The attention to detail and superior service make The Aerie one of the bast places to stay in New Bern, NC. Our rich history, central location, and modern amenities add to the romantic feel of our luxury inn.

Meet the Innkeepers

Keith is a native of New Orleans, and his father was a Marine, so he grew up a military brat, moving around the southeast, including a couple of years at Cherry Point, a short drive from New Bern. Dina was born and raised in Ontario, Canada and moved to the U.S. in 1997. The tale of how they met is an interesting one: despite living on the same street in Gulf Breeze, Florida in the late 90’s, their paths did not directly cross until 10 years later when they met in Denver, Colorado.

Prior to purchasing The Aerie, Keith worked in the Natural Foods industry, and traveled extensively across the southeast opening new stores for a Denver-based natural food retailer. Although Dina worked as a paralegal, her passion for cooking prompted her to attend culinary school at the Escoffier School for Culinary Arts. After graduation, she continued to work as a paralegal during the day, and in a kitchen at night.

In 2012, their busy lives led them to examine their priorities and what they really wanted to do. One conversation turned out to be life changing when they suddenly decided to live out one of their dreams and thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. They planned and prepared for almost a year and then thru-hiked the trail in 2013, not knowing where they would end up when they were finished. After their 2,186 mile hike, Keith returned to the Natural Food retailer for whom he had previously worked, and Dina went to work for a financial risk management company.

Dina’s family owned a bed and breakfast inn when she was in high school and she always dreamed she would have her own inn one day. Keith and Dina had talked for years about buying a B&B in their “semi-retirement” years. It seemed to be the perfect blend of their talents, allowing them to graciously host and creatively cook for guests. During their travels, they have stayed at a number of bed and breakfast inns and talked at length about what they liked and ideas that they would incorporate in their own place one day. When they saw The Aerie in February of 2017, they both knew they would be the proud new owners of this beautiful inn. In a whirlwind of activity, they sold their home in Denver and headed across country to New Bern, North Carolina to become innkeepers in April, 2017.

They have loved taking their collective travel experiences and feedback from their guests to create a luxury getaway. Their primary goal is to warmly welcome each of their guests into an inviting and relaxing space with all the modern amenities so they can fully enjoy their time in beautiful, historic, New Bern.

“We hope you’ll join us at The Aerie where they are committed to providing you with a welcoming, luxurious, and comfortable place that you can call home during your time in New Bern.”

Keith & Dina Tholen

The History of The Aerie

1882: The Samuel Street Home – 1985: The Aerie Bed & Breakfast

The Aerie is an historic site in North Carolina that has been called home by a justice of the peace and hotelier, a State Senator, a social worker, and tenants that included a WWII nurse, a cousin of the Wright Brothers who happened to share Orville’s name, and the son of Pepsi-Cola inventor Caleb Bradham!

The Street-Ward House is the historical name of this Victorian inn in New Bern, NC. Built by Samuel R. Street Jr. in 1882, who occupied the home until 1900. The Alfred D. Ward family resided here for the better part of the 20th century. The earliest map to show the house, dated 1888, shows it to have had a typical open one-story front porch in the position of the present enclosed two-story porch. The porch was enclosed in the mid-1920s and the second story porch was added. The three-sided bay windows, ornamented with pediment style hoods and apron panel are original features of the home.

As constructed for Street, the house followed a center-hall plan, which was altered during the 20th century by the removal of a partition wall between the staircase and parlor. The original double entrance doors (left), now obscured by the porch enclosure, still retain their handsome etched-glass panels. The two centrally positioned interior chimneys served fireplaces in the front and rear rooms on both floors. Several of the original Victorian mantels were replaced during the Ward ownership with interesting Federal-period mantels. Rising to the rear of the hall, the stairs have a massive turned and faceted newel, turned balusters and delicately sawn step-end brackets.

The Street Family of Craven County

Street Family YearsIn March of 1882, Samuel Rogers Street Jr. purchased the lot on Pollock and soon thereafter had his new two-story late-Victorian residence built. Ironically, he was the proprietor of New Bern’s famed Gaston House Hotel in the 1870s and had no way of knowing that over a hundred years later his home would become the luxury B&B hotel that it is today.

Street’s great-grandfather Nathaniel Street, as a young man in the 1770s operated the Maiden Lane boarding house in New York City for a time. Sometime before 1774, he and his wife Elizabeth moved to Craven County, settling first in the Swift Creek and Neuse River area where he was a merchant and a contractor. In 1823, Nathaniel owned and operated a store in New Bern that kept leading articles for family consumption, but in 1824, he fell dead in his store at age 74. He and his wife Elizabeth are buried in New Bern’s Cedar Grove Cemetery.

Nathaniel and his wife had six children. The second youngest, William Raymond Street (1789-1850) met a woman who shared his mother’s name. William and Elizabeth Street’s marriage produced seven sons; the eldest, Samuel Rogers Street (1815-1887) married Mary Dawson in 1833 and had ten children. Their eldest son, Samuel R. Street Jr., born in 1843, is the man that would later build the cross-gabled frame structure that we now know as The Aerie. After his years as proprietor of the Gaston House, Street served New Bern as a justice of the peace, a notary, and as a bonded auctioneer, with his office located on South Front Street. Living until 1922, he would reside in the house until 1900, when he sold it to Alfred D. Ward.

The Ward Family Years

Alfred Decatur Ward was a prominent attorney in New Bern, born in 1859. A former mayor of Kenansville and member of the State House of Representatives, Alfred Ward practiced law in New Bern for many years and was a member of the Board of Trustees of Wake Forest University for over forty years where he served for some time as its president. From 1913 to 1917 he served in the State Senate.

Married in 1890, Alfred and Carolina Farrior Ward purchased Samuel Street’s home in 1900. Of their six children, the eldest was Mary Pickett Ward who was educated in New Bern city schools, Peace College and the University of North Carolina. After she finished college following WWI, Mary went to China to spend time with friends of the Ward family. Mary’s mother passed away in 1933 and upon the death of her father in 1940, with her brothers and sisters married with homes of their own, the home on Pollock became her own. Living alone in a very large house she had it remodeled into a number of rental apartments with baths. Along with her neighbor and friend Miss Jane Stewart who was an interior decorator advising her on paint, wallpaper, draperies, and furniture arrangement, she made her reduced personal space into a very attractive apartment. She incorporated the art and furnishings that she had brought back from China as well as family pieces to make her home comfortable.

A caseworker in the Welfare Department, Mary rented the apartments out to locals and to service men and women who were stationed at Cherry Point. One such tenant, Ann Elliot, rented a room from Mary in 1944 and returned to The Aerie in 1995 to recount her memories of that time in the home’s history. One upstairs renter was a navy doctor named Orville Wright who was from Ohio and was a cousin to the famed brothers who flew at Kitty Hawk. The son of Caleb Bradham, the inventor of Pepsi-Cola, occupied the apartment attached to the rear upstairs for a period of time, now the Hidden Room.

Mary retired and lived in the home the rest of her life and when she passed on, the home was sold in 1979. For a while, a law firm used the building as their offices and it wasn’t until 1985 that it was renovated into a bed and breakfast. Michael and Marty Gunhus purchased the property in 2002 and again renovated large portions of the original bed and breakfast, in addition to opening the Guest House building across the street, which offers two additional suites, a corporate meeting facility, and event venue.

In April 2017, Keith and Dina Tholen became the new owners and innkeepers of The Aerie. The Tholen’s look forward to continuing The Aerie’s legacy of offering the New Bern, NC community and its visitors unparalleled hospitality and service.

Driving Directions

From I-40, follow HWY 70 East to New Bern. Stay in the right lane and continue to Exit 417 and enter Historic New Bern via the newly re-opened drawbridge. After crossing the drawbridge continue straight two intersections to Pollock Street. Turn left on Pollock Street and continue three and one-half blocks. The Aerie will be on your left at 509 Pollock Street. The drive entrance is on the left side of the inn as you face it.

Follow HWY 43 South through Vanceboro. At the “y” intersection of HWY 43 and HWY 17, take HWY 17 South and continue to the large 1.5 mile long bridge over the Neuse River. Take the Exit 417 off-ramp and cross the drawbridge into Historic New Bern. After crossing the drawbridge continue straight two intersections to Pollock Street. Turn left on Pollock Street and continue three and one-half blocks. The Aerie will be on your left at 509 Pollock Street. The drive entrance is on the left side of the inn as you face it.

Follow Highway 17 North to New Bern. Upon reaching New Bern city limits, continue to follow HWY 17 North (which is also Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd). Stay in the right lane and after passing WalMart and on your right side, enter the ramp for HWY 70 East. Continue on HWY 70 East and stay in the right lane. After crossing the Trent River Bridge take the Exit 417 off-ramp and cross the drawbridge into Historic New Bern. After crossing the drawbridge continue straight two intersections to Pollock Street. Turn left on Pollock Street and continue three and one-half blocks. The Aerie will be on your left at 509 Pollock Street. The drive entrance is on the left side of the inn as you face it.

Follow I-95 North to Smithfield, NC. From I-95 at Smithfield, take HWY 70 East to New Bern. Stay in the right lane and continue to Exit 417 and enter Historic New Bern via the newly re-opened drawbridge. After crossing the drawbridge continue straight two intersections to Pollock Street. Turn left on Pollock Street and continue three and one-half blocks. The Aerie will be on your left at 509 Pollock Street. The drive entrance is on the left side of the inn as you face it.

Follow I-95 South to NC HWY 64 at the Rocky Mount Exit. Take HWY 64 East to HWY 17 South (Williamston Exit). Continue South on HWY 17 and then cross the 1.5 mile long bridge over the Neuse River at the edge of Historic New Bern. Take the Exit 417 off-ramp and cross the drawbridge into Historic New Bern. After crossing the drawbridge continue straight two intersections to Pollock Street. Turn left on Pollock Street and continue three and one-half blocks. The Aerie will be on your left at 509 Pollock Street. The drive entrance is on the left side of the inn as you face it.

Exit the airport and turn left and travel approximately 0.5 miles to HWY 70. At the intersection turn left onto HWY 70 West. Take the Exit 417-A off-ramp and cross the drawbridge into Historic New Bern. After crossing the drawbridge continue straight two intersections to Pollock Street. Turn left on Pollock Street and continue three and one-half blocks. The Aerie will be on your left at 509 Pollock Street. The drive entrance is on the left side of the inn as you face it.

Follow HWY 70 West and then take the Exit 417-A off-ramp and cross the drawbridge into Historic New Bern. After crossing the drawbridge continue straight two intersections to Pollock Street. Turn left on Pollock Street and continue three and one-half blocks. The Aerie will be on your left at 509 Pollock Street. The drive entrance is on the left side of the inn as you face it.Please stop in the drive where the sign indicates and check-in. Our lighted, off-street parking area is located directly behind The Aerie.

Electric car charging station

Green Drivers

The Aerie Bed and Breakfast located in historic downtown New Bern is the first lodging property to offer free charging stations for its guests who are owners of electric or hybrid cars. The Tesla charging system installed at The Aerie has the unique charging connector needed by Tesla cars. Also provided is a second charging unit capable of providing a charge for any electric vehicle or EV.