Sunday, July 27, 2014

New Bern (Fleeing, Part Two).....

When we were planning our vacation we pulled out an atlas (a real map made of paper, for those too young to know) and planned our stops.  Some things we knew we really, really wanted to do (Williamsburg, The Outer Banks, Charleston).  Some of those things were so far apart that we needed spots in between to make the journey more bearable.  New Bern was one of those spots.

New Bern is in North Carolina, at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers, which empty into the Pamlico sound.  The second oldest colonial city in NC, (and the home of Pepsi) it is full of well-maintained historical homes and museums. We arrived about 5:30 PM, earlier than planned because of the earlier ferry ride.  We drove straight downtown, discovering that most the things we wanted to see were closed for the day, but willing to hunt down dinner.  Across from a Tryon Palace we spotted a small seafood restaurant, and with the what-the-heck spirit that comes at the end of a long day of travel, we took a chance.

It was a good call.  That bucket of crabs was $12.  And all the food was fabulous.

The next day we toured a museum, some old homes and Tryon Palace (the colonial governors mansion).  No photos were allowed inside the mansion, but to give you some idea of the level of luxury, here's the stable:

The mansion (note the sky):

The privy was a six-seater-in-the-round.

Each seat faces a wall, with a divider of sorts between. 
Don't ask why I care.  Odd bathrooms fascinate me, obviously. 
As we were touring, the docents were subtly moving antiquities away from the windows, and demonstrating that the old built-in shutters still work!  I overheard someone asking, "Are you going to set your alarm for 1:30 AM so you can experience the eye of the hurricane?"  About this time our phones started pinging with updates on severe storm alerts and all sorts of impending doom.  Apparently New Bern was the new Ground Zero for Hurricane Arthur.  Since our next planned stop was Myrtle Beach, which would have sent us down the Atlantic coast (at 5 feet above sea level on average) directly down the throat of the beast, we decided to swing inland, catch 95 south and maybe skirt the worst of it. 
Here's what we drove toward:
The worst of it was the idiocy of the tourists fleeing the storm.  We saw accidents that required helicopters to get people out.  We resisted the temptation to stop at this attraction (not sure how - I mean, America's Biggest Pork Display? How will we forgive ourselves?):
We skipped all of our beach destinations, and arrived someplace? outside of Charleston? by dinnertime.  The sun was shining as we put up the tent.
We got rained on for a total of about 20 minutes.  Seriously.  Hurricanes fear us.

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