Last Friday, we left our house in the hands of a contractor working in the kitchen and headed down Linglestown Road for coffee and a bagel at Dunkin' Donuts -- the first stop on our four-day trip to Winston-Salem and back.
Three or so hours later, we were stopping for lunch in the Wayside Inn (1797) in Middletown, Va., which bills itself as the longest-running inn in the country. Not much later we stopped for gas outside Staunton, Va., birthplace of President Woodrow Wilson. After that short break, we hopped back into the Box and cruised through the valleys and hills of southern Virginia and North Carolina to Winston-Salem, site of an 18th century Moravian settlement, like Lititz and Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. The settlement at Bethlehem, in fact, had sent believers down to North Carolina in 1759 to begin communities there.
We checked into the August T. Zeverly Inn, right on Main Street in Old Salem. Today, the town's preserved and reconstructed buildings, staffed by living-history interpreters, present visitors with a view of Moravian life in the 18th and 19th centuries. We were greeted by the innkeeper and shown to our room, a comfortable garret room on the top floor of the inn. The steps were a killer, but the room was nice and well-decorated.
During our visit, we saw the visitor center exhibits (including the famous David Tannenberg pipe organ) and visited shops in the village, which is very beautiful. We had good breakfasts at the inn (French toast one day and egg casserole the other) and some great chow at restaurants in the area.
We returned to Salem and did some more sightseeing. I photographed a large number of the buildings. In the evening, we joined Susanne's sister Robin and friends for a charity event in Greensboro, about a half-hour away. About three hundred people milled about a large exhibition hall, tasting appetizers, entrées, and desserts -- all made by men to help the local women's resource center, a place where women receive information about services available in the community.
Robin's friend (and ours, too) Andrew had prepared shrimp for the event, and everyone seemed anxious to taste his creation. For some reason, I kept drifting to the other side of the room, where the desserts were being offered.
After church, we checked out of the inn, had lunch, did some shopping at Susanne's favorite southern store, Steinmart, and then headed a few miles west of Winston-Salem to Clemmons, where we checked into the Manor House at Tanglewood, a mid-19th century mansion-turned-bed-and-breakfast in the center of a huge county park.
The morning brought breakfast, including the best grits ever, then check out and departure, heading north through that gorgeous countryside under blue skies (well, part of the way, anyway). We stopped in Virginia at an antiques mall, where Susanne added to her collection with a milk strainer and an electrical insulator. (Don't ask!)
We were home by dark, eager to see if our kitchen project was completed. It was, and almost to our satisfaction. But that's another story.