New Bern was founded in 1710 by Swiss and German adventurers led by Baron Christoph von Graffenried from Bern, Switzerland. Royal Governor William Tryon made New Bern the colonial capital. His restored 18th-century capitol and residence, Tryon Palace, dominates a thirteen-acre garden complex that includes several historical landmarks in the heart of the city. A major port and trading center in the 1800's, New Bern was captured and occupied by the Union Army after a fierce battle on March 14, 1862. New Bern has three historic districts with homes, stores, and churches dating as far back as the early 18th century. In 1898, the pharmacist Caleb Bradham invented Pepsi Cola in his pharmacy at the intersection Middle and Pollock Street. The building still exists.
Generally, those who come to New Bern come in from Raleigh-Durham International Airport via rental car or through the local airport, Coastal Carolina Regional Airport, with flights on Delta and USAirways. I-40 and I-95 are interstate highways that run relatively close to New Bern, which is located on US Highway 70, NC 17, and US Highway 17.
Rental cars are absolute necessities in the town in order to get around. Taxis are exorbitantly priced and rare.
There is insufficient shopping and eating to be done. Walking is not recommended anywhere that is not in downtown New Bern.
Trent River Coffee Company has a classic coffee house atmosphere. It's located in downtown New Bern on Craven Street. Also, TRCC sometimes schedules gigs for live performances and movie screenings. See trentrivercoffee.com to look for dates for movie screenings and live music. This coffee house also has free internet.
Harvey's Mansion (the bar) is located in the basement of Harvey's Mansion (the inn). Although the bar is small, it has a comfortable atmosphere. This is the bar where the locals like to go.
The Hilton, also located in downtown New Bern, has two main bars. Both are good hangout places during the weekends. One bar features dance music and the other bar is a classic tavern. During the summer months, the Sheraton is famous for its "Deck Parties" on Fridays and Sundays from 6-10 pm. Friday deck parties usually feature rock, pop, and blues live music. Sunday's usually feature jazz.
Mickey Milligan's on Trent Road, is a great place to play billiards. Milligan's features a large bar with several beverages on tap in addition to eight pool tables. Some nights, there is also live music.