Pepsi's Birthplace Boasts 'Pop' Culture, More

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NEW BERN, N.C. -- Officials of this small city, home to the pharmacy where Pepsi was invented, said an array of local attractions are well suited to clients interested in heritage tourism.

New Bern, which lies at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent rivers in the southeastern part of the state, has more than 150 historical landmarks, a 157,000-acre national forest and a colonial mansion.

The Craven County Convention and Visitors Bureau said these features are luring increasing numbers of travelers seeking what it calls "enriching" activities as well as active vacations. Itineraries can include a morning of fishing or golf, an afternoon of visiting historical sites and museums and an evening of fine dining.

Gordon Clapp, director of the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development, said visitors are discovering sport fishing at the Neuse and Trent rivers.

Two of the newest attractions here are the Cotton Blossom, a riverboat that will begin offering cruises June 6, and the restored Caleb Bradham Pharmacy, where Bradham invented the drink to aid digestion and boost energy that became Pepsi Cola.

Tryon Palace

Travelers also can visit Tryon Palace. This restored Georgian-style mansion was the home of Gov. William Tryon and the capitol of the colony of North Carolina. It is touted by tourism officials here as the place "where governors ruled, legislators debated, patriots gathered and George Washington danced." The site features a collection of antiques, art and 14 formal gardens. Each Christmas, Tryon Palace hosts candlelight tours and a Christmas celebration.

The region's history can be explored at the New Bern Academy Museum, which focuses on the period from 1710 through the Civil War. The exhibits at the Fireman's Museum, Bank of the Arts and the New Bern Civil War Museum enable travelers to observe a variety of cultural artifacts.

Hikers and campers can take to the Croatan National Forest to view wildlife, including black bears, red-cocked woodpeckers, eagles, osprey and exotic plant life.

Craven County Convention and Visitors Bureau , phone: (800) 437-5767.

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