This elegant reconstructed 1770 Georgian building was the colonial capitol and originally the home of Royal Governor William Tryon. The palace burned to the ground in 1798, and it wasn't until 1952 that a seven-year, $3.5-million effort to rebuild it took place. Today only the stable and one basement wall are original, and the foundation has been restored to its original footprint. Everything else has been reconstructed from architectural plans, maps, and letters; and the palace is furnished with English and American antiques corresponding to Governor Tyron's inventory. Additionally, 85 percent of the books in the library are the same titles as those that were there 200 years ago. The stately John Wright Stanly House (circa 1783), the George W. Dixon House (circa 1830), the Robert Hay House (circa 1805), and the New Bern Academy (circa 1809) are also part of the 13-acre Tryon Palace complex. You can also stroll through the 18th-century-style formal gardens,
which bloom year-round but are especially popular during spring tulip and fall mum seasons. The complex's 60,000-square-foot North Carolina History Center contains two museums providing interactive displays that trace the history of New Bern and the central North Carolina coast. Concerts, lectures, and theater performances also are staged there.