Bayboro Launch Field Lodging

The motel of choice in New Bern is currently the BridgePointe Hotel and Marina, located at 101 Howell Road, New Bern, NC 28562. This is a very comfortable and well-maintained place with a decent free “continental breakfast” in the mornings. They allow pets, but check out the pet policy online at their website ( They are located right on the river-front just adjacent those big bridges going over the Neuse River and within walking distance of an Outback Steakhouse.

877-283-7713 for reservations

In past years, they have refused to make reservations for Saturday night only on the weekend of the Chrysanthemum Festival. You have to pay for both Friday and Saturday night if you want to stay on that weekend. On those weekends I have stayed at the Days Inn in Havelock, which is about one hour away from the field and a few grades above a dump. I have tried to avoid scheduling launches on the same weekend as Chrysanthemum Festival.

Other, slightly more expensive hotel/motels in the vicinity include Comfort Suites on US 70, a little east of New Bern, but still quite close. Apparently, this building used to house a Best Western, maybe 2 years ago. 252-649-1717

Also, South along NC 17, towards Wilmington, there is a Springhill Suites that looks very nice on line. 252-637-0017

Some Optional Reading: Finding hotel/motel accommodations in New Bern has been a long journey, with a lot of backtracking along the way. Starting in 2007, we found a motel (which I think was a Comfort Inn) which resembled the places we had been accustomed to staying in Rocky Mount and Orangeburg inexpensive and of the older down-and-out design, each room with its own external door. This is the most congenial arrangement for rocket people who want to work on rockets on Saturday night, without having to carry large objects through the lobby. After two years, that motel was bulldozed to make room for a modern motel, and we went looking again. Accommodations are a lot more expensive in New Bern than in Rocky Mount or Orangeburg, mainly because they cater to the tourist crowd and not much of the traveler crowd. Before finally settling on the Bridgepointe Hotel and Marina {because, really, where are you going to park your yacht in Rocky Mount, right} we checked out some really low-rent dives. I actually stayed a couple of times in a dump called the Palace Motel, on the east end of MLK Parkway. $60 a night for the dirtiest motel I have ever stayed in. The phone system in that part of town was never maintained all that well, and on rainy days a call to the Palace for reservations would connect you to a person who was REALLY tired of being called by people with business for the Palace and would curse you on the phone for calling. By contrast, the Days Inn in Orangeburg is a perfectly decent budget motel, clean, towels thick enough so that you can’t see through them, and very friendly staff who actually remember me by my voice when I call for reservation. Less than $50 a night for rocket club members. We actually checked out a motel in Bridgeton, just north of the river from New Bern, that was clearly worse than the Palace. They did not take reservations, they did not maintain any non-smoking rooms, and the cleanest room they had to show us smelled of urine. As we stood in the parking lot, we looked into the swimming pool, and found it so overgrown with algae that it was impossible to see more than a few inches into the water. Vague, unseen life forms would occasionally roil the surface of the water and release bubbles of fetid gas from the depths. It was a horror.

Long story short: The Bridgepointe is the best you are going to do price-wise, in a place you would actually want to stay in.

-Alan Whitmore, Prefect