New Berne is a historic, revolutionary war town. The town was returned to its roots in the mid 1900’s through the efforts of several dedicated women who worked tirelessly with public and private organizations to achieve their goal. The area was successfully reclaimed and the Tryon Palace area returned to its former glory.
And what a job they did. See the gardens below.
The back of the Palace overlooks the Neuse River.
The Palace was home to two British governors, Governor William Tryon and Governor Josiah Martin. While considered a government building in British standards citizens of the area deemed it a Palace. Here the governors lived and conducted British colony business. In May 1775 the then Governor Morris fled when he received news of colonists organizing locally to form a new government.
Restored at a cost of $8 million dollars in 1950, and opened in 1959, the structure rests on its original foundation. Palace furnishing while not authentic are indicative of the era. A fascinating and well maintained structure it is a must see when visiting the area.
Docents are dressed in maid garb and give interesting highlights regarding the daily Palace operations. What I particularly enjoyed was learning about the clothing and dressing of these individuals in this time period. So many hoops and wigs…
Then off to the kitchen to see Palace food preparation. Staff were making casseroles and breads on the hearth during the visit.
The second floor was where servants lived. The Governor had both black and British servants.
The Stanly House was the next home available for tour. Built and owned by John Stanly, this man had a checkered history. John began his life in Williamsburg, where he was jailed on forgery charges. He then moved to Nova Scotia and became involved in shipping. He later moved to Jamaica where he made his mark, however once again legalities presented themselves. His partner claimed he embezzled funds. He was jailed for a year but later exonerated.
It was on to Charleston after suing his partner and recovering financially, however, the ship stopped in New Berne. A fellow passenger invited him to a party where he met, fell in love, and later married a young wealthy woman at the party. They had 9 children, 6 of which survived to adulthood.
John became a wealthy businessman paying 14% of the town taxes. He was involved in sugar cane, molasses, distillery, and, as mentioned earlier, shipping. During the Revolutionary War he became a pirate for the government, and though he lost 14 ships in this venture he managed to stay afloat financially.
Sadly, in 1789 he contracted and died from yellow fever with his wife dying the following month. As the children were young the house was boarded till his youngest son, John, Jr., reached adulthood. John also had a similar intriguing history becoming a lawyer, later a politician, fighting duels, and eventually dying penniless.
Whew! What a life they lived.
Not far from the historic area is the North Carolina History Center. Informative guides are here to assist you with your visit, and while there take in the movie and exhibits. The Palace collection piece exhibit described how the women who started the project acquired its furnishings.
For boat enthusiasts there also is an exhibit on Barbour Boats. These boats were created from 1930 to 1970 and the museum currently resides on the former Barbour property. Shown here is the Barbour Rocket.
Now, on to downtown New Berne, the birthplace of Pepsi Cola.
Here much memorabilia is on display for all those Pepsi lovers. Stop in and check it out.
Besides the famous Pepsi landmark there are also restaurants, high end consignment shops, and all types of retail venues for your spending pleasure. My favorite was Mitchell Hardware. This is a hardware store of a bygone era. Look for this bear to find the place. All ages would enjoy.
The City of New Berne is a haven for bears in all shapes, sizes and versions. Legend states the founder of the City was from Switzerland and named the City for the word Bear. The name stuck and it became their symbol.
Hope you enjoyed the visit.