Have you heard of New Bern?
As a small business owner (Gift Basket Villas), I was on a quest to find a quaint little town to grow some roots. I wasn’t sure it was something I could find and not really sure my gift basket business would thrive outside of a large city, but it was worth a try.
I was pleasantly surprised when I’ve recently found this beautiful little town, New Bern, NC. Most people seem to have heard of it as a town on the way to the beaches, but for whatever the reason, it still appears to be a well kept secret. This small town appears to be growing in leaps and bounds.
It seems that a small percentage of natives still live here, however a lot of the folks I’ve met seem to have moved from elsewhere and lots of outsiders are moving in. This is evident in my encounters and I feel an embracing of diversity, new and different cultures and ideas.
View of New Bern from our boat
A charming little town.
The streets are lined with gold…leaves that is, from the Ginkgo Biloba tree, in downtown New Bern.
With the summer and humidity, New Bern may not be for everyone but I’ve decided it is where I am going to live the rest of my life. I have found the most beautiful area to live in and am not sure how this accident came about that I found it.
What is New Bern like?
Here a video to help you visualize: New Bern, NC
New Bern, North Carolina is a historic town located where 2 rivers join to meet the Pamlico Sound on the Southeastern coast of North Carolina. Information found on http://www.topretirements.com/reviews/North_Carolina/New_Bern.html
The city of over 30,000 grew by 30% from 2000 to 2013. It has a 56 square block tree lined historic district that appeals to many active adults who would like to live in or near a real town. The city, originally settled by Swiss and Germans, is the second oldest town in North Carolina and also one of its fastest growing. It is known as a particularly friendly and welcoming place with a lower than average cost of living. New Bern is located in Craven County.
New Bern was named a “Certified Retirement Community” by the State of North Carolina in 2015. There is ample retail shopping in New Bern with malls, large department stores, as well as specialty shops and boutiques.
I read that the local economy is driven by construction, education, public administration, services. Unemployment rate was 5.2% in 2015, which is lower than the NC average. I wonder what it is today. Need to check.
Did you hear about the bears of New Bern? They’re Bear Town Bears, by local artists can be found throughout the town of New Bern.
National Gift Basket Award Winner – ‘Give it Light’ – New Bern Basket
Fun Facts about New Bern:
- Founded in 1710, New Bern is the second oldest town in North Carolina.
- The Swiss and German settlement of New Bern was named in honor of the founders home, Bern, Switzerland. When Bern, Switzerland was founded, it was named by a group of hunters. They named the city for the first animal they came upon on their hunting expedition. It was a bear. Bern is the old Germanic word for Bear, and the bear became the symbol of the city. It has been adopted by New Bern, as well.
- New Bern is home to the First State Capital of North Carolina, Tryon Palace.
- New Bern was the first city in America to celebrate George Washingtons birthday. Washington visited New Bern and danced at the Tryon Palace.
- The interior of Christ Episcopal Church was designed in the style of Christopher Wren, the famous English architect. It is a must see for visitors.
- The states first printing press was set up on the corner of Broad Street and Middle Street in New Bern in 1749.
- In 1778 the first public banking institution in North Carolina was established in New Bern.
- In 1783 the states first bookstore opened in New Bern.
North Carolinas first Postal Service was established in New Bern in 1790.
- North Carolinas First Presbyterian Church organization and building in Presbytery was established in New Bern in 1817.
- New Bern is home to the first Roman Catholic Church and parish in North Carolina.
- Pepsi was invented and first served in New Bern in 1898 by local pharmacist Caleb Bradham. Info from Visit New Bern
New Bern is located 35 miles inland from the Outer Banks in Southeastern North Carolina. The Neuse and Trent rivers meet here and empty into the Pamlico Sound. It is a tidewater savanna. The average July high is 88 and the average January low is 34. August is usually the rainiest month.
Restaurants & Cultural Scene
The New Bern Civic Theatre features plays and other entertainment. The Bank of the Arts, the New Bern Academy Museum, and the Craven Dance Arts Council and Gallery also provide cultural enjoyment. The Crystal Coast Civic Center is another active venue. Craven Community College is here and provides cultural opportunities. The library is part of the Craven/Pamlico/Carteret Regional Library system. There are frequent festivals that bring many people the charming downtown area that has several interesting restaurants.
Fall is so beautiful here. I could just sit for hours looking at the leaves drop, the birds sail through the air and the clouds float by. What a beautiful way to spend a quiet, serene day.
This area of NC is great if you still enjoy the feeling of fall, possibility of snow and cold wintry nights and a nice humid southern summer. Since we’ve lived here we have experienced all seasons just about every year. Love the hot summer temps and enjoying the water activities but certainly appreciate the possibility of snow and a fire around the holidays.
There are lots of opinions about living in New Bern. Some are quite different from mine. I see it as a charming small town steeped in history. It appears that the community of New Bern is working diligently to be a progressive town as well. My experience, thus far, is that people who move here are warmly welcomed.
As the sun sets at night, the camera can’t seem to catch the beauty of the sinking sun. is a pleasure to walk around the charming downtown where there are many excellent restaurants and shops.I have heard that as opposed to so many small Southern towns which have become stagnant with no vision of the future; New Bern, is receptive to new ideas from “outsiders”, they encourage those new ideas. I will eventually find out about this since I will be developing my business, Gift Basket Villas, in the coming years.
New Bern has not only warmly welcomed me and my boyfriend, it is one of the most beautiful places to live. I am so happy to be here.In my humble opinion, New Bern is the quintessential quaint town that strives to welcome everyone with it’s geographic diversity, socio-economic diversity to racial and religious diversity.
Keep an eye out for other articles about the evolution of experience as a small business owner in a small town and whether or not my gift baskets become a hit. I am very excited about this part of my adventure. I’ll keep you posted.