Reviewed 5/17/12 by Paul M. Clayton
Ensign Harbor Marina is a delightful little place on Brown Creek off Lower Broad Creek, at the mouth of the Neuse River. It has about twenty slips and there is usually one available for a transient. The transient rate is $20 a night, a real bargain. The marina has the finest bathhouse of any marina I have ever visited, and a screen porch with tables and a grill. The grill is placarded "Do not operate while drunk." Since the grill does appear to have been used, I'm sure the management means "Do not use when excessively drunk", or "Do not use when falling down drunk." Either way, we ate beans and rice that night and didn't fool with the grill.
Don't expect much of Whortonsville, the local town. There is not a store, there is not a restaurant, there is not a bar. It's pretty much impossible to spend money in Whortonsville, except for your $20 dockage fee. I consider that a positive. We entertained ourselves by glassing empty houses across the creek.
Brown Creek is quite shallow, but we managed to get David's 30 foot Hunter in. It draws 5 feet three inches and we did some dragging through the mud. The water level was a few inches low during our visit, so any boat drawing less than 5 feet should be able to get in.
Ensign Marina is way up Broad Creek, but the channel is well marked and the careful navigator should have no problem getting there. It would be a great staging site for a trip to Ocracoke - or a return, providing an opportunity to clean up after a few days in Silver Lake. For the snowbird, it provides an alternative to Oriental for the boaters who don't need supplies or entertainment, and would like to save a few dollars rather than pay inflated "destination" prices. This is a marina that I can highly recommend. It's well worth a visit, if your boat can stand the draft.Ensign Harbor Website