I love New Bern!
Today I spent some time sitting in front of the Tryon Palace gift store, talking about the Mountains-to-Sea Trail. Frankly, I expected it to be a waste of time. I was not giving a specific program so it meant catching people as they entered the gift shop. My publicist at the History Press arranged the “meet and greet” and I was going to be there.
I was pleasantly wrong. Though there wasn’t a huge crowd at Tryon Palace, the people who were there were interested in a trail across North Carolina. Few people had heard of the MST that goes right past the Palace. But they were full of questions.
John Jaskolka, a past president of the Friends of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, lives in New Bern and he came by to say hello. When he saw his friend pass by, he said “You have to buy this book”, and the friend did, without even flipping through it. Talk about word of mouth advertising!
New Bern was the first capital of North Carolina and a colonial capital before that. I’m not going to retell the story of New Bern that I have in my book but it’s a wonderful place to visit, whether you’re walking the MST or just driving here.
In a way, it reminds me of Asheville on the Trent and Neuse Rivers with its history, culture and arts. The restaurants are fantastic, just like Asheville. MST hikers need a break from trail food from their packs and fast food from gas stations on the road.
New Bern is the biggest city that the MST goes through. Of course, there’s a local farmer’s market. Here’s the British hat lady on the left.
I even had the opportunity to test out my French outside of French class. A
couple from Quebec approached my table and it was obvious that they were
struggling with English. As soon as I started talking French, they
relaxed and chatted. The guy even told me that his sister was on the French El Camino right now. When I told them that that was going to be my next hiking project, they assured me that my French was ready for the trail.
I love New Bern. Did I say that already?