Rockin’ the Vote and the Art of Stretching

I apologize to my readers and sponsors for not posting more, but I’ve still been getting into the groove of walking again. That ingrown toenail did a lot of damage, more than the pain, but the downtime. Thanks doc, I know it’s for the best. Over the last three weeks, for various reasons, Stephanie and I have been walking the downtown area, some (most) in places we’ve already walked. It’s mostly a steady, consistent walk, in familiar territory and we had things going on in the area; it was convenient. Plus, no matter how many times we walk this area, there is so much history that we learn something, see something, or find something we didn’t know or know about before.

First rule of walking club, though… stretch!!!! Stretch before you embark, hydrate and rest when you need to. One of those, I got down pat. The other two, not so much. So, drink that water before you leave your house if you don’t want to carry anything with you, or get a Camelbak (available at Omega Sports) or something like it; although that may be a bit

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Historic sign in front of Plant 64

much on a city excursion. And, stretch. Stretch. Stretch! Your muscles aren’t made just get out and go. You have to work them up to that, even a rudimentary thing like walking. Moving about isn’t too strenuous but I learned the hard way this weekend, don’t take it for granted. Let’s talk about the journey this week.

 

We parked on Fourth Street and walked east to Research Parkway. We turned north and walked by the area now known as Plant 64, a former tobacco plant dating back to around 1916, that has been converted into a luxury apartment community and some office spaces. We walked to Fifth Street and stopped. I was already feeling the affects of being slightly dehydrated and not stretching. We turned west and walked Fifth up to Main Street.

On that segment, we passed by the lovely Bailey Park where the Wake-Up Walk happened for Family Services. We missed that one as we got a late start on the morning. We already knew we weren’t going to make the “10k by 10a” goal, but we were going to go for as long as we could. We weren’t lying in bed being lazy cusses and that was the important part. Stephanie, who used to work in Old Salem said she’d like to at least get close to the area to see if the leaves had turned, yet. Incidentally, I do recommend you get by Old Salem in the next week or so as the leave will start really turning by then.

So on Main, we turned south, as that would lead us directly into Old Salem (since that is the main street in which gives the street its name). We passed by the RAI building, the headquarters of Reynolds American, the tobacco company, if for some reason you didn’t know that. We also went by the new Kimpton Cardinal Hotel and Katharine Brasserie that occupies the original RJR Building. A building of much importance to our city and to the country, really. That building was the prototype of the Empire State Building in New York City. But, it is my belief that this town wouldn’t be the booming municipality that it was in the early 20th Century, nor the booming city it has become over the last 10 years without that building, what it stood for and what legacy it left. Without Richard Joshua Reynolds and his company, there’d be very

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Office for the day…

little happening in this city. It could be just any other small town. Next to it is the “box the RJR Building came in,” the old Wachovia building, or the newer Winston Tower, the second tallest building in town.

 

We continued south and passed the new “Wachovia” building, now known as the Wells Fargo building after passing two very miserable places. The Federal Courthouse and the Hall of Justice. Both are courts of law among other things. Both are eyesores of this city and both hold a lot of bad stories, bad people, bad memories and bad incidents within their walls. I know they’re needed but they’re just miserable places and being betwixt them is depressing. Luckily, they were washing the exterior of the Federal building and that gave us something interesting to look at as we passed by them.

We passed down into Old Salem and walked until we got to West Street and well, we turned west. We stopped by the Cobblestone Farmers Market, a delightful collection of farmers, growers, makers and retailers of locally produced wares. There’s something for just about everyone there. After stopping, talking to a few merchants and resting our non-stretched bodies for a few minutes, we went back east on West, through the Old Salem Square, where there was an artistic gathering of local or at least moderately local artisans selling their wares. We turned east on Academy Street and north on Church Street. Going north on Church leads you to God’s Acre, the Moravian graveyard.

Old Salem, itself is something I could write twenty blog posts on. Beautifully restored and curated homes (privately owned), period-authentic costumes, an authentic bakery, a hat shoppe, history, fables, truths, all there in Old Salem. If you’ve not been or haven’t been in a while, you owe it to yourself to pay the entrance fees and do some touring. If you live here in Winston-Salem and haven’t done it, shame on you. It’s fantastic stuff. Stephanie worked in costume there for many years, so I get the cheap tour, but we don’t get to go into the houses and exhibits. We have done that and she tells me about them all the time.

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Sporting our “We Voted Early” stickers.

I’m lucky. You should go do the tours, I’m going to leave it at that.

 

Still slightly suffering from the effects of not stretching, most of it had worn off by then and I felt decent, we stopped at the Vierling House (closed for renovations) for me to prepare the long walk through God’s Acre, by sitting on the bench outside of it. We then passed by many rows of plain white grave markers, some going back to the late 1700s. In past weeks, we visited the city cemetery, home of many of Winston-Salem’s famous founders’, industrialists’ and favorite families’ (Reynolds, Hanes, Babcock, Vogler, etc.) for their eternal resting places. That is just on the other side of God’s Acre and it’s very interesting to visit all of the graves there in both cemeteries. You could make a day out of the city cemetery alone.

We then emerged outside the walls of God’s Acre onto Cemetery Street at the continued Church Street. We continued north along Church until we got to First Street, turning east on First to Chestnut Street past Albert Hall and Victoria Hall, named so because of, you guessed it, tobacco. They were canning locations for Prince Albert tobacco (yes in a can) and some of the premiere biotech companies in the nearby Innovation Quarter. We then unnamedproceeded to the Forsyth County Government Building where Stephanie and I exercised our right to vote. We did wait in line for about an hour and forty five minutes, but it was
worth it. We were sitting around 8000 steps at that time. After finishing up there we continued north on Chestnut until we got back to Fourth, turning east and back to our car.

We drove over to our official “Carb-Loader,” Mary’s Gourmet Diner and after noshing on her lovely wares we walked up to Atelier on Trade (which I believe now wants to be called Atelier Bakery on Trade), our official “Caffeinator,” for a couple of coffee drinks and then over to our “Liquid Reward,” Hoot’s Roller Bar and Beer Company for our just desserts. We ended up walking a little more throughout the day and ended up doing 11,524 steps, equalling 5.74 miles and burning 3349 calories. I’d like to remind you to visit my sponsor, Omega Sports for your walking/running/sporting needs. Again, they carry Camelbak products as well as the Garmin Vivofit3 and Brooks shoes. I’m thankful to them for getting me out and walking.

I want to reiterate the importance of the stretching and hydrating, though. I mentioned it only a few times here, but it was extremely difficult to do the walk and I was cramping, a lot. I have some weird muscles that tighten up on the outside of my legs, slightly above the ankles, and it affects my gait which, in turn, affects my back. I was a sore man at the end of the evening. I didn’t sleep too awfully much either and that is also important, not only for walking but for everyday life. Take care of your bodies folks, eat well, drink lots of water and stretch! Thank you for reading.

Get to steppin’!

Downtown: The Return, September 24, 2016

It was good to get back to the walking grind after being out of commission for over a month. In my last post, a few weeks back, I talked about missing because of a doctor-imposed hiatus due to an ingrown toenail. Admittedly, I was kind of dreading walking because I got out of routine, out of shape (not that I was in shape) and have been battling an allergy/sinus problem. So, to combat that, we decided to go a little easier on our walk the first time out, just to get back into it. Stephanie and I got a later start than normal on this Saturday and luckily, it wasn’t too hot.

We decided to something familiar to do our “easing back.” That ended up being downtown, of course. We parked in the lot around our “carbinator,” Mary’s Gourmet Diner and walked Trade Street, south to Seventh Street. We walked Seventh, east, all the way to Patterson. We passed the Goler AME Zion Church on the corner of Patterson and Seventh. The church was built in the very early 1900s and was very instrumental in the African American community, especially in the era of the tobacco boom of the early 20th Century. It has been on the National Registry of Historic Places since 1998. 14448986_10154375875875490_8078112746879906056_n

Speaking of the tobacco history of this town, Patterson Avenue is the location of the new Innovation Quarter that is a lot of Wake Forest University, a lot of other technological and innovative companies, incubators and research facilities all combining forces to make the world a better place. These are all either demolished, refurbished or completely reimagined tobacco warehouses. You can stand on the corner of Patterson and Sixth Street and see one of the most spectacular views of the city (see the picture) .

We walked south on Patterson, by the beautiful Bailey Park to the developing area of Third Street, right behind Krankie’s. We turned, west, up the hill at Third and walked that past the oldest “skyscraper” in the city. In fact, it’s older than the city itself. The towns of Winston and Salem merged in 1913. The building of 8 W. Third was completed (mostly) in 1911, two years before the city was established. It was built as the headquarters of Wachovia Band and Trust and served in that role until what is now Winston Tower was completed in 1966, basically, right across the street. It was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1984 as “Wachovia Bank and Trust Company Building.” That’s history!

Also in that area? The old Forsyth County Courthouse. It sits, officially at 50 W Fourth Street (though the National Registry of Historic Places lists it as 11 W Third), directly across the street from 8 W Third. It was the third courthouse to sit on that spot, completed in 1926 and updated in 1960. It continued to be used for county services even after the Hall of Justice (I always think of the Superfriends when I say or hear that) was implemented in 1974. It made the Historic Places list in 2013. There’s a lot of the town’s history in that one little block.

We went north on Liberty, so named because a former resident of Salem moved out and felt “liberated” to be free of the rules of the Moravian theocracy. We made a stop by the new Crafted: Art of the Taco, which I can assure you will be covered on The Man Who Ate the Town, very soon. Again, we knew we’d be taking a lighter load for the day to ease back and I was working on about 3 hours of sleep, so we made our way to Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and turned west. We took that past what will be Wise Man Brewing and the old Ziggy’s. I can’t wait to tour the new brewery to see how much of this large building they will actually be using. It seems a bit large for what they’re doing, but that’s not a bad thing.

2016-09-25-19-15-13We walked MLK until we hit Trade again. We walked south and stopped our journey back at Mary’s. After having our breakfast there, we made our way down Trade to our official “caffeinator,” Atelier on Trade. Right before we made it to the store front, we hit 5,000 steps. So, half our normal steps at a later time of the day. We still felt good that we got out and was moving about. We finished our walking Saturday at our “liquid reward,” Hoots Roller Bar and Beer Company. Counting our minor walking about to get a prescription filled and to dinner, we ended up with 6,751 steps, 3.35 miles and burned 3094 calories. This according to my Vivofit, courtesy of Omega Sports.

It was a decent reentry into the walking world. I appreciate those who have voiced concern over why we hadn’t been posting and walking. It was a temporary setback and we’re back to it. I don’t know, yet, if we’ll hit the 10k by 10a next week but we’ll try. I’d like to get at least 7,500. We’ll see. But, thank you, again, to Omega Sports, Mary’s Gourmet Diner, Atelier on Trade and Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Company for believing in us and what we do! Until next time…

Get to steppin’!!