A Girlfriend's Guide to Winston-Salem
The girlfriend getaway is a time-honored tradition a chance for friends to disconnect from the demands of work, life, and parenting and reconnect with each other. Coordinating schedules may be the trickiest part of planning, but next on the list is narrowing down the destination. Sometimes, says Rachel Moon, a Washington, D.C.–based style and travel blogger, the best getaway is hiding in plain sight.
“I’ve driven past Winston- Salem so many times, and after my recent visit there, I’m so mad I never stopped before,” she says. Armed with a full but laidback itinerary and joined by her best friend, Ruthie Ridley, Moon recently explored North Carolina’s “Twin City” in partnership with Garden & Gun. “Good food, great drinks, history, friendly people, and lots of arts and culture—it’s all there in this gem of a town,” she says.
As a home base, Moon recommends the stunning Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, located in the historic, 1929-built R.J. Reynolds Building—the architectural inspiration for the Empire State Building. (“If you can get a tour from the hotel manager, do it,” she says.) But it was Winston-Salem’s eighteenth-century roots more than its Art Deco landmarks that captured her imagination.
In 1753, a group of Moravian Brethren—German-speaking Protestants from Pennsylvania, by way of Bohemia (today’s Czech Republic)—founded the town. They were known for excelling at trades like pottery, quilting, shoemaking, and carpentry. Much as Historic Williamsburg portrays life in Colonial Virginia, Old Salem Museums & Gardens tells the stories of these enterprising settlers in its easily navigable village. Visitors can roam the cobblestone streets and interact with costumed interpreters while exploring the restored buildings, charming shops, and historic gardens.
A fried goat cheese salad with fried chicken from Mozelle's Fresh-Southern Bistro.
“In addition to the museum, there are also beautiful grounds, boutiques, and gardens to explore.”
A generous charcuterie board from Katharine Brasserie, Kimpton Cardinal Hotel's onsite bar.
The city’s passion for cultural preservation is also reflected in its array of art museums and galleries. The Reynolda House Museum of American Art offers guided tours of works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Thomas Cole, Romare Bearden, and Frederic Church, among others. Collected by Barbara Babcock Millhouse, daughter of twentieth-century tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds, the renowned American collection is housed in Reynolds’s 1917 country estate. “I highly recommend people visit Reynolda,” Moons says. “In addition to the museum, there are also beautiful grounds, boutiques, and gardens to explore.”
The best girls’ trips include a little outside-of-the-box diversion, and for Moon and Ridley, that was a sightseeing Segway spin with Triad Eco Adventures. “I thought I was going to fall and for sure thought my friend was going to fall, but we didn’t, and you know what? It was so fun,” Moon says.
Ridley and Moon ride through the Old Salem historic district in Winston-Salem.
Staying upright called for a celebratory cocktail, which the pair found at Katharine Brasserie, Kimpton’s onsite bar. “We loved it there for happy hour and a nightcap at the end of the day,” Moon says. For dinner, they made the short stroll to Six Hundred Degrees, a restaurant in the nearby Innovation Quarter known for its wood-fired grill. “If you want a great steak, this is where you need to go,” she says.
Winston-Salem’s walkable downtown offers more than 120 other enticing restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. “Mozelle’s was our lunch spot on day three and my favorite. It’s female-owned and named after the owner’s grandmother,” Moon says. “Super cute and quaint. And get the fried pickles.”
As a style influencer with some eighty thousand followers, Moon couldn’t resist squeezing in some shopping. Her advice? Head to Burke Street, and don’t miss the Snob Shop, a hip consignment space filled with hidden gems, and neighboring boutique Primm’s.
Moon’s final tip for visiting Winston-Salem? Add a day to your trip if you can. “Winston-Salem is so rich in culture, and there are so many things to do,” she says.
Highlights from historic Reynolda Village and Gardens which consists of a variety of restaurants and boutiques.
To plan your trip go to www.visitwinstonsalem.com