Explore the New Bern, NC Area
A Historical Coastal Town
Located at the convergence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, and only 30 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, New Bern, North Carolina’s second oldest city, remains today a vibrant community, with growth consistent but controlled since 1970. Once a major port of call, the boating is now mainly recreational, and its expansive waters are constantly in use by those fishing, sailing or pleasure cruising. Having just celebrated its 300th anniversary, few communities blend the old and the new so successfully. The downtown waterfront property boasts old churches, historic homes and quaint shops, in addition to must see venues like Tryon Palace and the North Carolina History Center. Walkable, comfortable, and with dining from formal to casual scattered throughout the town center, hours of meandering from marina to shop to park to restaurant make for a pleasant afternoon, for resident and visitor alike. New Bern, while a popular residential community and tourist destination, nevertheless has a sound economic base. Companies such as Hatteras Yacht, Bosch, Moen and Weyerhaeuser have facilities here, and Pepsi was invented here. A professionally managed city government has long recognized the value of a clean, progressive and preserved downtown that brings visitors to this Mecca of coastal living, while encouraging those to make New Bern NC their home.
Shopping and Eating
New Bern, like most towns, has available its chain stores and restaurants, from Wal-Mart to Outback, from Target to Ruby Tuesday’s, and all are popular. What makes New Bern distinctive, however, are the small, locally owned shops and restaurants that fill the downtown district. Art galleries, antique stores, jewelry and gift shops, and the amazing Mitchells Hardware, where anything can be found, make shopping and browsing a pleasure, not a chore. Walk in a shop, count on a friendly greeting, pet the owner’s delightful dog snoozing in the window, and find unique items. Shopping the way it was meant to be, before everything was mass produced and crowds were elbow to elbow in a store where directions are needed to find what is wanted. And if you feel like an excursion to the urban major mall, Greenville, Wilmington and Raleigh are easy day trips that may lack the quaintness of New Bern, but will give you just the right exposure to the urban environment you likely left behind.
And find exactly what you want to eat, in a comfortable environment. Dine at the Harvey Mansion, located in a historical old port building; at the Chelsea, with a varied menu of excellent food; at Persimmon’s, on the deck overlooking the river; at Morgan’s, an outstanding, casual grill. And these are just a few of the many dining options to satisfy most every taste and budget.
New Bern is blessed to have some of the best medical care facilities and professionals to be found in any small town anywhere. The Carolina East Medical Center is a full care 350 bed hospital, with more than 250 doctors, 2,100 staff members and 500 volunteers bringing state of the art diagnosis, treatment and care to its patients. The facility has special care units for heart, cancer, critical care, intensive care, women, orthopedics, surgeries and more.
Just a few of the specialty care offices in New Bern:
The teaching hospital in Greenville, at East Carolina University, is along about 45 minutes away, while the renowned Duke Medical Center is just two hours distant.
Arts and History
At the end of the 19th Century, New Bern was widely described as the “Athens of the South” because of both its architecture and its cultural activities. That heritage has carried forward and still remains. The Athens Theatre, opened in 1911, has been renovated and is active. At least 3 theatre groups flourish, with frequent shows. Artists in different mediums have settled here, with galleries displaying new work constantly. The Craven Arts Council sponsors myriad events and shows throughout the year. Local artists even display all year long on the walls of the Pavilion, in Carolina Colours, with changing art to enliven the halls for our residents and guests. The North Carolina Symphony has a regular stop in New Bern. Pursuit of art and music is an easy task for Carolina Colours residents.
Tryon Palace, the first capital of New Bern, is fun to visit, as is the new, state of the art History Center, with interactive displays to take one back in time. Visit sites related to the pivotal Civil War Battle of New Bern, or simply browse the many historical churches and homes that abound. A number of Carolina Colours residents enjoy volunteering a few hours a week at one of the historical sites, meeting and helping the many interesting visitors that are attracted by the vibrant history and the arts community that New Bern is known to be.