Our plans for exploring this region suffered a serious setback when the remnants of hurricane Ida came across the North Carolina coast and combined with an offshore low to form a strong “Nor’easter”. We had to hang tough for three and a half days in heavy rains. We received nearly eight inches of rain in that period; at times it felt like we were living inside a busy high pressure car wash. In the end we were lucky, in that there was little flooding in the campground. Areas in the outer banks faired much worse, with heavy damage in places like Nags Head.
When the rain ended near the end of our schedule stayed, we visited New Bern, NC. This is a very historic area, which served as the first Colonial capital of North Carolina and still has the impressive Tyron Palace of the British appointed Governor. It is also home to the oldest chartered church in North Carolina, founded in 1715. We were lucky enough to get a private tour of the church and learn about its history. The town will celebrate its 300th birthday in 2010.
There are many historic homes in the town and remains a popular destination for pleasure boaters. The downtown area is hanging in there and is working on maintaining its historic past. We did see one store in business for over a hundred years that had just closed its doors.
There is also an interesting little store front that is the birthplace of Pepsi-Cola. The drink was developed at a local pharmacy and called Brad’s drink and was marketed as Pepsi-Cola starting in 1898.