First off, I actually took the above picture. Doesn’t it look pretty? Almost like something from a postcard, huh? We shall title this picture “How the Other Half Lives.” Ha!
Anyhow, moving on to a brief recap of our trip to New Bern, NC! For those of you not familiar with the town, it is a super quaint riverfront town in eastern North Carolina. Less than a two-hour drive from Raleigh, it makes for a great night away, or even a quick day trip. I have been a few times now, both with Kenny and with some girlfriends. If you live in North Carolina and have never visited, I would definitely add it to your list!
Where to stay?
There are three hotels in the historic riverfront district. I have stayed in all three of them. You have your Doubletree by Hilton, your Courtyard Marriott, and an independent hotel, the BridgePointe Hotel & Marina. (You also can stay at a slightly cheaper hotel if you want to move away from the river). New Bern also has roughly ten B&B’s, which are adorable and located smack dab in the historic district. At approximately $99-130 a night, they are definitely the way to go, especially since breakfast is included. Duh.
Weeeeeell, I completely forgot to book a room until the final hour. This likely would not have been an issue, but since it was Memorial weekend, it was. Luckily, the BridgePointe had an available room, so I snagged it. Located right across the bridge from the historic district, it was probably a quarter-mile walk. Easy peasy. The hotel was older, but we found it perfectly acceptable, for the most part. Plus, they had free popcorn from 6-8pm. Sold!
Everything was fine, until we decided to shower. Um……..notice anything missing??
Yup, that would be the shower curtain that you DON’T see. In all the hotels I have stayed at over the years, I can’t say that I have encountered anything quite like this. Ever. Believe it or not, this place was not even a real dump…..and it certainly wasn’t even that cheap. Needless to say, it was a quick rinse off for both of us.
What to do?
New Bern is definitely a small town, and I think you would be hard pressed to find enough to do for two evenings. However, there is plenty for a 24 hour jaunt. Start with a stroll of the downtown area. There are several cute shops that you can pop into, including toy stores, souvenir shops, and high-end boutiques. (I spotted lots of Lilly Pulitzer through the storefronts). When you get thirsty, check out the Pepsi Store. For those of you not aware, New Bern is the actual birthplace of Pepsi-Cola.
There are also several open grassy areas surrounding the waterfront, making it the perfect spot for a stroll. We spent some time checking out the ducks in the water.
Another awesome place to check out? Tryon Palace. They offer several different tour packages, of varying prices. Since Kenny would rather watch paint dry than go on a mansion tour (culture is not his thing, he will tell you), we have never actually taken a tour. Maybe when I return with my girlfriends we will give it a go.
One tour that we have taken? A ghost tour! I am obsessed with taking ghost tours. Along with New Bern, I have taken several ghost tours in Charleston, Savannah, and Wilmington, N.C. While they are rarely scary, I always enjoy the history portion of the tour, and getting to explore old buildings. Bonus if it’s a haunted pub tour!
Another fun activity? Go on a bear scavenger hunt! For those of you that don’t know, New Bern is known as “Bear City.” They have dozens of these bear sculptures scattered throughout the town. See how many you can find, and take a picture with each. I am thinking that this would work well as a pub tour/drinking game! I managed to find a few myself…..
Once you are bored with the bear hunt, I have the perfect activity for you ladies and your hunks. As you are strolling through town, reenact your favorite love scenes from The Notebook because, hello, Nicholas Sparks lives in New Bern! I have yet to spot him, but I know that my day will come. And then he will cast me in his next movie, and the rest will be history!
If you are coming with children, especially little boys, bring them to the New Bern Firemen’s Museum! There are many exhibits to explore, and available tours that the kids will love. Hopefully when Gavin is a little older, we can return with him.
That begs the question….is New Bern a child-friendly town? Meh. I would probably say no. Babies, for sure. Heck, they are a piece of cake to travel with. However, while I did spot a couple of playgrounds, I don’t think there was enough activity to sustain Gavin’s attention for a trip. When he is a few years older and can tour the museum and check out the palace, maybe we will bring him back. However, Atlantic Beach is under an hour away, so if you are vacationing with your family at the beach, one option might be to swing by New Bern for an afternoon.
Where to Eat and Drink
Again, being a small town, there are not tons of options. However, we have some tried and true places that we like to frequent when we are in town.
For drinks/ambiance, head to Persimmons. Located on the waterfront, it is a great place to grab a cocktail. Or eight. Which is precisely what Kenny and I did when we arrived on Saturday. It was such a glorious day that we ended up heading there for a drink, which turned into apps, which turned into an early dinner. The end result? We were feeling good!
We had big plans to go change and then head out for a nightcap. As soon as we made it back to the hotel though, we crashed hard. I was asleep by 8pm, and felt incredible the next day. #earlybedtimeforthewin. I will say that Persimmons food is not the best. (Although oddly it started to taste pretty incredible after beer #3). You are paying for the atmosphere, not the food. However, they did have a crab and pimento cheese dip that was out of this world!
Other dinner options…the Chelsea. I have been one time, and it was pretty good. A little more upscale though…entrees run between $15-$30.
Morgan’s Tavern & Grill– One of my personal favorites. Casual environment, lively bar, and moderately priced meals. Plus, any place that has “tavern” in the name is right up my alley!
Beer Army Burger Company– Only open for about a year, this place is awesome. If you love burgers, don’t skip this place. Plus, there are TONS of craft beers available, so my husband was in heaven.
We actually had lunch here on Sunday before we left. We were hoping for a brunch place, but the main place to go was packed.
New Bern does not have a very rockin’ night life, but you can always find something going on at Prohibition. Lively music, cocktails, desserts, and pretty people abound. They have an awesome courtyard too.
If you can muster the energy to make it to brunch before noon (unlike us), then head to the Baker’s Kitchen. It does get crowded though, so if it’s a Sunday, plan on getting there before church lets out.
And that about sums up our trip! Honestly, it’s an adorable little town, and one that we try to make it to every year or so. And now……selfie alert. Brace yourself for some chubby cheeks.
Between the two of us, I am shocked I did not birth a chipmunk!
Guys, I could lose 40 lbs and it wouldn’t matter. My cheeks would still look like a chipmunk hoarding nuts. I have been told this is a good thing, as the fat will naturally seep into my wrinkles as I age. Maybe like a natural Botox?? Not sure if this is true, but I am often told I look younger than 38, so who knows.
I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend! More travels this weekend too. From a river town to the mountains. Next up…..Asheville, NC!