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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Noble New Bern

Posted May 11, 2010 8:53 a.m. EDT
Updated May 11, 2010 8:56 a.m. EDT

A lot of people pass it on the way to the beach. How many of you have ever spent much time in New Bern? What did you like about it? What are your memories and recommendations?

North Carolina’s third oldest town has a rich history. This year New Bern is celebrating its 300th anniversary. Swiss-German settlers founded the town at the confluence of the two rivers – Neuse and Trent. The Craven County seat got its name from Bern, Switzerland. Royal Governor William Tryon built a palace in New Bern. You can visit the palace and beautifully manicured grounds today.

Pepsi was born in New Bern. The sugary and carbonated beverage was concocted at a local pharmacy. Caleb Bradham came up with the formula known originally as Brad’s Drink.

Novelist Nicholas Sparks lives in New Bern on the Trent River and draws creative inspiration from the natural beauty of the region. Gov. Bev Perdue once lived in New Bern. Can you name any other famous people with New Bern roots?

New Bern is currently undergoing a downtown revitalization. Have you ever been to the Firemen’s Museum here?

I only spent one night in New Bern. I stayed at a B&B in high school while visiting a sweetheart at Camp Seafarer nearby.

What would you recommend for lodging and dining in this historic city near the coast?