Today I took the kids to the Tryon Palace in New Bern, NC. I was very excited because we got to see the inside of the buildings for free - normally it’s $15 per adult (less for kids). It’s on the coast; I have been wanting to visit the coast since we moved here in September, so I was very happy to have an excuse to take a trip there.
New Bern was founded in the early 1700s, making it the second oldest colonial town in North Carolina. The Tryon Palace was built to house the governors of North Carolina. As we walked from the North Carolina History Center to the front gate of the Tryon palace, we saw homes that have been standing since the town was founded. I know this because several of them have a sign indicating who lived in that house and when.
The first thing we saw (or heard, rather) were the sounds of Fife and Drum Corps. I loved that they were in period costume. Afterwards, we watched firing demonstrations on the lawn. It was interesting to see the whole process of how they fired a their weapons - at least 30 seconds to load one and aim it. My daughter commented how tedious it was to have to do that every single time; I imagined the stress of having to do that with bullets flying around your head and seeing the bodies of your comrades falling around you, hoping you are not next.
Next, we saw the bottom floors of the palace, the kitchen, and the stables. The original palace had burned down in the late 1700s but was rebuilt in the mid-1900s. Luckily, the architect’s original plans were kept and the palace was rebuilt. Of the the three buildings, only the stables are original because the kitchens fell into disrepair through the years and had to be reconstructed.
We also visited the Stanly house, which was half a block up the street from the palace. It is a beautiful example of Georgian architecture built in the early 1780s for a prominent New Bern resident. It has been well maintained and many things are original to the house. In fact, George Washington stayed in the Stanly house for two days in 1791. When you step into the center hall, you are walking on the same floor that he did.
The well-manicured gardens are amazing. If the weather had been a bit warmer, I would have liked to sit and stay there awhile. Notwithstanding the bare trees, the landscaping hinted at how beautiful they must look during the spring and summer.
I am looking forward to visiting New Bern again! As one of the original colonial towns, I am certain there is a lot more places to explore and photograph.