Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hanging out at the beach

Myrtle Beach is a resort area on the coast of South Carolina. The beach, miles long and nothing but pure white sand, is the reason that people come here, but of course, like any resort area, there are golf courses and outlet malls and ferris wheels and nightclubs galore. It's quite a happenin' scene and not really my kind of place.

an advertising photo for Myrtle Beach

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Beaufort, North Carolina is a great little town located on the ocean near New Bern. It has a tourism vibe and it is small and walkable with a scenic boardwalk all along the oceanfront. Restaurants and bars overlook the marinas and it is all very lovely.

an overcast, cold and rainy day but it was pleasant anyway

Monday, November 13, 2017

a Gospel concert

In New Bern, North Carolina, once we had rested for a couple of days, we decided to check out some nightlife. This is a town full of artistic happenings, so we had several activities from which to choose: 
  • an Art Walk through the many galleries, which were staying open late that Friday evening 
  • an art show opening that included wine and music 
  • a coffee house with a local folk singer
  • a musical production of Aida, music by Elton John 
  • or a Gospel concert 

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Chilling out in New Bern

Well, we have been on the road for about two and a half months now and I am feeling tired (and although Carl would never say this, I am also a bit grumpy). It is time to slow down a bit and recharge our personal batteries.

 We had planned lots of time to do this at the Outer Banks, but the weather was the pits. A nasty weather system moved in with rain and gale force winds and so we moved out. We headed south and ended up at the small city of New Bern, North Carolina on the Inner Banks. It looked like a nice enough place to hunker down for a few days, so we booked into the KOA on the edge of town.

Sunset over the Neuse River.
Taken from the window of our RV at the KOA in New Bern

The ladies in the office gave me a bunch of reading material on the local attractions. New Bern is on a large waterway called the Neuse River. It is a historic city, being settled here in the early 1700s by a group of Swiss immigrants, and they named their new town after the capital of their homeland. In the civil war, this was one of the first places captured by the north and they occupied the city for the entire duration of the war, thus controlling the river, the major method of transportation. Because Union Forces remained stationed here, they did not destroy the city. The downtown core still has buildings that were constructed in the 1700s and there are 150 places on the register of historic sites. Nowadays, this is a tourist destination, a popular city for retirees and newlyweds, and has a vibrant arts community.
City Hall reminds me of the clock tower in "Back to the Future"
After hanging out for a day or two, watching the rain fall, reading books and doing routine maintenance, we decided to check out this historic city. It's a nice place! The river is huge and in better weather, we would have been tempted by a boat cruise, but instead we just wandered around in the rain, looking into the cute stores in the historic area of town. We found a hardware store that has been in operation since the 1800s (Carl loves hardware stores) and a little shop/pharmacy/soda bar where Pepsi was first invented and marketed. (Interesting aside - there is no Coca-Cola anywhere around these parts.)

Large mansions are everywhere, some in beautiful condition, some not.

We are now far enough south to see cypress trees, dripping with Spanish moss!

 "Bern" is the Swiss-German word for "bear" and it is the town mascot. There are dozens are costumed bears around town.

The bear is on the left; Carl is on the right.

Badminton bear?

We may be in the south, but it is cold. Last night, it was just below freezing. Brr! At this KOA, there are people in tents! Hardier folk than we are. But this morning, the sun is shining, so I am happy again.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Nine things that I liked at the Outer Banks

Okay, I vented off some steam about the Outer Banks in my blog post yesterday. I am over it! There were also some things that I did enjoy, so today I will dedicate myself to a more positive view of the area. So here's my top nine countdown, leaving the best for last. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

A bit of a disappointment

At every place in the US that we have visited on this trip, I have been impressed with what we have seen. Buffalo, Pittsburg, Harper's Ferry, Washington DC, Charlottesville, Raleigh - all of them lived up to their advertising and my expectations. Unfortunately, that has not been the case with the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Southern Cooking - two experiences

We have never been to this part of America before, so our knowledge of "Southeastern Cooking" is limited. In my ongoing quest to sample new foods this trip, we tried out a couple of contrasting restaurants - and had very different experiences in each of them.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Seven great things to do in Raleigh - all FREE

It is easy to have a wonderful visit to Raleigh without spending a penny! There are so many great museums and activities that are free, or by donation. Of course, you might want to drop a few bucks into the donation box, but these places are all world-class and worth every dollar you donate.

We loved exploring the city of Raleigh and nearby areas.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Raleigh is a great place to visit in an RV!

I had heard and read mixed reviews about Raleigh - but now I am definitely of the opinion that Raleigh is a wonderful place for RVers to visit. We spent a handful of days in the area and thoroughly enjoyed everything about it.

Raleigh is a big modern city
but easy to explore

Saturday, November 4, 2017

University of Virginia in Charlottesville

The small university in Charlottesville, Virgina was a place on my "I would like to see" list because of its uniqueness. It was not the first university in the "south" but it was the first southern university designed to be a prestigious place, a leader in intelligent thought and a place to train tomorrow's leaders, akin to the "ivy league" universities in the northern states. And it was planned, designed and financed by Thomas Jefferson, an architect, third president of the USA and writer of the Declaration of Independence. If a man can be that qualified, this university should be worth visiting, right?