Back at it: Small Town Exploring

It’s been more than two years since I’ve had the chance to update this blog that used to be something I always looked forward to doing before and after a trip. Graduate school has kept me busy for sure, but the realization that I need to keep pursuing my hobbies while pursuing my degree has brought me back to this—a part of my creativity that I take some pride in.

These two years have taken me from one end of the U.S. to the other, from one part of the Western hemisphere to the other side of the Eastern. Some of it has been due to school, and some of it due to my continuing addiction for travel. Locally, I have had the chance to hit up cities like Charleston, Charlotte, Asheville, Ft.Lauderdale, Miami, and Austin for the first time in my life and internationally I have had the chance to attend an amazing wedding in Calcutta, India, explored London, Paris, parts of Colombia and been on my first cruise ever (to Mexico and Honduras!) Even with a rigorous graduate program that we were warned would be like a 9-5 job and some, it was possible for me to use the time to travel in between as I made it a priority. There’s some inspiration for those looking to do the same (and more to come in the future)!

In my graduate program, a Doctorate of Physical Therapy program that lasts for 3 years, we have the chance to embark on 4 clinical rotations that we have somewhat of a say in. Travelers like me take the opportunity to explore the nation with these clinical rotations and I have chosen to do just that. My second clinical rotation brings me to the small coastal town of New Bern, North Carolina. I have been here now for a little over 6 weeks and my time here is coming to a close, so I thought I would write a little post about what there is to do here for those that would like to explore the eastern side of North Carolina a little more!

Until a few months ago when I was assigned a clinical rotation in New Bern, North Carolina, I had never heard of the town. After graduating my Bachelor’s degree, I had taken a trip to Emerald Isle, NC—another coastal town made up of beaches that draws in visitors from bordering states every year. I was also familiar with the Outer Banks, a ritzy area families liked to vacation in during the summer months of humidity on the east coast. My first google search of New Bern led me to learn that it was one of the first towns settled in North Carolina and was modeled after Berne, Switzerland. Berne means “bear” in German and sometimes those bears can be seen on this side of the Carolinas, hence the name “New Bern” was given to the town.

New Bern shares its border with the Neuse river, a beautiful body of water that borders the small downtown area and the RiverWalk makes for a nice stroll on a peaceful Sunday (and great for dogs too!). Nature surrounds eastern North Carolina and good food and drinks contribute to the liveliness of a small town like New Bern. Following is a list of places to explore around New Bern!

For Hikers:

  1. Croatan National Forest- about 25 minutes from downtown New Bern, the national forest offers tons of trails right along the shore. Some trails are closed due to the forest recovering from recent flooding, but some short hikes are still open and are a great way to spend a Saturday morning!
  2. Cliffs of the Neuse State Park– better kept hiking trails as it is looked after by the NC government (but it is a 1 hour drive from New Bern). The park has many miles of trails for you to pick and choose from and beautiful areas with lakes as you continue your day hiking.

For coffee:

  1. Bella’s Café & Catering (Downtown New Bern)- decent coffee and a mean homemade cinnamon bun can be found here!
  2. Crema Brew amazing coffee (Salted caramel latte was one of my favorites) and an even cooler ambience (for travelers). Board games are available for customers and a fun way to break up exploring downtown New Bern with friends.


For food (downtown New Bern):

  1. Bay Leaf Indian Cuisine– Can you say no to an all-you-can-eat Indian buffet? As someone with Indian roots that grew up eating amazing homemade Indian food, I approve of this place! Plenty of veggie and non-vegetarian options available.
  2. Baker’s kitchen– a carb-loaded heavenly and just simply southern place for brunch. Try the freshly baked sweet potato biscuit and I promise you won’t regret it!
  3. Prohibition Grill- your classic American food like sandwiches, burgers, fries, etc. This part is also open super late, so if you’re out for a drink, try their onion rings or fries and I promise you won’t be disappointed!


For drinks (downtown New Bern):

  1. Blackbeard’s– They have Music bingo on Saturday nights! Need I say more? Blackbeard’s also has a unique blend of ocean-inspired cocktails, like the delightful Mermaid’s water I tried.
  2. Prohibition drinks– Old fashioned drinks made the way they really should be. Plenty of cocktails with interesting combinations. The basil/cucumber/mint Collins was a fave!
  3. Brewery 99- a hole in the wall brewery with only 6-7 local beers on tap at one time but one that is worth a visit for a small town vibe. When I went, they had a jalapeno IPA that had a great kick for those of us that appreciate some spiciness in life!
  4. Mother Earth Brewing (Kinston, NC)- About 30-40 mins from New Bern, this brewery has some cool vibes and good beer with plenty of options. If you’re not a fan of beer, don’t worry! They have ciders and house-produced seltzer-like fruit infused drinks as well.


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