Disclaimer   |    Site Map    |    Contact Us

Cashie River

   UNCTV-Peninsula With A Future
UNCTV - Peninsula With A Future


Take 17North towards Edenton. Approximately 1 mile before Chowan River Bridge turn right onto Bal Gra Road. Follow the signs for parking.



243 Bal Gra Road

Merry Hill, NC 27957

Bertie County Park Rules

Child Playing in Chowan River on Bertie Beach Day 2019
Highlights from Bertie Beach Day 2019

Project Team:
Juan Vaughan, II,
County Manager
(252) 794-5300

Economic Development
(252) 794-5301

Donna Mizelle,
Parks & Recreation
(252) 794-5363

Robin P. Payne,
Project Facilitator
(252) 588-2318

TGOW - Tall Glass of Water Project


Photo taken by Brittani Copeland

Bertie's greatest assets, besides its people, are a pristine natural landscape, history, and world-class waterways. The Board of Commissioners understand this and moved forward to preserve and protect these invaluable resources that can also create new paths towards diversifying the local economy, small business development, new career opportunities, and downtown revitalization efforts.

Bertie County's investment in the TGOW 147-acre property will be the first public beach access to recreational waters, unlike anywhere else in Northeastern North Carolina. Referred to locally as "Tall Glass of Water" (TGOW)" until a name and logo have been selected, the site's most stunning feature is its 2,200 linear feet of sand beach and shallow calm waters overlooked by impressive high cliffs on the Albemarle Sound where the Chowan River begins.

Phase I: Water Access for the Public


Targeted construction to begin Fall 2022.
• ADA Ramp, walkway to the beach and parking
• Restrooms, outdoor showers, water bottle refill stations, kayak storage kiosk
• Picnic Pavilion with 8 picnic tables made by Bertie High School Shop Class
• 2 miles hiking trail
• Primitive Camping
• Restored meadow area


Phase I: A Nature-based Solution to Protecting the Sandy Beach and Bluffs

  A picture containing outdoor, sky, nature

Description automatically generated  A picture containing tree, outdoor, ground, nature

Description automatically generated  YouTube Video Thumbnail


The TGOW property has 2,200 linear feet of shoreline. The site’s eroding bluff provides sand for the narrow sandy strand plain beach and therefore “letting nature take its course” is an option to maintain a sandy swimming beach. However, the protection of Roanoke Colonist’s era artifacts along the bluff and the need to retain acreage for public activities require that erosion control be addressed.

The County desires a nature-based solution for reducing bluff erosion while maintaining the sandy beach. The three-pronged approach includes: 1) a line of non-pressure treated breakwaters to temporarily protect cypress saplings while they become established. The cypress trees will then provide shoreline protection by creating thin but effective sand bars that extend out from the sandy beach called tombolos. This is not necessary at the main swim beach because cypress and tombolos already exist. 2) At the base of the bluff natural fiber material arranged in a roll, called coir logs, will be used to protect another line of cypress saplings. 3) At the top of the bluff natural vegetation will be planted to stabilize the upper portion.

The goal is to retain moisture within the exposed soil, develop a strong root system and create a natural buffer line along the shore that reduces the day-to-day wave action. For detailed information please reach out to any of the TGOW project team.

June 2022 Phase II: Day-Use Outdoor and Environmental Education Pavilion, Community Stage, Restrooms, and Meadow Restoration. See Site Plan.

A picture containing tree, outdoor

Description automatically generated

·       Pavilion - Dedicated space for 1) Day-use outdoor and environmental education classes 2) public events, festivals, picnic space, and 3) as an interpretive facility for on-site cultural and natural features. ADA best practices are priority.

·       Stage - Utilized for performances (music and theater). Raised for ease of viewing on the lawn or open pavilion.

·       Greenspace - Three acres adjacent to the stage for viewing and play, connects to 7-miles hiking trail.

·       Restrooms

June 2022 Wetlands Restoration: Northern Boundary See Preliminary Plan

Diagram, timeline

Description automatically generated  A bird on a birdhouse

Description automatically generated with low confidence  Far Left: Wetlands Preliminary Plan (Click to view PDF) Photo Bertie County TGOW Steering Committee
Left: Prothonotary Warbler House #6. Installed and being monitored by Chowan University Biology Dept. Dr. Bo Dame. Photo by Bo Dame, Chowan University. 
The TGOW northern boundary is a small canyon formed by an incised ephemeral stream that is heavily wooded with a dam across an even smaller tributary which discharges into the Albemarle Sound, and to the south, an adjacent tidal freshwater marsh recognized as ecologically significant by N.C. Natural Heritage Program. This tidall swamp is shared with NC Salmon Creek State Natural Area..

The TGOW Wetlands Restoration Northern Boundary project goal is to re-establish pre-agriculture hydrology and plant communitiesThe TGOW Wetlands Restoration Northern Boundary project goal is to re-establish pre-agriculture hydrology and plant communities that support the healthy functioning of the incised ephemeral stream for improved water quality and habitat. The Northern Boundary is currently heavily wooded with a dam across an even smaller tributary which discharges into the Albemarle Sound. Years of agricultural activity have negatively impacted the property’s streams and floodplain forests. The completed plan will be utilized for Northern Boundary restoration and to seek additional funding for the implementation of wetlands boardwalks and restoration activities throughout the remainder of the TGOW site.

Project action steps include vegetation survey, hydrology survey, restoration plan, specifications for 7-mile trail where some areas of trail will meander through wetland pockets, educational signage, implementation of wetland restoration, and implementation of trail.


Good Neighbors
State Parks Logo
River Picture
Bertie County's investment is complemented by the NC Coastal Land Trust (NCCLT) purchase of two parcels, 995 and 300-acres, adjacent to TGOW (See map upper left). The larger parcel was destined to become a 2,800 unit development and 212 slip marina, but with the economic downturn, the property came up for sale, and NCCLT was able to secure the site with funds awarded by the Clean Water Management Trust Fund, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, NC. Attorney General's Environmental Enhancement Grant Fund, N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, the Enviva Forest Conservation Fund, and the US Department of Defense. In 2018
NCCLT conveyed the land to the NC. Division of Parks and Recreation, which will manage the site as the new Salmon Creek State Natural Area. The move ensures permanent protection of its significant natural, historical, archaeological, and cultural resources.


Together with the TGOW 147-acres, a total of 1,432 acres of Sound-front Bertie wilderness has been preserved!

Tall Glass of Water Picture 1 Tall Glass of Water Picture 2

Tall Gloass of Water Site Plan
May 2022 Project Plan
(Click to Enlarge)

In the News

TGOW Master Plan

RFP Master Plan

September 2021
Chowan University Biology Students Perform Research at Bertie TGOW

August 2021
Chowan University Department of Biology collaborates with Bertie County Government on their TGOW Project

March 2021
NC Coastal Review Online Part 4

March 2021
NC Coastal Review Online Part 3

October 27, 2020
TGOW Project receives $125,000 for Environmental Enhancement

October 15, 2020
Discovery shows Lost Colony survivors lived inland

September 22, 2020
PARTF Awards Bertie's TGOW $500,000

July 14, 2020
NCGrowth-SmartUp Partner with Bertie County TGOW

March 1, 2020
Meet VINES Architecture

January 17, 2020
Bertie Seeks PARTF

November 2019
NCACC CountyCast - Bertie County's Tall Glass of Water 

November 2019
NC Association of County Commissioners: CountyCast - Bertie County's Tall Gloss of Water

June 28, 2019
Bertie County turning rivers, creeks, woods into economic catalyst

April 26, 2019

County Talks TGOW

January 16, 2019
Commissioners Exercise Eminent Domain

January 14, 2019
Bertie County Press Release

March 26, 2018
Governor Cooper Hosts Conservation Groups

August 30, 2016
Soothing Water

April 7, 2016
"Sounds" Good

Project Partners

NCGrowth Logo

Chowan University Logo

Project Grantors

DCM Logo

EEG Logo



DWR Logo

Community Voices

“Great job Bertie!” L. Helms

“Can't wait to come and experience Bertie Co. Beach. Great Accomplishment!!” M. Bond

“We had the best time!! We will be there every weekend!!” K. Copeland

“Great event! I enjoyed seeing our county come together! Well planned and hats off to all involved to make it happen!” P. Demofonte