Tue. Mar 5th, 2024

By Samuel Strait – November 3, 2022

We are still in New Bern for the next couple of days visiting relatives
and seeing the sights.  First up is a morning trip to Beaufort on
Carolina’s Crystal Coast.  From New Bern south to Morehead City
following along side the Croatan Forest of the Lost Colony of Roanoke
fame.  Not much in the way of dramatic trees, but a short fifty five
mile trip to the Atlantic Coast.  Across the bridge to Atlantic City
then north to another of America’s early coastal defense forts, Fort
Macon, at the very tip of Emerald Island.  A short stroll at the fort
which looks out over the sea entrance to Morehead City, and the inland
passage of the coastal waterway.  A brief retrace back to the mainland
and over the bridge to Beaufort, a fishing and tourist village that looks
out at Cape Lookout and Shackleford Banks, home to a herd of wild
horses.  There are ferries and tour boats that will make the journey to
the Banks for an up close and personal visit with the horses, but
otherwise they are left to their own devices.

A cruise down the main street to a local maritime museum where a
friendly hostess gives us the thumb nail sketch of the museums holdings
which include the artifacts from Blackbeard’s ship, the Queen Anne’s
Revenge.  Seems that the ship’s final resting place is but less than a
mile off Beaufort.  The museum’s holding can vary from visit to visit,
but a well rounded maritime history of the area is it’s staple.  Across
the street from the museum is a local boat building shop, that tries to
capture the trade common to the area since the early seventeenth 
century.  Visitors may participate in the construction of the current
project.  Hands on training from a very cheerful boat builder.

With a wistful sigh, we head north to our next destination, Kinston,
North Carolina.  Beaufort, by the way is considered one of travel’s most
charming city, and the folks that we talked to during our visit, proved
that to be absolutely correct.  Back to New Bern, then thirty two miles
north is the quaint town of Kinston, originally Kingston, before the
Revolutionary War.  When the British were sent packing, citizens of
Kingston dropped the “g” to reflect the new revolutionary spirit.  In
Kinston is a building that houses the remains of the hull of the CSS
Nuese, one of six ironclads build for the Confederate navy in America
during the Civil War.  While not much of the original ship remains, the
sheer size and heavy construction of the ironclad is worth the visit. 
The museum contains numerous artifacts from the ship when it was
recovered nearly 100 years after the Crew sank the ship and burned the
upper works to prevent capture.  Local history and displays of life in
the area fill the remainder of the space.  For those that wish to see
what the ship looked like when intact, a local artisan has recreated the
ship in its entirety, available for viewing a few blocks away.  One
proviso, the ship is only available for viewing on Saturdays from 11:00
am to 1:00 pm. Private tours can also be arranged by appointment.

Back to New Bern , with a brief stop at the Wyse Battlefield, one of
many Civil War engagements.  Apparently, permission can be obtained for
metal detector enthusiasts to comb the fields of the battle for buttons
and bullets.  Just another of the many activities in the area to
entertain visitors and locals alike. Once back in New Bern we are
collected for dinner at a Japanese restaurant, Musashi’s, where the cook
comes to you.

Day Fifteen is at an end, and more New Bern to come.

Day sixteen starts with a trip back to down town New Bern with a stop at
Two Crazy Ladies Donut Truck, which on this day was located in the
Staples Office parking lot.  Trays of mini donuts with a wide variety of
toppings on a dozen fresh baked morsels. Glazed, Bavarian Chocolate, and
Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake was the choice of this morning with hot
chocolate to wash them down.  Sure wished that some enterprising soul
would copy this delectable treat and offer it in Crescent City, a
sure hit for Two Crazy Ladies in New Bern, any takers?

After a good stuffing we wandered into town to visit the the local fire
department Museum and were entertained by local transplant, Doug Foster,
with a veritable wealth of Fire Department history and lore.  For the
next two hours we wandered talking about the equipment in the museum’s
collection while listening to Doug’s pearls of wisdom as he related the
entire history of the local fire department as well as talking about the
decline of New Bern in the eighties, only to be resurrected over the
last twenty years into a bustling town of 40,000, with 125,000 people in
the surrounding area.  New Bern has become known on the East Coast as
the place to visit, retire to, and become prosperous.

The down town is full of dinning opportunities, shopping, and night time
entertainment.  The original governor’s house, when it was the colony’s
center of government, has been extensively refurbished into a show place
tourist attraction.  A river front park with local music, that
compliments the town’s  new convention center.  Hotels and restaurants
occupy former river side defunct industrial buildings and boating
harbors are sandwiched in between.   Gas is at $3.09 per gallon and
groceries are less than half the cost found in a Del Norte County
grocery store.  River side property can be purchased along the Pamlico
Sound for under $40,000 per acre.  The trees might not be quite as
majestic, but inflation is manageable, and the local government isn’t
after your every last dollar.

It is with regret that we are moving on in the morning for the capital
of Raleigh, then on to Michigan.  Stay tuned.

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