There’s No Place Like Home, Even if You Don’t Want to Live There

My relationship with Winston-Salem has always been one of mixed feelings. Driving around town, I don’t feel like I belong there and yet… I do. I am the only member of my family to be born and raised there and yet I’m probably the only one who wouldn’t live there again. Everyone else does or would. I think it has more to do with how I see myself, the younger version of myself anyways, and how I often feel I wasted that time in my life.

Returning to visit Winston (the dash, if you will) still makes me elated. Some of my new friends here are making a trip to Winston this month and I immediately got excited. They’re visiting friends who will clearly guide them through their short time there and yet I was fighting the desire to give them suggestions on where to go, what to eat. They don’t need my help but since my urge is still here, I’ll share my thoughts with you. Aren’t you lucky?

The Classics:

It’s spring time which means this is the best time to be walking around two of my favorite places: Reynolda Gardens and Old Salem. As a child and a teenager, I spent a lot of time walking around Reynolda admiring the roses and imagining how life might have been for the Reynolds family. I vividly remember the first time I went inside the Reynolda House and saw their pool. It shocked me to see such extravagance. As an infant, my parents used to push me in my stroller around Old Salem’s cemetery, God’s Acre and I still find it both peaceful and exciting to walk those grounds. In the early days of spring when all the dogwoods and azaleas are blooming, both of these locations are ideal.

gardens

acre

I associate both of these places with eating at Village Tavern, as any afternoon in Reynolda is followed by dinner at the Tavern and Mayberry’s. An ice cream at Mayberry’s was the required treat to accompany a trip to Old Salem. Mayberry’s can’t be found at the colonial town any longer, but I still sort of expect it.

New and Exciting:

I haven’t made it over to the converted tobacco factories (now known as the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter) yet but I read an awesome article about it recently in Our State and now I’m itching to check it out.

wake-forest-innovation-quarter

Starting Your Day:

Everyone knows about Breakfast Of Course, the new version of Mary’s Of Course. Winston residents are familiar with the long lines necessary to get inside on a weekend and now the establishment is famous with a new group of people, Daily Show viewers. You may have seen the short segment on the show a few months back. I try to go every time I’m back.

I was not a happy camper when Krankie’s moved into the Werehouse/PS211. It meant the place I hung out at night and was secretly smoking was now being frequented by my parents. I was there at night, watching bands and being deeply involved in my high school dramas and my parents were there in the morning getting their freshly roasted coffee. Today you can still see great music and drink beers or start your day there with what I am told is very delicious coffee. (Yuck!)

Cocktail Hour:

When I moved home after college, Silver Moon Saloon was one of my regular stops. It’s tiny. Little itty bitty. In my mind it is a dark long hallway. Correct me if I’m wrong. It’s best attributes for me were it’s prices and that outside of the dark hallway is a large patio. Done and done.

Single Brothers is also tiny with a large patio but with a much different drink menu. It shows off fantastic beers and is always the place I stop for a cocktail.

I was not a fan of Foothills Brewing when it first opened. I didn’t like the beer (but then again, Yengling was my favorite beer at the time) and you couldn’t go into the establishment without running into someone that you didn’t like in high school. Now that I’ve moved back to North Carolina I’ve found their IPAS and I am a fan. I’m planning on popping in the next time I’m in town. Their Hoppyum IPA and their monthly IPAS have completely won be over. And if you’re not from the Dash, what do you care if someone from my high school is there?

Also, these are not the best things about Winston. These are just the places to go for a weekend visit. There are many other things that make Winston-Salem a worthwhile home.

salem

Home is…?

Feeling stuck is one of my great fears. No matter where I live throughout my life, I want to still feel free to adventure, explore and take on the world. In that same vein, I can’t imagine choosing one place to live for the rest of my life. I’ve never felt like I truly identified with any one location. I have been many people in my life and I have felt connected to many places but never as though that place, this place is my place. So where would I live if I could live anywhere in the world? On the road, on an endless journey. Somewhere, in a place I don’t know yet, is a place where I will call home.

joan

Places I have already called home:

lawndale

This is the house I grew up in.

asheville-photos

Beautiful Asheville, North Carolina

Melbourne-Australia-sunrise

I called Melbourne home for only a short time.

elephant head lodge

I lived on Yellowstone Highway before moving to Austin.

issn-austin

My current home

To see a few of the places I’d like to travel to, visit my Let’s Go! Pinterest page.

Christmas Homesickness

I think everyone who moves away from their hometown probably experiences a little bit of homesickness for the traditions and culture they grew up with in the holiday season. I am no exception. If I was in Winston-Salem right now, it wouldn’t be much colder but we could at least talk about the possibility of snow. Keeping with the Moravian traditions of our town’s founders (well, Salem’s founders not Winston’s), every night I would see windows lit, each with a single candle. Many a front stoop would be decorated with a lit Moravian star.

moravian decor

In case you’re unfamiliar (and most people are) Salem was built back in the day (think bonnets) by members of the Moravian Church (a Protestant sect of Christianity). Many of today’s residents of Winston-Salem are also members of the Moravian church. I am not nor did I grow up in the Moravian church but I was lucky enough (as most Winston children are) to be exposed to their traditions and culture in my childhood. There was normally an annual field trip to Old Salem to visit the original, still used town site. I went to day camp at Five Yesterdays, which taught children about what it would be like to live in Salem at that time. (I was sold until I understood what it would mean to wear all those layers of clothes on a hot summer day. I’ll keep my shorts and air conditioning, thank you.)

old salem

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout the year, we would learn bits and pieces about Salem history. In the fall, we’d take a walk through God’s Acre. In the summer we’d celebrate the Fourth of July at the town square. But at Christmas, signs of Moravian traditions were everywhere. Not only were the Moravian decorations commonplace for many town residents, but also going to a Candletea or a Lovefeast. In my parents’ house a Christmas never passed without a sugar cake in the morning, Lovefeast bun sandwiches with the leftover turkey, and a long discussion about why Moravian coffee is so delicious. Moravian chicken pot pies for dinner and ginger spice cookies for dessert… and snack… and breakfast… and again. Actually, I really like the sugar ones too so I’ll need some of those. Waiting in line at Dewey’s Bakery is a requirement for the holiday season.

If I was in Winston now I’d be trying to decide if the line for Tanglewood’s Festival of Lights was worth it. I’d be creating complicated ways to avoid driving on Stratford or Silas Creek Parkway for the next three weeks. I’d be trying to convince myself that only one sugar cake was really necessary although I want three or four.

festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

With much regret, I will not be visiting good ol’ Winston for the holidays this year. Don’t worry though! I’ll be placing my order for Dewey’s goodies with my parents soon enough. Better bring an extra suitcase….

Sushi Nostalgia

I really miss Sushi to go in Australia.  Order some Sushi for delivery, you say! No, it is not the same. This sushi was not cut into pieces. It’s just one kinda fat, kinda short roll for a couple of Aussie dollars. It’s dropped into a paper bag and tossed in your direction. This is not fine sushi. Not the kind of sushi you drool for, but it is convenient, delightful and cheap. Cheap sushi that’s worth eating is not something that really exists in Austin as far as I can tell.

And then this starts me on a serious sushi nostalgia kick. When I lived in North Carolina I worked at two great restaurants: Sushi Thai and Sakura. They’re both owned by the same people and often worked by the same staff. It’s delicious. The hibachi always comes out just right at Sakura. The Thai food is spicy and bursting with flavor at Sushi Thai. And both restaurants have fantastic sushi chefs. The fish is flown in, never frozen, and each sushi roll is a work of art. Prepare to wait a couple minutes for your rolls especially if you get several. When they arrive, you will be amazed at display. If you’re there, please get the Sexy Little Thing for me. I dream about it. The staff here is the kind that never forgets you. They remember what you’d like to drink and where you’d prefer to sit. They know if you like conversation or minimal service. When I first started, I was so insulted that people wouldn’t sit in my section but the experience just wasn’t the same without their regular server. And when I go back to visit them they welcome me with open arms, even though I only worked there a few months.

And now I’m spoiled. I long for fatty toro sashimi, fatty tuna, eel rolls, salmon with cream cheese, rolls that are tempura fried, spicy mayo, eel sauce, slices of perfectly green avocados, fresh strawberries and mangoes.

Sigh, today is just a sushi nostalgia kind of day.