Tag Archives: New Bern

Nice to know you New Bern!

New Bern, NC – Saturday, 5/1

Today, Denise returned from her whirlwind trip home to Winter Park. She flew out on Thursday, arriving in time to have a late lunch with her sister, Jeanne and brother, Robert.  Afterwards she had to deal with a few issues at the house, and had a bit of newly received mail to process.

On Friday, (4/30) Denise was up early to get in a 4-mile run in the neighborhood. She missed seeing the usual runners and walkers as it was a bit early for most, but she had a very busy day ahead and needed to get going. First thing in the morning she had a sales presentation to a prospective client, and some office work that needed to be tended to.  By noon she was on the road to drive to Wildwood (about 90 minutes away) to attend the memorial funeral for her friend Leslie who died very unexpectedly last March. Due to the Chinese Flu, the service was twice postponed and finally rescheduled to this day.  She was met by her two sisters (Susan and Claire) who drove down from Tallahassee in support, and because they had met Leslie on previous occasions.  After the funeral and subsequent internment, the three sisters went to an early dinner at a local diner and drove back home.  After some final office work, a visit by a neighbor, and a few household chores, it was way past bedtime and Denise crawled into bed.  Meanwhile, Mark had finished work at the client site (Friday), grabbed a to-go meal at Outback (no surprise there) and watched a little tv.

On Saturday, Denise woke early enough to ready the house for another departure, and packed her suitcase with all the things coming back to the boat.  She caught a ride to the airport with her brother (thanks Robert), and flew back to New Bern.  During this time, Mark had enlisted the help of our new friend Peter (“Puffin”) to assist with moving the boat to get a pump-out, and returning it back to its slip. Then he used the rental car to pick up Denise at the New Bern airport, right on time.

Finally back on the boat together, a celebratory happy hour and conversation to catch-up on what had taken place was in order.  We went to an early dinner at “Thai Angel” a place we have not been to, and Mark suggested. The food was great and we hit it before the Saturday night rush, which made it even better.  Yup, we are officially old folks and early bird specials are on our radar!

Thai Angel Restaurant

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing on the boat and watching the HBO movie “Tenet” – very intriguing and a definite mind-bender, before calling it a day.  But we were treated to a very nice sunset.

Sunset over marina

New Bern, NC – Sunday, 5/2

After a wonderful restful night’s sleep, we got up in time to eat breakfast and make the 8:00 am mass at St. Paul’s.  There were 4 young children making their First Holy Communion, so mass went on a bit long, but we were not going anywhere today so it was fine. This is a warm and welcoming parish and we always like attending it when we are here.

After church we went to Publix; our last Publix fix until we make our journey home in the fall. Here it was all about provisioning mostly fresh veggies, fruit and dairy products. But with Cinco de Mayo this coming up week, we indulged with a few snacks to go with our planned fajita dinner.

Once back on the boat we got caught up on emails, wrote out some cards and then ate lunch.  Afterwards we went for a walk to mail the cards at the Post office, and then continued on a long walk through town.  It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed walking by the Galley Stores & Marina, Union Point Park and the day-boat docks, and then past the convention center and Doubletree hotel.

Once back at the marina, we went to visit the only other Looper boat we knew was at this marina.  We introduced ourselves to Kathy & Steve (“How Sweet It Is”) who are just a few weeks away from starting their Loop adventure.  We chatted for a while with them and wished them luck on their journey, then returned back to our boat.

Later that afternoon Mark had to return the rental car back to the airport and discovered no Uber was available to pick him up. A regular taxi was going to be a ridiculous amount due to low volume (i.e. no one was at the airport) and he did not want to pay the fee.  As only Mark can do, he managed to ask around and got an airport employee who was leaving for the day to drop him by the marina on her way home.  Such is the charitable nature and friendliness of the many people we meet along the way when we are cruising.

As afternoon merged into evening we enjoyed a dinner of leftovers from the freezer. Before leaving on the trip we had smoked a huge pork shoulder and packaged it into multiple meals to take with us.  Tonight a home-cooked meal was a welcome reprieve from the nightly dining out, as is so common when we are in a town like New Bern.

Tomorrow we will leave New Bern and head east on the Neuse River to rejoin the ICW and continue our progress North. Our destination is Belhaven where we have reservations for the night. However, high winds and weather is expected for Tuesday through Thursday, so it is very possible we may stay there a few days.  You will just have to keep reading this blog to discover what we end up doing.

Here are some other pictures from New Bern that didn’t fit a narrative, but we thought you might enjoy.

Have a great week!

Time out at New Bern!

New Bern, NC – Wednesday, 4/28

Denise was able to get a run in this morning and be back just as Mark was heading to go to work at the client. This was familiar running ground and there wasn’t too much new to see, except for more houses being built north of town on the Neuse River.

City Hall and moon setting

Early in the day she worked on emails and updated the last blog post, as well as talked to family members and work associates.  Later in the afternoon, she went into downtown and strolled through the shops, past a bunch of cafes, microbreweries, restaurants and small parks. 

She also went to the “Bank of the Arts” Craven Arts Council and Gallery.  Originally commissioned as a bank, it now serves as the seat of arts and culture for the area. There are changing exhibitions of various media such as painting, sculpture, photography, pottery and fiber art by artists of the southeastern United States, provided free of charge.  They frequently have concerts in this venue and on this day there was a pianist playing on a grand piano. Denise strolled through the gallery in the front of the building, as well as in the “Directors Gallery” in the back of the building. Here they were currently showing the “Private and Home Schooled Students” exhibit, as well as several other local artists. There is an empty lot across the street that they also use for larger sculpture exhibits.  This month is “Abuse Awareness” month (who knew?) and she was able to capture a picture of this display during the morning run. It was a neat find and she was glad she went.

Another stop in this adventure was Mitchell’s Hardware.  This store is an independently owned hardware store in the heart of downtown, and they sell everything from tools, housewares, plants, pots & pans, souvenirs and boat stuff.  This is probably one of the best stocked hardware stores along the waterways, and we both agree we would never want to have to help them take a physical inventory of the place. However, if a boater needs anything they can probably find it here, and it is only a block away from the marina.

Mitchell’s Hardware

Once her adventures were over, she returned to the boat only to find it had gotten hot. She had to turn on the AC as the high was 85 today and 88 projected for tomorrow.  But, that won’t last long as it is supposed to be a high of 75 when she returns on Saturday.

The rest of the afternoon was spent finishing some work, sending emails, and getting her suitcase ready for her trip. It will be lightly packed as most everything she needs is at home, and she needs room for the things she is bringing back to the boat. But she had to empty everything in the suitcase, which is also used for storing miscellaneous infrequently used things in on the boat; we make use of every single spot possible, and this is no exception.

Mark has about a 50 minute drive to and from the client, and will usually call Denise when he is coming over the bridge into town.  This gives her time to lock up the boat and meet him in the parking lot at the Doubletree. This is what we did tonight, and from there we walked downtown to Cypress Hall for dinner. This is a new restaurant in town and came highly recommended.  We enjoyed a great dinner, but forgot to take pictures.  Mark likes the interior and was especially thrilled when he learned that it was designed by the folks who design the interior of Hatteras yachts. Denise thinks it is now one of the best restaurants in New Bern and hopefully we will get to dine there again.

After dinner we walked back to the boat, finished up a few work things, and made some contingency plans to our itinerary for leaving on Sunday (due to weather).  After that we called it a day. Denise will fly to Orlando in the morning to attend the funeral for her friend Leslie, and will return on Saturday. We will pick up the blog posting on her return.

New Things in New Bern!

New Bern, NC – Monday, 4/26

It was a comfortable 52 degrees when Denise woke up this morning; perfect running weather. So she took off for a jaunt through downtown Beaufort, taking in some of the usual sites and a few new ones along the way. Here are a few pictures:

We were in no hurry to leave today to head to New Bern. It was going only going to take us between 2.5 – 3 hours to get there and the wind was forecasted to get weaker throughout the day.  So we did a little bit of work, answered some emails, and took care of a few other chores on the boat.

Historically, one of the perks of this marina was you would get a free pound of fresh shrimp.  However, with the processing plant closed, sadly this benefit is no more.  Another perk is the free ice that is always available. Since we have an ice maker on board, this is normally not something we have taken advantage of in the past.  However, our ice maker has been acting up and doesn’t make ice the way it used it.  We have had it cleaned and serviced, but it may be on its last leg.  So, Mark decided to fill our Yeti cooler and anything else we could possibly keep ice in (our freezer is already full up) before we left.

Ice House at Homer Smith

Once all this was done, we prepped the boat and left the dock at 10:40, a little earlier than planned but we were ready to move on.  Going north from this marina is easy as there a separate channel that prevents us from having to go by the port and the large ships and barges that are frequently operating there.  Whether they are loading potash or some other raw material, it is interesting to watch but can be a bit nerve wrecking when they are moving.

We moved up this channel through shoals and fish farms, and met up with the ICW as we entered Core Creek.  Here the creek turns narrow and we passed by Jarrett Bay Marina and boat repair facility, where we saw “Corporate Approved” at the dock.  We wish them luck on their repair and hopefully they will soon be on their way home.

Soon thereafter we went under the Core Creek Bridge (Highway 101) and where it turns into Core Creek Canal, then the Adams Creek Canal, and eventually Adams Creek. In this area there are lots of things lining the shores: several marinas, an RV park, a small community including a Methodist Church, more housing developments and a sunken shrimp boat. We had to pass a few boats along the way, but thankful we were not doing this on a weekend when it would have been so much worse. Soon the creek opened up a bit making it easier to maintain a decent speed.

Finally, at 11:55 we entered the Neuse River, on our way once again to New Bern. It was a beautiful day and the water was not bad at all, despite a bit of wind at first.  The Neuse is a wide open body of water and today we could clearly see both the south and north shorelines.  We passed by some lovely houses and Cherry Point Marine base, as well as Loopers Ken & Karen on “Island Girl”; whom we met in Beaufort and knew they were headed to New Bern as well.  We hope to catch up with them while there.

Before long the water got even calmer and soon we entered the narrow channel that took us under the Neuse River Bridge.  We made a left turn up the Trent River, went under the Cunningham Bridge and entered the harbor at New Bern Grand Marina.

Neuse River Bridge

As with the marina in Beaufort, we had a pre-assigned slip and had the layout of the marina, so docking help was not needed. It is a good thing as the Dockmaster doesn’t work on Sundays, and when we went to check in, there was no one in the marina office as well.   Walking back to our boat, we met a few boaters who are full-time cruisers and they gave us the gate codes, rest room codes and Wi-Fi passwords. Later one of them, Peter (“Puffin”) came by our boat to drop his boat card (we had already given him ours) and to discuss cruising Maine, which he has done extensively. He knew many of the great places we also have stayed and it was fun to compare notes.

Shortly after 4:00 Mark mentioned he hated to break up the party, but he needed to leave to go to the airport and get his rental car for the week; remember he was going to spend Tuesday through Friday going to our nearby client and needed transportation to do so.  Peter was generous enough to take him to the airport, sparing him the need to get an Uber, and allowing for more conversation.  This is the thing about cruising we love; people are incredibly generous and hospitable.

Once Mark had returned, we proceeded to meet up with Bob & Mary Griswold.  Bob is one of our associates who used to be a client before he retired. He still periodically does work for us, but he and Mary are heavily involved in local NC politics, so his time is more limited these days.  We met up at Captain Ratty’s seafood & steakhouse, a place we had visited before and is only a block away from the marina.  We arrived at the same time and were glad we were a bit early as the place filled up fast; we still had to wait 15 minutes for a table. The food was great and having a hamburger was on our minds, so we all indulged in a delicious burger.

Although we did not venture far from the marina, we immediately noticed some great changes in New Bern. Many of the restaurants have reopened since the great flood, the Doubletree is back in business, and the marina has made arrangements for restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities again. However, these are still a block away and not super convenient like they used to be when they were actually in the Doubletree hotel.

Over the next several days we will explore more, then Denise will fly home on Thursday for a memorial service for a friend, and then back to the boat on Saturday. Then on Sunday we will head to our next stop; where that will be and how far we get will depend on weather.

IO at New Bern Grand Marina

New Bern, NC – Tuesday, 4/27

This morning was a work day for Mark, and because of that he was up early for a change. Off he went to the client site to help them make more money. 

Meanwhile, Denise spent the entire day working on the last two blog updates, cataloging pictures, preparing for an on-line meeting on Friday, and getting caught up on some work-related items. She did not venture off the boat the entire day as it was mostly peaceful, except in the afternoon when the wind picked up. Then it started to really blow from the south and the boat across the dock from us was pinned up against the dock. Their under-inflated fenders barely protected the hull of the boat from being marred by the edge of the dock, and it made a squeaking noise that was quite irritating.  The only other excitement for the day was watching TowBoatUS come into the marina and tow a sailboat out of its slip to some unknown destination, most likely for engine repairs.

Since Mark had a rental car (courtesy of the client) we decided to venture out past the downtown for dinner.  When he came “home” we took the car and drove to the nearby Panera as we wanted a light and somewhat healthy dinner.  We had already decided to dine out at a new local (and highly recommended) restaurant tomorrow night, and Denise had made reservations. So tonight was about a quick meal so we could get back to the boat; Mark had work to do and we didn’t want to be gone long.

Panera dinner (soup & salad)

Tomorrow Mark will go to the client and Denise will venture out in New Bern. She will update the blog and prepare for the trip home on Thursday morning.