New Bern: A vintage town bursting with antiques and uniques

There are two things that go hand in hand: historic towns and antiques.

That’s certainly the case in New Bern, North Carolina. Coming up on its 310th year, New Bern is the second oldest city in North Carolina. Heirlooms abound and go back many generations.

Sometimes these heirlooms find their way into the many antique stores sprinkled across this riverfront town at the intersection of U.S. highways 70 and 17, an hour’s drive from the coast and a two-hour drive from Raleigh.

For anyone interested in shopping for antiques, pound for pound, few places are better than New Bern.

In the 1700s, New Bern was a leading city in North Carolina. It was a destination on the King’s Highway from Boston to Charleston in the mid-1700s. It was the last colonial capital of North Carolina before the Revolutionary War, and the first state capital after.

Pepsi Cola was first formulated in a corner drug store in downtown New Bern, so don’t be surprised if you find a lot of old Pepsi memorabilia in New Bern antique stores and malls.

Here are some of the best places to find antiques in New Bern.

New Berne Antiques & Collectibles Mall

1000 Greenleaf Cemetery Road, New Bern (252) 637-0206

Antiques and Collectibles Mall has 12,500 square feet of display space filled with a diverse selection of quality antiques and vintage collectibles from Depression glass, fine glassware, jewelry, silver, Coke, Pepsi, Star Wars, furniture and other high-end items in all price ranges. They take pride in describing and displaying their items honestly. The mall has been in business for more than 15 years.

Black Swan Flea Market

1310 Broad St, New Bern

Irene Magness is the proprietor of Black Swan Flea Market, an antique treasure trove spread throughout one vintage house and spilling over into a neighboring house off downtown. The store includes coins, kitchenware and china, paintings, photographs, antique frames, clocks, lamps, crystal ware, furniture, decorative items, rugs, oriental furnishings, dolls, handmade crafts, stained glass, vinyl records, jewelry, and a number of other unique and fashionable items.

Dirty Barn Vintage

317 Pollock Street, New Bern (252) 269-3454

Specializing in vintage clothes and furniture, Dirty Barn Vintage is located behind Carolina Creations off Pollock Street. Their superpower is finding the unique and bringing it to the public, and taking something that once was and putting life back into a forgotten piece.

 Franklin’s Antique Mall

215 East Front Street, New Bern (252) 244-0878 

Franklin’s Antique Mall opened in 2015 after relocating from Vanceboro, N.C. where the store had been for over five years. With over 50 vendors spread out over 10,000 square feet of floorspace, Franklin’s Antique Mall has a wide variety of antique furniture, kitchenware, nautical, trains, architectural, medical, bottles, cast iron, military, Civil War items, North Carolina pottery, primitives, antique tools, cast iron cookware, quilts, collectibles and more.

JL Kirkman’s Antique Mall

1198 US-17, New Bern (Bridgeton) (252) 636-1855 

Voted Readers’ Choice for best antique mall in New Bern multiple times, JL Kirkman’s Antique Mall is family owned and operated for more than 18 years. From antiques to uniques, you can spend hours walking through the 10,000 square foot showroom

Middle St. Antiques

221 Middle St, New Bern (252) 633-4876 

Middle Street Antiques is a mix of contemporary décor, popular antiques and even a few Elvis statues. There is furniture, lights, planters and urns, and plenty of coastal NC antiques.

Poor Charlie’s

208 Hancock St., New Bern (252) 672-0208 

A veteran owned business, Poor Charlie’s is located inside a historic warehouse with 4,000 square feet featuring fine antiques, collectibles, heirloom jewelry, glassware, household items and more. Stop by the New Bern Farmer’s Market while you’re there – it’s right across the street.

Samantha’s Westside Market

4109 Doctor M.L.K. Jr Blvd. (252) 636-1855

Samantha’s Westside Market is an upscale yet affordable retail marketplace featuring local, trendy, mid-century, artisan, vintage, farmhouse, antique and gathered goods. They offer 30,000 square feet of display space filled with boutique clothing and accessories, new and quality pre-owned furniture, home decor, gifts, and one-of-a-kind finds.

Bern Curiosity Shop

504 South Front St., New Bern (252) 633-4991

Formerly located off Trent Road near Kitchen on Trent restaurant, Bern Curiosity Shop relocated to a storefront on South Front Street across from the North Carolina History Center. It features a sizable selection of antiques, art and collectibles.

Tom’s Coins & Antiques

244 Middle Street, New Bern (252) 633-0615

Tom’s Coins & Antiques is known for its coin collection that spans centuries and changes on a regular basis. The store is a must-see for shoppers looking for truly unique, historic and one-of-a-kind treasures that simply can’t be found anywhere else.