Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Return to the Swamp

I'm back on Brices Creek in New Bern, NC. For those of you in the 413 who are thinking of visiting JJ and Tim, know that it's a really easy trip down - less than 3 hours from BDL to Charlotte, and then a short (somewhat bumpy) hop in a rather small plane (about the size of a Peter Pan bus) over to New Bern. JJ and Tim live about 10 minutes from the airport, and their house backs onto the creek. This photo is of cypress knees next to their dock.

This is low country - flat and just a few feet above sea level. There's water everywhere as New Bern sits where the Trent and Neuse rivers converge and head out to the ocean. Creeks, marshes, sounds, and then the Outer Banks. For our first day of adventures, we got in the car and headed southeast to Morehead City and Beaufort (pronounced BOW-fert).

The first stop was about 10 miles south of New Bern to see Tom Haywood's Self-Kicking Machine, outside Martha's Favorite Things Antique Store (unfortunately closed, but we peered in the windows and took a lot of photos of the exterior). The Self-Kicking Machine is actually a replica of the original, but it's in working order and we each took a turn cranking the handlebar and kicking ourselves in the butt for whatever things we didn't do, shouldn't have done, or need a bit of encouragement to do.

On to Morehead City to see the King Neptune, which is really about the only thing worth seeing in the town. The giant concrete merman sits on a dock next to a diving shop, looking forlornly over his shoulder towards land, as if he knows any attempt to turn around an go back in the sea is a futile endeavor.

We spent the greater part of the afternoon in Beaufort, a charming historic coastal town with lovely little cottages dating from the early- to mid-19th century and a marvelous Old Burying Ground. There will be scads of photos of the cemetery and the town on Flickr after I get home and sort through them. Before exploring the town, we stopped for lunch at the Spouter Inn (too windy to sit outside, but nice views of the water). When we got to the restaurant, there was a large group of women, all wearing red hats and lavender blouses or sweaters, just finishing their lunch. I thought we might be observing a quaint southern custom, but JJ tells me that there's an international movement of red hatters who lunch together. We later saw the ladies having a tour of the cemetery with a guide in period dress. I now have another thing to add to my list of what not to do in my senior years. You will not see me wearing a red hat while lunching.

The last stop of the day was Fort Macon, which was built in 1826, used throughout the 19th century, fell into ruin in the early 20th century, restored by CCC workers during the Depression, and recommissioned in WWII. It's now a state park with some historic recreations of soldiers' quarters during different times of use. Fortunately, it was late in the day and there were no busloads of school kids running around the place.

Happily, we didn't encounter any gators, snakes or pirates during our waterside adventures.

$12 for lunch (crab cake in pita bread - yum!)
7661 steps (3.02 miles)

1 comment:

  1. I ran into a gaggle of lavender sheathed red hatters in Fortnum and Mason a while back. Upon my inquiry they explained the drag; they were delightful women having a grand ol' time. I asked whether they had created a calendar of red hatters in the buff; they said no, but one was willing to give it a go. Got a picture of two of them next to the stacks of tea tins. I'd show you but my computer that has been getting fixed for the last 3+ months is still in the shop.