Road trips are a big, big part of holiday planning in our home.
Whether it’'s a quick one day get away, a long weekend, or a jaunt down south, the family loves to pile into the car and hit the road.
Over the years we’ve done a pretty good job of exploring all the popular favourites, but in the last few years we’ve started to venture out and explore some of the less well known destinations, getting to know some towns and cities that might not be the first to come to mind. We've come across a number of hidden gems, and recently we discovered a new family favourite when we had a chance to visit Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Usually we head for the coast, gravitating towards the water and the beach, but this time we ventured a little inland to explore a little history, wine, art, music and some authentic southern fun.
Winston-Salem is a perfect family road trip adventure. About 11 hours away from the GTA by car, it is a very comfortable driving destination; a 2-day drive for those that like to take it easy, but it's very possible to achieve in one day for those that like to drive straight through.
With lovely temperatures and fantastic weather throughout the year, this destination is packed with things to do and see in every season. The vibrant city is known as The City of Arts and Innovation - packed with local artists, studios, galleries and festivals. Wander around and soak up the arts scene and local culture, see a concert, visit an exhibit, or take in a show.
Winston-Salem was founded during the tobacco and textile boom. Rich in American history, you can tour two of America’s oldest and grandest estates and catch a glimpse of the life of the wealthy elite in the roaring twenties. In Old Salem, step back in time and experience life in the 18th century as you stroll through the restored village, visiting the buildings and heritage gardens.
The surrounding areas are known for their rolling hills and valleys and provide a gateway to the spectacular Yadkin Valley wine region. The one million acres of land provide stunning countryside vistas where you can explore wineries and estates at your leisure. You literally feel like you’ve been transported to California or the South of France, but with the added charm and hospitality of the south.
The local wineries love to receive visitors; you can take a tour and mingle with the owners and winemakers themselves. Everyone has a unique and interesting story, and you can easily spend a day exploring and sampling award winning vintages. Many of these wineries have intimate tasting rooms where you can wine and dine on some of the best new wines in the country.
Round Peak Vineyards and SkullCamp craft brewery - get the chance to sample both wines and beer here in a relaxed, laid-back atmosphere.
Brushy Mountain Winery - fine wine and live music, a great night out.
Herrera Vineyards - sister-owned award-winning wines.
Raffaldini Vineyards and Winery - gorgeous Tuscan styled villa in a breathtaking environment, sample award winning Italian inspired wines.
Jones vonDrehle Vineyards - a superb place to sip and learn about wine.
Adagio Vineyards - worth a stop to sample some excellent wine, snacks and listen to live violin music.
Shelton Vineyards - largest family owned estate winery, fantastic wines and excellent tasting menu.
Along with all the great wineries is a growing culinary scene. It's a real gourmet destination; many wineries house amazing farm-to-table restaurants where you can dine on tasting menus built around their wines and local ingredients. Food buffs will enjoy local 5-star restaurants, bistros, farmers markets, and culinary festivals throughout the year.
The five days we spent there were jam-packed with things to do! All this was peppered with traditional Southern charm and hospitality. If you’ve never experienced it, the hospitality made us instantly feel at home, like a big, warm hug.
Tavern at Old Salem - built in 1816, family owned and operated, must try the Chicken Pie.
Old Salem Museums and Gardens - historic village, completely restored.
Reynolda House Museum of American Art - estate of tobacco baron RJ Reynolds, home of the Reynolda Gardens and one of finest collections of American Art.
This road trip was full of incredible surprises; a beautiful, memorable, and fun filled vacation. We will definitely be returning!
Go to www.visitWinstonSalem.com to get more information and plan your visit.
If you’re going, here are more must see spots:
Graylyn Estate - a historical estate turned hotel, once owned by the Bowman Gray family, stunning historical home nestled on 1,000 acres, fantastic dining by charming Executive Chef Gregory Rollins.
Mary’s Gourmet Diner - funky artsy restaurant with fantastic homemade, organic grub, best grits I have ever had!
Sanders Ridge Winery and Organic Farms - wine and dine in a true farm-to-table experience.
Jolo Winery and End Posts Restaurant - breathtaking backdrop of Pilot mountain and excellent wines and tasting menu.
Miss Angel’s Heavenly Pies - a mecca of pies, ask for Sonker, a local specialty.