Half-Day Tours

Estate Exploration – Reynolda Revealed 

Explore Reynolda, the country estate of tobacco tycoon R.J. and his wife Katharine Reynolds – a 34,000 square-foot, 64-room country bungalow built in 1917. Today, this historic home is known as Reynolda House Museum of American Art, located on Reynolda’s 1,067-acre property. It is considered a rare gem among the nation’s cultural institutions and historic green spaces. 

Here, tour-goers experience the Reynolds home and admire the more than 6,000 historic objects and a renowned art collection in a historic and incomparable setting.  Spanning 250 years, the collection is a chronology of American art, showcasing works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Grant Wood, Romare Bearden, and Fredric Edwin Church. 

Stroll through the nearby Reynolda Gardens, an impressive display of the late Katharine Reynolds’ vision to promote health and showcase the simple beauty of nature. The Gardens, first planted in 1913, features one of the few remaining Lord & Burnham conservatories in the U.S.  In addition to the lush garden collection is the recent planting of more than 44 cherry trees, making it the largest collection in the Carolinas. 

The afternoon concludes with a tour through Reynolda Village. Modeled after an English Village, the buildings – which now house boutiques, restaurants, and offices – were once the site for the dairy barn, cattle shed, post office, smokehouse, carriage house, blacksmith shop and more.  Be certain to grab a delectable made-to-order doughnut at Dough-Joe’s to cap your day of exploration.  

The More You Grow – Winston-Salem’s Historic Gardens

A tour through Winston-Salem’s collection of historic and heirloom gardens dates back more than 250 years and offers a peek into the city’s colorful past. Many pundits agree that the gardens are a comprehensive study of horticulture and history.

Start with a walk led by the Master Gardener at the 129-acre Reynolda Gardens, the centerpiece of Reynolda, the early 20th-century estate of tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds and his wife, Katharine. Although many changes have occurred to the landscape over the past century, this preserve serves as a reminder and display of the late Katharine Reynolds’ vision and progressive thinking to promote healthy eating and cooking habits, as well as providing the simple beauty of nature to the community. As part of her master plan, Katharine made sure the gardens were planted close to the road as a beautiful gift for the community to enjoy. Reynolda Gardens is also a part of the North Carolina birding trail making it an ideal spot for bird watching.

Next stop is Historic Bethabara Park. A National Historic Landmark, Bethabara is the original site where the Moravians established a settlement in 1753 and the first European settlement in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. A tour through Historic Bethabara Park is a step back to the 18th century North Carolina backcountry. Dig into more than two centuries of gardening traditions with a stroll through Hortus Medicus (reconstructed), the country’s oldest known European Medicinal Garden ever planted in America, and the 1759 Kitchen Garden, the only known, well-documented colonial Community Garden in the U.S.

The final garden stop is Old Salem Museums & Gardens, where more than 33 of its 100 acres are dedicated to a collection of Moravian Gardens. Salem, founded in 1766 as the central town of the Moravians’ 100,000-acre Wachovia Tract, was the craft trade and professional center to the surrounding farming congregation. Through this rich body of documentation, the Horticulture Program at Old Salem has been able to meticulously recreate the landscape recalling early Salem.  

Here horticulturists will tour you through the Miksch heirloom and award-winning Single Brothers’ Gardens that showcase the rich agricultural history of the Moravians in Winston-Salem. The Single Brothers’ Garden is the largest restored interpretive terraced garden in Old Salem.  

Here you’ll dig into early sustainable farming practices such as “feeding the soil” and learn about Old Salem’s Seeds with Stories.  Boasting a collection of more than 252 varieties of seeds, this program is literally rooted in the reintroduction of historically appropriate trees, shrubs, flowers, grains, and vegetables. These rare, local Southern and/or Moravian varieties play a key role in establishing new local food systems as well as propagating and showcasing the historic garden.  

Art Takes Center Stage

Winston-Salem, the first city in the U.S. to establish an arts council, is aptly nicknamed The City of Arts & Innovation. So, it stands to reason that a variety of artworks can be discovered at almost every turn and boasts one of the region’s most exciting collections of art inside and outdoors!   

Begin your arts immersion with a curatorial-led tour of Reynolda House Museum of American Art. With more than 6,000 historic objects and a renowned art collection that spans 250 years, the collection is a chronology of American art, showcasing works by Georgia O’Keeffe, Grant Wood, Romare Bearden, and Fredric Edwin Church. 

Next tour stop takes you to Winston-Salem’s downtown Arts District home to an eclectic collection of colorful works by local artists.  Admire ARTivity on the Green nestled smack dab in the middle of the downtown district, a colorful art-themed park with bold metal towers and a collaborative mural created by local artists. 

Further exploration through the downtown Arts District reveals Winston-Salem Community Mural Project which was a collaborative, grassroots public art project inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.  

Stop in at Delurk Gallery to talk to Clark Whittington, the artist, who 25 years ago created Art-o-Mat, a collection of cigarette machines repurposed into dispensers of original art.  And shop the hand-crafted works of artists and members at the Piedmont Crafts Gallery. Finish your arts outing by creating your own artworks at one of nine studios at the Sawtooth School for Visual Arts located in the Shamrock Textile mill – the original Hanes Hosiery factory.