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On the Trail

We all have lots of beautiful memories from our childhood that make us extremely happy and shapes us into who we are today. Susan Fulcher Hill grew up in Williston; she remembers meeting friends for after-school snacks at the General Store and watching folks load up hundreds of bushels of clams on trucks at the old Clam House. She also saw, over the years, too much of the enterprise in Williston go away along with many of the job opportunities for folks Down East. With such brimming memories and a passion, Susan, Robert, their son John and his wife Adrianna, purchased the old clam house.

They began the restoration with an Oyster Nursery that has been in operation since 2018 and have an Oyster Hatchery fully operational in the spring of 2021. The Down East Mariculture Supply Co., LLC, Smyrna, is on the NC Oyster Trail and will offer tours to see the beautiful Jarret Bay and the Oyster Nursery operations.

Oysters are important on an economic level since they provide a market for food and a way of life for many watermen. Oysters are considered a keystone organism and without the presence of the oyster reef other critters would not be able to move in and colonize the reef. The vast stockpiles of minerals, vitamins and organic compounds make an impressive health benefit to eating oysters and are very high in zinc. They provide the human body with several unique nutrients and minerals. Some more health benefits are the ability of oysters to aid in weight loss, boost metabolic activity, increase tissue repair and growth, lower cholesterol levels, reduce blood pressure and improve immune functions.

The NC Oyster Trail is a grassroots effort by people who love North Carolina oysters. The Hill’s mission is to provide oyster tourism experiences that help sustain and grown NC oyster supply and demand, resulting in economic, environmental, and social benefits to the state’s seafood industry and coastal communities. The NC Oyster Trail is administered by the North Carolina Coastal Federation and North Carolina Sea Grant in partnership with the North Carolina Shellfish Growers Association.

When you are driving on Highway 70 East toward Williston and Smyrna you cannot miss the building! There is a beautiful piece of “art” on the side of the building that catches your attention. The mosaic mural, done by Lanelle Davis, is a beautiful mosaic mural based on a photograph depicting Lula Willis Fulcher, Rena Wade Piner, and Lela Thomas opening clams back in the 1950’s. Each piece of the mosaic was hand-cut by Lanelle from dishes contributed by descendants of folks who used to work at the clam house. The clams on the wall are reclaimed from the property itself.

Please feel free to contact Susan at or call her at 252-204-1134 to schedule a tour.

Rebecca Jones is a contract writer for the Carteret News-Times and a member of the Carteret Local Food Network blog writing team. She was born and raised in the Piedmont Triad area where she spent most of her life. She has two grown children and 6 grandchildren. Writing has always been a part of her life and she believes that it is a way to showcase and bring awareness to events that affect your community. In April of 2018, Rebecca and her husband George moved to Beaufort, NC. Her most recent two books, Love Brings You Home (about Hurricane Florence) and Go Deep (a devotional with photos), are sold locally and on Amazon.

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