I’m a fan of Winston-Salem. Enough of a fan that I took my sister Karen there during her yearly visit to NC. We spent three days in Winston-Salem, including a side trip to Mt. Airy, a.k.a. Mayberry U.S.A., birthplace of Mr. Andy Griffith (who passed away July 2012). Back to W-S. Lots of history there and of course, the success and size of the city is due to the tobacco industry – I can still picture Winston and Salem cigarette packages in vending machines and billboards and I was/am not a smoker. They used to be everywhere. NC thrived for many, many years on the tobacco industry and in Pitt County, where we live now, we see tobacco fields all over and farmers still make a living selling tobacco, with much of it going overseas. I digress. Winston-Salem is maybe 3.5 hours from our home. It has a vibrant, large downtown and many interesting areas of the city, plus some elevation and that’s not what we have in eastern NC. Prestigious Wake Forest University is here and wow – what a campus! And there are actually hills in W-S! I could live here!
One of the most interesting parts of the city is Old Salem, a big tourist draw. Many old buildings were destroyed in the original town of Salem, but some have been rebuilt and there is plenty of history to make it a must-see in W-S. Salem University (originally a women’s college, now co-ed) borders the Main Street, which adds charm and history to the area. The Moravian religion is still alive and well in W-S, one I had never heard of. The African American slaves worshipped with landowners and slave owners in the Moravian Church until the word from God came to a church elder that the co-worshipping was against God’s wishes. A convenient truth, yet an quite interesting part of W-S history. I’ll finish that up by saying the slaves then built their own Moravian Church, which can be toured in Old Salem, and again – it’s worth the trip. Oh – two more things – the Moravian Church still holds services to this day and in the early 2000’s, the church declared an official apology to African Americans for the wrongs done to them in the name of religion.
Karen and I enjoyed Winston-Salem, but I tried to keep her walking down to somewhat of a minimum as she was going to be having knee replacement surgery upon her return to San Diego. She was a trooper. We had a marvelous dinner at a regional chain, the Bonefish Grill. My goodness, walking in a fish restaurant I expected to smell fish (like Red Lobster) and it did not. I had a trout dinner and it really was delicious.
Mt. Airy is a small town about 30 minutes out of Winston-Salem. It’s a lovely drive and it has a great main street with plenty of diners and even more gift shops. Andy Griffith’s name is everywhere and he is beloved because this small town thrives, mostly because of him and his continued love of his home town.
After Winston-Salem / Mt. Airy, it was time to do the switch. I gave my sister to my brother, who drove from Charlotte and took her back to Charlotte to spend a few days with them. My dad was already with my brother, Bill. We met at a tavern and had a pleasant lunch, where Hanna joined us after driving from Raleigh.
I look forward to going to W-S another time and having Gary with me to experience some of the charm of this city.