Welcome to quaint and charming Oriental, home to, among other things, an authentic forty-foot Chinese dragon. With such a name as Oriental, what other creature could possibly be mascot in this authentic fishing village of less than nine hundred souls?
Originally known as Smith’s Creek, Oriental got its unusual name from the founding father’s wife, Rebecca Midyette. Apparently, Mrs. Midyette found a name board that had washed ashore from the sunken steam vessel the SS Oriental. From that event, this welcoming fishing haven took on its new name and identity to eventually become a North Carolina destination of distinction.
And our favorite creature is displayed year round throughout town in any number of creative ways. If you’re sitting under our inviting shade tree on the lawn of the River Neuse Suites, one of the newest hotels in Oriental, NC, you will have a front row seat for all the festivities of the Annual Dragon Boat Race Festival which takes place right in front of the hotel in the wide waters of the Neuse River. Twenty man teams race in – what else – boats with dragonheads, to raise money for their favorite charities. And if you’re biking through town on one of our courtesy bicycles, you’ll pass by several “nesting areas” for baby dragons, complete with wildlife nesting warning signs informing you that dragon eggs are hatching and mama dragon is close by. HINT: look for large rocks painted as hatching dragon eggs.
Or perhaps, as you sip your coffee along with some of our local residents, known to all affectionately as the Oriental “Porch Pirates” at The Bean, our local coffee shop, you’ll catch a glimpse of our splendid resident pond dragon in the nearby duck pond. The Bean, with its nearby sculpted dragon, is the official social gathering spot for Orientalians and visitors alike, and is just around the corner from our hotel in Oriental, NC. We always tell visitors, you’ll find out just about anything you want to know at The Bean.
But of course it’s our New Year’s Eve Dragon Run that really brings out our enthusiasm for this delightful, ancient creature. And if you happen to be staying with us here at our hotel in Oriental, NC you can simply stroll down the street to participate in a night of pure jollification and innocent silliness. On that evening, round about seven o’clock as total darkness falls, folks begin to gather in the streets downtown with pots and pans and spoons. After some hot coffee and treats and some serious drumming to summon the giant beast, residents and visitors alike begin to hear in the distance a multitude of tambourines, drums and kazoos. Then, before you know it, an authentic Chinese Dragon with immense fangs, bright scales, huge eyes and an entourage of hundreds passes right in front of you, undulating with the energy of whomever gets the urge to jump underneath and propel the mighty creature along the streets. Folks bang on their pots and pans to ward off evil spirits while other folks gently touch the dragon to ensure good luck for the coming year.
You can see that we take our name seriously here in Oriental and we’re always celebrating the dragon in one fashion or another for luck and prosperity. We think you’ll find it lucky as well if you choose to stay with us at River Neuse Suites, whether it’s for a single overnight visit or if it’s for one of your longer vacation rentals in Oriental NC. Either way, come on down and celebrate all things dragon with us. You’ll be glad you did!