I recently spent the most wonderful day in the most charming of cities, New Bern, North Carolina! Weekend trips are about all I can plan for the time being. So, I find myself looking for places to explore that are only a short drive away, preferably ones I haven’t been to yet. Not sure why I hadn’t found myself enjoying all that New Bern has to offer, but I’m so glad I finally did.
Things to do in New Bern
Probably the most interesting of places to explore in New Bern is visiting the Tryon Palace and Gardens, North Carolina’s first permanent state capital. You can purchase tickets to explore the entire grounds, complete with tour guide of the palace. Or you can just purchase tickets to explore the gardens, like we did. We arrived around lunch, perfect timing because I had packed a picnic. The gorgeous 16 acre garden was a perfect setting for a picnic! Click here to plan your own visit North Carolina’s first capitol.
Once we arrived, we spent a few minutes watching a little video about the history of the palace and grounds in a theater room located just inside the main entrance. This helped us decide which tickets were best to purchase for our day. After we purchased our tickets, a driver took us to the entrance of the palace gates where we were greeted by a delightful marching band by local (I’m assuming) musicians. It was timed just perfectly, I love it when that happens, don’t you?!
Tryon Palace History Lesson
We explored around the beautiful grounds and gardens and felt like we were transformed to England. In fact, Governor Tryon brought an architect from London to design and build the palace! The palace housed the state governors until 1794 and after a fire destroyed the palace in 1798, a campaign was established to rebuild and restore the building and grounds. This 30 year restoration project was led by some very determined women, one being Mrs. James Edwin Latham. The palace and grounds were then re-opened to the public in 1959. The palace gardens were designed by landscape architect Morley Jeffers Williams. He designed them to represent 18th-century Britain and they are simply stunning! We found the best spot to have our picnic. This beautiful garden is a perfect background for any photo session. I couldn’t stop taking photo after photo and thinking to myself what it would be like to have this setting in my own backyard. *sigh*
Downtown New Bern
After we spent most of the afternoon picnicking and exploring the gardens, we went for homemade ice cream at the Cow Cafe. A New Bern must, if you ask me! Such a cute little place to eat the most delicious homemade ice cream. I had the toasted coconut, Mmm! Later, we just wandered about the charming streets of New Bern looking at old homes, beautiful churches, even met a local dog, Jewels, outside her pink adorable home…she was very friendly and her human gave us a little background story about the home and how Jewels was rescued and now lives happily ever after! We ended our day watching the sunset on the water just behind the Tryon Palace grounds…it was a perfect ending to a perfect day exploring New Bern, North Carolina!
New Bern Little Fun Facts:
-New Bern is the second oldest city in North Carolina.
-It was named by a Swiss nobleman that named it after his native city, Berne, Switzerland.
-Bern means “bear” and you can find bear symbols and statues all around the city.
-Famous writer Nicholas Sparks lived in New Bern, NC. In fact, the North Carolina’s coast has inspired many novels by Nicholas Sparks.