New Bern was the original capital of North Carolina, in the colonial era, and is the oldest city in the state. It is surrounded by two beautiful rivers, the Neuse and Trent, and is popular with water enthusiasts of all kinds. The historic district downtown offers unique shopping opportunities, art galleries and fine restaurants, and the business district is undergoing redevelopment, with fine dining and shopping as well. The estimated population of New Bern in July 2004 was 23,368. Even as it continues to grow, New Bern maintains the friendliness of a welcoming small town.
New Bern is located in Craven County, in eastern North Carolina. It is the county seat.
Jacksonville, North Carolina is 33.5 miles southwest of New Bern. Wilmington is 87 miles southwest of New Bern and Raleigh is 119 miles to the northwest. There are many small towns within 15 miles of New Bern including Trent Woods, Brices Creek, Bridgeton, James City, River Bend, Fairfield Harbour, Pollocksville, and Neuse Forest.
The total land area of New Bern is 25.8 square miles, and it is at an elevation of 15 feet. New Bern is located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers.
The total area of New Bern is 4.3% water.
The primary industries providing employment in New Bern include educational, health, and social services (23.1%), manufacturing (14.9%), and retail trade (12.5%). Over 68% of the population live and work in the city. The average commute for New Bern residents who are employed elsewhere is 19 minutes.
New Bern has a strong economy and employment opportunities, and a moderate cost of living. Large businesses and industries appreciate that operation costs are reasonable, and there is a good labor force, and small business owners see the area as a good place for growth and increasing revenues.
There are a variety of housing options in New Bern, from starter homes in subdivisions, to upscale homes in golf communities or on the waterfront.
The coastal region of North Carolina is a wonderful place to retire, and many people relocate to this beautiful region to enjoy this beautiful area. Small single family homes can still be purchased for less than $200,000, and larger homes with recreational facilities or waterfront locations are in the $300,000 - $600,000 range.
Water sports are very popular in New Bern, due to its location on the Neuse and Trent Rivers. Pleasure boating, fishing, and water skiing are some of the activities enjoyed by visitors and residents alike.
New Bern parks have many recreational opportunities and varied facilities, including playgrounds and picnic shelters, boat slips, and beautiful views of the Neuse and Trent Rivers. The Recreation and Parks Department sponsors many events throughout the year, such as the Festival of Fun, and the Christmas Flotilla.
There are many beautiful parks in New Bern. One example is the Union Point Park Complex, a 6 acre site located in downtown New Bern, at the juncture of the Neuse and Trent Rivers. Its recently constructed Gazebo is the location of special events, including weddings. There is also a walkway from Union Point to Bicentennial Park, a fishing pier, and boat launches.
The New Bern Athletics Division oversees many sports leagues including Pop Warner Football, Cal Ripkin Baseball, and Girls Volleyball for youth, and Industrial Adult Basketball.
New Bern has a number of local courses for golf enthusiasts. There are three semi-private 18-hole courses including Carolina Pines Golf and Country Club, The Emerald Golf Club, and River Bend Golf and Country Club. Fairfield Harbour Country Club is also semi-private, and has 36-holes and 2 courses --- the Harbour Point Course and the Shoreline Course. There are also two private 18-hole courses in New Bern, at the New Bern Golf and Country Club, and the Taberna Country Club, which is located south of the Trent River.
New Bern has a wide variety of historical and cultural attractions. The Tryon Palace is a Georgian-style mansion that was known, in colonial times, to be one of the most beautiful public buildings in America. It was the location of the capital of the Colony of North Carolina. It has been restored to 18th century splendor, with an amazing collection of art and antiques. The grounds are beautiful with many gardens including an English formal garden, and wilderness areas.
One of the most popular excursions in New Bern is a 90 minute trolley tour of the historic city, including interesting stories through the centuries of this former capital of the State of North Carolina.
Another well-known attraction is the Fireman’s Museum, with a large collection of early fire-fighting equipment including steam pumpers, Civil War relics, and historical photographs.
Interesting Facts/Historic Buildings and Places
The city was named for Bern, Switzerland, and it was originally settled by German and Swiss families.
256 Middle Street is a famous New Bern address, known as the “birthplace of Pepsi”. Caleb Bradham invented the drink here, in his pharmacy. Today, there is a re-created soda fountain, where you can enjoy what was originally known as “Brad’s drink”. In 1898, the drink was patented as Pepsi-Cola.
New Bern is often considered one of the finest historic small towns. It was founded in 1710 by the Swiss. After the Revolution in the late 1700’s, the city prospered by exporting tobacco, lumber, and molasses to New England.
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