I’ve been living in North Carolina for 6 years now, entering my 7th year in 2020. Born and raised in a totally different culture (Nicaragua) and as unwelcoming as this country seemed to be since the last presidential elections, I thought I was crazy for moving here, but I couldn’t leave this opportunity of marrying this super sweet and caring guy who now is my husband of almost 7 years!
Once here, all the cultural differences started weighing in; my migratory process surely didn’t help, and for those who don’t know how this process works, let me just say it is tedious, confusing and expensive! A lot of frustration was building inside me and many nights I cried wanting to go back home. Even though my husband’s family are sweet and caring it was just not the same. I come from a large, noisy family. I’m the oldest of 5 siblings and each of my parents having 5 siblings each, and both of my grandparents alive, it is just natural and almost expected to feel alone in a new place.
It took a while (and a lot of patience) to explain to people that I actually had an education, that in my country we have cars, burger king, papa johns, and even Hooters, that we also use microwaves and that yes! people get grey hair when they grow older, and that I had a successful job, and that I didn’t live in the mountains. I actually lived 20 minutes from the capital, in Masaya, and no, Allen (my husband) did not help my family financially (Allen was currently and still does, work with a Nonprofit that helps farmers in the mountains and provides them with land and training to grow crops, especially coffee).
In the middle of all this, it was more than a God-sent sign that brought me to walk downtown Washington and browse thru all the stores there. A few months ago, I just had given birth to Tito and I was looking for a cute little box for some photos.
I came across a unique store called Little Shoppes and South Market Antiques, “Where boutique meets antique” and it is precisely that! And here is where I got involved with downtown Washington.
Walking downtown is like walking in my old neighborhood. I would always get a smile and a hey! If you come to Washington, let’s start by having lunch at The Meeting Place, salads and sandwiches are their specialty! But you must try their signature poppy seed muffins, you get them for free when you dine in, and, if you love eating in a historic building this is your place to be. Stop by any day of the week and enjoy their specials like pot roast on Mondays, or Meatloaf on Tuesdays, or seafood Friday.
Right next to them is Little Shoppes and South Market Antiques, where you can find antiques that are unique, and at the same time some really good Muscadine Juice (my husband’s favorite) and garden décor, and let’s not forget about the beautiful dresses and accessories from Cabbages and Kings with their British touch. In this place you can always find a sweet smile and a silly joke from either one of the owners, Rebecca, Pat and Jayne. If you’re in luck you might find them “making a silly video” for their social media. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram and you’ll be glad you did!
Keep walking on Main street, stop by River Walk Gallery, they have so much to look at, everything made from local artists. Talk to Colleen Knight, one of the artists there and see all her beautiful wood burned pieces, or Jackie, a contemporary textile-fiber artist, or any of the artist on call, each one with a very special skill.
Across from there you can see Secret Garden Gallery and Boutique, they have beautiful handmade jewelry and amazingly comfortable line of clothes for ladies. Miss Barbara Hardy and her husband Bob Ray are great people to meet. And speaking of great people and locals, Harbor District Market is a must! This is a place full of local vendors and handmade goodies! If you see a blond-blue-eyed girl walking around or sitting at the WHDA booth, that’s probably Meg Howdy the executive director and the one that always makes sure everybody is happy! Some of my personal favorites are Ms. Valerie’s quiches, and cinnamon rolls. If you want something personalized from Washington, I’d suggest meeting Katherine from The Casual Crab, she makes the cuties things.
If salads, sandwiches and paninis are not what you are looking for, you need to visit Down on Mainstreet (yes, that’s the name of the restaurant) almost across from the harbor district market, my personal favorite is the southern shrimp plate! Man! Comes with hush puppies, fries, coleslaw, and of course shrimp! And the best day (for me) to get it is Thursday because they have it on special, but you must move fast, they sell out pretty quick. While you wait you can have a drink at their bar and Brooke will take good care of you! She’s one of the best bartenders around here.
This place is full of adventures, if you don’t know where to start exploring just ask Liane Harsh, the owner of Inner banks outfitters, rent a kayak or a bike from there and go explore the Pamlico river or Goose Creek state park.
You don’t have to go back home just yet! Stay in one of the most beautiful colonial houses in town, located right on 400 W Main St, we have the Pamlico House bed and breakfast. Meet Virginia the innkeeper and owner. One of the happiest people around here. and if that leaves you with time only for a quick coffee and pastry, I know just the place. Rachel K’s Bakery is my personal favorite to just grab a caramel latte, a bagel and go!
While you’re still here check out the Turnage Theater, they always have events going on! Oh man! Look at the time, it’s dinner time around here and I’d be heading to The Bank Bistro for my personal favorite Pork Rib with mashed potatoes and sweet caramelized carrots, if it’s a Tuesday they have Tomahawk Tuesday and Prime rib on Thursday. Wine Wednesday are great, Lorenzo is playing the piano and drinks are served by Alisa or Ann, and let me tell you, they’re awesome!
On your way out just grab a bottle of wine to go, and if you’re not sure what type of wine would go better with what, ask Mary from Wine and words, her place is next to the Bank Bistro and her knowledge on wines always amazes me. You’re welcome to come to her wine tasting on Friday from 4 pm to 7 pm and Saturdays from 12 pm to 4 pm.
This town has something special. An eclectic little place full of wonderful people and history. Here is where “Our Creations Nicaragua” was first introduce to the market and the response is been more than I can ask for. A network of supportive and satisfied customers that love the quality and uniqueness of our products. Products that enhance the culture that I’m so proud of and shows the skills of those blessed with a creative mind. For your support, I am forever grateful.
I recently read something that said: “Your network is your Net worth” and I’m telling you… I’m a millionaire!
This is NOT a paid ad. This is just me walking around downtown and sharing my feelings about these awesome people that have made me feel loved and respected. Those who have embraced my culture and unique self. Being a Latina doesn’t (and it shouldn’t) make me feel like the outsider anymore, knowing and interacting with this amazing circle of supportive boss ladies has done tremendous good to me. I can always count on a sweet smile, a straightforward advice, and a tight hug from any of them.
This is truly a lovely place to be. And, if you’re ready to move in… I know just the perfect broker too!