Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.

Walking around Winston-Salem

Signs of spring are beginning to appear here in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We’ve had red-winged blackbirds visit the feeder. On our evening walks, we’ve heard the spring peepers’ call (a type of frog). We even saw a mourning cloak on the New River Trail last weekend.

In Piedmont North Carolina, the warmer seasons usually arrive earlier than here. On a visit to Winston-Salem last weekend we saw these beautiful flowers:

Strollway Flowers

We found these along The Strollway. We have daffodil stems pushing through the soil here in the mountains, but no flowers yet.

This trail is over a mile long and connects Old Salem with downtown. We parked at the end of a street in Old Salem and walked over to the trail. We’d looked for the strollway while wondering around downtown a couple years ago, but, for whatever reason, we couldn’t find it.

Here are some photos from the walk:

The Strollway

Winston-Tower and trees

Winston Tower

Lola — The Muse of the Arts District

Lola — The Muse of the Arts District

Full shot of Lola

Art on a wall behind the bus depot.

Art on a wall behind the bus depot.

Strollway downtown

Shot of Old Salem

Shot of Old Salem

Horne Creek Historical Farm, Pinnacle, N.C.

If you’re any where near Winston-Salem, N.C., sometime, go a little further north and check out Horne Creek Historical Farm in Pinnacle. Take the Pinnacle exit off of U.S. 52 and head west.

We went a few weeks ago and enjoyed taking the self-guided tour to explore the hold home, corn crib and foundations or sites of former structures.

I always enjoy walking around old homesteads, imagining how the families used to live there. Walking through the houses, I always inspect the clothing, rugs and quilts to see how they were made. I check out the kitchen utensils and wonder what it would be like to cook and feed a family there.

Though small, Horne Creek has a lot of interesting buildings and artifacts (or reproductions). The day we visited there was a Girl Scout troop getting a private tour. We watched as they shelled corn and fed the cow and sheep. Hands-on activities are always the best!

Here’s some photos from our trip. Sidney had to stay in the car, probably because of the resident cats, dogs and other animals. I suppose they don’t want other animals roaming around the place.

Take a look at some of the things we saw:

These sheep were not too sure of us. They didn’t come any closer until we turned our back to them.

Here’s a Girl Scout shelling some corn. Look like fun or hard work?

Barn kitties!
There were a couple of these hound dogs.

A sweet goat.

This cow was not that interested in us when she realized we weren’t there to fed her.
Some vines we saw up the hill from the barns.
Corn inside the corn crib.

The old homestead.

Check out these old books!

A rug in one of the bedrooms.

I love the different designs on the bottom and top of the quilt.

Chinese checkers, anyone?

I love the corn husk doll! Do you recognize any of these other toys?

I love how bright this quilt is.

Gobble, gobble, gobble!

Besides chickens and turkeys, there were some guineas (not pictured) too.

There was tobacco outside the tobacco barn. I’m not really sure why. Does it have to dry outside before going in the barn?

This is tobacco in the barn. It was really cool inside.

Old Salem Tavern and Edward McKay

Hello! Last weekend was very lovely. Chris, Sidney and I spent time outdoors on some trails and doing some Christmas shopping.

Here’s a quick recap of things we did and places you might enjoy checking out.

On Saturday we headed to Winston-Salem, N.C., where we walked around at Historic Bethabara (always a favorite), dined at Old Salem Tavern (loved it!) and bought a mountain of books at Edward McKay (first visit to this Winston store; we usually visit the Greensboro store).

Historic Bethabara
Historic Bethabara is were the Moravians originally settled before moving to Old Salem. We always enjoy walking around the gardens, old buildings and trails.

On this particular day, we finally made it to town while the visitor center/museum was open. We only had 10 mins. to browse around, but at least we got to see it. I really want to go back when we have more time to look at all the exhibits.

Old Salem Tavern
At Old Salem Tavern, which is located in Historic Old Salem, Chris had a steak and I had salmon in a pumpkin and sunflower seed crust.

The waitstaff dresses in period clothes and each table has a candle. I wouldn’t think, looking at the menu and set up, that this would be considered a family-friendly place, but families were there, including a mom with her two grown daughters and a toddler grandson and a family of five with children ages 7 and under who sat in the same room as us.

It’s great the restaurant is so accommodating that families fell free to come. The kids were really well-behaved, so the unique atmosphere and our experience wasn’t ruined by wild kids running around. Definitely grab a bite to eat here when you visit Old Salem!

Edward McKay
Next up — Edward McKay, a used book store with locations in many cities through N.C. I’d already taken Chris to the Greensboro location, where I used to visit when I was a student at UNCG. I had just heard about the Winston location and we went to check it out.

Jackpot! We bought $200+ worth of books for under $70. I so love used book stores! Chris found a lot of books. He said he can never find anything that interests him when we go to big box, new book stores, but this place is a gem.

I left with four text-like books, a knitting book, a color guide used for design and a dog training book. Chris bought a bunch of fiction and some non-fiction.

On Sunday we headed up to Christiansburg, Va., to do some Christmas shopping.

There’s not really that many cool places to tell you about, but we stopped at the Bed, Bath and Beyond where we bought some really cool dishes and a Ross Dress for Less (my favorite store!) where to grabbed some bed sheets and shirts. We were able to put a small dent in the gift lift.

On the way to the city, we stopped at Radford to walk on the Riverway Trail, a 3.5 mile, paved trail. It’s a very nice walk through the city’s Bissett and Wildwood parks. We’ve walked it a few times before and some of the trails at Wildwood Park. It’s a pretty neat park system for such a small city.

Bissett Park is a large recreation park with fields and playgrounds. On this day, we walked by several soccer games.

Wildwood Park is a wooded park with dirt paths going up and down the side of hills along a creek. We probably walk the most on this trail. It’s located across the road from Bissett Park, but the Riverway Trail connects both parks by a tunnel under the road.

I wish we had something like that in our town!

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Old Salem, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Earlier this month, Chris and I met my parents and youngest brother in Old Salem (N.C.) for some visiting and walking around. You can find a map here.

Old Salem is an old Moravian village that’s now surrounded by the City of Winston (now called Winston-Salem). All middle school students in the area take a field trip to the village to learn history and sample some delicious Moravian cookies.

Moravian stars are a popular Christmas decoration through the region.

You can buy tickets at the museum to visit interpreters in trade shops and stores.

But if you don’t want to do that, there’s plenty to see on foot and you can visit the retail shops, such as the bakery, a tavern and a gift and garden shop.

Since it was a Monday and a holiday, the museum and interpretive sites were closed. So we walked around, snapping photos of the beautiful buildings and gardens. We ate lunch at Mayberry Soda Shoppe.

I think Dad, Chris and J.J. enjoyed discussing the various construction techniques and materials used in the old buildings.

Mom and I loved the bakery!

Before we went home, Chris and I stopped by the garden shop and bought some rosemary, tansy and a ornamental pepper plant.

I love rosemary and can’t wait to use it with garlic in mashed potatoes. Chris wanted tansy because it’s a colonial plant that colonists used to keep ants and other insects out of gardens.

The ornamental peppers were just cool looking. It has small, pebble-sized, purple peppers. It’s not for culinary use, but we thought they were pretty and got them anyway.

We’d also bought my mom a sensitive plant — a fern that folds up its leaves when you touch it — but it died after being left in direct sunlight. I guess it was really sensitive!

Here’s some pics: (All photos by E.A. Seagraves. Do not use without permission.)

I loved this house. The colors and look of it.

These chairs and table were on the porch of the house in the picture above. It looks so lovely here.

Peeking down some alleyways, you can see some backyards. A lot of the houses are private residences so you’re not free to roam around.

Want a carriage ride? We saw some visitors get in the buggy soon after I took this photo.

I love this door. There’s several of these doors around Old Salem.

Another house that I like.

And a shop.

Here’s a view of one of the tree-lined streets.

Want to learn more about Old Salem? Check out these books:



What to see: William Christenberry

Chris and I visited Reynolda House in Winston-Salem, N.C., recently.

Although I enjoyed the tour through the house and roaming the grounds, I think I enjoyed the current art exhibit the best.

The Reynolda House Museum of American Art is featuring photos from William Christenberry’s collection.

The exhibit features pictures, snapped between 1961 and 2005, of landscapes, buildings and graveyards from the Deep South. Some of my favorite shots showed abandoned stores or homes grown over with trees and kudzu and rabbits in a wire hutch.

One set of photos displayed the deterioration that one store underwent over a series of years. It was amazing to see how quickly a building left sitting would quickly give way to trees, vines and the weather.

Information on the artist explained that Christenberry annually went to his home state of Alabama, to take photos of various places, usually the same spots.

Although I felt silly, I couldn’t help but let a smile creep up my face and a tear gather in the corner of my eye. There’s just something about old, rural buildings that fill my soul with a feeling of love and home.

I’ve always been fascinated with abandoned, old barns, outhouses and family home places. Besides water, those are some things I really enjoy catching in photos.

There’s something about it that makes me feel a connection to ancestors and a traditional Southern way of life.

The picture with the bunnies stretched out in a long hutch made of chicken wire and wood spoke to me as well.

I think a lot of this deep connection comes from memories of my grandparents’ mini farm, as I like to call it. They raise chickens, turkeys, ducks and goats. At one time they used to also have peacocks, quail, doves and pigeons and rabbits.

Around their property is several wooden shelters with chicken wire to hold in all the fowl and there are also rabbit hutches that once held several gray rabbits. I guess that’s where I gained my love for old home places and wooden structures.

The exhibit will be at the Mary and Charlie Babcock Wing Gallery of Reynolda House Museum of American Art through June 27.

From the Blue Ridge Parkway, head south of U.. 52 from Milepost 199.5 in Fancy Gap. Follow U.S. 52 to Winston-Salem and take Exit 114/Gemanton Road. Turn right and turn right onto Polo Road. Then turn left onto Reynolda Road. See the directions here.

From the east or west, take I-40 to Winston-Salem and take the Silas Creek Parkway Exit. Turn right onto Reynolda Road. Get directions here.

Know of any businesses, interesting people or places near the Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway? If so, post a comment below or send me information for future feature possibilities.