Oriental, NC. We love this little harbor town, a very friendly town. It is known as the sailing capital of N.C. Population around 900. It is located on the Neuse River in the Pamlico Sound, leading to the Atlantic. Trivia about the name of Oriental: The town was originally named Smith’s Creek and the postmaster’s wife, in the late 1800’s, found a ship’s name plate or plaque that washed ashore, which read “Oriental.” Hence – the name Oriental, NC. We like it because it is a relaxing little place to go and walk around and it’s not much more than an hour’s drive from our home.