Renowned for setting the backdrop to Nicholas Sparks’ novels and the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola, North Carolina’s first capital city bursts at the seams with historical charm. However, New Bern is more than its three centuries of history. The riverfront community’s walkable downtown has transformed into the quintessential coastal destination. The picturesque streets buzzing with friendly faces are lined with one-of-a-kind retailers. Locals and guests alike rave about the unique shops, restaurants, art galleries, and beer district, all available within a few blocks. Have your very own “Notebook” moment strolling from the town center to the waterfront at Union Point, where you can enjoy panoramic views along the Neuse River.
It comes as no surprise that American Airlines launched a seasonal non-stop flight between New Bern and Washington, DC. After all, this Southern oasis has served as a popular coastal vacation destination for NoVA natives for years.
Want to spend a fun-filled weekend exploring New Bern? Great, read on for a sampling of curated insights from locals.
Your first day in New Bern is not complete without a trip to the birthplace of Pepsi. It was here in 1893 that Caleb Bradham invented Pepsi-Cola in what was then Bradham’s Pharmacy. Today, the birthplace offers guests the opportunity to learn more about the history of its inventor, enjoy a fountain-poured Pepsi, and browse through a variety of gifts and souvenirs.
Caffeinated and ready to embark on an outdoor adventure, take a stroll through the gardens and landscapes at Tryon Palace. The floral display encompasses more than 16 acres and features an abundance of daffodils, tulips, and other greenery. If you are lucky, you just might get to witness how a soldier lived in a military encampment, or experience the roar of a colonial musket firing during one of the historical reenactments on the grounds.
After participating in your outdoor adventure, there is no doubt that you will have worked up an appetite. Head to Cypress Hall Kitchen + Bar, one of downtown’s most popular restaurants. Its lofted ceilings and exposed brick create a modern atmosphere for indulging in food favorites. Chef Ashley Moser defines his style as southern backbone with some international influence and recommends diners try the cider-braised pork cheeks. A trip to this award-winning establishment is not complete without a piece of Mema’s famous strawberry cake.
New Bern’s “Beermuda Triangle” is located on Pollock Street and provides easy access to Tap That Craft Beer and Wine Bar, Freshwater Beer Co., and Brewery 99. These family-friendly spots pride themselves on fostering their own unique identities. Brewery 99’s beer garden is an ideal spot to relax and sip on the house favorite, Confignorant. Tap That utilizes its 4,800 square-foot facility to host a consistent line-up of new bands and entertainment. And lastly, Freshwater Beer Co. opens the garage doors of their former service station building, allowing you and your pets to enjoy their selection of wine, small-batch brews, and craft beers outdoors.
“Whether you travel by way of air or car, visitors are welcomed and greeted as longtime friends and family. In New Bern, Southern hospitality isn’t just a metaphor, it’s our way of life, ”said John Blackwelder, owner of The Aerie Bed & Breakfast.
For more information: visitnewbern.com
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