New Bern

BannnerFounded in 1710 by Swiss and German immigrants, New Bern was named for Bern Switzerland. Since Bern means bear in German the town has embraced the bear as its symbol. Bear flags, banners and statues decorated in all manner of costume can be found throughout the downtown area.Colonial_Bear

New Bern also served as the colonial capitol of North Carolina and Governor Tyron had a palace built here in 1770. Though the capitol was moved to more centrally located Raleigh and the palace subsequently burned down, citizens reclaimed their history by reconstructing it in the 1950s. Furnished with period antiques the palace offers tours guided Tryon2by costumed docents.

New Bern’s other claim to fame is as the birthplace of PepPepsi2si Cola. A small museum and gift shop
 occupies the site where Pepsi was born.

Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville_BeachI decided to give the barrier island beaches one more chance and headed out early after a quick (and awful) breakfast at the hotel. I arrived at Wrightsville Beach around 9am and found it pretty crowded already. And though I found the town a little more appealing than some I have driven through, I finallPiery had to throw up my hands and say “OK, I’ll pay to park.” Only to get to the pay station and find a sign that said “Don’t worry, you don’t have to pay until March 1.” So, finally I got another walk on the beach.. Most of the shells
 were broken but what caught my attention was the waves crashing under the pier and the surfers.

Surfer3Oh my, the surfers. I got pretty frustrated trying to photograph them from the beach as the sun was in my eyes and I could not see a thing on the camera’s screenSurfer. Then I finally got the bright idea of going up on the pier to shoot. I gladly paid my $2.00 and had a great time and a great view of the surfers. I just wish more of them had been better surfers as the ratio of standing to sitting out behind the surf was pretty low.

Surfer2Eventually I did have to push on to New Bern but I finally felt satisfied that I had had a positive beach experience to add to my outstanding time at Bald Head Island.