The millpond is a stunning, archetypal southern swamp—bald cypress and water tupelo rising from water the color of strong tea, Spanish moss dripping from tree limbs akimbo, spadderdock and water lily floating on the surface. Beneath, alligator and ancient gar hunt the dark water.
Despite appearances, Merchants Millpond is a recent invention, less than 200 years old, the consequence of a dam built to drive gristmills on Bennett’s Creek. Trees much older than that grow in Lassiter Swamp at the head of Merchants Millpond.
The gristmills are gone but the swamp remains, one of the most beautiful in North Carolina.