Nov 082009

Yesterday our friend Patti Ivey took us sightseeing, introducing us to her little corner of the world. Patti grew up here in Kinston, North Carolina, and she is a great tour guide. It was Patti’s birthday, and we were honored that she chose to spend the day with us.

Our first stop was at the annual Stewfest in Kinston, where we explored a local historical site. Veteran’s organizations Kinston Stewfest weband other groups had cookers set up and were dishing up bowls of stew. We were saving ourselves for dinner later in the day, so we passed on the four bowls of stew for $10 price, but Patti and Terry were both very impressed with the delicious aroma of the different stews being offered.

Leaving Kinston, Patti drove us 30 miles east to New Bern, an affluent looking little community with a handsome downtown area whose streets are lined with small upscale shops offering gifts, art, and apparel.

 Located at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse rivers, New Bern has a long history. Settled in 1710, it is North Buggy Tour webCarolina’s second oldest town, and was the colonial capitol. An important port and trading center in the 1800s, New Bern was captured by the Union Army after a bloody battle in March, 1862.

Today visitors can take a buggy tour of the old city, which takes them past historic buildings and churches that are architectural works of art. Pepsi Cola pharmacy web

I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs, but I have one major vice. I am a confirmed Pepsi Cola addict.

So when Patti told us that my favorite soft drink was invented in New Bern,  it was like a pilgrimage to Mecca for me. We made a beeline for the old drugstore building where a young pharmacist named Caleb Bradham experimented with spices and flavorings during the hot, humid summer of 1898, trying to come up with a combination that would please his customers’ taste buds.

 He settled upon a concoction that he called Brad’s Drink, which was an instant hit. Word of the beverage soon spread, and Bradham renamed it Pepsi Cola, and began to market it regionally. Today Pepsi is known and loved worldwide, and I know that my contribution to the company’s bottom line is only exceeded by Pepsi’s contribution to my waistline.

Pepsi machine webToday Caleb Bradham’s drug store is a small gift shop selling Pepsi memorabilia and displaying a couple of nice old Pepsi machines, some vintage bottles, and replica advertising signs. Visitors were lined up at the counter sipping cold Pepsi and bantering with the young people working behind the counter.

After leaving the birthplace of Pepsi, we strolled along the sidewalks, stopping at the marina to admire some of the boats berthed there, including some very impressive yachts. They looked nice, but I get seasick too easy. I prefer my land yacht. 

Back in Kingston, we had an early birthday dinner with Patti, then she dropped us off at the campground. It’s been nice visiting our friend, and we look forward to getting together with Patti again the next time our travels bring us through this area.

While we plan the next leg of our journey, why don’t you check out Bad Nick’s new blog post, America’s Energy Crisis, and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – I don’t mind going nowhere as long as it’s an interesting path.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  3 Responses to “Nick Goes To Mecca”

  1. Good Morning Nick… Sounds like it was a bonus to hook up with Patti.. Great that she could show you around and even take you to the birthplace of Pepsi… I can imagine how thrilled you were about that. Have a fun filled day today too…

    Travel Safely

  2. Nick and Terry….what can I say? Thanks again to both of you for making this such a special birthday for me, and helping me make it through another anniversay of Mickey’s passing. I don’t remember the last time I talked so much! Hope I didn’t wear your ears out….but you are both such great listeners, and your love for each other is so inspiring and special. Happy Trails, my friends.

  3. You went to New Bern and didn’t see Tryon Palace? It was the finest colonial capital building in America when it built. The people in the western part of NC rebelled at having to pay taxes to build it. The royal governor, Governor Tryon, built before moving to I think it was NY. He returned to England when the war broke out and took with him the plans for the palace. Mrs. Lathan of Greensboro put up the money to rebuild it to those exacting specification. There was the furniture inventory too and the palace was perfectly furnished with some of the original pieces. The kitchen garden has original French strawberries and the chickens of the day are there as well. It’s quite spectacular. Many of the colonial buildings survived and are restored as well.

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