2019 – Sightseeing the North Carolina Piedmont area

2019 – Murray’s Mill Historic Site – Catawba, NC

As a lover of American history I was pleased to find Fort Dobbs since it actually predates the American Revolution. By the date of the Revolution the Fort had been disbanded and was in ruins. Construction of Fort Dobbs was begun in 1755 and completed one year later. It was designed like a British Fort by order of Royal Governor Dobbs in response to the French and Indian war that was threatening the Colonies. It was to be the area military headquarters and a safe place for settlers.

All buildings are reproductions based on historical information. As was the original the Fort is built of local white oak. The rebuilt Fort will be complete and opened to the public in September. There’s a garden, brush arbor, and an outdoor bread oven. In the gift store/museum there are many artifacts that were found on site, along with other items representative of those used at the Fort.

I also enjoyed visiting Murray’s Mill Historic District near Catawba NC. The centerpiece of the area is the Mill and Murray & Minges General Store. The Mill was built in 1913 and operated until 1967. The store was built in 1890s and relocated to the area.

The mill has the original one ton millstones that ground corn and the roller mills used for grinding wheat. On the main floor we saw carts, scales and other equipment used in the daily operations. Down a flight of stairs the big gears are being turned by the water wheel just on the other side of the wall. Outside, I was impressed with the beauty of the water flowing over the dam and turning that big mill wheel.

Visiting the Murray & Minges General Store is a step back in history with dry goods, stick candy and other candy in jars along with local honey for sale. On display are examples of handmade lace and quilts made from original flour sacks. We enjoyed sitting on the porch swing while sipping bottled soft drinks from the antique Coca-Cola machine.

With my love of Chocolate I enjoyed the tour and tasting at the Black Mountain Chocolate Factory in Winston-Salem, NC. On the forty minute tour we learned how they make their chocolate from “bean to bar.” This is a small factory and much of what is done is hands on. Our guide showed us a cacao pod and explained the process needed before the beans could be shipped for making chocolate. We saw the bean roaster, the machine used to process the ground beans, with other items that combine to make the chocolate. The bar molds are filled by holding the mold under a metered stream of chocolate, settled on a shaking table, and moved to a cooling rack. I enjoyed a peanut butter cookie from the shop where various chocolate items, pastries and coffees as well as other gift items can be purchased. This is a fun and tasty place to visit in downtown Winston-Salem.

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