During our trip to North Carolina we spent some time in the town of New Bern, a charming, historic town located on North Carolina’s central coast. It is situated between the Neuse and the Trent rivers. Because it is surrounded on two sides by water there are a number of marinas where boats of all kinds are docked. The beautiful waterfront area is also where large hotels and the convention center are located.
A fairly recent addition to the waterfront area is a sculpture of a Licoris Lily, a gift to the city by a pediatric dentist, well-known in the area for his love of art.
The downtown area consists of a grid of only a few streets, so it is very walkable. All the shops are unique and interesting and invite you to browse. There is a street on the outskirts of New Bern where you will find the large recognizable stores and chain restaurants.
New Bern was first settled in the 1700’s by a group of Swiss and German settlers. Bern is the Germanic word for bear, and since the settlers came from a city named Bern, their new home was named New Bern. There are bears in many shapes and sizes located all over the town center as New Bern has adopted the bear as its symbol.
Located just a few streets outside this area is Tryon Palace, the first permanent colonial and state capitol. It was refurbished and redecorated in 1952-1959. It is open for tours on given days. The city of New Bern was celebrating Mum Fest while we were there, and the gardens of the Palace were open for viewing and a plant sale was taking place on the grounds.
Mum Fest is a two-day event in October that attracts thousands of people to the downtown area where the streets are closed to traffic but the sidewalks are lined with vendors, live entertainment, food, amusements and more.
New to Mum Fest this year was SeaFair, a 228 foot mega yacht, one of the 10 largest, privately owned yachts in the U.S. The vessel has three decks of 28 galleries filled with art, jewelry, and sculpture from artists all over the world. The yacht was docked at the Hilton Marina for Mum Fest Weekend and open to the public by paid admission.
There are quite a number of “fun facts” relating to this town two of which I list here: it is the birthplace of Pepsi Cola, having been invented by a pharmacist who lived there. Currently there is a small Pepsi museum where you can go in to look around and sample the beverage. Another interesting fact is that New Bern was the first city to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, and George W. danced at Tryon Palace. I’ve read that George was quite a good dancer and many young ladies were anxious to be his partner.
We had a delightful visit to this very interesting city. The weather threatened rain at times, thus the clouds you see in some of my photos, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying many sights, shops and restaurants while we were there . The city offers many very good restaurants, a few of which I’ll be telling you about in the next week or so.