If Wake Forest seems to exude a college town atmosphere, there’s good reason — one that’s steeped in more than two centuries of tradition.
The town’s historic claim to fame began back in 1823 when Wake Forest Academy for Boys was founded on 600 acres of land. The academy later became Wake Forest College, and by 1956, it had moved to Winston-Salem. A single original college building can be seen today in Wake Forest’s historic district, amidst lovely tree-lined streets of Greek Revival and Queen Anne homes.
The Wake Forest College Birthplace — historic home of the college’s first president, Calvin Jones — was where, in 1834, the first class enrolled in Wake Forest College. It houses an impressive collection of photos, furniture, and memorabilia, and is a favorite stop in the historic downtown.
Don’t think that Wake Forest’s academic tradition means stodgy; far from it. The town is a vibrant community of over 23,000 residents and offers a progressive downtown of more than 100 businesses and retail development like the Capital Commerce Center.
Residents’ deep regard for their rich heritage lives side by side with cutting-edge projects for the future. This is, after all, one of the most sought-after communities in the Triangle area.
Higher education is the most basic foundation of Wake Forest, and so it continues today, with more than 2,000 students enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, located on the site of the original Wake Forest College.
It is Wake Forest’s enviable blend of progress and tradition that makes it such a desirable place to live. Not far from the historic district are elegant neighborhoods like The Oaks at Waterfall Plantation, Heritage, Riverstone and Stony Bend.
And across U.S. 1 from Wake Forest is the large golf course community of Wakefield Plantation, with homes ranging from the $200s to over $1 million. The community is spread out over 2,200 acres, including a tournament players club, pools, sports club, shopping, and schools.
Wake Forest has a comprehensive system of parks, greenways, and trails. J.B. Flaherty Park has three lighted ball fields, four lighted tennis courts, ponds and a community center with gymnasium and meeting rooms, all situated on 100 acres. Smith Creek Soccer Center boasts three full-size soccer fields.
The town’s up-to-the-minute Web site details ongoing and dynamic plans to extend the reach of greenways and open spaces; the town manager even has a blog that keeps residents up to date.
With about 220 sunny days a year, and an average temperature of 60 degrees, there is always something festive to do in the town of Wake Forest, from the annual DuBois Jazz Festival to the state fair, the American Dance Festival or the annual “Six Sundays in Spring” festivities. Take in a concert at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre. Take part in the annual “Meet in the Street” festival of arts and crafts with 10,000 other participants — a tradition for more than 25 years. In December, the Lighting of Wake Forest includes concerts and the lighting of the tree at the gazebo downtown.
Nearby, Falls Lake State Recreation Area invites you to swim, fish or enjoy boating on its 12,000-acre lake and seven different recreation areas or hike in its 26,000 acres of woodlands. You can even enjoy mountain biking or camping on a portion of the state’s Mountains-to-Sea Trail.