Monday, September 5, 2016

New Bern, NC

August 27, 2016

Several Saturdays ago I took a spontaneous solo trip to the charming old riverside town of New Bern, the former capitol of North Carolina. My family used to vacation there every summer when I was young, and I have vague memories of spending hot sticky days by the pool, feeding ducks by the riverside, shivering in the freezer whilst visiting the Maola factory. Upon finding myself with a completely free weekend, I made my way eastward to recapture a bit of that young summer spirit.

New Bern may be fairly popular, but it has that small, sleepy coastal town feel to it, and the streets didn't start buzzing until closer to lunchtime. I made my way through the farmer's market before stopping at a popular Southern-style kitchen for breakfast, a little surprised as how easygoing and friendly everyone was. The city population is a little older, a little friendlier, and everywhere I went the people instantly asked where I was from, as I stood out as an out-of-towner.

I walked through a few of the novelty shops and the waterside park before the heat caught up with me and I had to stop for a spot of A/C. I popped into a coffee shop, planning on drinking a cup in quiet while planning where to go next, but when I approached the counter it was full of locals deep in conversation with the owner. When I tried to politely order and wait on the side, some of the older women offered me the seat next to them and I joined in on the conversation. They asked where I was from, and upon learning I was a student the owner asked me my opinions on the US's involvement in Iran and the true nature of the American Revolution. It was a wholly unexpected but nevertheless interesting.

The rest of the day passed quickly - I learned the Maola factory had shut down several years prior, and felt the crush of a disappearing childhood. I didn't remember much of the city but enjoyed my explorations nonetheless. As one of the oldest North Carolina cities, the older streets are lined with houses that are hundreds of years old, and my favorite part of the day was walking those streets and staring up at the old houses. My trip wasn't quite what I expected, but I enjoyed the opportunity to disappear for a day by myself and reflect on the days gone by.
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