Beaufort County was first referred to as Pamptecough, according to NCpedia, but the name was changed around 1712, in honor of Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort. Bath was the first county seat, but Washington (know in these parts as "Little Washington") became the county seat in 1785.
Before I left home for Beaufort County, I decided to make Bath and Washington my priorities for the county, and if I had time, I'd fit in Belhaven, Goose Creek State Park, Chocowinity, and Aurora too, time permitting. I ended up savoring my time in Bath so much that I had just enough time to do a couple of things in Washington before heading back home! Still, it was a delightful day, and I hope to make it back to Beaufort County sometime!
I spent most of my time in Bath, which is a North Carolina State Historic Site. Since I'm a North Carolina history buff (thanks in part to my genealogy work), I felt like I was in my element! I started at the Visitor Center, where the docent helped me get oriented to the area.
One of the interesting tidbits the docent shared with me is that the North Carolina Historic Marker for Edward Teach (Blackbeard, the famous pirate) is in front of a house that was in 4th grade state history books for years was named as Blackbeard's home. It turns out that Blackbeard never lived there, the historic marker just happens to be in front of that house! Oops!
In Washington, I enjoyed exploring an old cemetery, finding the Beaufort County Courthouse, and driving through downtown. My favorite thing about Washington, though, was the North Carolina Estuarium. It sits right on the Pamlico/Tar River estuary, which is the second largest estuary system in the United States. (The Chesapeake is the largest.) I enjoyed the docent's talk about the interactive structures in the lobby of the North Carolina Estuarium, as well as the short film that followed. Afterward, I joined the other visitors in the exhibit area, then enjoyed my time on the boardwalk behind the estuarium. The rest of my photos of the estuarium are here.