July 14, 2014 found an enthusiastic group of Jim Smiths and their wives, better known as Gems, beginning to gather in Clemmons, NC at the Village Inn Event Center. What a wonderful staging point from which to take day trips to enjoy the many great venues chosen by our hosts. Fasten your seat belts, it was a very busy five days. Not all of the Jims and Gems had arrived the first day, but the festivities started without them. Approximately 14 of us visited the Hendrick Motorsports Museum, a cricket hatchery where they also raise fish and worms for bait, then on to the private museum of stuffed animals acquired over many years of big game hunting by our hostesses brother, Paul. With almost 1300 pictures to choose from, this post will contain only a small portion of the total Click on the thumbnails to view a larger picture..
Day One – Tuesday July 15
Day two – Wednesday July 16
While the initial 14 were out taking in the sights on Tuesday, more Jims and Gems were arriving at the hotel. The evening was spent catching up on all the latest and preparing for the planned outing for the next day. Our bus arrived and the gang went aboard. The plan for the day was to visit Reynolda House, the home of the late R. J. Reynolds and family, It is now a museum full of beautiful furniture and the original kitchens, a bowling alley, shooting range, an attic showroom containing clothing and toys from the family’s past, and many valuable paintings, etc. displayed throughout. We were not allowed to take pictures inside the museum, but we have a few taken on the grounds. A local television station and some newspaper reporters interviewed the Jims and a couple of the Gems, including our hostess, Vera. From Reynolda House, we got in a little shopping at Reynolda Village, a developed area of the property. Then, we all gathered at the Charlotte, NC home of Dierdre Smith, the daughter of one of our hosts, for a fantastic North Carolina Barbecue. While there, a few more of the Jims and Gems arrived.
Day Three – Thursday July 17
This day took us to Old Salem for a fun day of exploring and shopping with lunch at Old Salem Tavern. More shopping and exploring in the afternoon. We also got in on a drive through tour of Winston-Salem. After arriving back at the hotel, a few that hadn’t been worn out completely, made an impromptu trip to the historic Brooktown Inn, owned by the same lady who owns The Village Inn Events Center.
Day Four – Friday, July 18
Cookies, wine and JIMGO… what more could you ask? The day started off with the usual breakfast at the Inn, then on to Mrs. Hanes Handmade Moravian Cookie Factory! After sampling all six flavors of cookies and purchasing some to take with us, we journeyed on to the Childress Winery, owned by Richard Childress of NASCAR fame. Following an extensive tour of the winery, more purchases were made. You know there will be parties tonight! For those not familiar with the traditions of the Jim Smith Society, JIMGO is our version of BINGO and is one of the highlights of the Fun Fest. Everyone brings an inexpensive gift and as the games progress, each one can only win once until everyone has won a prize. Any extras are then fair game for all.
Day Five – Saturday July 19
Our final day of fun and frolic… Most of the day was spent at the North Carolina Transportation Museum and Spencer Train Roundhouse. It included a short but enjoyable train ride. The bus driver also took us past the last existing Shell Station shaped like the Shell symbol. Originally there were eight of them. This one is no longer in service, but does provide a tourist attraction. After returning to the hotel for a little rest and relaxation all the Jims and Gems gathered for the Saturday Night Banquet. Entertainment was provided by a group of friends and relatives of one of the host families and consisted of a demonstration of a dance called the Shag which originated in the Carolinas. Many of the Jims and Gems joined in the dancing as the evening progressed. A well deserved presentation was made to Vera Smith for her continuing dedication to the Jim Smith Society.
The end of a perfect Jim Smith Fun Fest for 2014. We look forward to getting together for the next one which is planned for September, 2015 in the Black Hills of South Dakota. See you all there!