Tryon Palace, built in 1770 by Royal Governor William Tryon, was known at the time as one of the most beautiful buildings in America. After its use as both a Colonial and a state capitol, the palace fell into disrepair. The main building burned in 1798 and the kitchen office was dismantled in the early nineteenth century. When reconstruction was undertaken in the 1950s, only the stables remained standing. The palace now houses an outstanding collection of antiques and art, and the grounds are devoted to extensive landscaping, ranging from English formal gardens and a kitchen garden to wilderness garden areas.
With the opening of the North Carolina History Center, the Tryon Palace experience reorganized into four sections, including the Governor's Palace, North Carolina History Center, Gardens and Landscapes, and Historic Homes.
The main palace complex is the original showpiece; the gardens are a separate option. Historic Homes include the John Wright Stanly House (1783) on George Street, the George W. Dixon House (1828) on Pollock Street and the Robert Hay House (1810) on Eden Street, which is only open for special events and tours. The Stanly home, originally on New Street and moved to its present location in the 1960s, was built by a Revolutionary War patriot. George Washington stayed in this house for two nights in 1791. The Dixon House is a prominent Federal-style home noted for its rare neoclassical antiques. The restoration of the 1810 Robert Hay House on Eden Street is an accurate reflection of the lifestyle technology of its period.
Palace tours take place daily, with special tours added during the Christmas season. Annual events at the palace include the colorful Colonial Christmas and candlelight tours in December, Gardener's Weekend during New Bern's Historic Homes and Gardens Tour in the spring, and the July Independence Day Celebration. The African-American Lecture Series runs monthly throughout the year.
The palace's Museum Store, which is located in the North Carolina History Center, has a wide variety of historical items, as well as pottery, gardening supplies and more.
The palace is open year round from 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The palace is closed on Thanksgiving Day, December 24 through 26 and New Year's Day.
General admission varies with package selected and active-duty military families get a discount. Children in kindergarten or younger get in free. For specific tour price information or group reservations, call the numbers above. The historic sites and gardens are partially equipped for disabled visitors.
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