Tag Archives: New Bern

2015: My Year in Review

2015 was very much a monumental year for us. Not only did I take a new job that will ultimately get me where I want to go, but we also got to travel to so many new places, and see so much. Here are some of our highlights from this  year!

We started off our year with a bang when we went on a cruise with Mitchell’s family; our 7-day cruise visited Grand Turk, San Juan, Saint Thomas, and Half Moon Cay. A mere 2 days after the cruise, we packed up everything and drove halfway across the country to start a new life in North Carolina.

I didn't have high expectations for this beach, which is privately owned by the cruise company, but Half Moon Cay was one of the most beautiful beaches I've been to with sand so soft I swore it was powdered sugar!

I didn’t have high expectations for this beach, which is privately owned by the cruise company, but Half Moon Cay was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve been to with sand so soft I swore it was powdered sugar!

We spent most of February trying to get settled in North Carolina, and didn’t do a whole lot of traveling. We went to an over-crowded chocolate festival 40 minutes away and made our first trip (of many) to Wilmington. And, oddly enough, I don’t have many pictures of Wilmington despite our many trips there!

March brought our first visitors from Iowa, and we went to Myrtle Beach for the first time. We didn’t do a whole lot of touristy activities due to time, but we did explore the WonderWorks Museum, ate at a nice restaurant, and enjoyed our hotel’s hot tub. We learned the value of having a tourist destination so close to us, something we aren’t used to!

Beautiful Sunset at Myrtle Beach

Our love for gambling brought us on a spontaneous trip to the mountains in Cherokee, where the closest casino is; this is something completely new to us as we’re used to being within an hour of 3 casinos. On our way home from Cherokee, we briefly explored Asheville (didn’t love it) and took in the mountain views.

There's a good view around every turn in Cherokee

There’s a good view around every turn in Cherokee

May brought us our first 3-day weekend together; we obviously took advantage of this time and went to Gettysburg which was such a unique experience and travel destination. On the way home, we took a minor detour and hit up the casino in Baltimore. And even though this isn’t necessarily a travel experience, one of my favorite memories since moving here was in May; on my birthday, we rented a kayak and took it to a sandbar where we fished, found crabs, and drank beer all day.


From about March to August, Mitchell was working 6 days a week with the only exception being Memorial Day weekend. We had to be creative in our travels, and I didn’t want to stretch Mitchell too thin. That means most of our weekends were spent at Topsail Beach, about 45 minutes away from our house. We made an exception one weekend when we took a ferry to Shackleford Banks where wild horses roam the small island!

Horses and a beach at the same time? Um, yes please!

Horses and a beach at the same time? Um, yes please!

We crossed off one of my Bucket List items in July by going to Washington, D.C. for the 4th of July. I have always wanted to see the fireworks at the National Mall ever since I saw them on TV as a kid. Even though the rain made it a much different experience than I had imagined, it was still incredible to cross off such a big thing from my bucket list. We also moved from our crappy apartment to a nice, big house!

Washington, D.C.

In August, we mostly enjoyed Mitchell working normal hours again and finished settling into our new house. We knew that September was going to be a busy travel month so we laid low other than a day trip to New Bern.

New Bern, North Carolina

Labor Day weekend was spent in the mountains. Of course I loved the mountains when we visited in April, but it was this trip that made me fall madly in love. We explored Bryson City and made plans to return when the leaves began to change. Two weeks after our mountain trip, my mom came to visit and together we tackled Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, and Topsail Island.

Charleston, South Carolina

October brought us back to the mountains for an incredible weekend. We explored a little more of the mountains than just the casino (only half joking), took a train ride, and just took time to enjoy ourselves. I’m not quite sure how we got so lucky, but the weekend we were there was the most perfect weekend for fall-color-viewing! We also checked out the North Carolina state fair! Iowa is known as being one of the best state fairs, so checking out a different one was a good experience, and it was so weird to be chilly at the state fair, since ours is in August!

North Carolina State Fair

November brought us a spontaneous trip to Washington, D.C. Let me tell you, spontaneous trips here bring you to much cooler places than what we are used to! And spontaneous trips are the best trips, especially when you can get away during non-tourist season (hello, cheap hotels and no lines!). We visited Mitchell’s family in Florida for Thanksgiving and had the best time there, too. They took us to the beach and we went boating every day. Also, this may be surprising, but we hit up the casino in Tampa on our way home.

Path to a Florida Beach!

It would only seem fitting that the year would end the same way it began – traveling halfway across the country. My mom got a new car and sold us her old one, so I flew home for the holidays then drove the car back to North Carolina. It was another check off the bucket list because I’ve always wanted to drive [halfway] across the country solo. Of course, I’d like to do it again and be able to take my time so that I can stop at all the places and do all the things! Before I flew home for the holidays, Mitchell and I took advantage of a huge Southwest sale, and spent our anniversary in Nashville. A post about Nashville is coming, but let’s just say that I did not have huge expectations but it ended up becoming one of my favorite vacation destinations to date.

Nashville, I love you so much!

Nashville, I love you so much!

That’s my year in a nutshell! My whole life, my grandma has said that time goes so fast, and the older you get, the faster time goes. She is so right because I honestly don’t know where 2015 went. I don’t know what 2016 will bring, but I have a feeling it is going to be the best year ever!


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New Bern, North Carolina

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.


There were a lot of murals all over New Bern, adding to the charm

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.


Even the alleys were fun to look at

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!


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