though it is hard to believe, this small town once thrived during the Colonial Era. Trade commenced in the ports along the Roanoke River. Taverns and hotels once lined the streets, welcoming travelers that arrived on horseback and by ship. Halifax even contributed to the Revolutionary war, providing rooms for several important leaders and supplying solders for the Continental Army. However, many of the buildings didn’t survive and much of the fine southern furniture was burned during the Civil War. There are still several original buildings that have been restored such as the Eagle Tavern, the Tap Room, the local Jail, and the Sally-Billy Plantation House.
The Eagle Tavern was converted into a small museum which consists of three displays: one on Revolutionary Events that occurred in the town, one on the everyday life as a Tavern Keeper, and the last on the goods sold and games that took place at the Taverns. This was a good base of understanding the town’s history, and the tour guide was wonderful in explaining each of the displays.
The Tap Room was my favorite place. It’s much like a small Tavern with a bar downstairs and several tables to eat or gamble at as the men passed their time away smoking and drinking. The dining room displayed different games, table wear, and the pipes the owner would lease out to his guests. Upstairs there are a few beds where the travelers can stay the night and rest. Though, in these times, there was no privacy among guests. They all lived in one room and on busy days had to lie side by side in a single bed.
Finally (though I didn’t have the chance to take the tour inside) there was the Sally-Billy Planation House. It was a wonderful example of how high society lived in North Carolina. Also, it was close to the Roanoke River. The shores of the Roanoke was once lined with merchant shops and other types of trade, however, with the flooding of the river, all buildings were eventually moved inland. There is no real evidence that there was once a port along its shore (at least in plain sight), but it’s still a beautiful view.
Not only was this a lovely site to just walk and enjoy history, but the day trip to Historic Halifax proved to be beneficial for two manuscripts that I’m working on. First, it helped my understanding of colonial buildings for Albemarle’s Town, the town I created for my current WIP which is located along the Albemarle Sound. The second is for a future WIP, Sam Cooper, which revolves around Revolutionary Events. This is a wonderful Historic Site and I would recommend that if you’re ever in the Albemarle area to list Historic Halifax as a must see, especially if you are a history buff.