Food and wine trails are fast becoming a fun way to explore a region, and what better way to spend a long weekend — or week — than on the North Carolina Barbecue Trail? The trail runs over 700 miles from Eastern North Carolina to Tennessee, and resting in the middle is the charming city of Winston-Salem. Nicknamed the Twin City, Winston-Salem has a way of thinking toward the future while still honoring the past. This duality is a constant theme throughout the city. Once known as a tobacco town, Winston-Salem is successfully reinventing itself as a tourist destination. With its growing art scene, inventive restaurants, stylish boutique hotels and nearby world-class wineries, you'll leave wondering why you hadn't visited sooner.

STAY

Graylyn

Just a few miles from downtown, the Graylyn Estate was once one of the largest private homes in North Carolina. Now, it's a luxurious hotel with 85 uniquely decorated guestrooms and a modern convention center. Take advantage of the butler tour to hear the history and secrets of the home and then explore the 55-acre property on your own. 1900 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem, graylyn.com

Kimpton Cardinal

Built in 1929 as the headquarters for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, this art deco masterpiece famously served as the model for the Empire State Building. The décor gives a subtle nod to the building's history, and all the furnishings were sourced in North Carolina. The hotel offers 174 rooms, an evening wine hour in the lobby and free bike rentals so guests can explore the downtown arts district. The former boiler room now has a bowling alley, a basketball court, pingpong tables and an adult-sized slide.401 N. Main St., Winston-Salem, thecardinalhotel.com

DINE

Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar

Chef Tim Grandinetti focuses on Southern-inspired dishes made with local ingredients in this beautifully restored 1920s-era mansion on what was Millionaire's Row. Enjoy the inventive, sophisticated menu in one of the dining rooms or on the garden patio, or enjoy a craft cocktail in the cozy library bar.450 N. Spring St., Winston-Salem, springhousenc.com

Katharine Brasserie & Bar

Named for the R.J. Reynolds family matriarch, the Katharine blends the flavors of a traditional French brasserie with Southern cooking. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, one can enjoy lemon ricotta pancakes on the patio, a multi-course meal including côtelettes de porc in the main dining room or an artisan cocktail and oysters at the lively bar. 401 N. Main St., Winston-Salem, katharinebrasserie.com

The Tavern in Old Salem

Enjoy locally sourced ingredients and craft beers inside an 18th-century tavern. Staff in historic attire deliver farm-to-fork traditional Moravian dishes with a modern spin, and in the evening, the ambiance turns to candlelight and craft cocktails.736 S. Main St., Winston-Salem, thetaverninoldsalem.ws

Mozelle's Fresh Southern Bistro

A charming sidewalk cafe perched on an idyllic street corner in historic West End, this cozy bistro is a great place to people watch. Enjoy seasonal Southern favorites such as shrimp and grits, bacon-wrapped meatloaf and vine-ripened tomato pie. 878 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem, mozelles.com

Mary's Gourmet Diner

A favorite among locals, this funky farm-to-table eatery serves breakfast, lunch and brunch in cozy, colorful environs decorated with an eclectic mix of local art. Don't miss the “gritz” bowls, a design-your-own Benedict or the extensive collection of Tammy Faye Bakker albums. 723 N. Trade St., Winston-Salem, 336-723-7239

SIP

Raffaldini Vineyards 

This stunning vineyard with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains doesn't disappoint. Raffaldini uses an ancient Italian drying method to create their award-winning wines with longer-lasting finishes. Tastings and tours are offered daily. 450 Groce Road, Ronda, raffaldini.com

Krankies Coffee

A small-batch coffee roaster and cafe located inside a former meatpacking plant, Krankies is the perfect spot to get a java jolt. Along with coffee, they have a full bar and serve lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. 211 E. Third St., Winston-Salem, krankiescoffee.com

SEE

Reynolda House Museum of American Art

The country home and working farm of tobacco mogul R.J. Reynolds is now home to one of the most extensive collections of American art in the United States. Tour the historic estate that has been restored to reflect the time when the family lived there. 2250 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem, reynoldahouse.org

Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art

SECCA is one of the best places in town to get a glimpse of the emerging art scene. The modern galleries are part of a Tudor-style house that was once the home of James G. Hanes of Hanes Hosiery Mills Co. The center showcases the work of various local artists with rotating exhibits throughout the year. 750 Marguerite Drive, Winston-Salem, secca.org

Old Salem Museums & Gardens

Explore the cobblestone streets, well preserved buildings, heirloom gardens and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in this living historical town, founded in 1766. Knowledgeable guides dressed in period clothing explain how the early Moravians lived.600 S. Main St., Winston-Salem, oldsalem.org

Black Mountain Chocolate 

Relying on organic ingredients and fair trade cocoa beans from the Dominican Republic, Black Mountain works in small batches to handcraft chocolate bars, drinking chocolate, cookies and more. Self-guided tours are available daily, and behind-the-scenes tours are offered on Saturdays. 732 Trade St. NW, Winston-Salem, blackmountainchocolate.com

Colony Urban Farm 

This family-owned store specializes in beekeeping, local foods and more. Half of the store is a small market and the other half is devoted to urban farming supplies as well as a honey bar where customers can sample new honeys such as bourbon- or lavender-infused varieties before making a purchase. 492 West End Blvd., Winston-Salem, colonyurbanfarm.com

The North Carolina Barbecue Society Historic Barbecue Trail

Spanning the Tar Heel State, this self-guided trail showcases 23 barbecue joints that still cook their pork the old-fashioned way: over wood and charcoal. To be considered for the trail, proprietors must make their own sauce and have operated for at least 15 consecutive years. There are two stops in Winston-Salem: Hill's Lexington Barbecue and Real Q. Both use sauce that is considered to be Lexington- or Western-style, but each has their own unique style and flavor. ncbbqsociety.com

Photographs courtesy of Visit Winston-Salem, Monty and Brenda Combs, Jay Sinclair, and Katharine Brasserie & Bar

More Travel by Trail:

Athens, Georgia — Antebellum Trail

Louisville, Kentucky — Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Palm Coast, Florida — A1A Scenic & Historic Coastal Byway