Merry Christmas from New Bern!

Christmas

Today is Christmas. An odd one for us, but then again, many of our Christmas’ are a bit different as we often travel. Over dinner this evening we tried to remember all the places we’ve had Christmas as it is a common travel time for us. Here is what we can remember as Christmas locations (not in order): Sevilla, Spain; Merida, Mexico; Oaxaca, Mexico; Mazatl├ín, Mexico; Saim Reap, Cambodia; Quito, Equator; Cuenca, Equator, Iguassu Falls, Argentina; Kigali, Rwanda; Antiqua, Guatemala (twice); New Zealand (we think we were still there but can’t remember where exactly. I need to go back to pics. This was our 1st Christmas away). Those were all outside the US. Otherwise, we’ve always been home except for this year in New Bern, North Carolina. This may be the oddest; because it is not different enough?, because we are on a boat?, or because of Covid. It is clearly the most alone Christmas as when we travel we typically have Christmas dinner out and thus have some level of socialization. In any case, Merry Christmas!

Many boats decorate with lights and a few with blowup “things”.
I thought this sailboat with the reflection was exceptionally pretty. This was a few days before Christmas when the weather was beautiful.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve Day started out pretty nice. Warm and a light breeze. But quite pleasant. it turned into a gale and quite rough waters with 15 mph sustained winds across our beam with gusts to the mid 40’s. Although we are at a dock, we are on the outside with the winds whipping across across the water. It was quite a rocky day tide to the dock.

The wavelets were wetting the whole dock and slapping occasional waves into the cockpit. The rollers on the dock pilings and the wind through the sailboat rigging makes a constant clatter.

We planned a nice New Mexican dinner with posole and tamales. I managed to find everything to make posole and the local grocery had tamales from Houston, TX. They were actually OK with my red chili on them. It was a challenge cooking in the winds, but I managed.

Oh, and in an homage to where we are, Jim shucked a dozen local North Carolina oysters. By the end he was getting pretty good at shucking. And, they were quite tasty!
We planned to have a few faralitos on the rail around the cockpit on the boat. We used LED lights as opposed to votive candles and cat little as opposed sand. The winds were so strong, the little sacks did not fair well. But, we did our best.

Travels outside New Bern

The Battle of New Bern

The last couple of days have actually been sunny and quite nice. So, we rented a car and moved a tiny bit father a field. We visited the New Bern Battle Field just a bit south of us. On March 13, 1862, the Federals decided they needed to capture New Bern as it was a key port and also held North Carolina railroad access. It was a key port to stop the Confederate from getting outside resources and for movement of those resources. This was the first foray for the North Carolina troops and was fought both on land, in the swamps and in the water on the Neuse River. 1080 people lost their lives, mostly fighting in swampy lands. The Union took New Bern and portions of the rail lines.

The pretty scene taken from a Confederate redon tooling towards the Union troops on the far side does not show how horrible and difficult the fighting must have been. In the end, the Union troops were able to take control through a rail brickyard to the west of this area.

Island Creek Forest Walk

The Croatan National Forest is just south of New Bern. I am just learning that forests of the east are not like forests of the west. Very heavy logging (at least here) and much is not very pretty because of that. Not your idyllic mountain forest with picnic and campgrounds and lots of hiking trails. But, there are a few trails and we hiked one, the Island Creek Trail. Beautiful!

The trail meanders along this creek for about 2 miles. Although not far from civilization, it felt very far removed.

The trail was about 3 miles and we started late in the day, so managed to get off the trail just before dark. Lots of tree roots on the trail which in places was hard to follow as it was covered with oak leaves. We did seen a few birds as well.

Lots of beautiful fungus everywhere we are out of town.

More Walks around New Bern

We’ve also done some additional walks around new Bern which is a lovely, cute downtown. Very pleasant. We are hoping to visit the Tyron Palace, the first Governors residence in North Carolina. we did walk the gardens of some of surrounding buildings. Lovely gardens.

Sorry gang, I can’t tell you who’s garden this is, but just across from the Tyron Palace.
Although it gets into the 30’s at night, there are still roses blooming, and I also saw an iris getting ready to bloom. Plants have a different cycle of life here than in New Mexico.

What is next?

We’ll be hanging around here for a few more days, hoping to see the Tyron Palace and maybe visit the local genealogy library to learn about ancestors of both Jim and mine. We’ll be moving on before New Years, headed likely towards Beaufort, NC, right on the coast south of us.

I am confidant no one has used this tree on the Island Creek Trail to take a framed picture.

Merry Christmas!