We’re leaving Oriental this morning, bound for Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks.
Oriental is a fine little town. One story sums up our experience here.
We set out on Tuesday evening to have cocktails and appetizers in air conditioning before cooking dinner on sweltering Intermezzo. Two of the nearby bars were closed on Tuesdays, so we set out for Schooners Bar and Grill, about three quarters of a mile from the dock. Schooners turned out to be out of business, so we went into nearby Bartley’s Village Restaurant which had lots of cars in its parking lot.
We walked in to the busy restaurant and asked if they had a bar. The owner, Bartley Jr., said, sorry, the didn’t and we let him know we were looking to have cocktails and appetizers and asked where we might get some in town. He told us to wait for minute while he took care of a customer. We did, figuring he would give us directions to another place. Instead, he came back and said, “OK. Come with me, I’ll give you a ride to M&M’s, they have a nice bar.” We were incredulous. Bartley’s restaurant was busy serving dinners and here he was, leaving to give us a ride to his competitor’s place. We protested, telling him it was fine, we could walk. He retorted that it was no problem, it was too hot to walk. We felt uncomfortable with his generosity at such a busy time of day.
We were rescued by one of Bartley’s customers who had ordered a takeout chicken dinner. She offered to drive us instead, while her dinner was being prepared. This generosity felt less uncomfortable than Bartley’s, so we accepted her offer. Turns out, she and her family moved here from West Islip, Long Island NY, near where I grew up, after her husband retired from the NYPD. We enjoyed the ride to M&M’s and our appetizers, cocktails and friendly conversation there.
We were extended many more small acts of kindness and friendliness here, clearly there is a spirit of hospitality and community alive in Oriental.