? Newcomers New Bern, NC. Day Trips Activity Group

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Day Trips

Activity Leaders

 
E-Mail Telephone
Debbie Lutz
debine_Lutz@yahool.com      
757-942-2488
     

Do you enjoy visiting new, interesting places? If so, "Day Tripping" is just the thing for you! The Newcomers Club organizes monthly group trips to various events and tours of interesting locations within driving distance of New Bern. Some trips last most of the day and others only a few hours. Some have a fee; others are free! Go on all the trips or select just the ones suited especially for you! Day trips are a great way to meet and get to know fellow newcomers!

Past tours have included military bases, a winery, the Aurora phosphate mine, Hatteras Yachts, and the Moen plant. We have had great fun cruising on the Crystal Coast Lady at Beaufort and painting pottery at the Accidental Artist in downtown New Bern.

Check out this website for upcoming day trips. Learn more about each day trip and sign up at a monthly membership meeting. Contact the activity leader(s) for more information.


Day Trip Reviews

Roanoke Island and Cape Hattaras--May 19 to May 20, 2016

The final "day trip" of the year was really an overnighter to Roanoke Island and the surrounding area. Our group of twenty-one met for lunch at Ortega'z Grill in downtown Manteo, after a drive through the wilds of Dare and Hyde counties (some of our group even saw some bears). In the afternoon of the 19th, we split up and visited many of the attractions of Roanoke Island, including Island Farm, the Elizabethan Gardens, the National Wildlife Refuge visitor center, and Fort Raleigh, which is the site of the famous "Lost Colony" of English settlers. For some, simply wandering the streets of the village of Manteo was enough. That evening, we met at the Lone Cedar Cafe, to compare notes on our days' activities, to enjoy the wonderful fresh seafood and the views, and, most of all, to socialize with our daytripper friends. The next morning, we made our way to the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. After an informative and entertaining ranger talk, including a demonstration of the replica of the original plane, we strolled through the site where that plane (and Orville and Wilbur) made the first human-powered flights. To think, only 65 years later, man was landing on the moon. The Memorial is truly an inspiring experience, well worth anyone's time.




Swansboro--April 14, 2016

Our April daytrip was a really cool (in both senses) two-hour pontoon boat tour of Swansboro Harbor and Bogue Sound, aboard the "Lady Swan." Captain Pete has worked these waters his entire adult life, and really enjoys showing visitors around. He was assisted by Paul, who recently retired as Superintendent of Hammock's Beach State Park.

 After cruising by the Swansboro waterfront, we visited various parts of the State Park, observing the various preservation and restoration projects underway including artificial reefs made from recycled oyster shells. We went by Bear Island, the main barrier island in the area, and Huggins Island, home to a Confederate earthwork fort and to numerous Native American shell middens. We saw dolphins, a bald eagle, and numerous shorebirds and waterbirds.

 After the cruise, we met for lunch at the scenic Icehouse Waterfront restaurant.
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USS North Carolina (Wilmington)--March 17, 2016

Our intrepid Daytrippers celebrated St. Patrick's Day by taking a trip to Wilmington, Eastern North Carolina's largest city. We began with lunch at the Pilot House, a waterfront restaurant with wonderful views of the Cape Fear River and downtown Wilmington.

After lunch, we made the short drive across the river to the USS North Carolina, a World War II "fast battleship" that was moved to Wilmington in 1961 after being decommissioned. She was built early in the war and was mothballed just after war's end, so she had a short service, but she was active throughout the Pacific theater. Her primary missions were anti-aircraft protection for aircraft carriers and shore bombardment.

The self-guided tour took us from the main deck (those 16-inch guns are huge) to below decks (including dentist's office, chapel, heads, various "quarters" (including bunks just about everywhere), galleys of all sorts, and the very impressive munitions systems) to the upper decks, which include the captain's quarters and the bridge. About 2,000 men served aboard, for months at a time. We came away impressed with the enormous effort and dedication it took to operate the ship, fulfill its missions, and even--in one instance--to keep her afloat after being hit.

She is a great reminder of the sacrifices of the "greatest generation."

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State Capitol/History Museum (Raleigh)--February 27, 2016

Our band of day trippers made a Saturday trek to the state capital to visit two of the most important state buildings. At our first stop, the History Museum, we split into two groups for a guided "highlights" tour. The Museum has a broad and eclectic collection of objects relating to North Carolina, from replicas of the Wright brothers' glider and airplane to Dale Earnhardt's stock car, from early James Brown recordings to hand-sewn ball gowns and wedding dresses designed by Willie Kay, from dugout canoes to Arnold Palmer's golf bag. The Museum has a strong collection of artifacts pertaining to African-American experiences in the state, from the times of slavery to the civil rights era, including a Woolworth's lunch counter (not a replica) that was the site of sit-ins, and also a 1920’s full size drug store. We could only spend a couple of hours there, but it was clear that we couldn't have seen everything even if we had a full day.

After lunch at the museum cafe, we walked across the street to the State Capitol, where we enjoyed another guided tour. The building was erected in the 1830's, and is one of the few Capitol buildings to have not been substantially altered or added onto. The Governor and his staff still maintain offices there, although the legislative bodies moved to larger quarters in the 1960's. The legislative (Senate and House of Representatives) chambers remain, however, and have been restored to their original appearance (including removing the mustard yellow paint applied during the 1970's). One highlight was the statue of George Washington dressed as a Roman general!

 All in all, it was an entertaining and educational--albeit brief--introduction to our newly adopted state and its government.
Raleigh Raleigh Raleigh
Raleigh Raleigh Raleigh
Raleigh Raleigh Raleigh
Raleigh Raleigh
Raleigh Raleigh
Raleigh Raleigh
Raleigh Raleigh

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base--January 28, 2016

Seymour Johnson AFB staff welcomed our group of thirty-one to tour one of the smaller, but one of the most intense, Air Force bases. Seymour Johnson, in Goldsboro NC, is the training base for the F-15E, the premier fighter-bomber in the country. The cold, blustery day was warmed by the reception we received from base personnel.

We first received an informative overview of the history of the Fourth Fighter Wing and their equipment. (Notably, they were the first ("Fourth is first") to fly the P-51 Mustang.) We then proceeded to a tour of a KC-135, which is similar to a Boeing 707, but equipped as an in-air refueling tanker. Following lunch at the base dining hall, we were treated to an up-close examination of an F-15E fighter, led by a group of crew chiefs and other maintenance staff.

Seymour Johnson is only a little over an hour away, but their fighters and tankers provide coverage for the entire eastern part of the country and beyond. Our group was inspired by the enthusiasm and dedication of our hosts. Even the cold couldn't diminish their spirit.

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SJAFB SJAFB
SJAFB
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Fort Macon Fort Macon Fort Macon
Fort Macon Fort Macon

Foscue Plantation House--January 7, 2016

This house, built in 1824, is on property west of New Bern that has been owned by the same family since the 1750's. The current family owner has been restoring and refurnishing the house since 1995, and has found many of the furniture and objects used by the original inhabitants. The current 1634 acres (down from 10,000) of family property are still farmed in corn, cotton, soybeans, timber, and tobacco. Our group of just over thirty enjoyed a guided tour of the house's three floors plus basement. Among the highlights were a family Bible lost during the Civil War and returned over thirty years later, the secretary used when the original owner served as Justice of the Peace, a quilt from the early 1800's that is still in use, and a dining table that could expand to seat twelve. Although modest in size, this was--and is--a grand house, well worth a visit. They're open on Thursdays, 10-5. After our tour, we gathered for lunch at Lawson's Landing Cafe in the North Carolina History Center (Tryon Palace History Center) for a delicious lunch.

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Foscue Foscue
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Foscue Foscue

Fort Macon--November 18, 2015

Beautiful weather (just before a rainy cold front) greeted our group of about twenty at Fort Macon, which guards Beaufort Inlet, across the sound from Morehead City. There has been a fort on the site since the early 1700's, and the current Fort was used in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and the First and Second World Wars; it is now a State Park.
Following an informative and entertaining history--and musket-firing--presentation, we were able to tour exhibits of features of life in the Fort at different times in its history. It's not surprising, considering its scale, to hear that 9.4 million bricks were required to build the Fort. The history is fascinating, the facilities are first-rate, and the setting is spectacular.
After our visit, about half the group gathered at Snapperz Grill in Morehead City for lunch. Shrimp and sausage quesadillas, fresh grouper, and a steamer pot were among our choices, but the best part was the company.

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Fort Macon
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Fort Macon
Fort Macon Fort Macon

Sylvan Heights Bird Park--October 22, 2015

About thirty of us made the scenic backroads drive to the small town of Scotland Neck, home of the Sylvan Heights Bird Park. Originally established (and still run) as a breeding for endangered waterfowl from around the world, it now includes an extensive bird park that includes ponds, cages, and walk-in aviaries for birds from Africa, Australia, North and South America, and Eurasia.
Although the focus is on waterfowl, many terrestrial birds are included. Some of the more memorable species seen included flamingoes, parakeets, and cranes (all three of which took feed from our hands), kookaburra, toucan, emu, eagle hawk, and white-headed ducks from Southeast Asia. These last are perhaps the stars of the park, since they are virtually extinct in the wild but are thriving here.
Hard to fathom that this world-class facility is in little Scotland Neck, North Carolina. But it is.
After the park, we topped off our visit with a leisurely, Italian-style lunch at La Casetta, an Italian restaurant in Scotland Neck (and sister restaurant to La Casetta on Neuse Boulevard in New Bern). The food was wonderful, but the conversation and company was even better.

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Sylvan Heights Sylvan Heights Sylvan Heights Sylvan Heights

Washington Estuarium and River Roving--September 24 & October 9, 2015

 Washington is where the Tar River (freshwater) and the Pamlico Sound (saltwater) meet, to form an estuary (brackish water). The Estuarium spotlights the features of this important ecosystem.
Due to high demand, this daytrip was run twice. Each day, we split into two groups, with the first group touring the Estuarium, then going on the pontoon boat excursion after lunch (the second group reversed the order). Highlights of the Estuarium included the dynamic water-cycle sculpture in the lobby, the serene orientation film, and various exhibits.
The pontoon boat ride went downstream past the railroad bridge into the Pamlico, then turned upstream into the Tar River. We passed under the highway drawbridge and the "new" freeway bridge before moving up Bear Creek, one of the tributaries. Although none of the groups saw much wildlife, the weather was gorgeous and we thoroughly enjoyed the sights.
We split into smaller groups for lunch in downtown Washington, and some folks stayed after the tour to explore more of this historic riverport.

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Washington

 

Activity Leaders

 
Email Telephone
Cheryl 252-565-6442 home
Jere 252-565-6442 home
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