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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Smarty Day Trip Series: Our Own Winston-Salem!

By Katie M

You can live 15 minutes away, 45 minutes away, or within walking distance to downtown and there is always something in Winston-Salem worth visiting time and time again. I've only lived in this beautiful city for less than six years and my family and I are constantly discovering new things to do or to see. I love having friends and family come visit so we can show-off our city. The influence of history, culture and arts, along with its appeal to families with children of any age, makes Winston-Salem a fantastic place for a day trip.

Without a doubt, my favorite stop in Winston-Salem is Old Salem Museums and Gardens. Not many cities can boast a living historical center (plus gardens and museums) just steps from the skyscrapers in downtown. No matter when you go you can be assured you'll see something interesting. Whether you stroll the shops (and sample treats from Winkler Bakery - yum!), or just pitch a picnic in the center courtyard, you might discover a horse and buggy drive by, or witness workers sowing fields in turn-of-the-century garb, or happen upon one of the many historical events it sponsors year-round.

You can literally start your day trip tour at Old Salem, and then walk up either historical Main Street or beautiful Old Salem Road to the Children's Museum of Winston-Salem. This museum is a must-stop for all young families in the Triad. In addition to its many weekly events, the Children's Museum also hosts traveling exhibits which make your visits new and exciting each time.

You can continue a walk to downtown (although with kids I highly recommend driving from here on out for the rest of your visit). Just within the past few months to a year, a bunch of new restaurants and shops have opened along Fourth Street in downtown Winston-Salem (the main drag). Stop by Mellow Mushroom, Wolfies for frozen custard, Skippy's Hot Dogs, or walk a little south on Marshall Street to check out a fun ampitheatre area (site of many downtown music events) that has a fun pond area for kids. Or go north to where Sixth and Trade Streets meet and stroll Winston-Salem's arts district - complete with art museums, restaurants and quirky shops.

Go west on Fourth, cross Broad Street, and grab a seat outside at the Old Street Filling Station or across the street at West End Cafe (both are excellent lunch and dinner restaurants and are great for the kids too). Next to both restaurants is Grace Court, a perfect park to stroll after you dine!

A little further out from downtown and the West End District is Reynolda House, Museum and Gardens. Not only is this an amazing house to tour (check web site to confirm days and times tours are offered), but the grounds surrounding it are just as impressive. Let your kids run free in the front lawn or fly a kite. Take a walk down the path to the lake and old lake house and look for frogs. Lose yourself (but not literally!) in the breathtaking gardens. Stroll the shops at Reynolda Village, dine at the original Village Tavern restaurant, and finish up with an ice cream cone at Mayberry's!

And this just covers the downtown area of Winston-Salem. There are so many other great attractions that are worthy of their own day trips. You might remember our blog on favorite parks in Winston-Salem. A whole day could be devoted to just Tanglewood Park (visit the public pool, climb the life-sized old-fashioned train, pet and feed the horses, etc), or Salem Lake (where you can feed ducks, walk the 7-mile loop around the lake or rent a canoe or boat).

Winston-Salem is also home to SciWorks, one of our area's largest hands-on science museums, and Dixie Classic Fair, the 50th largest fair in North America and the second largest in North Carolina that averages more than 325,000 visitors every fall!

And if you have the time and are seeking some real local flavor, there are a few "best kept secrets" of Winston-Salem you must check out. First, Rachel H says you must visit Sam the Dot Man's house and store on Northwest Blvd. Or take some time to stroll the historic town of Lewisville which is just west of Winston-Salem, where you'll find the Kaplan store - a fun place to shop for educational toys, games and learning tools. And if you have a young daughter, take her to Simply Sassy on Jonestown Road for an impromptu pamper after a long day of touring Winston-Salem!

I know I just skimmed the possibilities of Winston-Salem. Tell us what your favorite thing is, and what's a must-do for families day tripping to Winston-Salem!

Photo Credits:
Wake Forest University (Reynolda Gardens, Reynolda Village photos)
City (Salem Lake image)
Salem Academy (downtown Winston-Salem image)
Museums of the (Children's Museum of Winston-Salem)
Ci.Winston-Salem.NC.US (Dixie Classic Fair picture)


Amy said...

I also think Thurway Center is a great place to shop, although if you rkids are not good shoppers, there is not much for them. The Loop and Moe's are both kid-friendly places to eat there. We love to stop by Dewey's for cake squares and Simply Sterling for gifts. We also like New Balance because we have our Discount Card from Triad Smarty Pants!

sarah said...

You have a great list going here ... I had forgotten about a few of these .. will have to take the family ... one more idea is Salem Lake, when it cools down!

Anonymous said...

Blue Ridge Ice Cream on Stratford Road!

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