When you step into Old Salem, you are stepping into history. The colonial village in the shadow of modern downtown Winston-Salem is still much as it was when it was founded in 1766 and people here are eager to show you around. You get to see the original buildings, how people lived in the buildings, what they did daily, and also experience history.
Old Salem is filled with the sights sounds and even tastes of 18th and 19th century Moravian culture. Besides baked goods from a wood-fired oven, Old Salem offers museums with extensive collections of toys and early southern decorative arts, the oldest standing African-American church in the state, a traditional Moravian cemetery called God’s acre where an Easter sunrise celebration takes place every year and dozens of original buildings and costumed interpreters to bring history to life.
But the Moravian experience in North Carolina goes beyond Old Salem, there’s also Bethania, the first planned Moravian community and Bethabara Park where it all began. Settlers here lived, farmed, and worshiped while looking for a permanent settlement. Bethabara means house of passage and it was supposed to be a temporary village until they can locate the town of Salem.
You can still see archaeological ruins of those first homes, walk through the 1788 congregation house, and see a reconstructed Palisades fort built to protect the settlement from the ravages of the French and Indian War. Moravian thought they would give them protection from the Indians. Between the three settlements, Winston-Salem has a well preserved Moravian history that is easily accessible to its visitors and experiencing it may be the closest you’ll ever get to a time machine.
There are several restaurants with a wide range of cuisines. The Spring House Bar, Kitchen, and Restaurant is one of the remaining mansions on what used to be the Millionaire’s Row. The signature southern dishes served here will tempt you. If you want to mix great food with local art, visit Mary’s Gourmet Diner. Visit Black Mountain for an indulgent experience, here you can either opt for a tour or watch the factory to see the handcrafted chocolates used for bonbons, desserts, and rich drinks. If your favorite drink is coffee, Coffee House and Krankies Café is the place to go for superb coffee, brunches, and good food.
You can also sample fine wines from the Childress Vineyards, Raffaldini Vineyards, and Sanders Ridge. For those wine connoisseurs, a trip to Yadkin Valley Wineries is a must.