By TMoM Team Member Sydney D. Richardson, Ph. D.

When COVID-19 really hit the area and we all had to go home, I have to admit, I was a bit excited. I’m a homebody anyway, so getting the chance to do everything from home was like a present that I never thought would come true. I also needed a break from taking the kids to school, driving to work, picking kids up, taking them to activities, getting home and trying to cram in family time before the kids went to bed. All of us being home was the “break” in time that we needed.

Then reality set in and I realized that having the country shut down also meant that all of our vacation plans and outings were off as well. Needless to say, the family and I had to get really creative in order to make home life interesting. That was fine, but I soon missed little day trips with my family, plus the kids were getting antsy. When restrictions loosened a bit to the point that outings were safer, my family and I decided to think differently about the Triad.

When it comes to outings with my kids, we’re always looking to venture to new places and see new things. We’re constantly looking for historical sites to visit, trails to walk, and playgrounds to go to in other cities and states. However, we never thought about researching our home city as if it were new. That’s when the idea came to me!  The Triad, starting with Winston-Salem, would become our “new vacation spot” where we’d need to take in all of the sights and sounds. The truth is that most of many people never research and explore where they live. We’re all more likely to travel elsewhere in order to experience exciting things.

I can’t honestly say that my family (nor myself for that matter) know everything there is to know about Winston –Salem, let alone the Triad. So that’s where we started, and what better place to start than Old Salem?

Now, the actual buildings were closed, but there was so much history outside that it was a great place to start. The kids learned about St. Phillips African American Moravian Church (I attended their pre-school), the original St. Phillips Brick Church, Happy Hills trail, Salem College, Winkler’s Bakery (it was closed), and of course the famous Moravian Star and its’ history. You would have thought that we walked through a whole museum with the way the kids acted. We even made a friend who took some of our pictures.


Our next stop was the town of Bethania where my children could point out the similarities between it and Old Salem. We learned about the history of Bethania Moravian Church and walked around the town for bit. We even decided to go on a walking trail, but that didn’t last long. My son thought he saw something move out of the corner of his eye and we all ran out of there like lightening. It was fun and I quickly learned that I needed to start exercising again!

On another day, we decided to explore our local town of Lewisville and that’s where we stopped at the Coffee Mill. Honestly, I have no idea if this is a historical place, but I got a coffee and my kids got amazing chocolate muffins. After that, it was off to a playground that we never paid attention to before in Shallowford Square, and we got a chance to view the Nissen Wagon. We’ve driven by this place so many times and never thought to stop. The kids had a great time playing and meeting some new people, and I explored the area.

Our next stop was Hanes Mall. It had been a year since we had been and my daughter wanted to go for her birthday. It’s easy to forget how big it is when you haven’t visited in twelve months. The kids rode the carousel, ate sweets, and explored everything. It wasn’t very busy since we got there early, so we felt like we had the mall to ourselves almost.

If you’re interested in treating your city or state like a tourist destination, here are a few tips:

  1. Get a guidebook: It sounds silly, but you’d be amazed at what tourists are introduced to in your own back yard. Use the guidebook as your road map and explore things as though you’ve never seen them before. You might discover a new favorite place.
  2. Grab a camera: You never know when you’ll have a moment to take great shot. You could catch a great sunrise or sunset or discover something new about your city/state that you’ll want to grab a picture of. These photos will be backdrops for great stories one day.
  3. Visit a new place: I’ve heard about Pilot Mountain my whole life, but guess what?  I’ve never actually been there and I can’t wait to go with my family. Is there a place that “everyone knows about” but you’ve never visited? Make that your first stop. Don’t forget the camera.
  4. Open mind, eyes and ears: Most of us take our own city or state for granted. When you venture out, forget what you know and approach home traveling with an open mind, open eyes, and ears. You might find yourself falling in love (or more in love) with the place that you call home.

I have to say that exploring where you live has been a lot more exciting than I imagined and the kids have had a great time. To them, it’s a mini vacation that can happen in a day. We decided to continue exploring, and thanks to a great friend who loves to travel, I’ve got 52 new places to take us through the next few months. And that’s just in the Triad! If you’ve never thought of treating where you live as a new place, do so. You will truly realize just how wonderful your own city and/or state can be.

*Don’t forget that TMoM has these Day Trip blogs, as well, for other perspectives:
~ Day Trip Idea: All Things Winston-Salem
~  Day Trip to Greensboro
~ A Great Family Day Trip: High Point
~ Triad Outings for Family and Friends

~ For more Day Trip ideas, visit our recently updated Day Trip Directory HERE!
~ Want to see more blogs like this and get notifications on local events and happenings? Subscribe to TMoM’s free weekly newsletters here.