Located in the heartland of North Carolina, Winston-Salem is a manufacturing city and a college town (home to Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem University and Salem College) with a past that includes the Moravians and tobacco. There are plenty of historic stops, art galleries and unique restaurants to visit.
Salem was founded by the Moravians, descendants of an early Protestant denomination in Moravia, now the Czech Republic, who fled persecution for the United States. The group held the land for many years until Salem and a neighboring town, Winston, gradually grew together and joined in 1913. The Winston-Salem tobacco market opened in 1872 and R.J. Reynolds built his first factory in Winston several years later.
Old Salem, a preserved Moravian village, is a state park. Sites to see include Winkler Bakery (baker of the famous wafer-thin Moravian spice cookies), Salem Tavern where you can dine on colonial fare, the print shop and other authentically restored buildings. Purchasing admission allows visitors to see the Boys' School, a shoemaker shop and the Tavern Museum-Barn where costumed interpreters detail history. Three museums are also on site. Carriage tours of Old Salem are available.
Bethabara Park, site of the first Moravian settlement in the state, is also open for touring. Once the chief trading center of the state, today the 175-acre park includes ruins, restored homes and a 1788 congregation house.
Reynolda House Museum of American Art, set in a former tobacco baron's home, presents American paintings from the 18th century to the present. A grouping of restaurants and shops called Reynolda Village is also on the grounds. Nearby, visit Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery and Shop to view and purchase the work of Southeastern craftspeople.
Outdoor recreation includes a visit to Tanglewood Park, home to two 18-hole championship Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed golf courses. The park also features tennis, horseback riding, paddle boating and hiking. Or head to Ernie Shore Field to watch the Winston-Salem Warthogs play single-A baseball.
Accommodations range from small motels to major hotels such as the Adams Mark Winston Plaza Hotel. Dining options include casual, all the chain restaurants and unique spots such as The Filling Station, located in an old renovated gas station, with fireside tables and a heated winter patio. Nightlife ranges from folk music to karaoke to Thea's House of Blues & Jazz.
Winston-Salem is located in central North Carolina, roughly two hours northwest of Raleigh, NC off I-40 W.