Blues Travels

The Driving Enthusiasts Web Site

An Inn in Old Salem, NC; Henry F. Shaffner House and Mom’s Idea of Elogance.

I do not know where to begin with this entry. So, for the uninitiated, I will begin where most beginnings start, and that is at the beginning.

This travel blog is more than just a diary of my stays at various sundry places throughout the United States. This is also a personal journey that started four years ago when I moved home to be with my mother who had been diagnosed with Cancer.

When she passed away this past January, I was at a loss. I had no idea how to pick up the pieces and move on with my life. Caring for mom, along with my brothers help ( for which I will be ever grateful ) was the saddest, most helpless and yet rewarding experience I have ever been privileged to experience. Still, after she died, I was lost.

I decided I would travel.

Perhaps it would help the reader to understand that both mom and I had been so preoccupied with her illness, as well as being partners in this epic battle for survival that we found ourselves in, that we were totally and completely detached from the emotion of it all. Always the emotional stalwarts, every day both mom and I were all business and all about getting her through each day and into the next as best as we possibly could. There literally was no time for tears. So, shortly after the battle was lost and mom died, I reasoned that by leaving home and distancing myself from the emotional sterility I had immersed myself in for four years, I would be able to truly grieve and have a reckoning of sorts with the past four years of my life. Does that make sense?

It will also help the reader to know that Blue, whom you will see referred to often in this web site, is a car, an R32, to be exact. What many of you do not know is that the car, Blue, is in reality named after a real Blue, a pure bred Birmen that mom gave to me nearly three years ago (For more information on Birmans, please visit

Blue, my cat, might as well have been my son. Indeed, he was my son in the truest sense of the word, in terms of relationship at least. He was Gods gift to me, through my mom’s hands and into mine. Sadly, Blue was killed nearly a year ago on a Friday night in July. To go into how that loss affected me would be to diverge too greatly from the purpose of this post. What is important to know is that since Blue’s death from this life, and birth into the next, God has, for some reason (perhaps at moms urgings who knows), chosen to use the color Blue as a way of guiding me, or confirming things for me whenever indecision or confusion grip me. How long this will last is anyone’s guess, but clearly, and for now at least, God is speaking to me with the color Blue very often. OK, enough background. Let’s do this thing.

For those of you who have been keeping up on my travels, and for the rest of you new to this journal, each day I have had on the road has presented itself with one divine surprise after another. I have met the most wonderful people and made some really good friends along the way. Today was an exception, but only in the sense that it was particularly exceptional, and in a way the others have not been.

I started the day off having breakfast with Woody, a truly great guy I met while in Fancy Gap the last three days. Over breakfast it was decided I would head to Winston Salem. My “roomies” next door at the Skyland Lakes Golf Club were from Florida and they did a bit of traveling on their own and told me I had to see Old Salem. So, off to Winston Salem it was.

I arrived in Winston Salem around 230 PM on Thursday. I flew in on the wings of two of North Carolina’s finest angels, traveling at speeds I will not mention here. Let’s just say Blue got to show off his new Cold Air Intake, courtesy of EIP Tuning. Thanks Rich!

Once in Salem proper, I stopped by the Salem Visitor Center and was greeted by some nice folks who promptly pointed out the fact that I had come into Salem on ONLY the worst week of the year. Nearly seventy thousand people had descended upon High Point, NC for a furniture convention, and apparently they all decided to stay in Salem. There were no hotel rooms available anywhere for nearly 30 miles. Blue and I had to hit the road to the next town nearly 65 miles away if we wanted to sleep anywhere for the night.

Or did we?

For as I drove away from the visitor center and up the street, what with my eye did I spy, but a Best Western on the right! So, I stopped in and checked to see if they had a room. And guess what? They did. One. And I took it.

I parked Blue and got out. I walked up to the third floor where my room was, thinking to myself, “Man, poor mom would have hated these steps. They sure are steep.”

Once in my room I sat on the edge of the bed of room 224 and was immediately told to leave. I cannot explain it other than to say it was as if someone said to me, “Nope, not here Tim. Do not stay here. Check out NOW!” So, we checked out. I have to admit to being a bit embarrassed. I mean, here this poor girl worked so hard to find me a room, found me one, a non-smoking room no less, and I am now checking out 5 minutes after checking in? That is just plain nuts, not to mention rude and ungrateful. But leave is what I did.

Before I left I asked her for directions to get me out of town and she told me to take a left, then another left and then a right. So I did. And as I was about to take that last right, there, immediately to my right at the stop light on Marshall Street, was this beautiful bed and breakfast called The Henry F. Shaffner House Bed and Breakfast Inn. What struck me as odd was the fact that just this morning I had been talking to God and lamenting that I had not been able to find a nice bed and breakfast to try out. After all, this was part of my plan, to try out bed and breakfast inns and write about them. So, I pulled into this inn, knowing full well that there would literally be no room in the inn for Blue and I, but what did it hurt to ask?

A nice girl promptly greeted me at the door. So much so that before I had even placed my hand to the entrance door, she had opened it for me and whisked me in. She was pretty. Her name was Taryn. She was working the front desk and I proceeded to find out that only a few hours earlier a call had come in, canceling at the last moment. I was to be given the Winston Room. Indeed.

You can almost be certain that whenever you stay in a room that has its own name it is a pretty good bet that this is not going to be your average sleepover, nor will it be cheap. But it will almost certainly be worth it. So, before I booked the room, I asked Taryn if she would show it to me. I mean, if you are not use to plunking down $150.00 or more for a hotel room, it sort of helps to know what you are getting yourself into. And what I had gotten myself into was the Bluest room I have ever seen. The room was BLUE, people! Blue! Ands not some sort of pale blue, but a masculine, deep blue that left no room for interpretation. This room was blue! And I knew then that I was where I was supposed to be. It was great confirmation.

Before I continue, keep in mind that I would never have stumbled upon the Shaffner House Inn had I not almost stayed at the Best Western, for it was the Best Western’s directions that sent me right to the front door of the Inn. Talk about divine directions! But I digress.

Anyway, you can learn all you need to know about the history of the Henry F. Shaffner House Inn by visiting their web site at

For now, here are some lovely photos of the Winston Room that I stayed in, the rest of the interior of the Inn, along with some photos of the exterior.

Mom would have loved this room. Blue was her favorite color for bedrooms. She might have called this Colonial Blue, although I am not sure that is the actual color, just that mom would have loved it. Elegance appealed to her.

blueroom1This is a view as you are looking towards the back of the bedroom. There is a huge ceiling fan above that circulates air very well. The bed is really comfortable. It reminded me of the bed I slept in as a kid at my grandmother’s house.

blue_room2This view is from the opposite direction, looking into it from the hallway, basically. The bed is now off to the left. This large, wicker stand houses a TV, but I never turned it on. I was too busy taking everything in or working on this story.

blue_room3Finally, the last view of the room, and I think its the most beautiful. The brickwork for this fireplace is real, and original. This is hard to believe, but when you touch it you know it is true.

These fireplaces do not work, or I do not think they do. But they were used to heat the rooms at the turn of the 20th century when the house was built. Even though they are functional, they add a lot of warmth to the room.

Interestingly, what the photos cannot convey is just how blue this room really is. It is a deep, dark blue, almost Navy, but not quite. It is very masculine in tone, and is really very comfortable to sleep in.

The room is internet ready, but you need to have a firewire cable to take advantage of it. The access is DSL, instead of wireless. Thus the need for the cable.

The rooms are not cheap in the least. Mine was nearly $200.00 a night. The experience of being their was worth it, but, sadly I do not think I would stay there again. I guess you can consider me frugal. I can get just as good a night of sleep in a Holiday Inn Express. However, if luxury and elegance are a must for you, then check out this Bed and Breakfast in Old Salem.


October 14, 2004 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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