Thursday, May 24, 2012

Carolina In the Morning

En Route, The Neuse River
35 02.02 N 076 58.27 W

Last night we sat in the cockpit chatting with George and Carol from Traumeri. I noticed that the topic of conversation drifted to the "luxury" amenities offered by various places that boaters frequent. By "luxuries" I mean things like coin laundry rooms without long waiting lines. Well, the New Bern Grand Marina is near the top of our list. I thought it might be fun to list them.
  • Access to family and friends.  This one is kind of personal.  We really appreciate the ability to visit with Dave and Cathy and to see Nick at Fort Bragg.  We also have several friends in the area that we enjoy visiting.
  • First rate docks.  This is a big marina with more than two miles of docks by linear measure.  The floating docks are well founded and stable.   Water & electric services are great. Pumpouts are free. The area also seemed to be very safe and secure, day and night.
  • Great rates.  We paid only $272 for a month in one of those nice slips.  That's less than we pay for a mooring in Vero and Marathon.  
  • Electric use is metered.  We used 21 kWh costing $3.23 in 24 days.  Tsk tsk how wasteful, we usually use only 0.6 kWh per day; here we cranked up the refrigerator, we used lights and the computer longer hours, and I used power tools for projects.  All that increased our consumption to more than 0.8 kWh/day.  That felt very decadent.  (My friend Walt says, "Heck, my wireless router uses more than that.")  

    By the way, we left our 50w solar panel on all the time, and it probably produced 50% or more of our electric use.  The 21 kWh was use over and above solar panel generation. I can use that number to properly size an expansion of our solar panel capacity.
  • Great facilities.  The marina is integrated with the Double Tree Hilton hotel.  Marina guests use the hotel facilities.   Luxury bathrooms finished in marble.  Great showers, very clean.  Free newspaper and Starbucks coffee in the morning.  An adequate laundry and sailors lounge.  Great WiFi.  Use of the hotel van.  We didn't ask but we may have been able to use the hotel pool and exercise room.
  • Active location.  The hotel, the next door convention center and the adjacent New Bern downtown buzz with interesting activities and events.   Even more than Burlington, Vermont.
  • Neat stores and restaurants downtown.  So many downtowns in the USA today look like ghost towns.  Not so here in New Bern.   The number of art galleries and stores and their quality are amazing.
  • Nearby shopping.  Just 15 minutes away by bicycle is a Walmart, Harris Teeter supermarket, Waffle House, and just about any other store.
  • History.  We watched a civil war reenactment once in New Bern.  We've also taken our guests to tour Tryon Palace just 300 meters away.   That tour, by the way, is very educational.
  • Beautiful river setting.   It is very pretty looking out over the river at night.  We tied up next to the railroad bridge, but that didn't spoil things.  Indeed, watching the RR workers working at glacial speed, and the trains going by slower than a man's walking pace were great entertainment.
  • Day/overnight sailing.  Any time the weather looks nice, just cast off the lines and go for a day sail on the Neuse River.  It's a great place to sail.  If you don't make it back before dark, just drop the hook almost anywhere in the river and spend the night.
  • Great weather.  We haven't been here in mid Winter or Summer, but in the spring and fall, the weather is very pleasant.   Especially the mornings.  Remember the song, "Nothing Could Be Finer than to Be in Carolina in the Morning?"   Well, it's true. I liked to do my chores and activites in the mornings.  After lunch and a nap, when it started to get really warm, I would retreat to the air conditioned sailor's lounge until suppertime when things cool off again.   This year we saw no mayflies, and hardly any flies or mosquitoes.
  • Fun people.  There were not too many cruisers this year.  The marina was full of local boats temporarily displaced from their home marinas by fire or Hurricane Irene.  However, we did get to meet a number of interesting local sailors around the docks.
What't not to like?

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