New Bern, North Carolina’s first state capital and 300 years of history to explore. I had the choice of The Historic Homes Tour, the Civil War Heritage Tour, The Churches Cemeteries Tour, The African American Heritage Tour, the Revolutionary Walking Tour and finally, The Walk To Remember Tour. And ahoy there Nicholas Sparks fans. New Bern features prominently in A Bend in the Road, The Wedding and The Notebook.
Unfortunately time allowed me to merely scrape the surface, so off I went to Tryon Palace, built between 1767 and 1770. No, not a real palace but pretty impressive by any standard. The state could not afford this structure but British Governor William Tryon had married one of the wealthiest ladies in England before departing for his post in the New World. This “first”lady used a lot of her own money to get the Palace “just so.” But Governor Tryon hated North Carolina and when offered a post in New York only two years later, packed up kit and caboodle and left.
Enter British Governor Josiah Martin but this poor man also packed up Kit and Kaboodle, sent his family to New York and fled, in the night out the back door, through the gardens, down to the Trent River (the only way out) when the Revolution was imminent.
Okay! All this and much more were relayed to us by a guide in costume with cheeks that dimpled as she spoke. Not only was she an excellent guide, bringing each room to life as we walked but she imparted what should’ve been dry historical facts with enough humor to keep the group listening.
But those dimples! If you’re lucky enough to have dimples, they normally appear when you smile. Not this lady. Oh no. Every time she spoke those dimples would appear and stay moving and deepening (if that was possible) as she shaped the words. I was fascinated and probably lost some of what she was relating, my attention glued on those dimples.
Tour over, everyone left and I went over to get my “hug a stranger a day” hug from her. Not a problem but then I commented on and complimented her on those dimples. And that called for another mutual hugging fest and lots of laughter.
Just too much fun.
A final bit of trivia – New Bern is the birthplace of Pepsi Cola. In 1893 a local pharmacist, one Caleb Bradham invented the recipe, a blend of kola nut extract, vanilla and “rare oils,” and called it “Brad’s Drink.” It’s was renamed Pepsi-cola in 1898.
Tryon Palace |