By Kathy M. Newbern and J.S. Fletcher ©2013
(Part 3 in a Series)
Our Winston-Salem discovery continued with a romantic carriage ride, courtesy of Camel City Carriage Company – not a camel-drawn carriage (ha) but we were perfectly satisfied with the performance of Thurmond (who you’ll meet in the slideshow and video.)
We were especially delighted to meet company owners Toni McGlamrock Phillips, our driver for the evening, and her sister, Gina McClamrock and adorable mystery hound Sadie.
First, this pair was so accommodating. We and another writer were being accompanied at dinner by a staffer from the VisitWinstonSalem tourism office who had planned to meet us at the restaurant by car. Instead, Toni and Gina invited her to hop up in the carriage (taking Gina’s place) while Gina in turn drove the car and met our group later at Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar. (Read about this standout dining experience in our next story in this series.)
So our foursome plus driver quickly got underway under a perfect, late-day sky with just enough breeze to make the outing even more pleasant. “This is the perfect evening for this,” Kathy stated.
Toni wasn’t shy, quickly explaining, “When I turned 40, I asked for roping lessons. I was roping my six-year-old, my picket fence and a bartender.” With a laugh, she explained her 40th birthday was in May 2009, she got her carriage in June, and her first horse in July to start the carriage company with her dad and sister by September. “I’m the slowest taxi in town,” she quipped.
Camel City Carriage specializes in weekend carriage “cab” rides, tours of downtown Winston-Salem, private tours and parties. In the past, some special offerings have included a storytelling tour, ghost tours, and a history tour featuring local historian Fam Brownlee of Forsyth County Public Library’s North Carolina Room.
These days, the company has four “stable girls.” In addition to Toni and Gina, there’s Amber and McKena, plus drivers: Dad Ron and Scott.
Toni pointed out sites we passed alongside such as the historical marker across from the Forsyth County Courthouse noting the First Sit-In Victory. It marks the site of the 1960 Lunch Counter Sit-Ins in Winston-Salem at Third and North Liberty streets.
The inscription cites: On February 8, 1960, Carl Wesley Matthews began the city’s sit-on demonstration alone at lunch counters near this site and was soon joined by students from Winston-Salem Teachers College, Atkins High School, and Wake Forrest (sic) College. The nonviolent protest led to a desegregation agreement signed May 23rd by the City and local businesses. Mr. Matthews, the leader, was the first Black served at a desegregated county on May 25th. The protest ended in a record 107 days. (Since he was the first served – it’s the first Sit-In Victory.)
Mr. Matthews’ action was inspired by the more widely-known Feb. 1, 1960, Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in at Greenboro, just down the road.
Next, Toni offered the backstory to an adorable little shop we passed called Elasya B’s Candy Tree on Fourth Street. The young entrepreneur, then 9-year-old Elasya Jessup, yearned for an American Girl Doll, but due to the $100 price tag, her parents told Elasya she’d need to earn the money herself.
First, she sold candy apples door to door, then at her elementary school’s bazaar and finally at a holiday kiosk her parents opened for her at Hanes Mall. That December, she sold $10,000 worth of apples. She opened a store in May 2013 at the downtown location. We assume she bought that doll or maybe several.
We enjoyed spying all the eateries along downtown streets, spots like Mooney’s Mediterranean Café on Fourth, King’s Crab Shack and Oyster Bar, Tate’s Craft Cocktails, Washington Perk (for coffee and groceries).
What we especially enjoyed, too, were the smiles and waves from outdoor diners and pedestrians. We could instantly tell that Toni and Gina would be getting some new clients as a result of the huge smiles on our own faces.
If You’re Going: Contact Camel City Carriage Company or call 336-624-6946. Private tours, like ours, are perfect for a pre-dinner outing and start at $50. They’ll make the dinner reservation for you. “Carriage cab” rides are $15 for adults, $7 for children with pick up every half hour on Fridays and Saturdays in the Historic West End area (definitely worth seeing at the slower, carriage-ride pace). And ask about their private, customized tours for weddings, picnics and more.
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 of 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.