Oriental, New Bern

From the Pungo we headed to Oriental and a stopover at the town free dock. Oriental is cruiser-friendly, and they added another free dock in the last year with pumpout and restrooms. Nice! The pier is large enough for 4 smaller cruisers, we take up a bit more than that, so our chances of getting a spot on the free dock are not great, it’s 1st come, 1st serve anyway, and it seems that the sailboters usually get 1st dibs on the free spots, I guess they hover.

As we were underway, I made some progress on repairs to the windshield. A few phone calls found glass shops in New Bern, Beaufort, Morehead City, all within a day’s travel. We also realized that the MTOA Southbound rendezvous was being held in New Bern, so since we’re MTOA members and have yet to attend a rendezvous or visit New Bern, we made plans to head up the Neuse for New Bern, about a 25 miles, an easy run from Oriental.


I scheduled the glass guy to come have a look, he returned to remove the broken piece, it came out in many pieces! It turns out the glass is 3/8″ thick and tempered. We discovered that the original piece was tight in the frame at top and bottom, and the morning it shattered we had turned on the heat, nothing we hadn’t done many times before, but that particular morning the planets must have been in just the alignment to cause the glass to expand enough to cause it to initiate a crack, and since it’s tempered, it popped, and it was LOUD!  So the broken piece is out, the frame is cleaned up and a piece of acrylic in place until the new piece is fabricated and tempered, about 2 week’s lead time. In the meantime, we’re enjoying our visit to New Bern and meeting the MTOA folks attending the rendezvous.


New Bern was a colonial port, and for a time, the capital of colonial North Carolina. It was originally settled by a Swiss contingent, hence “New Bern”. Bern translated is “bear”, and there are multitudes of bears around New Bern. William Tyron, colonial governor built a governor’s palace in 1767 in the manner of country homes around London and was one of the finest buildings in the colonies. The original building burned to the ground in 1798, and the site was given over to other development during the ensuing years.


In the 1950’s several women in the New Bern community began an effort to reconstruct the building, and through their efforts land was acquired, research into the original structure and records enabled them to reconstruct a very close replica of the original structure with some modifications for modern needs. We toured the palace with the MTOA group, it was a very interesting tour with costumed interpreters who made the link between the structure and the past.  The site includes several other period buildings, many preserved to their original condition. New Bern is a charming town with lots of history and an active downtown and beautiful historic district; many cruisers (ourselves included) just tool on down the ICW and don’t make the detour to New Bern; it’s a very worthwhile side trip.

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