Let's face it. There are two types of people in this world: those who dream that they live in a small tight-knit community like the fictional town of Stars Hollow on the Gilmore Girls TV show, and, well, everyone else. It reality, it takes a group of like-minded community leaders to reinvent a small town and turn it into a quaint place where people love to spend their time (and money). New Bern, NC is, or at least is becoming, one of these places. Now, I'm not sure if Stars Hollow had a cemetery, but if they did, it would look just like the Cedar Grove Cemetery in New Bern.
The Cedar Grove Cemetery is located just off of quaint, walkable, bustling, downtown New Bern. The cemetery was established in 1800 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The graves, statues, and trees on the property are impressive. Cemeteries aren't usually places you'd take a stroll on a nice day - but this one is.
The best-best-best time to visit the cemetery is during the New Bern Historical Societies' annual Ghostwalk. This event is a self-guided walking tour through historic New Bern. You walk from houses to churches to the cemetery, and are entertained by talented actors telling historic, factual stories about the character they have embodied and about the site they are stationed at. It is a ticketed event, however, once you've got your ticket you simply grab a map and explore the sites you want in any order. We always stop by the cemetery - forewarning: it gets a little crowded during the peak hours. Ghostwalk is not a haunted house - it's an entertaining and educational outdoor museum-like walk for the whole family.
The best part about it? While the Ghostwalk actors aren't really real, the Stars Hollow-vibe is. You'll be walking the streets of historic New Bern and rubbing shoulders with the community as they continue to reinvent a great, quaint, little town on the river.
~Paul & Amber ETC
P.S. - I couldn't write about the cemetery and not mention the spooky legend of the Weeping Arch...gulp...watch out as you enter the front gate!
With the end-of-summer mosquitos biting inland, the rivers swelling from the recent hurricane (Matthew!), and with winter just around the corner, there's never been a better time to head inside. Don't go to the mall! Keep it aquatic by visiting the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. It's a great way to view and learn about the aquatic, especially when the off-season weather has got you down.
Highlights for us included the American alligators (because we see them when we're out kayaking...gulp!) and the enormous fish-filled Living Shipwreck tank. This summer's new Loggerhead Odyssey Sea Turtle exhibit is a big hit and if you're into the touchy-feely there's a tank where you can actually feed rays from the palm of your hand. Little kiddos will love the Little Minnows Play Area. Special events and programs abound, like the upcoming Trick or Treat Under the Sea event. Not a bad place to spend a rainy day - take that shopping malls!
~Paul & Amber ETC
As if battling Ohioans over their claim to the Wright Brothers wasn't enough, now the Brazilians have joined the fray. It's hard to travel out to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and not stop by the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, NC. Here, on these very dunes, the W-Bros spent years pursuing and eventually achieving the first heavier than air, powered & controlled flight. While Ohio has settled with "The Birthplace of Aviation" - the brothers tested their inventions, lived, and were born there - Brazil made national headlines at the Olympics this year when they claimed that one of their turn of the century aviators had in fact, beaten the Wright Brothers to powered flight. Shade has officially been thrown.
The Memorial is operated by the National Park Service - those familiar with NPS will find entry and admission familiar (small fee, NPS passes apply). Highlights on the grounds include the picturesque Memorial (pictured above and below), a Visitor's Center with Wright Flyer and Glider reproductions, and the actual spot where the first flight took place.
Despite the debate over who actually was first in flight, you'll undoubtedly come away from the memorial amazed at what a couple of bicycle makers from Ohio accomplished. It was an interesting time in the world when folks figured out that you could build models, conduct experiments, and test theories, all without actually strapping on wings and jumping off of cliffs like some of the Wright Brothers' predecessors ("I'm flying!"...splat).
After you visit the Park, there is still tons to do on the Outer Banks. Head to nearby Jockey's Ridge, eat at the most mind-blowing Mexican restaurant of your life, or head to nearby beaches. To infinity and beyond!
~Paul & Amber ETC
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