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Bertie conducts media tour

WINDSOR – The wonders of Bertie County.

The Historic Hope Foundation and the Bertie Tourism Public Affairs Action Committee, a partnership of Bertie County destinations, took local and regional media last week on a &uot;familiarization&uot; tour of the area’s attractions.

Trip coordinator and Hope Plantation Administrator/Heritage Tourism Officer LuAnn Joyner organized the day’s activities, which began at the Freeman Hotel.

The tour proceeded to the Inn at Gray’s Landing for a breakfast of coffee, juice, sweet rolls and muffins.

Windsor Mayor Bob Spivey and local historian Mack Bell shared some historical background on the inn and former owner William Rhodes, who became one the first science fiction writers.

The Roanoke- Cashie River Center was the next stop on the tour. Phil Patrick, Program Specialist for the center, led a tour of the facility’s indoor exhibits and the River Walk. The center is one of four operated by the non-profit organization Partnership for the Sound.

&uot;The partnership promotes environmental education and ecotourism in the Albemarle-Pamlico region,&uot; Patrick said.

The center’s exhibits include Native American artifacts loaned to the center by the Southern band of the Tuscarora and Hope Plantation. The center also has an active honey-bee exhibit and provides interesting facts about rivers in the area. The center also offers a wide variety of educational programs for students.

The tour took a quick drive-by of the Bertie Memorial Hospital and Mayor Spivey provided a brief overview of the facilities.

&uot;The hospital is operated by United Health Systems, which is affiliated with ECU, and is one of the best coordinated hospitals in the state for critical access,&uot; Spivey said.

The Bertie County Art’s Council was the next stop. Art’s Council members Margaret Attkisson and Yvonne Jernigan described the council’s functions.

&uot;The Art’s Council features works of art from local artists. The council also holds two summer camps for children, providing a place for young people to be creative and holds quilting, piano and jewelry making lessons,&uot; Attkisson and Jernigan said.

The Art’s Council, located in downtown Windsor, is open from ten until two Monday through Friday.

The council also holds what they like to call &uot;The Irish Souperbowl&uot;. The celebration is held on St. Patrick’s Day and everyone is served potato soup and Irish stew in hand-painted bowls. The Hunt Family Singers provided entertainment for the previous &uot;Souperbowl&uot; and everyone who attends gets to keep their hand-painted bowl.

The story behind Bertie County peanuts was next as the tour made its way to Powell and Stokes Inc. Jack Powell and Bill Stokes gave the tour participants a brief overview of peanut farming and showed a video describing the processes involved in planting, caring for and harvesting the peanuts.

&uot;The Blister fried nuts are our most popular peanuts. We can’t give away the secret recipe, but they are boiled, fried in canola oil, and then taken out and salted,&uot; Powell said.

&uot;Internet sales are a big part or our business and Christmas is our busiest time of the year,&uot; Powell added.

Powell and Stokes encouraged everyone to take a complimentary jar of peanuts.

Tour participants were treated to a catered lunch from Bunn’s Barbecue at the Roanoke-Chowan Heritage Center at Hope Plantation. Following lunch, Hope Plantation Curator Glenn Perkins gave a tour of the plantation and the Stone Mansion.

The familiarization tour provided an excellent snapshot of the many historical and natural treasures Bertie County has to offer.