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Charlotte, North Carolina
July 4, 2005
In Old Salem, you will find two buildings known as the Tavern and The Old Salem Tavern Restaurant. Stay with me here, as it can get confusing. The Tavern is one of the historical buildings that you may tour if you have purchased a pass. The Tavern once served as a tavern offering a drink and a meal to the road-weary stranger visiting the town. The Old Salem Tavern has now been converted to a restaurant, and it serves both lunch and dinner. You do not have to by a ticket to Old Salem to get into the Tavern Restaurant. In another journal, I will have an entry on the Tavern building. But for this journal, I will give you the history of this magnificent building known as the Tavern Restaurant. Okay, I hope I haven’t confused the heck out of you yet! You may see my separate entry for dining here.
The building was built in 1816 and restored in 1968. This beautiful two-story, five-bay building with the front porch was originally used as boarding for the visitors (or some time known as strangers) who had dropped in for a meal next door at the Tavern. By 1832, a dining hall annex had been added to connect the boarding hall to the tavern. Sometime around 1838, a continuous two-story front porch was added to the tavern.
By 1897, they had the dinning hall annex removed. While undergoing renovations in the late 1960s, they decided to turn the former boarding house into a restaurant for the public who came to enjoy Old Salem. It was restored to its 1816 appearance and adapted for use as a restaurant.
Today, the tavern is a centerpiece for this historical village. This is where many road wary travelers come in search of a meal and relaxation, though today’s traveler comes in modern-day vehicles and a little less weary. Traditional fare is served for lunch and dinner here. A meal here is indeed a special occasion, and it is one opportunity that should not be passed up. I do have a separate entry on the fine meal my friend Karen and I had here. They are open every day, including Mondays. There is not an admission charge to gain entrance to the building.
From journal Stepping Back in Time at Old Salem
Old Salem allows its visitors to step back in time to around the 18th century, when the Moravian community first settled here. Here you will find incredible buildings that date back from the 1700 to 1800s. These buildings are authentic, not recreations. Most of the buildings have been painstakingly restored to the accuracy of the time. The Moravians were simple people, and the buildings here reflect that simplicity that still remains incredibly beautiful.
Here you can tour such buildings as the Single Brothers house (c. 1769), The Vogler House (1819), The Tavern (1784), The Boys School (1794), and the Miksch House (1771). You can dine at the historic Old Salem Tavern (1816). At the Winkler Bakery (1800), you will find some of the best homemade breads and cookies you have ever tasted. Around the back on the second floor, you can stop in at the Salem Soda shop for a refreshing beverage, ice cream, or sandwich. Take time out to enjoy the displays at The Old Salem Toy Museum, The Museum of Early Southern Decorate Arts (MESDA), and the Old Salem Children’s Museum.
You can also see crafts people, such as a gunsmith and blacksmith, hard at work. These talented people are using tools that you would find at the time of the early inhabitants. These crafts people are more than glad to take the time to explain to you what they are doing and answer any questions you have. In each of the buildings, you will find costume docents who will be glad to give you a history of the building and answer any questions you have. But you are typically allowed to tour the rooms on your own. You will also find crafts people here too who are also informative and very knowledgeable of their ancient craft. In one building, we were surprised to find out what great lengths the tailor had gone to try to find material and patterns that would have been accurate for the time period.
There is no charge to actually walk through the village itself. There are people who still live here, and we found quite a few residents who used this tranquil place to walk their dog. There is admission to gain access to any of the buildings not open for public use. Your best get is to purchase the all-inclusive ticket, which allows you access to the buildings and museum. You will be asked to show your ticket in each building, so Karen and I just found it easier to attach it to our purse and camera bag. They offer AAA discounts. Hours are typically 9am to 5:30pm. They are open year-round. They are not open Mondays, except for a holiday Monday. They do offer a number of events throughout the year. Just go to www.oldsalem.org for more information.
Pilot Mountain, North Carolina
June 23, 2005
From journal Winston-Salem, NC