New Bern was founded in 1710 and is one of the oldest towns in America, but don’t let its age fool you. Situated on the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers, New Bern is quickly becoming a hotspot for outdoor recreation and water activities. Paddleboard down the Neuse, kayak the Trent, or fish from one of many public areas. Visitors can also hike, bike, and camp in the Croatan National Forest, which covers 160,000 acres on the east coast. The scenic waterfront makes a perfect view of the restaurants and shops that line the quaint, downtown streets. From fresh seafood and southern eats to Indian cuisine and brick-oven pizza, New Bern has it all.
New Bern not only boasts picturesque views, but it also has many historic sites, attractions, outdoor activities, music and arts, restaurants, and unique shops. The governor’s mansion, Tryon Palace, includes tours of the palace, historic buildings, 16 acres of beautiful gardens, as well as fun and interactive exhibits at the North Carolina History Center. New Bern is also the birthplace of Pepsi, which was invented by pharmacist Caleb Bradham in 1898. The pharmacy is now a museum with historical facts, gifts, and an old-fashioned soda tap where guests can enjoy Pepsi floats. Visitors can also step back in time when exploring the New Bern Firemen’s Museum, as well as historical homes, churches, cemeteries, and Civil War battlefield sites when riding the New Bern Trolley.
New Bern is the second-oldest European-American colonial town in North Carolina after Bath. It served as the capital of the North Carolina colonial government, then briefly as the state capital. After the American Revolution, New Bern became wealthy and quickly developed a rich cultural life. At one time, New Bern was called “the Athens of the South,” renowned for its Masonic Temple and Athens Theater. These are both still very active today.
New Bern has four historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places; their numerous contributing buildings include residences, stores, and churches dating back to the early eighteenth century. Within easy walking distance of the waterfront are more than 164 homes and buildings listed on the National Register. Nearby are several bed and breakfasts, hotels, restaurants, banks, antique stores, and specialty shops. The historic districts contain many of the city’s 2,000 crepe myrtles—its official flower—and developed gardens. New Bern has two “Local Historic Districts,” that provide much of its’ unique charm, appeal to retirees, and heritage tourism. Plan your next vacation in New Bern, it’s a place you may not want to leave!
To learn more, go to www.VisitNewBern.com.