Tue. Dec 5th, 2023

By Samuel Strait – November 2, 2022

Saturday in New Bern, just to stroll around this bustling small town.  A
meal at a nice restaurant, then down to the corner where the home of
Pepsi Cola was born.  Plenty of memorabilia, shopping, and fine dining. 
Saturday afternoon the main streets are closed to traffic and
restaurant, businesses, and visitors move out in the streets.  Live
entertainment from three in the afternoon until the streets are returned
to normal.  Great fun and something visitors can count on whether close
to New Bern or all the way across the country.  Chatted with people from
up and down the East Coast and as far west as Ohio.

The history of the North Carolina Colony began in 1585 when the first
settlers arrived from England  and gradually moved inland over the next
half century.  For a time New Bern was the seat of government until
later when it was moved to Raleigh.  Important as a seaport both to ship
goods to England or Colonies in the Caribbean, it became the Colony’s
link to the outer world.  During the Revolutionary War, it was an
important staging area for British troops to control the Southern
Colonies.  Three quarters of a century later, North Carolina became key
to the end of the Confederacy in the Civil War.  Union landings in the
outer banks, followed by the Battle of New Bern allowed the Federal
armies to end much of the material support for the Confederates in
Virginia.  Most of the State was turned into a constant battlefield for
the last two years of the War Between the States and is loaded with
early American history from the original English landings in 1585 to the
present day.

Earlier trips to New Bern included much of the surrounding area, so for
me returning to sites previously visited was more about seeing the
changes that had occurred since the last time I was here, and they were
many.  Kill Devil Hills on the outer bank where the Wright Brothers made
their first historic powered flight is always a favorite, Roanoke, the
first settlement in America that subsequently vanished without a trace,
and one of three Aquariums found on Coastal Carolina’s outer banks.  The
Cape Hatteras light house, Grave Yard of the Atlantic and historic Cape
Lookout,  site of many a ship wreck on this dangerous stretch of the

Day Fourteen Coming up.

We started Day Fourteen with the slow cooking barbecue of a humongous
piece of pork in the Eastern Carolina way.  I’m not sure what the
difference is between the way they cook it and that of Western Carolina,
but I am assured that it is the only way to properly cook a pig. 
Something about no “sauce”.  I will report back on the results at the
end of the day, for we are off to the site of the Battle of New Bern.  I
had done the hike around the Battlefield some years ago, but since then
the powers to be have added substantially to the signage, the
infrastructure and the access to much more of the Battle site.

Most of the Battle was fought among pine forests and very swampy
ground.  Without the new signage on my previous trip it was difficult to
visualize how things happened.  The improvements not only describing the
course of the battle, but a vast improvement of the trail system made
for a lengthy stroll around the site.  At a well kept visitor center,
more signage gave a brief history of New Bern and the surrounding area,
as well as plenty of information about the early history of the area and
its prominent citizens.  All in all it was an educational experience
coupled with plenty of walking in a very beautiful area.

The remainder of Day Fourteen was spent visiting with relatives, before
gearing up for pre Halloween festivities.  The slow cooked pig was the
beginning of the evening, and it was tasty. They take their gatherings
very seriously around here, especially in the neighborhood.  Bob, a
retired marine, a local retired school teacher, and a retiring couple
from none other than California. Seems they couldn’t even wait to retire
before getting out of the State.  Early evening for me, as we are headed
to Beaufort in the morning to see if we can spot wild horses on one of
the off shore islands that have managed to live there since the
seventeenth century, then a quick visit to a museum that houses relics
from the Queen Ann’s Revenge, Black Beard’s famous ship.

Stay tuned.

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