The Moravians settled what’s now known as the North Carolina Triad in 1766. They arrived with one purpose: Establish a community based on their beliefs. Today there are many reasons to visit the region around Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point, including living history, wine tasting, furniture shopping and delicious barbecue.
Old Salem Museums & Gardens
Visit the region’s first settlement at Old Salem Museums & Gardens. Leave your car at the Visitor Center, where you can watch a short movie that sets the stage for your self-guided tour. You’ll walk gravel and cobblestone paths past private homes that mingle with the dozen or so museum properties that date to the 18th century. The Moravians documented every detail of their lives. Staff members use that information to authenticate activities across the grounds, but especially when growing the numerous gardens, which produce edibles for cooking demonstrations and seeds for future plantings and sale. Costumed re-enactors demonstrate Moravian life and let you experience it. Check the museum website for hands-on experiences and exhibit availability, as they change daily. Old Salem also is home to the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, which for 50 years has told the story of the region’s first residents through a collection of their architecture, furniture, silver and textiles.
RayLen Vineyards and Winery
RayLen Vineyards and Winery is a short drive from the state’s fifth-largest city, Winston-Salem, but its pastoral landscape makes it feel a world away. Take the tour, which lasts less than 30 minutes, to see what goes into making its 16 different wines — including pinot grigio, riesling and the most popular, an award-winning cabernet blend called Category 5. Then give them a taste by selecting from three flights. These groupings of similar wines take you through a spectrum of flavors. Don’t fret if wine tasting is foreign to you. The hosts welcome first-timers and patiently explain the process to them. If you like it, step out on the Yadkin Valley Wine Trail. RayLen is one of its 36 stops.
Furniture making is dovetailed into North Carolina’s history. That joint is strong in Hickory, where 112-year-old Hickory White still builds furniture. You’ll find finished pieces from brands such as Bassett, Broyhill and Drexel for purchase at Hickory Furniture Mart. It has more than 1 million square feet of showrooms and outlets on four floors. Grab a map on your way in and, if your eyes are bigger than your car’s trunk, ask staff to ship your purchases to your home on the way out. You’ll find more outlets and showrooms offering discounted brand-name furniture along the 20 Miles of Furniture, the stretch of U.S. 321 from Hickory to Lenoir.
More than 10,000 people attend Lexington’s Barbecue Festival every October. But you don’t have to wait until then to try its namesake style of chopped pork, cole slaw and a sauce that combines main ingredients from Eastern- and Western North Carolina-style barbecue. Lexington Barbecue serves it and so do both Stamey’s locations. One is across the street from the Greensboro Coliseum, making it convenient for pre-event dining. Stamey’s says its original owner was the first to offer hushpuppies with barbecue. But the warm cobbler with ice cream should be its real claim to fame — besides the barbecue, of course. Peach is available every day and a second flavor varies.
Stay and Eat
- Grandover This Greensboro resort is a AAA 4 Diamond Hotel and has two golf courses and an indoor-outdoor pool complete with waterfall.
- J. H. Adams Inn Originally the home of a textile executive and pillar of the community, it’s convenient to Piedmont Environmental Center and High Point University.
- The Historic Brookstown Inn Stay in this converted textile mill that’s less than a half-mile from Old Salem.
- Sweet Potatoes Southern-inspired cooking is this restaurant’s specialty. Located in Winston-Salem’s Art District, it dedicates Wednesday evenings to burgers.
- Green Valley Grill Its menu is inspired by the tastes of Europe and incorporates seasonal ingredients. The neighboring O. Henry Hotel hosts its afternoon teas.
- Josh’s on Union Square Enjoy fine-dining comfort food and then some entertainment or shopping in downtown Hickory.