By Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher ©2013
(Part 2 in a Series)
Our trip to the Winston-Salem, NC, area had a fantastic start with our morning visit to Cobblestone Farmers Market and led to a full day of touring. Yes, we were tired when we checked into The Historic Brookstown Inn.
Our spacious, two-level suite with a high, four-poster bed was the perfect spot to relax and recoup before our carriage ride to dinner at Spring House Restaurant Kitchen & Bar. (Read about both the carriage ride and our unforgettable dinner in upcoming stories in this series).
Visitors will especially love that the inn is literally steps from the very helpful Convention and Visitors Bureau, located in the same complex, and walkable to nearby Old Salem Museums & Gardens and downtown Winston-Salem, which is celebrating its centennial this year.
Another evening, we ambled across the parking lot to dine at Meridian Restaurant, an upscale eatery right around the corner.
Much of what is found in Winston-Salem is considered historic, rightly so as the Moravian settlement here dates to 1733. Brookstown Inn’s link to the past is that it occupies space that in 1837 became the Salem Cotton Mill. In 1856 the mill was retooled into Wachovia Flour Mill.
In 1880, the East Wing was added and became the Arista Cotton Mill, the first factory in the South to be lit by electricity. When you visit today, look across the street at the funky triangular building to see what was the Fries Mill Power Station. (See it in the accompanying slideshow.)
From the 1930s through 1976, the building now housing the inn was used as a warehouse by Lentz Transfer and Storage Company. When the company decided to raze the building to put up a new warehouse, concerned locals and historians rallied, ascertaining the building was the city’s oldest factory, thus stopping its destruction. Thanks to their advocacy, today the property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The complex was transformed into shops, offices, a restaurant, and, Brookstown Inn, which opened its doors in 1984 with 41 rooms in the old factory. More were added in the 90s, bringing the total of rooms and suites to 70.
Today guests will find old and new seamlessly combined at the Brookstown. The exposed brick walls, high ceilings and wooden beams recall an earlier time.
Make your way to the fourth floor in the main building to what was the attic for a glimpse of “historic graffiti” now preserved behind glass.
Years ago, those passing this spot on their way to and from work would pause and write notes, make a quick sketch, or profess affection.
This area also was a dormitory for women who worked in the mill. It may come as little surprise that some have reported a benign female ghost who occasionally makes an appearance. We, fortunately, did not encounter her.
We did encounter friendly travelers at both the complimentary continental breakfast and evening wine and cheese reception. Modern conveniences like cookies and milk at bedtime, fireplaces and garden tubs in select rooms, free wi-fi Internet access, voice mail, a state-of-the-art exercise facility, as well as many early American pieces and antique furnishings add up to contemporary comfort and Southern hospitality.
There are many places to stay in the Winston-Salem, ranging from an 18th-century house in historic Old Salem to boutique hotels, B&Bs and nationally branded properties. The Brookstown Inn was right for us.
If You're Going: The Historic Brookstown Inn is at 200 Brookstown Ave., Winston Salem, NC, 27101. For more info or to make reservations, phone 800.845.4262 or 336.725.1120 or visit www.brookstowninn.com. The inn will host a Grand Re-Opening 5 p.m. September 24 .
For more on other accommodations, dining and area attractions, go to www.VisitWinstonSalem.com. The city is marking its 100th birthday since the 1913 merger of Winston (founded in 1849) and Salem (founded in 1766) resulting in “Winston-Salem.”
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll find more of our stories by clicking on the links, and please subscribe to our columns – it’s free and will notify you our new articles:
• Other stories by Newbern and Fletcher
• Other Stories by Kathy M. Newbern
• Stories by J.S. Fletcher, International Travel Examiner
Luxury Travel Examiner Kathy M. Newbern and spouse, J.S. Fletcher, report on luxury destinations, spas and cruising around the globe. They are award-winning members of the Society of American Travel Writers and created YourSpaReport.com and YourNovel.com, their personalized romance novel business.