20 Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Winston-Salem

The home of sweet tea, “yes, ma’am,” and NASCAR, Winston-Salem is the fifth-largest city in the Old North State according to population. But in the hearts of locals, it’ll always rank number one. Moving is stressful enough, so read up on Winston-Salem before your big move.

1. Locals call it Winston.

Formed by combining the towns of Winston and Salem, it’s not the only hyphenated city, but it does revere that little line in the middle a little more than most. In fact, in 2008 our minor-league baseball team was renamed The Dash. Yes, we know it’s a hyphen. Don’t argue, just enjoy the game.

2. It’s in the Piedmont Triad.

Piedmont for the geographical area of the middle of the state, while Triad is comprised of the three metro areas of Winston, Greensboro and High Point.

3. You’re three hours from the coast.

Have a hearty Bojangles breakfast (it’s always Bo-time!), head due east on I-40 and you’ll be dipping your toes in the Atlantic Ocean by lunchtime.

4. And about an hour from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Travel West on Highway 421 for about an hour to get to the Deep Gap access point of the Blue Ridge Parkway, a National Scenic Byway and All-American Road.

5. Our basketball rivalry is real.

You’re on the western end of the Tobacco Road basketball rivalry, which includes college basketball giants NCSUUNCWake Forest University and Duke. Unless you already have an affinity for one of the other teams, pick the Demon Deacon black and gold to root for. Always.

6. The city that Reynolds built.

Literally. Winston (before the cities merged) was built for the tobacco-company executives. The Reynolds family dumped a ton of money into the city, resulting in libraries, schools, parks and more named after them.

7. We’ve got nicknames.

Besides the Dash, we’re also known as the Twin City, Camel City, Reynoldsville and Tobaccotown.

8. Our symbol is a 26-pointed star.

The Moravians, a German Protestant sect who founded Salem, might have brought the 26-point star to the area, but we ran with it. You’ll see the 26-pointed star everywhere during the holidays, including a 31-foot version, one of the biggest in the world, atop the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

9. Step back in time.

A living history museum, Old Salem is blocks away from downtown Winston. Stroll the cobblestone streets, then enjoy a slice of Moravian chicken pie at the Tavern restaurant.

10. There are plenty of museums.

It’s no surprise that the city that created the arts council (in 1949) would have tons of museums, like MESDA (Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts), SECCA (Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art) and Reynolda House.

11. We’re proud of our famous residents.

Maya Angelou taught at WFU and lived here until her death, while basketball star Chris Paul and screenwriter Angus MacLachlan of Junebug fame were born and raised here.

12. There are two interstates named 40.

Both interstates are major thoroughfares that run east-west through the city. Business 40 is the original interstate and cuts through downtown, while I-40 (sometimes called Bypass 40) is the new kid on the block, built in 1993, and—you guessed it—bypasses downtown.

13. The Empire State Building has its roots here.

The same architects, Shreve & Lamb, designed both the NYC landmark and the Reynolds Building, which debuted three years earlier. Staff members at the Empire State Building still send Reynolds Building staff members a Father’s Day card every year. The Art Deco building is now the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel.

14. Breakfast means biscuits.

Born in the Triad, Biscuitville is a popular breakfast fast-food chain. They do one thing—biscuits—extremely well. Expect a line of cars waiting to get a “made from scratch” piping-hot biscuit.

15. Fly out of Greensboro, not Charlotte.

You’ll be swayed by the slightly cheaper prices out of Charlotte, but don’t fall for it. First, it’s a longer drive from Winston. Second, driving to and navigating through the Greensboro airport is much easier.

16. The $5 tray is the best deal in town.

Not only does Cook Out offer a full menu of milkshakes, they also offer an amazing amount of food for $5—a burger (or hot dog or BBQ), two sides and a drink.

17. Obey the Hot Donuts Now sign.

When the Krispy Kreme hot light is on, don’t be surprised if your car involuntarily guides you into the parking lot. The lure of that hot glazed yeast donut is like a mosquito mesmerized by a bug zapper. Don’t fight it.

18. Texas Pete is code for hot sauce.

A Winston company, Garner Foods, created a hot sauce and named it Mexican Joe. Good taste prevailed (for what they called a more “American” name), and Texas Pete was born.

19. You’re not the only transplant.

One of our main universities, Wake Forest University moved to Winston in 1956 (a little over a century after the college was established) from Wake Forest, a small town outside Raleigh.

20. Words are different down here.

Coke is used for any carbonated beverage, a buggy is a grocery cart, you shop for food at a grocery store, not a supermarket, and y’all is used often.

Jennifer Maxwell