Friday, October 29, 2010

New Bern, North Carolina

 We drove through Dismal Swamp as we took a southeastern route into North Carolina. We stopped at a rest area right after entering the state and found out that it was adjacent to Dismal Swamp State Park. At the park is a channel of Dismal Swamp and there we saw many boats queuing up for passage through the canal. Apparently a storm the night before had made the inter coastal waterways unnavigable for small boats, which then created a traffic jam of boats in the canal. John went over to the boats and chatted with the men for awhile. He found out that some people travel like we do, except that their home and mode of travel is on water.
After driving by miles of swampy forests and bogs, we started seeing many cotton fields. It is the beginning of harvest time for that crop. We are now parked in New Bern, the second oldest city in North Carolina. It is a very picturesque seaport town located at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers. We did a walking tour of the town today and discovered that it is the birthplace of Pepsi. It was the creation of Caleb Bradham ( his picture is in the lower left hand corner below) and originally just called "Brad's Drink". After 1898 it was marketed as Pepsi. We stopped at the old pharmacy where he created the product and joined other tourists there drinking small glasses of Pepsi.
The founder of New Bern was a Swiss nobleman who named the town after his home town of Bern Switzerland. Bern means "bear" and is a symbol for both cities. There are decorated fiberglass bears all over New Bern. The one pictured below is titled "Freedom Bearer".
 One beautiful spot in new Bern is the outdoor chapel of Christ Episcopal Church. The walls of this chapel were erected over the brick and ballast foundation of the first colonial house of worship built in 1750. The floor of the chapel lies over the burial ground of its charter members. Presidents George Washington and James Monroe worshiped at Christ Church when they visited New Bern.

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