Winston-Salem, NC, USA
Kimpton Cardinal Brings Boutique & Bowling to Winston-SalemDowntown Winston-Salem is a destination which offers fine cuisine, crafts and nightly entertainment in an atmosphere free of the clamor and traffic of other cities. Within walking distance are galleries, breakfast spots and bars. Central to it all is one of the newest properties in the Kimpton line- the hotel Cardinal. Housed in an edifice that was for decades the base of the R.J. Reynolds tobacco empire, this stately art deco was the influence for the Empire State Building. It's no typical Kimpton. Most hotels in the boutique chain feature retro motifs with colors that pop- Austin Powers accents for the business traveler. The Cardinal reflects the commercial heritage of the tower's origins, outfitted in regional Tar Heel tartan furnishings, touches of the Moravian immigration in its artwork, and preppy flourishes in carpeting and wallpaper. The Reynolds firm was the first to successfully process national products from tobacco- a venture facilitated when a family nephew developed a preservative wrapping material for long distance shipping, which was the precursor of Reynolds Wrap.
Executive design notwithstanding, this is a Kimpton for the kid in you. Its lower level recreation center has a bowling alley, a basketball court, pool and ping pong tables, and table games, with giant screen tv's tuned to sports channels. It's open all night.
The Cardinal's restaurant Katharine (named for R.J. Reynolds' wife), with its vintage look bar, is the place for everything from lobster to grits. Across the lobby, The Living Room welcomes guests with lounge seating, a library, sweet tea, and handsome furnishings.
Katharine's breakfast menu includes rich lemon ricotta blueberry pancakes. If you're out and about, grab a savory breakfast at Mary's Gourmet Diner on Trade Street, known for its cornmeal cakes and mural artwork, or at Mozelle's Fresh Southern Bistro on West Fourth, a cozy comfort food corner where one must sample the tomato pie and the grits. But start with the pulled pork stuffed spring rolls. Asian-Southern anyone? On Third Street, a short walk from the Cardinal, Krankie's Coffee serves up hearty gourmet breakfasts, and sells pastries. On the walk, you'll see the towering silo of the original Reynolds tobacco factory, and other industrial buildings, rail tracks, and small shops.
No tour of this region is complete without seeing the estates of the captains of industry. Explore Reynolda House and Museum, the 100 year old country manor and company outbuildings where the tobacco empire operated. The art collection in the House Museum features the works of O'Keefe, Cassatt and Grant Wood, much of it acquired by Reynolds' granddaughter beginning in the mid-1960's. Katharine Reynolds worked with an architect to plan the corporation factories and buildings here, which are a city unto themselves.
The art doesn't stop there. At nearby Graylyn Estate, situated on 55 acres and built in 1932, butler tours are available. This was the home of Reynolds board chair and president Bowman Gray. It is the second largest private home in the state. Presidents Ford and Carter and Oprah Winfrey have stayed here, and guests may stay on the second story of the stone residence. Much like Katharine Reynolds, Nathalie Gray, Bowman's wife, was the brains behind the design.
Next door is the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA). This museum exhibits the work of innovators and influencers, many of whom are women. Later, enjoy a downtown dinner at Spring House (order the lamb loin or the bison meat loaf), or at the distinguished Tavern in Old Salem. In this preserved section of town, daytime and evening tours are offered, both of which shed light on the colonial and slaveholding past.
Racing team owner Richard Childress often visited the vineyards of Northern California. He was inspired to start his own enterprise, but realized he wished to do so back home. The result is Childress Vineyards, which opened in 2004. Experience a tasting flight, then take a guided tour of the NASCAR proprietor's large scale winery. Sit down to a lovely property view and a tasty seafood lunch at the Vineyards' Bistro. The desserts here are special, and they look it.
Winston-Salem is also home to Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University and its Biggers research Library, the University of North Carolina School For The Arts, and every other year, the National Black Theatre Festival. Whether its sports, arts or business that brings one here, you'll feel quite at home.