Leaving the Smoky Mountains and Asheville we crossed the French Broad River. This is one of a few rivers on the east coast of the US which flows south to north. The largest river in the world to flow north is the Nile. We learned this northward flow is due to the altitude at each end of the river.
Winston-Salem is home to Wake Forest University, an art-filled historic downtown and the RJ Reynolds “bungalow” Reynolda. Reynolda was the vision of Katherine Reynolds (RJ’s wife). Over a period of 17 years, she purchased with her husband about 1,000 acres. She planned a self-sufficient home with a working farm, gardens, and a village with a church and a school for her family and employees. The home, built in a bungalow style, is nothing like the Biltmore. It has a very casual open and comfortable feel to it. Generations of Reynolds family members lived in the home until 1965. The art collection is all American and nothing was moved from where the family hung it. The Reynolds family was always philanthropic to the local community including a gift of more than 300 acres to Wake Forest University. The University relocated to Winston-Salem in the 1950s with President Harry Truman at the ground breaking ceremony.
Today Reynolda is a museum, but not a traditional one. Walking through the house it is easy to imagine how the family lived and entertained. I loved the downstairs entertainment area. There is a bar set up like a club. There is a shooting gallery, bowling alley, a roller skating area and a pool. Attached to the home is a gallery addition. There was a wonderful Ansel Adams exhibit hung for our enjoyment.
On the way out, I stopped at the cigarette vending machine. I was curious to see if it was filled with vintage RJ Reynold brand cigarettes. Instead, it was filled with original art the size of a pack of cigarettes. I put in the money, pulled the knob and kerplunk…look what I got! The beautiful Spring day was perfect for walking around the park, village, and campus. We went downtown to the historic arts district and browsed through Mast General Store.They had everything from barrels of candy to housewares. After we went to an amazing restaurant named Sweet Potatoes and yes they serve many dishes with North Carolina sweet potatoes. Yum.