Finally! I was able to get away last weekend after plenty of cabin fever, and went all the way to Winston-Salem.
What? Never heard of it?
To be honest, I hadn’t either, until a friend of mine went to school down there. I’m sure folks from the area know the town, but outside of North Carolina it isn’t particularly famous. The town seems to be best known for Wake Forest University and the local food and arts scene, not to mention the tobacco history of the area. Wake Forest is the school I was talking about, and it dominates the town now. From what I could tell, there’s a large undergraduate and graduate student population at the school and throughout the town.
Of course, I met mostly his classmates, currently enrolled at Wake for one program or another, so my view of the town is a bit biased. The weather didn’t cooperate much either, so we were limited in our excursions. I’ll tell you what Winston-Salem does have though:
Food. And good food at that. We did a lot of eating last weekend.
Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner
Picture a hipster Mexican joint with bright colors all over the walls, set in an old factory building, right next to a microbrewery and a microdistillery. Austin?? Maybe Portland?
Nope, right here in Winston-Salem. The food could definitely hold its own in one of those strongholds of hipster influence though. We went for brunch. Between $10-$17 for your meal and the food was great. I settled on some homemade corncakes with fried eggs, avacado, and “brunch beans.” The food was delicious and the atmosphere in the restaurant is smooth. Have kids? The Porch is very family-friendly for brunch.
Antojitos las Delicias
These fish tacos are BOMB. Overflowing with fresh lettuce, onions, sauce, and lightly battered chunks of fish. Totally worth visiting, and cheap too. It’s really just a kitchen with four walls, a roof, and an order window. Don’t let that scare you! I’m telling you, the fish tacos are a must, and they’ve got empanadas, pupusas, gorditas, and everything else you can think of. If you want authentic Mexican, put Antojitos las Delicias on your list.
This one seems to be a staple in the community. If it’s still open when you go, stop in for a great hot dog on a pretzel bun. Supposedly, April 30th, 2016 was the first and last time I’ll be visiting. Rumor has it that the owner is ill, and is in the process of selling the business. I was lucky enough to stop by during a fundraiser, and all proceeds went to his upcoming operation. We thought we’d be good samaritans while we enjoyed some good saurkraut!
My buddy I was going to visit has a killer sweet tooth. Lucky for him, so do I. He used me as an excuse to put my sweet tooth in charge for a while. Atelier is a great little bakery on Trade Street in Winston-Salem. Trade Sreet is right in the downtown area, and you can walk from pastry shop to antique shop to the park. These folks do some great cronuts filled with all sorts of things, in addition to your traditional chocolate croissants and Danish pastries.
Bakery round 2! Awesome cake and cheesecake. There’s plenty of other baked goods to go around as well, so nobody’s left out. Two locations in Winston-Salem. Definitely worth the stop for a snack.
If you’ve eaten to your heart’s content there’s still a few things to keep you busy. We didn’t get around to much, due to the weather and the short trip, but keep reading for a few ideas.
Walk some of that food off! While you’re at it, stop for another round at one of the bakeries… There’s plenty of antique shops and places you can pick up a random souvenir or art piece downtown. Plus, on a nice weekend morning, everyone is out. You’ll run into all see the smiling faces you can stand, and feel the townie atmosphere while window shopping.
Given the town’s small footprint, Winston-Salem has its fair share of museums. You’ll find the Frank L. Horton Museum, the Reynolda House Museum of Art, and the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem. Like cars? Check out the Winston-Salem Cup Museum, centered on the history of the NASCAR race of it’s namesake. Need more to do with the kids after the Children’s Museum? Stop by SciWorks too, for some more hands on learning!
A little village on South Main St in Winston-Salem, Old Salem has its own draw to it. If you love history you’ll probably enjoy exploring Old Salem. The houses and lands are well kept, and a few museums of its own.
Although I didn’t formally budget for this trip, I always like to run the numbers when I get home. I spent a total of $387 for the three day trip. A whopping 79% of that was on the round trip American Airlines flight. The other 21% was food and drinks. That’s it.
I charged the flight to my Citi AAdvantage World Executive card, earning double AAdvantage miles, for a return of somewhere around 3% of the ticket price. I earned a total of 2,066 AAdvantage miles, including actual miles flown. Those AA miles are worth about $31. I chose to pay for the flights to earn some extra miles, and I didn’t really have a good option to redeem rewards.
I had the pleasure of flying from Boston to Charlotte on American Airlines, and was able to take advantage of the lounges in both airports. I’ll be writing up separate posts on those, but suffice to say that this was my first time in a lounge. I loved it. I’m not typically stressed out in airports, but this was even more worry-free! Food, drinks, magazines, good WiFi, and friendly faces. What more do you want?
For all the times I’ve flown, all the places I’ve been, all the times I try to sound like such a seasoned travel veteran, this was my first solo flight. Before this past weekend, I had never flown anywhere by myself!
The trip was short, but I’m happy I was able to get out of the house for a bit. I’ve been itching to travel ever since I can remember. Now, I go more than 3 months without seeing somewhere new, and I start to get antsy.
Here’s hoping it’s less than three months for you!