Gary Strader/gStrader Photography

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Welcome To Tryon's Palace

After a late Brunch, I collected my thoughts, and pondered my next move.  I have been to Tryons Palace before, but years ago it was, and I do not remember where my photos were of that visit, and I was quite sure that new shots would be better than the old film shots I had .

For those of you that do not know, Tryon's Palace is a nickname for the residence built by colonial Governor Tryon. The house was in every sense a wonderful mansion, built by monies taken from the poor colonists. The house was so opulent it  was given this nickname, by the colonists of North Carolina who resented having so much of their money taken from them in order to build .

When I arrived at the site of the mansion, I was made aware by the guard on duty, that my paid admission would allow me to photograph the outside gardens, and buildings, but no interrior shots would be allowed. (understood, but not happy with this)... I did however fall in love with the wrought iron gate, and fence that protected the front entrance. The stool that you see is where the guard stood.

The Coat of Arms on the gate, and the main house is that of King George III, and was featured to cement the fact that North Carolina was the Royal Property of the King, and that all the land and people were subject to the rule of the Crown.
The beautiful place that you see today is a restoration of the original that burned to the ground  in 1798.

The building on the right, the Stable Offices is the only original building that has survived the many years since it was built.

The Stable Office.

Since I am unable to show you interior photos perhaps you will enjoy a few random photos of some of the beautiful old homes that were nearby, neighboring the Palace grounds.

The "Widow's Walk" is a catwalk that sits on the roof of many old homes on this coastal town, and served as a lookout for the wives of sea captains to look  for their ship to return to port.

The building on the right of the main house is the kitchen, and it also housed the office of the secretary to Gov William Tryon.

Typical of most homes from the colonial days, the cooking was carried out in a kitchen apart from the living quarters, due to the danger of fire. 
The meals were prepared by servants,(slaves), and carried to the dining room of the main house.

Sitting atop the front of the house the Coat of Arms of King George III.

There are shady paths leading to lovely old gardens behind the Palace. A good place to sit and cool off in the hot humid days of summer.

The house sits on top of a hill overlooking the Trent River.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Morning Shoot

I awoke the next morning, and grabbed a cup of coffee, and my Nikon, and made for the Marina. It was almost time for sunrise, however there were a good amount of clouds about, so I assumed my photo ops for a sunrise was limited at best.
     It is early September in North Carolina, and it can still be quite warm here in September. Also in New Bern, it can be stiffing hot  in the summertime but this day has started off very pleasant, and cool. I am sure that the overcast might last, but was hopeful that it would break.
    I was determined to retrace my steps from the night before, and make my way down the Trent, to where it runs into the Neuse River about a quarter mile away to the east, and shoot as I walked along the river.
As the sun made its way upward into the sky I could see workman making there way to work on the bridge that was closest to the hotel.  Everywhere in New Bern there was road repaving, and construction, making everything ready for the Tricentennial Celebration for 2010.

The overcast had rolled in from the Atlantic last night, and though it persisted this morning, there were enough breaks in the cloud cover to add some definition to the morning sky. I am hopeful, but guarded  on what the day might bring.

Yes it was overcast, but even an overcast sky can add definition to photos. 
When I arrived at Centennial Park, I was also at the mouth of the Trent, where it empties into the Neuse River. This shot was overlooking the mouth of the Trent, as it enters the much larger, and longer Neuse river. It is also one of my favorite shots. My wide angle lens captured the walkway and gave me a dramatic view of the river mouth.

Next Post : Welcome to Tryon Palace!

Monday, December 14, 2009

In 2010, It's New Bern!

This is a reprinted post from my Blog posted in the Fox affiliate in Atlanta, and also on Fox 8, in High Point.

In 2010, It’s New Bern!
New Bern TriCentennial

In 2010, the town of New Bern will celebrate it’s Birthday. The Town, founded in 1710, will be 300 years old. It is second only to Bath, as the oldest town in North Carolina.

Steeped in history, it is one of the most interesting places to visit, of anyplace I know. One of the founders, John Lawson, a naturalist, wrote a book about the early plant, and animal life in North Carolina.  He had planned to also write about the native tribes here as well. That turned out to be his undoing, as the Tuscarora Indians, had him tortured; meanwhile sparing  Christoph  von Graffenried from Bern Switzerland, as they thought this wealthy gentleman might be the governor.

New Bern/ John LawsonI first paid a visit to New Bern in the early 1980s, stopping here to  visit Tryon Palace, the colonial home and capital of North Carolina. Gov Tryon, built this fine home on the backs of the people of North Carolina. Stamp Act Taxes, on everything the early farmers produced, collected the money to build the fine home for Tryon.

It was this very action that caused the settlers of  North Carolina to revolt, and forcing Gov Tryon’s hand at the Battle of Alamance County, by the Regulators, as they became to be known. Tryon quickly put down that rebellion, and hanged the ringleaders; however those seeds sown the bitterness that later would blossom into the Revolutionary War. 

History alone, is not the reason why I recommend that you visit the town,(though that is reason enough, in my opinion)… I recommend you visit New Bern, and I am sure that you will fall in love with the town as I have.

I recently returned to New Bern, in early September, and what I found was a progressive town, full of transplants, that has somehow managed to keep from being another in-your-face tourist town. There is much to do, and the townsfolk really go out of their way to not only show you a good time, but they genuinely are glad that you came to visit.

So in 2010, (or now if you would like) go to New Bern, and tell them that Gary sent you. You will come away with the same feeling as I have about New Bern.
Tryon Palace

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Bern 300 years and Counting

The Photos that you see here were taken by me September 8th-10th.  This was the main reason for me to go to New Bern in the first place.

I went to New Bern as a (mini)vacation to take pictures. I was not disappointed, finding lots of subjects in which to photograph.  I was looking for mainly three different kinds of photos:(1.) Night Scenes,
(2) sunrise over the water, and (3) sunset shots over the water.

In addition, I wanted to capture some of the flavor of the old homes here, with the "widows porch" on the roof, and of course some of Tryon Palace. So indeed, I had a shooting plan in place.

I arrived in the late evening around 10 PM, and as soon as I got unpacked and settled into the room, I went out for a night stroll to check out the marina that was right behind the hotel. I had packed my tripod for just this occasion, but as usual, I just could not bring myself to lug around a tripod on this late night stroll into the darkness, so the shots I got were all hand held at high ISOs.
The marina was deserted, and it was rather spooky to have the place all to myself. Soon, I spotted a woman out walking her dog, just up the path from where I took this photo, and then a man, walking two rather large Golden Retrievers.

So, I was not completely alone. I walked up this walkway into the night, making my way beside the Trent River making my way toward the Neuse River, which was only about a quarter mile away.

Here are some shots that I took looking back toward the Hotel, and the marina.
The overcast skies made for a weird glow over the complex, but no doubt that it added a hint of mystery to my photos...
When I had made my way to the Neuse river, and the Park, I saw a small skiff powering down, and making for the lights of yet another hotel that was on the Banks of the Neuse River, whose bright lights shown like a beacon into the night, and shimmering in the water. I knew this was probably the best shot of the night, so I took my time to focus, and steady my camera on a rail at the waters edge.

When I had taken this shot, I decided to return to the hotel this time by the well lit street, and shoot a few shots of some of the old house and buildings nearby.

Here is one of those building that I took:

Next: The Morning Shoot

Monday, December 7, 2009

New Bern, 300 Years and Counting

New Bern is celebrating 300 years as a town in 2010. As I stated in the first post, it helped to shape colonial life, and figured in the war for independence. There was also a navel battle there during the early days of the Civil War, and the town was captured by the Union, and remained under Union control for the balance of the war.

New Bern is also known as the birthplace of Pepsi Cola, and it was brewed rigth here in town in a small drug store that you see pictured here:

The store today sells Pepsi Items, like cups, tumblers, even lamps.

New Bern Town is a quaint little town, and it is a place where everyone knows your name, or so you would think. In my most recent visit, I fell in love with it, both for the history, and the old homes, of the historic old town, but also for its towns folk. They made me feel most welcome and at home. They were truly glad that I came, and I will always remember that.

The one weakness that I found with the town, (as a tourist), might be the night life. I must say however, that I did not go out looking for any nightlife, electing instead for quiet walks by the riverfront, followed by a good night's sleep.

After a day of walking around, carrying a camera, and shooting,I was not up for anything more than a nice quiet dinner, and some sleep.

There is however a tour of haunted houses, and buildings that make up New Bern, and with a town 300 years old, there are bound to be several haunted houses to visit.
There was at least one Inn here that was reported to be haunted, that was a tavern in the early days, and was reported that George Washington had stayed there. As you can see from my night shot that the place indeed looks rather spooky.


Captain Ratty's features rooftop dining, and had the walls covered in ships rosters, with crew members names, that I found quite interesting. there are a number of places for small sailing craft to tie up on the riverfront, and it is a short walk to town. So you might want to come and visit here sometime if you have a sea worthy boat.

What better time to come than during the Tricentennial. 

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Tricentennial: New Bern!

On my maiden voyage in "Carolina Rambling", I must get things off to a good start. I can think of nothing these days that can possibly be better than the Tricentennial of New Bern. 
New Bern was founded in 1710, and named for Bern Switzerland, by the swiss colonists that settled here. New Bern was the colonial capital for North Carolina, and perhaps the governors mansion  known as Tryon Palace is what the little intra-coastal town is best known for.

The beautiful home and mansion of Governor Tryon was built on the backs of the farmers, and settlers of North Carolina. That fact did not set well with those affected by the steep Stamp Act Taxes that were being collected to build it. The settlers referred to Tryon's mansion as a "Palace ", and being relieved of crops, and what little money the poor settlers had sparked what I consider to be the beginnings of the war for independence that would happen a decade later.

Gov Tryon sent his Militia inland to a place called Alamance to put down a rebellion by a group of farmers who called themselves "Regulators". The rebellion was quickly put down, and the leaders were rounded up, and taken to Hillsboro, and hanged. The Battle of Alamance was the first salvo for what one day would be the Revolutionary War, and it happened here in North Carolina.