…which is much different than a Western Pioneer fix! 😉 While we were family camping at Tanglewood RV park, we were located nice and close to Winston-Salem; this gave us a great chance to explore the area! We drove in one day to see their downtown area. Our first stop before heading to Old Salem was at their unique Visitor’s Center; we picked up brochures on popular attractions, and asked the friendly staff questions to help us identify where we wanted to go in the city.
While we were in the downtown area, we went to Old Salem Museums & Gardens, which is just a few blocks from the visitor’s center. Old Salem reminds me of Williamsburg (but MUCH less expensive 😉 )…there was a lovely visitor’s center…
complete with 2 different gift shops, a few informational exhibits, and a cute treat shop. The staff was very helpful, and gave us hints on what to be sure to see, and pointed out stops on the walking route that might be easy to miss.
We were given a couple of paper maps that had tips on what each building was, and made it easier to choose our route to make sure that we didn’t miss anything… After leaving the visitor’s center, we crossed the nearby main road by walking across an old-fashioned, wooden, covered, pedestrian bridge to get to the Frank L. Horton Museum Center. The center offers a gift shop, and guided tours through the musuem (check for restrictions at main visitor center, or call for details as tours sometimes fill up; tours last about 45 min, no photography). You can walk the streets of Old Salem without a ticket, but you cannot enter the museum buildings (includes all buildings that are part of OS with the exception of the visitor’s center) without one. Tickets admit you to the 14 museum buildings that are open to the public, and staffed with costumed reenactors who will tell you about their ‘job’ at that location.
One of our favorites was the Timothy Vogler Gunsmith Shop, where we spoke with 2 gunsmiths, including Timothy Vogler himself. 😉 The gunshop is run circa 1831, and is one of the earliest gunsmith shops remaining in the US!
We got a informative talk from ‘Timothy’ (who is a gunsmith irl), and he told the kids all sorts of interesting info about running a gunsmith/blacksmith shop in 1831; he also asked the kids if they had any questions, and told my pro-gun patriots some interesting facts about the firearms of the time! We learned that he made mostly guns, and coffee and meat grinders. A gunsmith could make 12 to 20 guns per year, and a plain gun would cost about 1/3 of a year’s wages for an average laborer! Then it was up the street to the Salem Tavern, including the 1835 tavern barn,
(back view of the tavern…) I love big old brick buildings like this!… Inside the tavern were 3 reenactors, who told us the reason for the tavern. This area was settled by Moravians (in fact, the Moravians founded Winston in 1766!), and this tavern was for housing travelers/visitors that were not of the Moravian faith (believers were hosted by Moravian families). The tavern is shown as it would have been in 1791 – the year that George Washington visited the area and stayed at the inn!!! This is most likely the room he slept in as it is the only private room in the tavern…We got a tour of the main floor, the second floor where the dining and sleeping rooms were (you would rent HALF a bed, so you would probably end up snoozing next to someone you didn’t even know! very common for the timeframe), and the cellar. We then went outside and entered the kitchen. Such an interesting place, and we were told all about the many activities that would have happened in the kitchen area…
Next we walked by the quaint restaurant that is located next door. It seemed to be a popular place to eat, and the staff were very friendly… Intermixed between museum buildings are private residences/businesses, which are maintained to fit in with the historic theme of Old Salem.
This location was my favorite; the Single Brother’s House, circa 1769-1786 Inside were 4 re-enactors (at busier times in the season, there are even more) who showed us various areas in the house. This woman was so informative! She gave us the inside scoop on the Movarian culture, and it was incredibly intriguing!!! I won’t go into all the details, but I sure had fun asking her questions about it and found their history, beliefs, and convictions fascinating. We learned the signification of the different colors of ribbon that are used to tie a Moravian woman’s bonnet, and found ourselves checking out each reenactor’s bonnet, and remarking on it! LOL! Inside the house are many shops that were once run by the single Moravian men, including (among others) a joiners shop (woodworking), tailor, blue dyers shop (dying wool), and a pottery workshop.
You can tour the main floor, and the basement (which is below street level in front). The left side of the house was built in 1769; you can tell it is older by the timber framing. The right side of the house was added on in 1786…
We visited the Miksch House, and it’s gardens and baker’s oven out back. The garden was just being planted, and we found it interesting that one of the rows had smallish dead branches stuck in the ground in a line. We asked about it, and learned that the branches were cuttings off of various garden fruit trees, and were placed there for the peas to climb as they grew. The interesting thing about it was that the gardener told us that the cuttings are not dead; they will bloom beautifully as the peas climb them, but they will not take root in the soil!!! …really makes me want to try that! LOL!
The next door private residence. I love the timber framing – so much character!
The headstones are laid in neat lines, each one identical to all the others in recognition of the equality of the dead in God’s eyes. There is no distinction between rich or poor, black or white. Men and women are buried in separate sections of the cemetery, as are children, and they are buried in order of death.
We got so into our tours of Old Salem, that we didn’t watch the time, and missed out on visiting the home Moravian Church before it closed, and a few other of the museum locations (like the Dr’s house, fire engine house…).
Touring Old Salem takes a MINIMUM of 3 hours (much longer if you ‘get into’ stops like this, or take the museum tour!)
While we were walking Old Salem, we found the original site of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, which was founded here in Salem. Nothing exists of the shop anymore, but there is a plaque (located in the lot next to the Miksch house)…
We had such a fun visit, going back in time at Old Salem! We love educational, engrossing, enjoyable destinations like this!!! Tickets are just $23/adult, $11/child, and children aged FIVE and under are FREE (most places it’s 2!). You can even turn your tickets into 2 day admissions for just $3 more.
And since we were in Winston-Salem, the home of Krispy Kreme doughnuts, guess where we HAD to go before we left the area…
Yeah, because the light was on, and the smell was pulling us in. 😉You can’t say you’ve discovered Winston-Salem until you have stopped at Krispy Kreme for fresh hot doughnuts picked off the bakery line!
Loved, loved, loved our time in Winston-Salem, from our fantastic stay at Tanglewood Park to learning about the Moravian founders at Old Salem Museums & Gardens, to tempting hot doughnuts! <3
Can’t wait to return!!!