NEW BERN, NORTH CAROLINA (WECT) - Near the point where the Neuse and Trent Rivers meet is where New Bern was founded in 1710 by German Swiss Colonists. Today, New Bern is a modern day riverside city with a rich historic background.
All thru the city, statues of bears are proudly displayed, which comes from the Swiss city name of Bern and taken from the German word "baren", or "bears."
The heart of the city is the North Carolina Government House, better known as Tryon Palace. It was built by royal governor William Tryon, and represented the British crown. But after the Revolutionary War, it became North Carolinas first official capital.
Outside of the Palace building are the spectacular formal and kitchen gardens. Tryon Palace and the surrounding gardens are open to the public year round.
And just around the corner is the new sixty five million dollar North Carolina History Center, which allows Tryon Palace to expand for the first time since it opened in 1959.
"Now we have this new exhibit center and we have interactive buildings that kids can go and be a part of, where history is more of an engaging experience instead of something that you would sit back and watch happen in front of you" said Craig Ramey, of the North Carolina History Center.
The Center has a rotating gallery, where they can bring in new exhibits. Right now, an exhibit called "Mail Call" is on loan from the Smithsonian. The center also features a regional history museum, filled with artifacts that are dedicated to telling the story about North Carolina's history, as well as Tryon Palace and New Bern history.
And the Pepsi Family Center is more of an interactive exhibit, similar to a children's museum, which allows young visitors to take a trip back in time, to a coastal village, allowing them to understand in a hands on manner.
New Bern is also where is where pharmacist Caleb Bradham opened a drug store and invented "Brad's drink, a blend of carbonated water, sugar, pepsin, kola nut extract, vanilla and "rare oils." Bradham later renamed his drink "Pepsi-Cola" thus launching the popular soft drink so many people enjoy today. His pharmacy still stands today in downtown New Bern and serves as a tribute to the man who invented Pepsi.
"Caleb Bradham was a very humble man, just a regular business person here in New Bern, and in 1898, he created something that people loved and by 1915, he had two hundred fifty franchises in twenty four states, that's hoq quick it crew" said Sabrina Bengel.
Today, there are more than one hundred sixty historic landmarks in New Bern, and the city offers a variety of shops, galleries, restaurants, hotels and inns. Plus water activities are abundant, including some of the finest sailing conditions in the Neuse River.
The website of the New Bern Convention and Visitors Bureau is where you will find a complete list of activities.
"We have a lot of opportunities there on the website, and it shows you things to do on a one day visit or on an overnight weekend" said Mary Harris of the New Bern Convention and Visitors Bureau.
And they say if you haven't been to their city in a while, it's about time you plan a trip to historic New Bern, North Carolina.