2147 Bethabara Rd., Winston-Salem
HOURS: Apr. 1–Dec. 16 Tues.–Fri. 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.,
Sat.–Sun. 1:30–4:30 p.m. (closed weekends in Dec.)
COST: $2 adults, $1 children
In 1753, Moravians established the first settlement in North Carolina at the site that is now known as Bethabara Park. The 183-acre park is a living museum with 40 archaeological sites, including the foundations of several original buildings.
Remnants of a community farmhouse built in 1757 and an apothecary that dates back to 1763 were preserved alongside several reconstructed and restored buildings to create an accurate picture of how the Moravians lived 250 years ago.
Some of the most notable restorations are the original church that was built in 1788 and is the last 18th-century church with attached living quarters in the country, a potter’s house that was built in 1782 and is the oldest brick building in Forsyth County, and the Buttner House, which was built in 1803 and is the oldest known distiller’s house in the nation. There is also a cemetery on the grounds that was established in 1759, and one of the earliest colonial medical gardens in the country.
Given the impressive history of the site, it’s no surprise that the entire park is a National Historic Landmark. The on-site museum is filled with handcrafted items from the Moravian settlement. A short film about the site is shown at the visitors center for a quick introduction to Moravian life.
Costumed guides conduct tours to explain the historic importance of the site. The grounds are open to the public, too. Hike 20 miles of nature trails and look for otters, mink, foxes, and deer from the wildlife observation decks.
© Jodi Helmer from Moon Charlotte, 1st Edition