Must SEE – Tryon Palace Historic Sites and Gardens

Living in New Bern since 2005, I’ve had every intention of visiting all of the historical sites in town. When visiting historic landmarks, I envision standing in the same place as our Forefathers and others who took part in forming our Nation.

I have to admit that I’ve never visited Tryon Palace and many other places that I’ve documented on New Bern Now’s website (by listing the name, address and phone number). It’s similar to growing up across the river from Niagara Falls and not taking advantage of the amazing view. I was always too busy to stop and enjoy the view.

I’m trying to break the habit of knowing something is here and assume that I’ll visit it when I have time. Please don’t make the same mistake that I did thinking you’ll visit “one day”, because before you know it, years will pass and you may not do it.

This article isn’t about what I should’ve done, but what I did, thanks to Nancy Hawley, Tryon Palace’s Marketing and Communications Manager. Since communicating back and forth via email, it was high time to finally meet so she invited me to stop by for a visit. I was surprised when she took me on the “grand tour” of Tryon Palace Historic Sites and Gardens.

Here’s a little background about the Palace for those who aren’t familiar:

Royal Governor William Tryon with the assistance of his architect John Hawks, built the first Capitol of the Colony of North Carolina in 1770. The Governor lived there with his wife, Margaret Wake Tryon, and daughter, Margaret. In 1775, the Patriots drove out the British and made Tryon Palace the first Capitol of the State of NC. The Capitol moved to Raleigh in 1794 and burned down under suspicious circumstances in 1798. Some believe the colonists rebelled against the British Rule of King George III. The Stables are the only remaining structure from the original Palace.

Tryon Palace was reconstructed, using the original blue prints, from 1952 – 1959, thanks to the Founding Mothers: Newspaperwoman Gertrude Sprague Carraway, Philanthropist Maude Moore Latham, Ruth Coltrane Cannon, Minnette Chapman Duffy, and Kate B. Reynolds. May Gordon Kellenberger, Maude Moore’s Latham’s daughter, stepped in after her mother passed away and became one of the driving forces in the restoration.

My tour of Tryon Palace Historic Sites and Gardens consisted of visiting: the Palace, Green Garden, Maude Moore Latham Memorial Garden, Hawks Allée, Pleached Allée, Stable Office, Kitchen Office, South Lawn, Wilderness Garden, Kellenberger Garden, Kitchen Garden, Smokehouse, working Blacksmith Shop and ended the tour at the Museum Shop located in the Daves House. I have yet to tour the three historic houses on the site.

I would like to write more, but the article could turn into a book!

Driving home after the tour, I reflected on what a wonderful time I had and wish I would’ve done it sooner! It also motivated me to visit all of New Bern’s Historical Sites so I can actually learn first-hand and then write an article about them to spread the word!

Tyron Palace Historic Sites and Gardens is a MUST see! Thanks, Nancy!

Wendy Card