Settled in 1710 by Swiss and Palatine German immigrants lead by Baron Christoph Degraffenried, New Bern is the second oldest town in North Carolina. The new colonists named the settlement after Bern, the capital of Switzerland, the hometown of their leader and the first animal they came across…a bear! “Bern” is the old Germanic word for “bear”. To this day the Bear, stands as a symbol for this charming river side city. Steeped in history, the Colonial Capital of NC combines unique shops, clothing boutiques, galleries and waterfront dining in a thriving and walkable downtown. Add to that the convenience of a regional airport (EWN) and a five-star hospital, thriving arts community, national retail stores and shopping centers, golf and healthcare specialist thus making New Bern a regional center in coastal North Carolina.