Susan Dey (left) and Donnie Pope, both with Vidant Chowan Hospital, figure out how to serve wassail to thousands of guests at the Cupola House in Edenton.

EDENTON — From a 1787 sea captain’s home to a 1944 Marine officer’s house, to a peacock haven, to exhibits at the Penelope Barker House, the 2019 Christmas Candlelight Tour homes are beautiful, varied and brimming with ideas.

However, beauty and ideas are not limited to the Tour homes. Throughout the tour weekend — Dec. 13-14 — beauty can be seen at the historic sites: Iredell House, Cupola House and Roanoke River Lighthouse. Also to be enjoyed are the Chowan Arts Council and the decorated trees in Colonial Park. Not so beautiful but equally intriguing is the 1825 Chowan Jail, the oldest jail in North Carolina. Ideas and eclectic interests can be found at each of these spots, as well as at all the tour homes and the shops on and about Broad Street.

Tour homes open at 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13-14, so visitors and residents have time earlier in the day to visit the intriguing sites and shops in Edenton. This small town’s downtown continues to thrive, in part, because of activity brought by events, such as the Candlelight Tour Weekend.

Stopping for refreshments along the way and in the historic sites, guests are welcomed to Edenton — one of the “prettiest small towns in America.” While it is close to cliche, the Tour Weekend does take a village. It takes a community of people, businesses and organizations to create Edenton’s vibrancy.

Edenton’s spirit is revealed during Candlelight Tour Weekend. It is in the smiles and greetings heard along the streets. Not to be missed are the Iredell House Groaning Board and the Cupola House Wassail where culinary skills result in thousands of treats. The Shepard-Pruden Library will stay open late to offer warmth and respite.

Artistic talents are displayed at the Chowan Arts Council, as well as in the colonial dress worn in the historic sites. Musical talents are demonstrated by the carolers — the Albemarle Sounds and the 18th century music played by musicians at the Cupola House and the Iredell House. On the street a flute and maybe a saxophone can be heard. On Friday evening, the Presbyterian Church will resound with carols played on their Steinway grand piano. Decorations on the Christmas trees in the park illustrate different groups in the community such as the DAR and John A. Holmes High School. The vibrancy of the shops appeals to all ages and interests — from candy and cakes to books; from hammers and nails to antiques.

As Edenton resident Tom Abbott said, “This is a time when our Brigadoon makes its appearance, this place just shimmers and shines!”

Come share in the spirit of Christmas and the sense of community found in Edenton. From wherever you roam, come “Home for the Holidays” in Edenton!

Staff writer Miles Layton can be reached at