The song is so true ... North Carolina in the morning is just pure soul food, especially when the summer's sun has started to wane above the 49th parallel. I spent 4 lovely days last week visiting my very good friend Dianne Hawes (Wistwin Shelties) near Raleigh, and it was wonderful to revisit summer weather again. Upon my arrival on Thursday, Dianne gave me an early Christmas present - a beautifully handpainted dish of my heart girl, Cady (Ch Laureate Cadence". It's an exquisite replica, and is one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received.
My second day there, we planned a drive to the Blue Ridge mountains, approximately 2 1/2 hours away, and decided to take a side trip to Old Salem on our way. It was an absolutely delightful step back in time, carefully preserved and recreated.
From the tourist information, "Salem was founded in 1766 by the Moravians – a Protestant group of people that began in what is now known as the Czech Republic. The Moravians were missionaries who established an earlier settlement in Bethlehem, PA before beginning "Wachovia" in the North Carolina backcountry in 1753. Old Salem Museums & Gardens is a unique community of original museum buildings, authentic craftsmen practicing their trade, fascinating collections of rare antiques, and one-of-a-kind retail shopping opportunities. The stories and activities experienced by visitors in the museums convey a much larger aspect of early America than just the Moravians who settled in Salem, NC. The experiences are a reflection of the evolving economy and diversity of lifestyles that made up the early South." Local citizens dress in the garb of the day and work in the shops and gardens. It is a town steeped in history and arrested in time, a small oasis in the midst of the modern world.
From where we parked, this grand and original building gave an idea of the exquisite architecture in the village.
There are many artifacts on display as well as fully functioning implements or machines true to the late 1700's. It made perfect sense that an industrial-size hand water pump would be available within easy reach of the oven used for baking bricks!
Making our way up to the main street, you couldn't help but admire the beautiful stone work at the base of this building.
Although there is a guided tour with an admission price to many of the buildings, there are a number of shops that charge nothing, but have an amazing selection of wares on display and to buy. Ownership of the buildings and land is currently divided among Old Salem, Inc., Wachovia Historical Society, Salem Academy and College, and Moravian representatives. Many of the homes in the town are also privately owned, with the facades blending in with the rest of the village. One of the first businesses we entered was the bakery (no surprise! :)). It was heavenly!
The plant boxes on the fences or windows held some species that I didn't recognize, including this kind of berry-flower plant. And I don't think I had ever seen a fig growing on a fig bush before.
We also visited a hat maker's shop, where the hats were mostly for display, but many other items were for sale.
There were so many shops and buildings just on the main street alone, that we could have easily spent the day there. But we finished our stroll, took a few last looks, and then headed to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Part 2 of my blog for this delightful trip!