New Bern, North Carolina may not be the most-visited town in North Carolina, but definitely warrants a visit if you are passing through or staying somewhere nearby.
New Bern is a small town on the river near the coast. It was named after Bern, Switzerland and there is a lot of history packed into this tiny town.
So why did we want to visit New Bern? For starters, it is only an hour from where we live. We also have heard that it is a charming town (literally, everyone used this adjective to describe New Bern), and you may also know that Nicholas Sparks (a famous author) lives there. He had visited New Bern, fell in love, and then moved there. So if it’s charming enough for a famous (cheesy) romance author to both live in and write about, then it must be pretty great, right?
I must admit that we didn’t even spend a full day in New Bern. I say this so that you know that you don’t have to block out an entire day to experience this town. We always start the day with good intentions to leave early and spend the entire day at our one-day destinations, but it rarely goes that way.
We visited New Bern on a Sunday, which is relevant for a couple of reasons. First, North Carolina is very much a southern state; therefore, a lot of businesses are closed on Sundays, including restaurants. Second, I noticed as we walked around that there were a lot of fun places to grab a drink or two – I would have loved to get that experience, but of course, the bar scene isn’t exactly plentiful on a Sunday.
Pepsi Cola was founded in New Bern, and it is a place that you can visit. The building now is more of a shop where you can purchase overpriced Pepsi clothing and other souvenirs, but I still think it’s still pretty special and they do have some antique Pepsi Cola items on display. You can purchase an old fashioned bottle of Pepsi or Mountain Dew for $1.50 (so worth it).
Right across the street from the Pepsi Cola store is a beautiful church. We spend quite a bit of time admiring it, and checking out the gravestones that were in the courtyard area. New Bern has so many random places not in the tour books that I found to be both beautiful and fascinating. Even the alleys were fun to explore!
If you are visiting New Bern, Tryon Palace is an absolute must! You purchase the tickets inside of the museum, which houses a WWI display; interactive displays based on life from the 1800’s (better for kids than for adults); exhibits on the history of North Carolina/natural resources/weather; and a movie.
Tryon Palace was the original governor’s mansion and first permanent capitol for the state of North Carolina. It was ruined by a fire and has since been restored. There are several gardens on the grounds that are perfectly manicured, and I don’t know how we were so lucky to have the place to ourselves.
I do recommend visiting New Bern if you have a chance. We really enjoyed our Sunday spent there!