Old Salem Winston Salem NC PullOverAndLetMeOut
Anna Marie

Anna Marie

Old Salem in Winston-Salem

Old Salem in Winston-Salem is a historic favorite in the heart of North Carolina.

With third-grader in tow, I head to North Carolina’s fifth largest city, Winston-Salem, to find a favorite field trip destination known as Old Salem.  If you’ve never been to Old Salem, think of Colonial Williamsburg but on a slightly smaller scale.

Gunsmith Shop Old Salem

Old Salem is a step back in time. The Moravian Village dating back to the late 18th century does an outstanding job of recreating the atmosphere and preserving the heritage of the settlers who came to North Carolina in pursuit of religious freedom.

The Moravians, a denomination of Christians originally from what is today the Czech Republic, migrated to North Carolina from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 1753 and developed the 100,000- acres of land first known as “Wachovia.” These settlers brought with them their faith and way of life which played a significant role in North Carolina’s history.

Visitors Center at Old Salem in Winston-Salem, NC PullOverAndLetMeOut
Start your tour at the Old Salem Visitor Center

Exploring The Village

Boy walking across a covered bridge Old Salem, NC PullOverAndLetMeOut
Cross over the Heritage Bridge into the village.

We begin our visit at the Old Salem Visitor Center.  There’s a brief film recounting the story of the settlers and the village.  From here we advance with the map in hand across Heritage Bridge – transporting us back in time into the historic village.

Home in colonial village at Old Salem in North Carolina PullOverAndLetMeOut
There are still many private homes and gardens in Old Salem

The old buildings, cobblestone sidewalks, and interpreters wearing traditional Moravian clothing welcome us as we begin our self-guided tour.

There are several interesting stops to make along the way such as the gunsmith’s shop, the shoemaker’s house, the Single Brother’s House, and the apothecary.  Additionally, there are multiple gardens to stroll as well.

Costumed interpreter at Old Salem Village in Winston-Salem, NC PullOverAndLetMeOut
Guides in Moravian costume from the late 18th century welcome visitors.
Gunsmith shop at Old Salem village PullOverAndLetMeOut
Timothy Vogler Gunsmith Shop

Today our favorite stop is made at the site of the oldest standing African American church in North Carolina.  Our tour guide is exceptional, and we are fascinated as she takes us along – telling the tales of the church, its congregation, the graves and of the site of an archaeological dig.

Log church at Old Salem in Winston-Salem, NC PullOverandLetMeOut
African Moravian Log Church

Old Salem Restaurants

Old Salem is also full of tasty treats.

The Old Salem Tavern dates back to 1816 and offers a selection of traditional and modern fare for lunch and dinner.  There’s also a sandwich shop located at the Winkler Bakery.

Speaking of the Winkler Bakery – Old Salem is the nexus of the Moravian Cookie Trail.

Moravian cookies are still baked in the 200-year old, wood-fired oven at the Winkler Bakery.  If you’ve never tried a Moravian cookie, you simply must.  Moravian cookies are delicious, whisper-thin and like no others, you’ll find.

Sign outside a tavern in Old Salem Winston-Salem, NC PullOverAndLetMeOut
The Tavern in Old Salem is open for lunch and dinner
Winkler Bakery in Old Salem Winston-Salem PullOverAndLetMeOut
Built in 1800, visitors may observe demonstrations and purchase fresh-baked goods at the Winkler Bakery.
Moravian cookies on a plate. Old Salem PullOverAndLetMeOut
Authentic Moravian cookies are a must-try when visiting Old Salem.

Customize Your Visit to Old Salem

A visit to Old Salem can be tailored to suit your schedule and interests. The beauty of this tour is you can spend as much or as little time as you like, it’s up to you.
There are a couple of different ticket prices procuring various levels of access.  You can even save a little money by purchasing your tickets in advance online.
I’ve already decided we should return later this year. The holidays are especially beautiful in Old Salem and there are many holiday-themed activities and programs.
It’s always a good idea to consult the Old Salem website before visiting to learn about special events.

Children in an apothecary at Old Salem PullOverAndLetMeOut
A visit to the apothecary is always educational.

As is the case with most of our “Mommy and Me” trips, I would have enjoyed staying a little longer at a few of the buildings in the village, but it was a fun time, nonetheless.  This is a family-friendly tourist attraction providing flexibility to travelers, enabling them to customize a visit to fit their travel style.

That’s always a good thing.

Old Salem Museums and Gardens
600 S. Main Street 
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27101
336-721-7300
visitwinstonsalem.com

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2 thoughts on “Old Salem in Winston-Salem”

  1. Wow, beautiful pictures, really well done. Thanks for writing about Old Salem. Everyone knows about Colonial Williamsburg, but almost no one in North Carolina knows about Old Salem. And it’s much closer! I’m guessing that once things get going again, Old Salem will get more visitors as more and more folks shot and visit in the local communities

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