bridge to Old Salem featuring the famous Moravian stars
It is Wednesday! And I have decided to call it the ‘wanderlust Wednesday’ since today’s post is going to be about my impromptu trip to Winston Salem one of the Saturdays in November. Usually I am a bit of a planner when it comes to trips – I like to make sure everything’s somewhat planned and that I have an idea what to expect during travel. Typically, I would do some research in advance via google, blogs, and travel books to pencil down the destinations and restaurants I am interested to try. Winston Salem wasn’t one of those trips though. It was one random decision made on one of the Saturday mornings… and then off we went without a solid plan in mind! The experience taught me sometimes for short distance day trip, plan-less exploration might actually lead to unexpected discoveries and fun 😉
Winston Salem is known as the birth place of yummy donuts Krispy Kreme!!! However, (unfortunately) I didn’t get a chance to stop by a Krispy Kreme store that day… Luckily Winston Salem isn’t all that far away, so I definitely plan to re-visit another time to properly enjoy an original glazed donut and explore the other parts of the city I didn’t have a chance to see this time.
Old Salem is the first stop of the trip. Remember to stop by the visitor center first to purchase your ticket before heading to Old Salem area. It is possible to visit Old Salem without the ticket, but that means you’ll be losing some fun checking out the historical Moravian communities and sites. For ticket information please click here. Notice there’s a small discount given if you have AAA membership, so be sure to present your AAA card to the counter! A lot of people went with the $23 all-in-one ticket, but I wasn’t feeling all that enthusiastic to see all of the sites, I went with the $15 two-stop ticket, and based on the staff’s recommendation I decided to see the Salem Tavern where George Washington stayed for 2 nights during his Southern tour in 1791, and the Single Brother’s House where the unmarried men of the Moravian congregation of Salem would stay to learn some kind of trade, skill, or business to help support himself.
This is the back view of the Salem Tavern. To enter the building for a self-guided tour, you’d have to go from the front of the building, and usually there will be someone dressed in Moravian style costume to give you a short intro to help you understand the significance of the site. Don’t be shy to ask them questions! Some of them are quite knowledgable. You never know what you’ll find and learn on these kind of historical tours 🙂
The tavern was much smaller than I had expected. Although we do not know which room George Washington stayed in 1791, it was fun to check out the different rooms they offered at the tavern. Surprisingly, the beds are very small and narrow, and it was not strange (actually very normal) for 2 or 3 strangers to share one room (not sure how I’d feel about that! Though it wasn’t even common for female to travel at the time…). First and second floor are the manager’s room / office, gentleman’s corner for card games and social, and rooms. Underground would lead to the kitchen area, and the farm where the animals and horses would stay. To be honest there was nothing dazzling about the tavern other than the fact that George Washington once walked and stayed at the same place we are walking now for 2 nights! I suppose just that would already make it very extremely special?
Before heading to the Single Brother’s House I stopped by some of the arts and crafts store on the street. You can find a ton of Moravian star decorations in the store. But unfortunately, I didn’t find anything authentic enough to buy as souvenir. It was still fun to look at the products but I have a feeling one can easily find the same things at the mall or even… Target.
I didn’t take a photo of the Single Brother’s House. But it basically is an old style school with a main hall where the boys would sing, meet, and worship, and a bunch of different rooms designed for different skills / trades. For example, woodcraft, pottery, music, making shoes, etc.
Originally wanted to try the Salem Tavern but the wait was ridiculously long. Before ending the Old Salem tour, decided to stop by the bakery to see what they have to offer.
Surprisingly, they are still baking using the stove from the old days! It was an awesome discovery I’ll never forget – and of course, I had to purchase the sugar cake because it smelled so good and I was starving at the time. Too bad the cake I got wasn’t freshly out of the stove, but it still tasted pretty good. Brown sugar and cinnamon spice. I found a nice bench by the Salem College and enjoyed it while watching the visitors, students of the college, and horse carriages passed by me. Autumn delight!
Thanks to Yelp’s recommendation, went to a dumpling place at the Reynolda Village & Shops. It was an interesting experience as the store owner plays a lot of Cantonese and Chinese songs I could recognize! Food was okay and super cheap. The Reynolda Village & Shops kind of reminds me of the Biltmore Village. Not your typical shopping plaza because all the stores were very spread out.
Before going to the Reynolda Village for dumplings, I could see Wake Forest University close by, and also ran into a few Wake Forest students at the dumpling place, but little did I know I could discover a secret path from the village that takes you directly into the campus! It was great fun walking around the campus – very pretty buildings, and I overheard from some students apparently it’s also very famous for leaf peeping in October (maybe next year? 😉 )
Felt like back in the college days holding a cup of Starbucks hot chocolate walking around the campus, seeing things, people, and buildings. I enjoyed the experience a lot and got to take some lovely photos. I don’t think this is the college for me (UCSB go!) because it’s so nice and quiet, secluded from everything else, but sure is a wonderful place to visit. Quaint and peaceful. I would love to come back again another time… Maybe next Fall like the students said?
Concluded Wake Forest campus tour by going to the obligatory bookstore to look at their school gears and products. Loved their gold and black color combination for sure. Actually saw a tote I liked but hesitated to get at the time… (it’s not a Wake Forest product actually :P) Now kind of regret it because it was a good deal and I couldn’t find it online anymore. Oh well, there’s always next time and another excuse to visit!
By now you should know why I didn’t have Krispy Kreme… because ended up getting the sugar cake at Old Salem that was truly memorable. Can’t have too much sugar in one day!!
Ending the post with a beautifully decorated gold & black Christmas tree found at one of the student bookstores. Kind of reminds me of Harry Potter. Yeah?
It’s probably one of my favorite trips thus far living in the Queen city. The atmosphere was great, the trip was awesome, and the weather was lovely – not too cold and beautiful sunshine throughout the day.
How do you usually plan your travels? Are you a bit of a planner like me, or do you prefer to just go with your gut feeling? Whichever style you are… you ought to try the other way for the experience – because you never know what you’d get out of it 🙂