We recently vacationed near Top Sail Beach, N.C. on the Atlantic Ocean and took a day trip to Historic New Bern, N.C. We visited the Visitor's Center first and got tickets ($16.00/adult) to tour the Palace and several other historical homes. The tour was excellent with a great Docent who could answer every question we had. Each individual historical home we toured also had excellent and knowledgeable Docents. The town of New Bern is lovely and is being well preserved. After we toured the palace/homes we had lunch at a Cafe' located right on the River at the Visitor's Center and it was a very, very good lunch with good service and they aimed to please. We ordered tuna fish salad and told our waitress we wanted to share it . It came with a side order and we chose mac and cheese. When she brought the lunch she had a HUGE amount of mac and cheese on two separate plates with the huge sandwich halves and a pickle spear on each plate as well. It was a full meal for two for the price of one! After lunch we got tickets for the town trolley tour . . . . it is a 90-minute tour and well worth every penny we paid . . . $15.00 each. The trolley made several stops where we could actually get off the trolley and the Guide explained the sites in great detail. It was a wonderful, wonderful tour and we saw things that we were able to go back to visit on our own after the tour ended, i.e. the National Cemetery, historic Mitchell's Hardware Store and the PEPSI COLA MUSEUM among others. I would HIGHLY recommend the trolley tour . . . maybe you'd want to do that first thing to get an idea of how to plan the rest of your day. The reason we did the Palace and Historical HOmes first was because the woman in the Visitor's Center told us a tour was just about to leave and we could still make it . . . . so we took her advice, which was fine too.
There are many, many great Seafood Restaurants in this River town . . . the trolley guide said he could not specify one being better than another . . . he said they are ALL EXCELLENT! If you start out early you should be able to do all that you'd want to do in New Bern in one day, but if you spend the night there I'm sure you could fill two days without a problem.
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