Moravian Visit – One of Our Best Retirement Days

When JoAnn said she would like to go to Winston Salem to visit the Moravian community of Old Salem, I had absolutely no idea what that meant.

old salem church

I was in for some surprises.

First of all, I had never heard of the Moravians, and if I had to make a guess, I would have said they probably were some kind of horses. (I do remember sleeping through a couple of history classes.)

African Log Church

African Moravian Church

Preparation for Love Feast

Prep Love Feast

Preaching Done Here

Preaching Spoken Here

Covered Bridge separates Museum from Old Salem

covered bridge O Sal
covered bridge 2

It turns out that the Moravians were a strict religious sect, (one of the oldest protestant denominations) dating back to the 15th century. Their strictness makes strict denominations of today pale in comparison.

old salem garden

The Medical Garden - Medicinal Herbs

old salem garden2

The Moravians adhered to the choir system of social living. (not a singing group, but a social community of individuals) Choirs, for example, consisted of the single men’s choir, the single women’s choir, and also choirs for infants and children, married men, married women, widows etc. Married couples didn’t live together, and were only allowed to be together once per week. Each choir lived together in their own small community. Children were raised by the entire community with supervision rotating among responsible adults.

garden shelter
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Krause-Butner Pottery Shop -1782

old salem Brick Bld Jo

Gemeinhaus - A Congregation House - Oldest in Southeast

old salem church

Evidence of the Moravian idea of communal living can still be seen in the Bethabara and Old Salem Communities of Winston Salem. Community gardens, a medical garden where medicinal herbs are grown, a community orchard and grape arbors are still kept in good condition. Old buildings of Old Salem have been maintained and sometimes restored. You can actually see the single men’s house, single women’s house, and other community buildings, many of which are actually older than our country. We ate in an old Tavern Restaurant that was over 250 years old.

JoAnn says it needs a quilt block.. Is she getting obsessive ?

JoAnn thinks this should have a barn quilt block on it.... Is she a little obsessed??
old blds old salem5

In the heart of Old Salem

salem college

The earliest known Moravians were from a country known as Moravia, part of the Czech Republic.

Their primary mission was to evangelize the poorest of the poor wherever they might be found. Because of religious persecution, the Moravians fled from their country to Saxony in Germany, where they lived for a time during the 1500s. Later, due to more persecution, they fled to America, first settling in what would later become Georgia, then Pennsylvania, then finally North Carolina where they established a large, very well organized community called Bethabara in 1753.   A second community, established specifically for tradesmen, would  become Old Salem which still exists today in Winston Salem, NC.

old blds old salem3

The Moravians mission of evangelizing the poor continues today. They have over a million members in East Africa. They also reside in large numbers in the Caribbean Basin as well. A large church continues to be active in the Winston Salem Bethabara comunity, but the numbers are smaller than they once were. This, of course, is due to their continued mission to seek out the poor around the world.

The Drug Store


The Distiller


We spent several hours walking and driving around the village of Old Salem taking lots of photos and enjoying the stories told by volunteers about the Moravian culture. While eating our dinner at the old Tavern Restaurant, our waiter told us about Pilot Mountain a large knob about 15 miles north of Winston Salem.

log bld  Old Salem
the stories I could tell

Oh... The stories we could tell !

wagon underneath

A North Wind Blows

north breeze blows

Yes, Please !!

Yes, Please !

With lots of daylight left we decided to take the short detour to check out the mountain, where we were told we could get good views of the North Carolina Piedmont area.

Pilot Mountain

pilot mountain
piedmont 3
piedmont 4

Piedmont - Winston Salem in distance

Piedmont with Winston Salem in the distance
piedmont 6
piedmont 5

Heading for Home

sunset piedmont 5

After a very nice drive up to the summit of Pilot Mountain, a pretty view of the sun setting over the Piedmont, and a two hour drive, we were back at home. Such a nice retirment day !

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