The Chowan River Basin (emphasis on the second syllable cho-WAHHN) is one of the smaller basins of the Carolina coastal plain (75% of it is in Virginia) but contains some of the most pristine wetlands in North Carolina and arguably the most beautiful of them all.
Along the banks of the river, the Chowan Swamp Game Land consists of over 31,000 acres of tidal swamp forest, scrub oak sandhills, and dry coniferous woodlands maintained by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission as public places to hunt, fish, and trap.
There are largemouth bass, bluegill, chain pickerel, black crappie, river otter, and beaver in the blackwater creeks, black bear and white-tailed deer in the forests, osprey, eagles, turkey, and wood ducks overhead. It is a place of wild beauty.
Within the basin is Merchants Millpond, a 760-acre pond full of bald cypress and water tupelo, Spanish moss and resurrection ferns, cow lily, coontail, duckweed, and water fern. Merchants Millpond is the most beautiful swamp I’ve yet found on the Carolina coastal plain; I’m still looking.