New Bern – North Carolina

I sound like a broken record when I say this: I love all the old places. North Carolina is great because it has cool old cities but they aren’t big like Boston or New York; so you get the opportunities to experience history and charm without the crowds and overwhelm that can come with big cities.  Our next city on the list to explore was New Bern, North Carolina. 

We moved to a new boondocking home for the week. It was a wild place. The kids fished every day. They didn’t get a single bite, but they had fun trying. It was hot and humid and we ended the week with over 50 mosquito and no-see-um bites. Tom made the rookie mistake of leaving out a trash bag. The raccoons got it and littered trash everywhere, inspiring a whole adventure into the mud/swamp/woods to clean it up. Some little critters, mice likely, stole our wool insulation from the belly plan under the steps. The locals befriended us and gave us solid advice not to let Marley swim. He said, “Don’t let that there dog go swimmin’, those there gators gonna get em” and “if you see one just grab my gun there from that lunch box.” We learn about culture and make friends everywhere we go.

We enjoyed nature walks ( I can’t bring myself to call them hikes without mountains) through the marsh.

New Bern was first settled in 1710, the city has a lot of historical buildings and streets. Just walking down the sidewalk offers a wonderful history lesson.

I mentioned in my last blog that I’m a sucker for the Outlander books, my all-time favorite story. Outlander fans will understand my excitement about getting to visit Governor Tryon’s Palace. The perfectly restored estate was the state’s first capital. It’s a living history museum where visitors get to see what life would have been like 200-300 years ago. We saw a Revolutionary War camp, a kitchen with a hearth, governor offices, and fancy living quarters. It was a fantastic roadschool “classroom” led by “teachers” wearing wigs, breeches, and silver-buckled shoes. It was a day that caused me to reflect upon my gratitude for this life and the unconventional ways my children get to receive their education. 

New Bern is the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola. We stopped by the original pharmacy where it was invented and served in 1898. Once it was made with oils, nuts, spices, limes, and real sugar. I imagine the new version is far less delicious, but nonetheless, we enjoyed Pepsi floats the the place where it all began.

Where we Stayed:

Airstream boondock campsite in NewBern North Carolina

Long Point Boat Launch- Croatan National Forest 

Boondocking in this area offers slim pickings. Out west, free camping on BLM land is abundant, out here…not so much.We found the closest National Forest to New Bern and it was fine. Not fancy, not fantastic, but fine. There was a few actual sites with space and picnic tables but they were taken. Like most boat launch areas, there was a steady stream of people going in and out for the day. We found a spot we could fit in and turned so the door faced the wooded area so we could feel a little secluded. The plus side is that we were right on the river and had fun fishing and meeting the locals.  

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