A Weekend in New Bern, North Carolina

I recently had the pleasure of getting to know the charming coastal town of New Bern, North Carolina. Friends from the Northern Virginia area moved there recently, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to not only hang out with them and catch up, but to visit a place I’d never been to before. I absolutely fell in love with this town. Located a little over 5 hours away from the Northern Virginia/D.C. area, it’s a great place for a weekend getaway and an even better location to consider for retirement.

Art Walk

My visit happened to coincide with their monthly Art Walk. Downtown New Bern is an easily walkable town. Art Walk is the best way to get to know the town by walking to participating businesses, checking out artwork on display, drinking a glass of wine and enjoying hors d’oeuvres. I saw some really cool art that I would totally consider buying if I had the money and space for it.


Since it’s a coastal town, you can’t go wrong with seafood. North Carolina is known for their oysters, and my friends make it a tradition to start off the evening with oyster shooters at MJ’s Raw Bar and Grille. Later, I continued the oyster theme with the fried oyster appetizer at Persimmon’s Waterfront Restaurant.

There are plenty of cute restaurants around town, but, my favorite meal hands-down was the one my friends prepared. They are foodies who love to cook and entertain and made barbecue octopus and coconut milk Thai-spiced mussels. So delicious!


What better way to enjoy a child-free me-cation than to hang out at a 21 and over establishment?! One of my favorite spots was Prohibition, which has an indoor and outdoor area. We sat in the indoor bar area, which has a speakeasy feel. The outdoor area is dog-friendly, which is pretty cool. There were a lot of cool, well-behaved dogs around, which is common in New Bern. P.S. The door guy was a transplant from Beverly Hills! Who knew.

Get on the Water

If you have access to a boat, you can find one through a quick Google search. If you’re not comfortable at the helm, there are also boat tours readily available. There is the calmer Trent River and the more adventurous Neuse River to explore. My friends, who are new boat owners, said there are plenty of cool beaches about an hour away, accessible by boat. I hope to check them out on my next visit!

Nicholas Sparks likes it

Author Nicholas Sparks lives in New Bern, and I saw a great view of his house from the river. Here’s a video I found online where he talks about building his waterfront home:

Tryon Palace Gardens

New Bern, the original capital of North Carolina, is full of history. Tryon Palace was the official residence and administrative headquarters for British governors of North Carolina from 1770 to 1775. It was a spur of the moment decision for us to visit, so we only explored the gardens. At $6 per person for the gardens pass, it was exactly what I wanted to see for the right price. I highly recommend the garden visit, as its quite lush and well-maintained.

Take me Back

Overall, New Bern is a town I would very much like to revisit! As a city dweller, it was an odd but wonderful  feeling to walk back from the bar, surrounded by beautiful historic homes without the atmospheric noise of sirens, cars, and chatter. I’m very thankful for such wonderful friends (V+A) who hosted a fantastic weekend in their new digs. I can’t wait to go back and share the charm of New Bern with my husband one day.