A Winston-Salem Staycation

What’s your ideal day in Winston-Salem? As part of our Keep it Local series, we asked Lynette Matthews-Murphy, Founder and Partner of Spring House Restaurant and Quanto Basta Italian Eatery and Board Member of the Forsyth County Tourism Development Authority. Lynette’s perfect staycation includes nods to more than 25 individually or family-owned places to eat, shop, and enjoy Winston-Salem! 

On those rare occasions that I find myself with a free weekend away from our busy restaurants, Spring House and Quanto Basta, there’s a strong temptation to hop in the car for a quick getaway from Winston-Salem.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a long-standing love affair with my adopted hometown for over 25 years now.  But…it’s a weekend, in the middle of a steamy summer!  So the question becomes ~ should we escape to the beach or mountains…or are there enough fun and exciting things to do right here that will make this stay-at-home weekend a true “staycation?”  My answer, these days, is a definite “Yes!”   

Winston Salem Staycation

For me, one of the best ways to start the weekend here is with an early morning visit to Cobblestone Farmer’s Market in Old Salem.  Just walking through the historic site brings such peace, and the farmers and producers are so friendly and eager to share their stories.  Pack your bags with the summer’s first garden tomatoes for classic tomato sandwiches (slathered with Duke’s Mayo!) and peppers and mushrooms for a fresh pasta dish, and yummy baked breads from Camino Bakery.  Stashing a cooler in the car keeps everything nice during the adventures to come. 

Next, consider indulging in one of my favorite retail experiences ~ strolling down Reynolda Road at Hanes Park, where the quaint shops and shopkeepers offer the coolest and most original home goods, clothing and artifacts.  Starting at Elizabeth’s with an irresistible selection of candles, pillows, and small furniture pieces; to the great consignment clothing at Yours Truly, and of course, the super-eclectic mix of treasures at Cookies Shabbytiques ~ it’s more exploration than mere shopping.  As you wind your way around the curve, the shop that started the consignment craze back in the 1970’s ~ The Snob Shop, is moving to a larger space to keep up with demand for their beautifully curated selection of clothing, vintage jewelry and accessories. 

Famished and ready to relax, the decision for where to go for lunch is a tough one.  With all the new choices like Trade Street Diner, Crafted: The Art of the Taco, and Local 27101; and old favorites like Mozelle’s, West End Café, and The Carving Board, a true Tex-Mex delight on a summer day is The Porch Cantina, right around the corner. 

Refreshed and re-energized, add the new indie Bookmarks Bookstore in their lovely new space behind Foothills Brewing on 4th Street to your itinerary ~ they often have visiting authors and book-signings in-store, and the new Footnotes Cafe is perfect for an afternoon coffee or Foothills-crafted beer.  Then, with Aperture Cinema only a quick stroll up 4th Street, a movie matinee may be the perfect way to escape the afternoon heat. 

After the matinee, finally ~ it’s the cocktail hour, and the choices are endless here in our beautiful town.   For beer-lovers, new breweries like The Fiddlin’ Fish, Wise Man, and Joymongers are like a magnet for joining up with friends…and kids, and dogs!  Tate’s Cocktails is a terrific place to enjoy creative artisan spirits, and if I may say so myself, we make a perfect summer cocktail here at Spring House called the White Grapefruit Cosmo in our cozy and cool Library Bar…and please plan to stay for a light supper afterwards on our outdoor patio alongside the Chef’s Garden ~ it’s a little oasis in the middle of the bustling downtown. 

I’m thrilled that our city has become quite the dining destination, with new places opening weekly.  Whether you crave a juicy steak at Fratelli’s Italian Steakhouse, to French-inspired dishes at Meridian, robust Irish pub-fare at Finnegan’s Wake, or soul-inspiring Southern fare at Sweet Potatoes ~ you could spend several weeks trying out all the uniquely W-S dining options. 

After dinner, the cool evening beckons folks from all over town to enjoy the free and fabulous outdoor concerts or outdoor movies at Summer On Liberty and in Bailey Park in Innovation Quarter.  In my mind it’s the perfect way to end your fun staycation adventure in our fair city!

As I was writing this, the main reason I absolutely adore this city has made itself clear: every place I’ve mentioned is individually or family-owned!  It’s this community of entrepreneurs, producers, chefs and makers who add such incredible vibrancy and authenticity to Winston-Salem ~ and it’s this originality that makes our town worthy of being a vacation destination for visitors and locals alike. 

Here’s to enjoying your very own Winston-Salem staycation soon!