Tour de Trees at Historic Graylyn Estate
A historic luxury boutique hotel in Winston-Salem, Graylyn Estate elevates your holiday getaway with rich traditions, festive decor, family-friendly activities, and even butler service. Built in 1932 by the then-president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Bowman Gray, the 85-room estate sits on 55 acres on the historic Reynolda Mile. Now owned by Wake Forest University and operated as a conference center and hotel, Graylyn is definitely worth a visit during the holidays.
In addition to Christmas music filling the halls, flames crackling in fireplaces, wreaths adorning gates, garland winding staircases, and poinsettias all around, Graylyn decorates seven distinct Christmas trees that pay homage to a special Gray family tradition. Today, it’s a favorite among Winston-Salem visitors and locals alike.
Here’s your quick guide: In the living room, find the family tree featuring historic photos of the Grays. In the library, “The Travel Tree” represents some of the family’s favorite trips. In the Atlantis Room (where the indoor pool is), you’ll see a nautical twist on Christmas, while the tree in the Grille Room pays homage to Butter and Scotch, the family’s beloved Scottie dogs. Two more trees represent the Gray’s second home in Roaring Gap, VA and the family stables. Last but not least is “The Glass Ornament Collection Tree” in the sunroom.
Adding to the holiday splendor, Graylyn offers a hand-painted holiday ornament every year as the perfect gift item. Since 1990, local artist Julie Perry creates a limited-edition porcelain ornament inspired by an artifact or architectural detail at the estate. This year’s hand-painted creation features a bird wading in the water, as seen on a 16th-century hand-woven tapestry at Graylyn.
Want to see Graylyn in all it’s holiday glory? Simply book a room to bask in the experience or make a reservation to join for one of two public holiday Tour Pour Du Jour. Hosted December 2 and 16, the butler-guided group tour costs $20 per person and includes holiday-themed refreshments and two glasses of wine. Make a night of it by staying at the estate for dinner. Buying tickets in advance is highly recommended as these tours fill up quickly. For more information, to book a tour or to make a dinner reservation, please call 800-472-9596.
Enjoy Graylyn’s annual Breakfast with Santa on Saturdays and Sundays in December leading up to Christmas. In addition to a hearty breakfast, the event includes photo opportunities with Santa Claus and activities for children. Tickets are $25 per adult, $13 for children ages 5 - 12, free for children 4 and under. Reservations are recommended as space is limited.
Guests staying at Graylyn on Christmas Eve are known to be visited by jolly old St. Nick himself, who drops off a special gift at their hotel room door.