One of my very favorite things to do in autumn is to visit Old Salem. When the leaves are turning and just starting to fall, when the morning air has a crisp bite to it, I want to grab a wooly sweater and go walk the cobblestones and pavers smoothed with age, crunching my feet in the leaves.
Salem was founded in 1766 by the Moravians who set up an earlier community in Bethlehem, PA and then moved to North Carolina to establish the community of Wachovia in 1753. The small community is now a mix of original buildings that are open to the public and private residences in the beautifully maintained old homes. A very active Moravian church and the beautiful campus of Salem College are also a part of the village.
The air is filled with the scent of fresh bread and warm cinnamon so a visit to the Winkler Bakery is a must. The deep dome oven is still heated with wood just as it was 200+ years ago, and the master baker is more than happy to talk to you about his craft as he pushes his heavy wooden paddle into the deep oven to move the baking breads, cakes and cookies around to ensure a perfect product. It's a real treat to get a loaf of bread, warm sugar cake or those famous paper-thin molasses cookies and sit outside to enjoy the fresh treat.
Though the Christmas season is also a special time there, with bees wax candles in every window, fresh greens on most every door and old Moravian and German ornaments on display every way you turn, I still enjoy autumn in Old Salem the best.