Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tyron Palace Historic Site and Gardens

New Bern has seen her share of history for 300 years. There are over 150 historic landmarks throughout the city. An important first stop in this city is the North Carolina History Education Center. It features exhibits  and educational galleries covering three centuries of history in North Carolina. I certainly discovered that there is still a lot I do not know in regards to the early years of our country, in particular its land on the eastern coast and the differing races of people who inhabited that land over the years. For the price of one admission ticket we were able to tour the museum, Tryon Palace and gardens, as well as three historic homes from the 18th and 19th centuries. Tryon Palace was the 18th century residence of the governor of the Colony and state of North Carolina. After the Revolutionary War the Georgian-styled mansion served as the capitol of the independent state of North Carolina for a couple of years before the capitol was moved to Raleigh. In 1798 the palace was destroyed by fire and almost a century and a half later it was rebuilt on the old brick foundation. The new palace was built following the original architect's drawings.
 Unfortunately there were no written details as to how the gardens were designed. The landscape architect could only design the current gardens from what he knew of the 18th century estates of Great Britain.
 I found the yaupon arbor interesting. Yaupon is in the holly family, and is the only holly which has caffeine in its leaves. Native Americas boiled its leaves and drank it as a black tea.
 Another unusual bush which I saw on the grounds was that of the french mulberry, also called beauty berry. In the fall the berries hang in clusters on bare stems. It is a very striking pretty purple berry.

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