Nothing says “cozy holiday season” like a warm mug of cocoa, and this winter, travelers can visit the charming town of Elizabeth City, North Carolina for a whimsical Hot Cocoa Crawl.
From Nov. 25 through Jan. 15, Elizabeth City restaurants, shops, craft breweries, wine bars and cocktail lounges will feature unique hot cocoa beverages and desserts, while other small businesses including boutiques, bed and breakfasts and attractions will offer hot cocoa-themed events, decor and gift items.
“During the holiday season, the Harbor of Hospitality® transforms into the Hot Cocoa Capital of the World,” Visit Elizabeth City Executive Director Corrina Ruffieux said. “Our local businesses owners’ imaginations ran wild to create a trail of the yummiest hot cocoa treats and cocoa-inspired experiences you’ll find anywhere. We invite visitors to come make enchanting holiday memories in Elizabeth City.”
The destination’s festive decorations, seasonal events and second annual community-wide Hot Cocoa Crawl offer an idyllic setting for a holiday getaway. Here’s a taste of what visitors can expect this year:
Hot Cocoa Treats and Eats
- Steamed milk infused with dark chocolate sauce, caramel and bourbon syrup, topped off to perfection with whipped cream and a golden caramel drizzle make up Muddy Waters Coffeehouse’s Bourbon Caramel Hot Chocolate, which is inspired by bourbon, yet alcohol-free for kids of all ages.
- At The Market on Water Street, guests are encouraged to decorate their hot cocoa with an array of sprinkles, candies, traditional and creative toppings from specialty hot cocoa bar.
- Back by popular demand, “The Dirty Snowman,” a luxurious hot chocolate à la mode with vanilla ice cream, hot cocoa and Bailey’s with loads of whipped cream and chocolate shavings returns to The Mills Downtown Bistro.
- Ghost Harbor Brewing Company’s holiday beers, “House of the Maker,” a mocha and vanilla latte stout, and “Dawn of Beginning,” a vanilla latte stout will invoke the flavors of hot cocoa and coffee with locally-roasted beans from Muddy Waters.
- Hot cocoa isn’t just for drinking and Elizabeth City Pizza Company’s “Cocoa Bombe Dessert” proves it with a delicious pairing of vanilla and chocolate gelatos, slivered almonds and a cherry, surrounded by a dash of cinnamon and a chocolate shell.
- To keep that cozy hot cocoa feeling throughout the year, Coastal Purl, Elizabeth City’s local yarn shop has kits to create your own “Mug Hug”, a knitted sweater for mugs or ‘to go’ cups, which include beautiful wool yarn, the pattern and cute buttons in a gift bag.
- The smell of warm cocoa fills the air with Sultry Scents’ delicious hand-made candles featuring cake-batter cream and chocolate in a glass mug.
- For the special cocoa lover on the gift list, Bijoux Vibes will have hot cocoa-themed T-shirts and cozy crewneck sweatshirts, along with marshmallows infused with Fireball, sugar cookie and salted caramel flavors.
- Downtown boutique Copper Canyon Soap Company is offering small-batch hot cocoa and marshmallow shaped and scented plant-based soaps.
Play and Stay
- During the dates of the Hot Cocoa Crawl, The Culpepper Inn will serve a historic-themed breakfast made using recipes of yore with a cocoa giveaway including an Irish coffee glass and historic postcards.
- Philemon House Bed & Breakfast will host several cocoa-centric culinary events including a farmhouse breakfast, chocolate tea service, and a chocoholic dessert drop.
- The oldest house in Elizabeth City, the Blue Ruby at Grice-Fearing Home, will offer hot chocolate Sundaes on Sundays with hot fudge or hot caramel, hot chocolate brownie sundaes, signature shakes and other holiday treats.
- Throughout the season, Hampton Inn Elizabeth City will host a Hot Cocoa Social on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights with a build-your-own hot cocoa bar and photo-op of a winter scene featuring a season’s greetings from the Hot Cocoa Capital of the World.
Hot cocoa enthusiasts can add a variety of holiday events to round out their Elizabeth City itineraries.
The community’s old-fashioned Holiday Celebration and Grand Illumination takes place Nov. 25.
The following weekend, a holiday edition of the monthly First Friday ArtWalk on Dec. 2 will showcase downtown shops, local artists and live music, followed by the Lighted Boat Parade, an annual tradition of brightly-lit skiffs, sailboats and pontoon boats with twinkling lights circling the harbor to the sound of carols.
On Dec. 3, children can keep an eye out for Santa at the “Christmas Around the World” street parade.
For the full list of Hot Cocoa Crawl participants and more holiday festivities around Elizabeth City, please visit HotCocoaCapital.com.