Last month, Visit Winston-Salem invited me and my sister, Jennifer, for a weekend trip to experience the best their city has to offer and share it with all of you. The large majority of this trip was c/o—we paid for a few of our meals and gas to get to town, but Visit-Winston Salem gifted us our hotel stay, the majority of our meals, and the experiences we enjoyed, in exchange for promotion. I’ll flag anything below that we paid for ourselves—as always, opinions are my own!
Though I was born in North Carolina and spent the first eight years of my life there, I had only been to Winston-Salem a handful of times—once to tour Wake Forest as a high school junior and twice to visit friends going to Wake Forest Law. On previous trips, I didn’t venture very far from Wake Forest—so essentially, this was my first time here. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I walked away after my trip as a huge fan of this city. There’s so much amazing food + drink, history, architecture, shopping—all complemented by Southern Hospitality and packaged in a very livable city.
I wanted to share some of the history behind Winston-Salem, since I learned it on our trip and found it really interesting. Winston-Salem actually used to be two separate cities, Winston and Salem. Salem was founded more than 250 years ago, when the Moravians, a devout, religious group from Eastern Europe, settled in the area because of the fertile soil and temperate climate. Salem eventually became a thriving trade center, as the Moravians were known for their work as craftsmen of pottery, tannery, iron works, cloth, and furniture making. At the same time, Winston, a more secular city, was being formed nearby. After the Civil War, Winston rose to national prominence as a bustling industrial center, and emerged as a leader in tobacco and textile manufacturing. By 1913, it was clear that there was more to be gained by merging the cities and Winston-Salem was born. RJ Reynolds Tobacco, Piedmont Airlines (which became US Airways), Krispy Kreme, and TW Garner Food Company—makers of Texas Pete hot sauce all found their start in Winston-Salem.
We spent about 48 hours in Winston-Salem, as we arrived on Friday morning and left after breakfast on Sunday—I definitely could have done another day in town. But luckily for me, it was really easy to get to Winston-Salem from the DC area, which means that it will be easy to get back one day soon. And for those of you in the DC area like me, this would be such a fun weekend trip idea—definitely make sure Winston-Salem is on your list!