The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #197


A reader thinks he recognizes an important landmark in this week’s photo:

It’s the Oh Shit Bridge!

Rather, the bridge in the far background, mostly hidden behind the similar-looking one, is the Naval Academy Bridge across the Severn that crosses from the Naval Academy and the town of Annapolis towards the Bay Bridge and the Eastern Shore. When you’re coming back from leave, the Academy comes into full view when you start crossing the bridge, hence its name among midshipmen, as in, “Oh shit, I’m almost back at the Naval Academy!” This photo has been taken further up the Severn, looking out towards the Chesapeake.


Bridge geek here. Older steel bascule bridge on the far left, AASHTO-type girders front and center on both the harbor bridge and the channel elevated bridge. Other than that I have no idea, so I am going to guess Pensacola, FL, since I am about 80% sure of this: it’s the South, we are looking west, and it’s not the Keys.

Another reader:

This sure looks like it could be the bridge from San Diego to Coronado. I’ve only been there once, actually a year ago this week, to stroll about the famous Hotel del Coronado with a dear friend, a woman I hadn’t seen in 52 years. It was great.

Another heads inland:

This is my first time submitting. This looks to be the boat dock in Decatur, Alabama located on the Tennessee River.  The bridge appears to be one I have crossed many times on my way to Interstate 65 via Decatur.

Or is it way up north?

The boats are parked at the Canarsie Pier in Brooklyn, NY, with the Belt Parkway in the background. If not, it sure looks a lot like it.

Another heads down Interstate 95 for a look at the boating scene:

The long, low bridge and types of boats shown here take my thoughts to southern Florida, perhaps south of Miami, or somewhere in the Keys. Sailboats, which can be demanding to operate even in the lightest weather conditions, are heavily outnumbered here by motor yachts. Those vessels bespeak an older population of owners: cautious, conservative, and comfortable, who may never even leave the harbor, but who enjoy the ambience of the marina and, from time to time, perhaps invite the boat owner on the other side of the dock to come have a tall one and shoot the breeze for a while. The chairs up on the main dock are very inviting.


This picture just reeks of the Southeastern US, but I can’t find any set of bridges that matches the configuration seen in the photo. Biloxi has plenty of casino hotel rooms to provide views of this sort, so that is my guess. I can’t wait to see what people came up with for tracking down boat registries.

Or sales listings, which we’ll get to. This reader gets the right state:

Looks like Morehead City, North Carolina, and in particular, a view from the waterfront Marriot.  Spent a weekend there last summer and traveled back in time – just a quaint, historic little piece of North Carolina.

Another reader, like the majority of our contestants this week, identifies the correct town and hotel:

This one came fairly quickly to me, as it definitely looked like a coastal area in the Carolinas.  I ruled out any areas in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina due to a lack of palmetto trees or marsh, so North Carolina came to mind.  The bridges help it determine that it’s New Bern, as there are several crossings of the Trent and Neuse Rivers, which meet at the point where historic New Bern was founded.  A beautiful and historic town!

The view is one towards the southeast and appears to be from the fourth floor of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel that was built in bicentennial park, overlooking a second story pool and the docks, which are angled acutely to the shore.

This is my first time entering into the event!

A local is also ecstatic:

Oh. My. God.  I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was to see this week’s VFYW.  It’s right in my home town of New Bern! I’m so giddy I can barely type this email.  I’ve never gotten closer than the country of a contest in the past, so imagine my surprise when I scrolled down your site and thought – holy shit, that’s where I live!  Somehow, I’ll find a way to lose this contest, I just know it.  Just know that someone in New Bern, North Carolina loves Andrew Sullivan (& Co.) and is a founding (and renewing) member and is more excited than he should be that he knows this week’s answer.

Well, now for some details.  This shot is out of the rear window of the main building of the Doubletree Inn, formerly the Hilton, formerly the Sheraton, overlooking the now privately-owned Marina.  Next door are some recently completed condos, making the hotel complex effectively three separate buildings.  Not bad for a town of about 30,000.  In the back, you can see the recently renovated cantilever bridge that caused a lot of controversy down here when it was built (long story).  The deck at the bottom left hosts live music events in the summer.

New Bern itself is the colonial capital of North Carolina, the sister city of Bern, Switzerland, and bearFlagcelebrated its 300th anniversary in 2010.  Out mascot is the bear. Go ahead and Google our former mayor Lee Bettis if you want some good laughs. The Marina sits at the confluence of the Trent and Neuse Rivers and today it is absolutely gorgeous here.  Ah, New Bern.  I can’t believe it!  I am nearly certain someone who doesn’t live here will also know the answer, will send you pictures of the window from which the picture was taken, complete with graphs and charts.  But I bet nobody else will tell you that they’ve had drinks at the table with the blue and white umbrella (I have), or that the last deck party at the hotel that they attended was two weeks before the birth of their first child (my wife got some disapproving looks that night).  So if I lose because someone gets more specific about the picture, so be it.  I’ll have a story to tell my kids.

By the way, New Bern got a shout-out in last night’s “Better Know A Disctrict”; evidently the town was featured in The Notebook. Another reader:

At first glance, I thought of Tampa Bay, but then switched to New Bern, NC. For such a tiny town, New Bern has an impressive array of bridges. The airport is small – the person who checks you in runs round the back and loads your bags, then checks your boarding pass at the gate. It’s also near the awesomely (and aptly) named Dismal Swamp. If it’s New Bern, the pic would probably have to be from the Bridge Point hotel, as I can’t think of another one directly on the water. That’s the extent of the research/trolling through my memory I’m willing to do given that it’s probably actually somewhere in China, and someone else will have hacked a NASA satellite to take a picture of the person currently occupying the correct room shaving in the bathroom mirror.

It was the structure at the base of the closest bridge that did it for me; it looks familiar:

New Bern Bridge

Many readers focused on the boats for clues:

My immediate gut reaction was Coronado, CA, but a quick check of Google Maps and Street View indicated that the bridge was wrong. My next thought was somewhere along the Florida keys; but it only took about 5 minutes of scrolling along US 1 in Google Earth to recall that the majority of the bridges in the keys were flat and not arched. I figured I best step back and really take in the clues.

My first thought was to check boat registrations on the two names that are easily visible – Carpe Diem and High Five, but there are just too many possibilities and it didn’t look like I could easily sort it out that way. The next step was to search on Neptune. That one boat in the foreground has several banners on it and then the Carpe Diem named boat next to it has one so it looked like it was a tour boat service of some sort.

I messed around with a couple of Google searches using Neptune boat tours and kept coming up with wine tours in San Fran. When I was searching for boat registrations for High Five, I noticed a bunch in the Virginia area and that got me thinking about the Chesapeake Bay. When I searched on “neptune boat chesapeake” I immediately go a hit on that logo and noticed the Trident shaped E matched the one in the photo – Bingo!

From there it was a quick search of the Neptune Yacht sales website to see that they’re in New Bern, NC. Just typing in New Bern, NC into Google Earth and you can immediately see the arched/curved bridge and the perpendicular one. X marks the target zone (and the marina):


Zooming in on the marina you can pretty quickly spot the pool and fence that shows up in the photo. Ximage-12 marks the fence and pool chairs that belong to the Double Tree/Hilton. The room clearly looks out over the pool, facing South East – the camera view is just slightly beyond the pool. The circle is the room, the line is the view, the X are the pool chairs. In the frame of the photo, you are just to the right of the fence line that returns towards the hotel so I think it’s that 5th window from the end. The question is which floor…

The view is relatively high up, but there are no signs of the balcony, which is only on the top/5th floor. My bet is therefore the window on the 4th floor, circled below:


Another has more on the boat:

Using the marina and landmarks in the distance, I’m guessing that the picture was taken from the seventh room from southwest corner of the south tower. According to a reviewer in Trip Advisor, the fifth floor is the only floor with walkout balconies, so this along with the angle leads me to believe the room was on the third floor.

As an aside for the nautically interested, the sailboat “Carpe Diem” in the middle of the marina, is a well maintained 1995 Beneteau Oceanis 400 for sale and recently reduced to $98,900:


If anyone’s interested in buying the boat, several admiring readers passed along the link. Another:

I know people usually name the room number, but I have NO idea how they do that. So … let’s go with room 302, which might instead be numbered 319, 332, or 339, depending on how rooms are numbered on the floor plan. Or maybe 303/318/333/338???

You’ve won my dad’s interest in this contest. So we’ll be doing these together now, and since he did the legwork on the city, he’ll get the book if we win this time.

You two were close! Many readers guessed correctly this week, but nobody picked the right room number, not even Chini. Here is a composite of many of the (incorrect) window choices this week:


Of the few people who guessed the correct window, the following reader had the most previous correct guesses without a win, so he gets the prize this week:

First thing that popped into my head this week was “Tampa Bay.” A quick map check showed that was not right, but it seemed something along the intra-coastal waterway or maybe up the east coast of the US. Once I figured out the configuration of the bridges – with three distinct spans at the right side of the picture – I spent some time panning around maps looking for them. No luck.

neptuneNext I decided to search on the names I could see on the boats. Do you know how many different boat-related enterprises use the word “Neptune”? Do you know how many people name their boats “Carpe Diem”? Finally I stumbled across the logo of Neptune Yacht Sales and Service of New Bern, NC, which looked like a match.

And there it was, the New Bern DoubleTree, overlooking the marina and the bridges. I found a picture from 2005 with a similar scene; there is a drawbridge span that has clearly been replaced since then. Going to Street View and looking back from the structure at the north end of the bridge – probably a drawbridge control room – gave me a line to the room. Street View also had a picture taken at the back of the hotel which shows the same two Neptune boats and the back of the hotel. Looking at the angle I guessed it was the third floor, and based on the overhead I figured fourth window over from the right.


I got last week’s hotel right but miscounted the floors, missing the correct window by one. Hoping I am a little more accurate this time.

Accurate enough for a big win. From the original submitter:

This picture was taken on February 17, 2014, from the window of my hotel room (#307) at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel in New Bern, North Carolina. I believe it was the 4th window from the center of the hotel (the hinge or bend), on the 3rd floor, behind the top of the tree on the left. A sleuth can discern that the scene is in New Bern by the several banners advertising Neptune Yacht Sales, a business located in New Bern.