Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Downtown New Bern for the Day

Yesterday I took Julia to New Bern to see some sites. I guess you'd call it an Art Field Trip. Our main destination was New Bern ArtWorks, a gallery with a guest exhibit of 1000 Porcelain Eggs. They had an Art Walk on Friday, and I heard about it. Wish we'd gone to the Art Walk, but I'm "a day late and a dollar short," as they say. Here's a photo of the eggs, from upstairs:
The gallery is located in the old Baxter Jewelry Store building. The height of the room, the skylight, the old wood -- all contribute to a calm, pensive atmosphere, perfect for roaming and viewing the art. They have everything from jewelry to clay, all from regional artists.
Another shot of the eggs. They were fascinating -- some "burst open," others with holes or zigzag scoring. Luscious colors and glazes.
They've kept the old jewelry store safe, where I suppose they stored their diamonds?

I love the light fixtures, really massive lamp shades. The man there was very helpful and let me take all the pictures I wanted. Julia and I visited the artists' studios upstairs and saw their works in progress, their paint brushes and easels. All of this is, of course, inspiring for her, a budding artist.
Julia stands among the eggs.
This was in the gallery's bathroom window. Leave it to a bunch of artists to ensure that even the bathroom is a place of quiet inspiration and beauty.
A few doors down we found this plaque. Oddly, when we lived in Mississippi we were near the birthplace of Coca-Cola.
This is the little pharmacy where the beverage was first served. It was then called "Brad's Drink."
We happened across this old restaurant, The Harvey Mansion House. I ate here with my parents when I was 17. I had a crab cake, and loved it. Here, my mother saw a paint color on all the trim in the house. She came back home and began painting absolutely everything "Williamsburg Blue" (actually a rather putrid muddy green, in my opinion). Right now, I'm glancing over at a little table I have, still painted that color from all those years ago. Thank you, Harvey Mansion House!
We enjoyed strolling the grounds of Christ Episcopal Church. What a lovely old place, founded in 1715. Live oaks and Spanish moss. A little history lesson on this school day.
A smattering of very old gravestones were in the churchyard.

The streets have old bricks, comfortable iron benches, wrought iron fences and pretty globed street lights.
The Cow Cafe! If you're ever in New Bern, you must go! I do believe they serve the best ice cream I've ever tasted. Very creamy (must have a high butter fat rating), full of nuts and chocolate chunks. Julia and I both got a waffle cone with two Extremely Large scoops of ice cream. (Next time I'll get one scoop!) Our total was $8.73, which I thought was rather good compared to other shops with poor quality ice cream. Oh my. The chocolate coffee stuff on the bottom - yummers.
Julia chose Death By Chocolate and Heath Bar Crunch.
We'd planned to see The Bank of the Arts, another gallery in an old bank building, but it was closed, so we'll go another day. We stopped in an art store and bought some watercolor paper and a tiny canvas for Julia (her first!). Then we drove to the Point Park by the river, so Julia could draw.
I crocheted. See that cute bag? I scored that at the local thrift store for 50¢. It has so many inner pockets -- perfect for tucking away handwork items like scissors, hooks, and tape measures.
The river was choppy and the ducks were in and out. Julia chased them.
Then she sat up on the big wall overlooking the river and drew some more while I finished my crochet. The allure of homeschooling is demonstrated in days like this: a spontaneous day trip full of adventure. No permission slips, no complicated carpooling. We left when we wanted, and returned when we wanted. She was so happy all day. I can fine-tune a trip to perfectly suit my child's interests, and thus really enhance her education in very particular ways. This year, I decided early that I want to allow her to focus on developing her love of art, to see herself as an artist.
Do we miss the "socialization" of a classroom? The snarky meanness of middle school girls? The bullying or crassness of some boys? The endless waiting upon other students? The loneliness of being with 20 other kids and not having a friend, while they all do? No, we don't miss any of that. Julia is beautifully socialized; she interacts maturely and pleasantly with everyone she meets. Well, except maybe the dog. Haha!!
We may return to a school classroom someday, or we may not. But not this year. This year we are enjoying ourselves too much! Other field trips I'd like to take this year: Fort Macon, Beaufort, the aquarium, Kitty Hawk -- oh, I hope we can get there!


  1. Just wonderful! If I never get to that gallery -- and with such a display of eggs such as I've never seen, I will put it on my wish list -- it will be o.k., because I've strolled around the whole town with you and Julia and enjoyed what you aptly termed a good example of a home school day. (sigh) The last photo is a fitting end to the account. Thanks!

  2. Your school sounds heavenly to me. Just today a former student was looking sad and sure enough, some girls have been very mean to her. Our little Birdie had a negative encounter with another kindergarten student today. Of course that made Granny Bear cross. Sigh.
    Julia is VERY blessed.


Hello! I hope you leave a word ~ I will get back to it as soon as I can!