Thursday, March 15, 2012

Drive Day 2: New Bern

New Bern is a small coastal town- the Neuse River, not the ocean that is.  It is a quaint little town with tons of southern charm.  It is over 300 years old and was founded by Baron Christopher de Graffenried, from Bern Switzerland.  Bern is loosely translated to “Bear”; therefore the town’s symbol is the Bear, and they certainly are proud of the bear.  Everywhere you turn there are bear status, bear flags, stores with bear names, etc, etc. 

One the morning of our second day, we went to the Baker’s Kitchen for breakfast…. If you are ever in New Bern you must eat there!  It was fantastic.  They are famous for their French toast, and it did not disappoint.  They even have special homemade butter syrup.  I had never even heard of butter syrup before, but now I want to learn how to make it or where to buy it – it is that good.  Jeremy had the biscuits and gravy and claimed they were the best he ever had. 

After breakfast we ventured down to the home of Brad’s Drink – the real reason we stayed in New Bern.  If you know me at all (or my mother for that fact), you will know that I LOVE Pepsi.  Addicted is probably the better word.  I am constantly working on quiting Pepsi, and before the surgery, I had gone almost 2 months without a Pepsi (now I really sound like an addict). 

In a little corner pharmacy, “Brad’s Drink” was created by Caleb Bradham.  Brad’s Drink was later patented as Pepsi-Cola.  Pepsi is now owned by a family bottling company in the Carolinas.  The store told the rich history of Pepsi and its roots in both North and South Carolina. 

It was fun to stroll through the restored store and soda-fountain.  It almost felt like you were ordering a float back in the day – except for all the modern day souvenirs you could purchase.  And yes, I was that tourist and bought several Pepsi souvenirs.  I did enjoy a nice cold glass of Pepsi – it was closer to the original formula and had almost twice the amount of concentrate.  It was so very delicious.  Reminded me why I love Pepsi.  I even stopped by for a second cup on the way out of town – addicted I tell you!   

After strolling the streets and shops, we made our way over to Tyron Palace.  We only purchased the garden pass instead of touring the inside.  Jeremy could only take so much – in more ways than one!

Tryon Palace was the original Governor’s Palace.  Now I don’t know the full history of the site, but I believe it was one of the original buildings was North Carolina became a colony.   Today, Tryon Palace and the adjacent NC History Center is the main attraction of New Bern.  I am sure if we had more days, or kids, we would have enjoyed spending more time there.  But walking the gardens were enough for us.

The gardens were styled after traditional English Gardens.  And I love that style!  A year ago we went to England for a wedding and stayed at an Inn located on a large estate.  Although the estate had yet opened to visitors for the season, we were given a tour.  It was beyond beautiful and the gardens were amazing.  So walking through the Tryon gardens brought back those memories.

I must say that although they gardens were pretty, they were not all they could be.  It was not in full bloom yet and looked as though they were not in full tourist mood.  The grounds were not kept up and there was some work to be done.  Both Jeremy and I commented on the fact it could have been a little nicer.  Nonetheless, we enjoyed strolling around on a beautiful day.

I did love the vegetable garden.  How I wish I could have one too some day.

All in all, New Bern was a great little town to visit and the perfect side trip to end our time in North Carolina.

From New Bern we drove to Charleston via the back roads and the coastal route.  More on the next leg in tomorrow’s blog post. 

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