A love letter to the Triad
There is no place like home, as Dorothy famously repeated in the Wizard of Oz. After living in this area for almost two years, I can say the same: there is truly no place like the Triad.
The Piedmont Triad gives residents the best of both worlds by being only a couple hours from the beach and the mountains, having three cities rich with culture, along with beautiful pockets of nature sprinkled in between. Nowhere else in North Carolina (or even the world) can compare with what this area has to offer. In honor of Valentine’s Day, this love letter will spotlight places that I and other YES! Weekly staff members love and appreciate in the Triad.
The Greensboro Arboretum is my favorite patch of nature in the Triad to take a stroll and bring my dog, Blackbeard. I love sitting by the big wind chimes on a cool and windy day, listening to the metal bars clang against each other; or during the warm and lively Summer Solstice festival, where giant puppets dance and meander their way through the carefree crowd. At High Point City Lake Park in Jamestown, there is a quiet and serene spot by the lake with lots of ducks and picnic tables that I love to go to on a sunny Sunday afternoon. I am also grateful for High Point City Lake Park because its gymnasium is a place I visit every Thursday for roller derby practice with the wonderful people of Greensboro Roller Derby. The league is also a big reason why I am proud to call the Triad my home. Everyone is so accepting and empowering, which is also reflective of the Triad community. Greensboro’s LeBauer Park and Center City Park will always be special to me because they were some of the first places I visited when I moved to Greensboro. I love that there can be anything at this park from live music and movies to protests and rallies. Both parks are hotspots for the downtown community and summer would not be the same without the splash area for kids (and kids at heart) or the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s Spartan Cinema series. YES! Weekly events and promotions manager Natalie Garcia said she also loves to take her kids and dog to walk in LeBauer Park and throughout downtown Greensboro. Designer and ad coordinator Alex Farmer said she loves going to races at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem and has since 2012. It is a special place for her because that is where she met her husband P.J.
“The sound of the race cars roaring around the track, the excitement of 10,000-17,000 fans cheering and booing, and of course, the drivers using their cars as battering rams if they’re spun out by another driver,” Farmer wrote in an email. “Weekly racing is a very personal and passionate sport. It’s not like the Sunday Cup racing you see on T.V. These drivers and their teams put blood, sweat and tears into their machines every week to try to capture that checkered flag on Saturday nights in the spring and summer.”
My favorite outdoor event that takes place in the Triad every year is both Greensboro Pride and Pride Winston-Salem. I love attending both festivals and celebrating all the different types of love and identities. The pride festivals make me feel welcome and show how accepting and loving the Triad community can be.
Restaurants, bars and coffee shops
In Greensboro, there are hundreds of restaurants to go to but lately, (and the weather could be to blame for this) the only place I want to go is Tampopo. Its Wasabi Shoyu Ramen—with wasabi-flavored broth, bean sprouts, crispy tofu, and yellow noodles are to die for (and my partner says the hibachi is just as good). Tampopo opened last year in the FantaCity International Shopping Center and shares the name of one of my favorite movies, a “ramen Western” directed by Juzo Itami about two milk truck drivers helping a restaurant owner make great noodles. Its space is quaint, intimate and the perfect spot for a date night. Another Greensboro restaurant I can’t get enough of is Black Ginger, with its Tornado and Greensboro sushi rolls and garlic edamame. Black Ginger’s location is perfect because it is right beside Shiners. I love to eat Black Ginger take out at Shiners on a Tuesday or Thursday night while shooting some pool or watching burlesque performers. Farmer wrote that she loves to go to Finnigan’s Wake in Winston-Salem. “I love it so much that my husband and I went there for our first date and walked up and down Trade Street visiting the different galleries and shops afterward. We like to do this every year on our anniversary, and always note the corner we sat in on our first date.”
One of my favorite restaurants in Winston-Salem, May Way Dumplings, expanded to Greensboro just recently and brought the best dumplings to my side of town. For a while, before they expanded, I would drive at least once a week all the way to Winston just to get those dumplings. Publisher Charles Womack said one of his new favorite spots is Earl’s in Winston-Salem because of its “amazing chicken sandwich,” he also said he loves to get all the delicious food of the Triad delivered to him through Postmates, Doordash and UberEats. Art director Austin Kindley said that he always makes Valentine’s Day reservations for Greensboro’s Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill, which was voted Best Patio in Guilford County for YES! Weekly’s 2018 Triad’s Best readers’ poll. Kindley said his favorite dish at Darryl’s is the famous eight-hour prime rib, which takes all day to make and is so flavorful and tender. Kindley said his favorite bar to go to in Greensboro would be Boxcar Bar + Arcade to play Galaga. I, too, love going to Boxcar on Sunday evenings for the $1 mimosas and to beat my partner in Pac-Man and air hockey. Garcia said her favorite bar in Winston-Salem is Vintage Sofa Bar because of its “posh vibe and comfortable seating.” She also loves to go to Little Brother Brewing in Greensboro because “they always have the best live music,” and she said she loves to go to Stumble Stilskins “because of (Chris) Flather’s heavy Northern accent.”
One of the first times I went to Monstercade in Winston-Salem, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone: It was on a March night that celebrated a belated Groundhog Day and included the “Mayor of Monstercadia” measuring the nipples of “Fuxataunee Fill” to predict the weather. After attending, whatever that was, I kept wanting to go back. I celebrated my 23rd birthday there with a screening of John Waters’ Pink Flamingos and attended numerous other “dinner and bad movie nights” with the delicious and conveniently located Slappy’s Chicken next door. My partner and I went to the Elevated Weirdo Game Show on Halloween and won an empty pack of cigarettes, a VHS copy of Bedazzled starring Brendan Fraser, and a Casper the Friendly Ghost plastic bath toy. One of my favorite themed events that Monstercade hosts is shock collar comedy night, where stand-up comedians do their set wearing a shock collar around their necks while eager audience members throw a dollar in the tip jar to get control of the shocker remote. There is so much to say about Monstercade; it is a hub for the weird and just about the only bar I feel totally at home. I love the rotating selection of cocktails (aka monster cocks), the mannequins with T.V. heads playing old horror flicks, the bar’s eclectic decorations, and the stage where many bands have played killer shows. What I love most of all about this place are the kindred spirits that I have met.
My favorite place to interview people for articles would have to be coffee shops. And the best coffee shops in the Triad, in my opinion, are Krankies and Twin City Hive in Winston-Salem, and Common Grounds in Greensboro. I love meeting people to interview at Twin City Hive because it gives me a great excuse to give in to my sweet tooth and buy all the chocolate truffles I can eat. Krankies is in a beautiful location, and recently, I was interviewing a subject there as a train went slowly and loudly by. That may have annoyed others, but it made me appreciate the location even more. If I ever have to work on a deadline or meet with people in Greensboro, I love going to Common Grounds on Walker Avenue and getting the Charlie Chaplin or Robin Williams coffee drinks. It is always a wonderful surprise to go in on an open mic night and hear various types of music by local talent.
Museums and theatres
Garcia said her favorite museum in the Triad is Elsewhere in Greensboro because she loves “exploring the crazy art.” My favorite museum would have to be the Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem. Last year, I visited the Reynolda House with my aunt and uncle for the first time, and we all instantly fell in love with it. Seeing the Frederic Church exhibit was a once in a lifetime experience and seeing where and how R.J. and Katharine Reynolds lived was amazing and made me appreciate the history of Winston-Salem. My aunt and uncle still talk about our visit there, and they are itching to come back. The combination of American art gallery and the house as a museum itself complement each other and make the experience enriching. The whole Reynolda Village area is a place that I like to go as often as I can. A/perture Cinema is a jewel of Winston-Salem. It’s the city’s art-house cinema that doesn’t just show indie movies. It also hosts film series such as Black Cinema a/Journey and gets the community involved in special screenings and panel discussions. When I went to A/perture for the first time, I went alone to see Darren Aronofsky’s Mother! Which, in hindsight, was probably not the best movie to go see alone, but seeing it at A/perture felt more comfortable, and it made me feel better about going to the movies alone. When I saw Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water, I wasn’t ashamed that everyone could see that there were tears rolling down my face by the end of the movie. I love going to A/perture because it feels like everyone there loves seeing and appreciating movies as much as I do.
Attending RiverRun International Film Festival and OUT at the Movies International LGBT Film Festival (both are amazing festivals that I highly recommend) last year for the first time and seeing a packed theatre for each film screening made me even more excited to go to the movies and made me love A/perture even more.
One thing I love about the Triad is live theatre shows by Triad Stage. When I first moved to the area, I wasn’t really interested in live theatre. But after attending such plays as “A Raisin in the Sun,” “And Then There Were None” and recently, “White Lightning,” a love for the theatre blossomed and still grows strong today. The High Point Theatre is another theatre in the Triad that shouldn’t be overlooked. The quality of the theatre and shows presented in that venue are some of the best in the area. I recently attended the High Point Community Theatre’s production of “A Christmas Carol: The Musical” with my parents and the experience was memorable and delightful.
It was really hard to put into words how much my coworkers and I love this area and the places that make the Triad feel like home. From all of us at YES! Weekly, we love and appreciate all of these places that have provided us with pleasant memories and anticipation to return.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Katie Murawski is the editor of YES! Weekly. She is from Mooresville, North Carolina and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in film studies from Appalachian State University in 2017.