The Winkler Bakery is one of the favorite historic buildings in Old Salem. Visitors flock for hearth-cooked baked goods like Moravian cookies and sugar cake - Photo: William Flood)
In 1753, fifteen members of the Moravian Church traveled down the Great Wagon Road from Pennsylvania and settled on 100,000 acres that would eventually become today’s Winston-Salem North Carolina. During the 18th and 19th centuries, the community was renowned for its artisanship in fields like furniture making, pottery, metalwork, and even gun-smithing.
Today, Winston-Salem is home to the Old Salem Museum and Gardens, which is one of the country’s preeminent historic districts and living history museums. Old Salem has nearly 100 historic buildings and dozens of interpretive sites filled with 18th-century antiques and re-enactors depicting the era.
One of Old Salem’s most distinguished attractions is The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), which contains the nation’s most significant collection of antebellum objects, with pieces dating back as far back as the 1600s. Three galleries house works from the Chesapeake Bay to the deep South. Visitors can browse everything from Southern-made furniture and ceramics to clocks and paintings.
After visiting Old Salem and MESDA, be sure to tour Bethabara, the Moravian settlement that predated Salem by twelve years. Then, head to the 64-room Reynolda Manor, originally home to Katharine Smith and R.J. Reynolds, founder of the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. There you can see more than 6,000 historic objects, including artwork spanning 250 years.
Where to Antique Shop in Winston-Salem
If you want to acquire some Southern antiques, Winston Salem has numerous places to shop, from trendy enclaves to antique malls and swanky antique stores.
Antique Shopping in Winston-Salem’s West End
Start your shopping in the 1890s streetcar suburb known as the West End, on/around West End Boulevard where you will find shops like Collage, offering artsy new, and gently used items including furniture, home goods, and vintage clothing. Elizabeth’s at Hanes Park offers vintage, repurposed, new, and renewed furniture and home goods and even offers paint classes. Yours Truly is a great consignment shop with vintage clothing upstairs and furniture and home décor downstairs.
While in the West end, be sure to carve out time to visit Joymongers Barrel Hall for one of their barrel-aged beers.
Antique Malls in Winston-Salem
Two good-sized antique malls sit almost opposite each other on Peters Creek Parkway south of downtown. North Carolina Art & Antiques has over 50 dealers offering antique jewelry, furniture, and antique tools. It’s a particularly good place to shop for Southern glassware and ceramics. Lost in Time Antique Mall was voted in the top 3 area antique malls three years running. Its 40 dealers offer everything from Southern primitives and fine furniture to advertising and automotive antiques.
In King, North Carolina 15 miles north of Winston-Salem is the King Antique Mall with 23 dealers. East of town, in Kernersville, Cooper’s Vintage Village has 22,000-square-feet of antiques, home decor, and collectibles.
In town or nearby are well over two-dozen antiques dealers. On the southwest edge of town is Laster’s Fine Art and Antiques, a high-end dealer that has been around for four decades. Not far from Old Salem is Goat Feather Antiques, a smallish but popular shop in a vintage building referred to as Collectors Corner. Near the West End is Trouvaille Home, which knows its way around fine Southern furnishings and décor. On the west side of town, The Barn on Country Club has everything from vinyl records to neon signs and vintage collectibles. For oddities lovers, there is Major Tomms, downtown near the popular 6th-Street arts district.
Where to Stay While Visiting Winston-Salem
For a historic overnight stay, consider the Graylyn Estate, now an 85-room boutique hotel filled with antiques reflecting the grandeur of the 1920s. There’s also the Historic Brookstown Inn, a former textile mill that is an awe-inspiring example of adaptive reuse. Or consider a stay in the Reynolds Building downtown, constructed as the headquarters for RJ Reynolds Tobacco. The 1929 building is dripping with Art Deco details and is considered an inspiration for the Empire State Building. It now houses the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel
Where to Eat While Visiting Winston-Salem
Whether you are staying at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel or not, not to miss is a meal in Gatsby-esque surroundings at the Katharine Brasserie restaurant. Also downtown is Sir Winston Restaurant, a modern-day reincarnation of a classic Winston-Salem eatery dating to 1967. Near the Brookstown Inn is Willow’s Bistro, offering farm-to-table fare in a 1913 railway building. For some Southern fare, try Milner’s American Southern, a family-run restaurant with an award-winning wine list.
Best Flea Markets In North Carolina
In addition to Winston-Salem, the Tar Heel State is also known for its flea markets. Some, such as the Raleigh Flea Market, which brings together up to 600 vendors each week (100 to 300 of which are antique dealers) and its 301 Endless Yard Sale. Inspired by HGTV’s “Flea Market Flip” and filmed for an episode of Great American Country’s “Endless Yard Sale”, 301 Endless Yard Sale spans 5 counties along a 100-mile stretch of highway from Weldon to Dunn, North Carolina. If you want to discover other flea markets and antique stores in this state, we have listed here the 8 Best Flea Markets In North Carolina. You can also find all these marketplaces on fleamapket.com, our interactive map of the best places to hunt for antiques in North Carolina.