/ by Stephanie Burnette
Old Salem is reason enough to go to Winston Salem, but for that matter, the Deco splendor of The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel is a great reason too. And then there’s Trouvaille Home; I would drive to Winston Salem just to visit Anne Rainey Rokahr’s store, and lounge in her technicolor world of art, design, and the antique.
I had a ball in Winston Salem, NC, and can easily say the under three-hour drive makes it an ideal getaway for two to three nights. If you enjoy visiting historic towns, Winston Salem feels like a feast, well mapped, and accessible. But beyond curated homes, historic buildings, gardens, and museums, there’s a pert vibe here with interesting places to eat, drink and walk; public spaces to delight the eye; bookstores and home stores, vintage shops, and boutiques. College students from Salem College and Wake Forest add to the mix.
Eating out made me aware that this is a town where locals go out… for coffee, for drinks, for lunch and dinner, spots were full and humming with an attractive variety of people. Menus were spot on, and chefs executed nice plates.
It’s fun to remember that Winston Salem was in fact two towns, two settlements. It feels incredibly Colonial with equally deep roots in tobacco as a southern agricultural crop. Simply staying at The Cardinal is a luxe design experience steeped in its building’s lineage, designed by famed architecture firm Shreve & Lamb. It was the forerunner to the Empire State Building and served as the corporate headquarters of R.J. Reynolds for decades.
928 Burke St. | trouvaillehome.com
Fine antiques and objects of high design, as well as art and rugs, are staged in swoon-worthy groupings. Furnishings have been upholstered with designer fabrics and table books, better gifts, and exclusive candles round out the bazaar curated by Anne Rainey Rokahr and A. Wilson Pace.
The Snob Shop
1020 Burke St. | thesnobshops.com
A fabulous consignment shop owned by Trouvaille Home offers steep discounts as the days go on. Bargain hunt here for ever-rotating housewares, furnishings, china, silver, collectibles, and more.
Fiddle & Fig
403 West End Blvd. | fiddle-fig.com
The neutral boho dream covers two stories and multiple spaces of home goods, décor, furnishings, tabletop, containers, small gifts, and more. Lavender and Honey Kitchen is also next door.
434 West End Blvd. | facebook.com/collagews
With three large rooms packed with vintage wares, salvage, and architectural finds, Collage is a fun stop with dedicated parking. It’s a treasure hunt.
634 W. Fourth St. | bookmarksnc.org
A packed indie bookstore with informed staff, ask for local recommendations and visit the adjoining coffee shop, Foothills Coffee & Cocktails, yep owned by Foothills Brewing.
638 W. Fourth St | foothillsbrewing.com
My craft beer expert tells me that though Winston Salem has a good number of breweries that Foothills is the one to shop and bring home to SC.
Old Salem Museums & Gardens
Not sure which is more interesting: Winkler Bakery or the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. They are both in the village of Old Salem, a restored colonial village where many homes remain private residences. The Moravians excelled at handcrafts, gardening and botany, record keeping, and the sciences. It’s easy to deep dive into history here. Plan for lots of time here. This is also home to Salem College, a women’s college which traces its roots here to 1772.
455 Patterson Ave. | innovationquarter.com
The 1.6acre park is a newer development in what’s called the innovation quarter. Movies happen here and concerts, lovely planted green space hosts yoga and festivals. The district is home to ice cream, coffee, chocolate, cocktails, tacos, a butcher shop, and more.
Reynolda House Museum of American Art
2250 Reynolda Rd | reynoldahouse.org
The country mansion of R.J. and Katharine Reynolds is more than a house, it’s home to significant art, antiques, and massive gardens. Katharine worked in tandem with architect Charles Barton Keen and landscape architect Thomas Sears to bring her vision to life. There’s a village adjacent with shops and a great donut shop.
Artivity on the Green
603 N. Liberty St. | theafasgroup.com
A ridiculously interesting art-themed park, the Green is a favorite place in Winston Salem to take photos, portraits, and more with its public art, structures, sculpture, and shadow play. The Red Dog Gallery sits on the property too.
There is no shortage of places to eat in Winston Salem, but for sure get reservations for dinner. The Katharine Brasserie at The Cardinal offers the best escargot I’ve had in years baked in puffed pastry, a gorgeous wine list, and a ribeye that blew up my Instagram.
Spring House Restaurant has a historic tie to the Reynolds too; it was their home in-town before they moved to Reynolda House. Co-owner Chef Timothy Grandinetti produces lovely plates and shows a deft hand with seafood, there’s honey bacon jam too.
6th & Vine is a lively wine bar with nice tapas and fun locals. When you need ice cream head to the precious Lill Dipper. Breakfast is for Krankies and for coffee other times of the day head to Foothills Coffee at Bookmarks.
The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel
401 N. Main St. | thecardinalhotel.com
The crown jewel of Winston Salem, The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel is a boutique hotel in an Art Deco building bedecked with aged brass and gold leaf. The lobby is a place to stay and socialize, the rooms are well-appointed with lovely downtown views. The aforementioned Katharine Brasserie also has a fantastic cocktail bar. The basement boiler room today is an adult playground with two bowling lanes, shuffleboard, half-court basketball, pool, ping pong, a massive slide, viewing room, and more.