The Village Beautiful

Trip Start Mar 07, 1997
Trip End Dec 25, 1998

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Friday, November 27, 1998

Go with me? The kids have drawn their annual Pilgrim pictures and we've eaten the requisite turkey and cranberries. Let's use the rest of our holiday weekend to pay a real visit to the ways of the past. We're headed for Old Salem, a living history town in North Carolina.

In this charmingly beautiful village we'll find costumed interpreters in homes, gardens, and places of work carrying on the real-life daily activities common to the 18th century. This is a particularly good time to visit, as we can share the meaningful ways of celebrating Christmas in a small, closely-knit community. Simple decorations of greenery and the joyous sounds of instruments and song fill the town.

Dining in Old Salem is a delight, especially at the Old Salem Tavern in the heart of the historic district. Illumination is by candle, naturally, and of course your waitstaff is costumed. Be sure to end your meal with the sugarcake specialty.

Allow plenty of time for the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts -- it has 22 period rooms and six galleries. You can walk through a 17th century Virginia great hall, a backcountry loghouse, and an elegant Charleston parlor. Take the kids to the newly opened Children's Museum, where maze tunnels and climbing sculptures are pathways to learning about the past, too.

Salem was founded in 1766 by Moravians, who, like the Pilgrims, sought freedom from religious persecution. In 1950, as commercial growth threatened many of its early buildings, a corporation was chartered to preserve the original town. They've done it well. See you there.

Old Salem Interpretive Buildings, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
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