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Winston-Salem Strollway - Winston-Salem, NC
The Strollway in Winston-Salem is a wonderful rail-trail that runs for 1.2 miles from the Central Business District of downtown Winston-Salem to the charming historic area of Old Salem. The trail is well marked and maintained, laid with fixed gravel (the sides have some loose rocks, but the strong majority of the wide path is very stable) ideal for runners, dog-walkers, and bikers alike. A city stroller might have a little bit of difficulty, but a rugged, all terrain baby stroller would do just fine. There are a few hills once you enter the downtown part of the trail, but overall the path is easy going. No matter where you start, the trail has interesting and fun things to do on both ends, like exploring Old Salem, playing in the Children’s Museum, or grabbing a bite to eat downtown. If you find yourself in Winston-Salem, you should definitely check the Strollway out!
Directions and Parking
To begin in downtown Winston-Salem, you can park in the city parking deck located at 402 N Cherry St. Please see map of area. If you walk towards N. Liberty on 4th Street from the deck, the trail head should be on your right between Cherry St. and N. Liberty. As you walk towards Old Salem, you will see green flags that say “Strollway” attached to light poles and other fixtures. To begin in historic Old Salem, you can park in the visitor’s center located at 900 Old Salem Rd for free. Facing Old Salem Rd, the trail technically begins about a tenth of a mile to your right, but if you turn left, you will heading towards downtown Winston-Salem.
Yellow information maps on wooden boards are stationed about every quarter of a mile or more on the trail to tell you where you are on the trail, as well as crossroads and a few landmarks. In the downtown section of the Strollway, green “Strollway” flags on light poles to guide across streets and keep you on the trail. It takes about half an hour to do one way of the trail, and closer to a whole hour to go both ways. In the Historic Salem section of the trail, you can see some of the remnants of the old Moravian lifestyle though split-rail wooden fences, open grassy areas, and traditional houses. All kinds of trees line the way, including many maples and oaks, which are stunning year round. If you catch them while the leaves are changing, some of the maples look like they are half on fire with beautiful red and oranges foliage on one side, while the other is still sporting its summer green!
As you continue up the path, the scenery changes into more urban streets and you get a nice view of the tall, mirrored buildings of downtown. The placement of the Strollway incorporates both areas of Winston-Salem seamlessly and the transition between the areas is a pleasant mix of city and nature. Soon, impressive brick buildings replace the majestic trees and after walking under an overpass, you see the city truly emerge. You walk past office businesses as well as a post office and it even leads you under a lobby of an apartment building. The end of the trail is a block or two from a central hub of downtown where you can find restaurants and hotels alike.
If you want to plan out a trip to Winston-Salem, incorporating an afternoon on the Strollway is easy! The downtown terminus of the trail is within walking distance of multiple hotels, including the Marriott Winston-Salem at 425 N Cherry St or the Embassy Suites hotel at 460 North Cherry Street. There are many restaurants in near both these hotels for a bite to eat, like the Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers. If you are looking for something a little cozier, the Brookstown Inn located at 200 Brookstown Avenue is one street off of the Strollway at the intersection of Brookstown Ave, which is surrounded by a bakery (Ollie’s Bakery), shops and a highly recommended restaurant called the Screaming Rooster.
If you are walking the trail towards Old Salem with kids in tow, don’t miss the Children’s Museum at 390 S Liberty St, which will be on your left from the Strollway and right before the intersection of Brookstown Ave. Check out the website at childrensmuseumofws.org. They have engaging events for many ages, like the annual “Touch A Truck” event in mid-October. As you end your trail experience in Old Salem, stop by the visitor’s center that will be on your right at 900 Old Salem Rd. Here you can find out about walking into the Historic Old Salem, which is only a tenth of a mile away! The staff is very helpful and can give you a visitor’s guide to Salem map and information on how to buy tickets to tour the exhibit buildings in the historic area. You can, however, walk through the old town free of charge and look at points of interest like the heirloom gardens, God’s Acre (the graveyard) and the active home of the Moravian Church. If you are hungry from the walk, pop into the Salem Tavern Restaurant at 736 S Main St (they serve delicious pumpkin muffins during the fall) or Winkler Bakery at 527 S Main St, which has a smaller, more kid friendly restaurant upstairs. There are gift shops and other merchants in the town area too, so you can grab a few souvenirs, like hand crafted Moravian quilts or prepackaged ginger cookies (so tasty all year round!) You can look at Old Salem ahead of time and plan your trip out here.
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