The town of Columbia has constructed a series of low-level fixed wooden piers along the downtown waterfront, which flanks the river's eastern shore just downstream (north) of the fixed bridge. Visiting cruisers are welcome to tie to these docks on a first-come, first-served basis. The downtown area, with its visitor center, grocery store, and restaurant, is only a few convenient steps away. Depths alongside the piers run around 6 feet. Neither power connections nor fuel is to be had, but there is a single freshwater hookup. Waste pump-out service is available through the town hall, located just behind the city piers. All in all, this a free, convenient dockage facility for small cruising craft (up to 36 feet) that do not have an immediate need for power hookups.
Those who have not had the opportunity to visit Columbia during the past several years will discover big changes for the better. Perhaps the most significant addition is the visitor center overlooking the Scuppernong's eastern banks just south (upstream) of the fixed U.S. 64 bridge. The Tyrrell County Visitors Center (203 Ludington Drive, 252-796-0723) is dedicated to the preservation and understanding of the coastal North Carolina wetlands, with which the country surrounding Columbia is so richly endowed. The center features a 0.75-mile raised boardwalk interpretive nature trail which allows visitors a close look at a typical wetland. Complete with explanatory signs and an outdoor classroom, this trail is highly recommended for any who have an interest in coastal ecology.
The center also supplies kayaks for those adventurous souls who want to explore the upstream reaches of the Scuppernong River. As you might imagine, this waterway leads to a host of undeveloped wetlands.
For those interested in the history of Columbia, the visitor center provides a informative pamphlet entitled, "Columbia-on-the-Scuppernong Walking Tour." With this booklet in hand, cruises can stroll downtown Columbia and identify 20 historical structures whose dates of origin range from the late 19th to the early 20th century.
Visiting cruisers with an artistic bent will want to beat a path to Pocosin Arts (252-796-2787), located on the corner of Main and Water Streets. This attraction features a display gallery, a gift shop, a sale gallery, and a large educational space. The proprietor, Feather Phillips, told this writer that her mission is to "expand understanding of the relationship between people and place, culture and environment through the production of traditional arts." Pocosin Arts is truly one of the finest establishments of its kind in eastern North Carolina.
If your waterborne travels bring you to Columbia during the second weekend in October, a lucky star is shining on your cruise. Visitors on this fortunate weekend can participate in the Scuppernong River Festival, an extravaganza of arts, craft, drama, music, fireworks, and food.
Clearly, with the advent of the town docks and the new Tyrrell County Visitors Center, Columbia can lay claim to a far larger share of many cruisers' attention than was true in years past. This writer suggests you heed its call.