Be surprised in Greenville a different South Carolina stop

Greenville's scenic backyard is the Blue Ridge Mountain range

Greenville's scenic backyard is the Blue Ridge Mountain range

Of course you have heard of, visited or have on the vacation list Asheville, N. C. and Atlanta, Ga. However, just a couple of hours up I-85 from Atlanta and about a 45 minute drive down US Highway 25 from Asheville is Greenville, S.C., a town worth putting on the go-to list.

Just don’t try to drive down Main Street on a Friday summer evening. That is when the natives of all ages and transplanted retirees from up north spill over walkways to dance and sway to jazz and rock’n’roll. Bands take over the plaza in front of the Hyatt from mid-April to the end of September.

In Greenville, folks dance in the street and on the Hyatt Plaza on Friday summer nights

In Greenville, folks dance in the street and on the Hyatt Plaza on Friday summer nights

Also, don’t drive downtown Main Street on summer Saturdays when the Farmers Market and West End artists set up their booths in the street.

Not that street blockage matters. Downtown Greenville is fun to walk.

Park the car where you are staying such as at the Hyatt at one end, Hampton Inn at the other or the Marriott in between. Then don some comfortable shoes.

Downtown is about a mile stretch ending at scenic Falls Park and West End where gardens, galleries and restaurants overlook the Reedy River.

Falls Park along the Reedy River is a favorite walking and picnic spot

Falls Park along the Reedy River is a favorite walking and picnic spot

Walk down Main for lunch or dinner. There are more than 50 choices, most with outdoor patios or seating.

Among them, in no particular order, are Devereaux’s, Smoke on the Water, High Cotton, American Grocery, Soby’s and the Lazy Goat.

Stop in Mast General Store for old fashion barrel candy, a game of checkers near its pot belly stove and to see what’s on sale in outdoor wear.

The problem is The Chocolate Moose is on the other side of the street for your mid-afternoon treat break. You will simply have to walk up one side and down the other.

Don't worry about the mice. You might not even see them.

Don't worry about the mice. You might not even see them.

Don’t worry about the Mice on Main. They won’t ask to share your dessert. They are cute, bronze and hard to find.

You probably will miss their hiding places next to bronze statues, fences or up on awnings.

You will need another day to see one of the country’s best Andrew Wyeth collections and other holdings of the Greenville County Museum of Art on Main Street and to drive out to Bob Jones University to see the Old Masters Collection at the Bob Jones Museum and Gallery.

If you brought the kids, stop at the Children’s Museum next to the Greenville County Museum of Art.  Arts, sciences and more fun stuff cover three floors of this 79,000 square foot museum.

Fenway Park's Green Monster is also in Greenville which has a Boston Red Sox farm team

Fenway Park's Green Monster is also in Greenville which has a Boston Red Sox farm team

Or if you treasure old ballparks and baseball that is up close and personal, head over to Fluor Field at the West End.

You will be watching the Greenville Drive, a Boston Red Sox Class A farm team play in a mini Fenway Park.

Yes it has its own “Green Monster,” a 30 foot high wall in left field with a manual scoreboard.

Greenville and its surroundings are in what the locals call South Carolina “Upcountry.” So you will want to go exploring.

Save a day to drive around the countryside and bring the camera. The Blue Ridge Mountains are your backdrop driving north on US 25 and onto State Road 11.

There are falls and bridges to see. Look for the 1909 wooden red Campbell’s Covered Bridge near Gowensville.

The 1909 Campbell's Covered Bridge outside Greenville is on the National Register of Historic Places

The 1909 Campbell's Covered Bridge outside Greenville is on the National Register of Historic Places

Even better, stay a night or two at Red Horse Inn where you can see the mountains out your window. The Inn is near the covered bridge on North Campbell Road.

By the time you have stayed and played in the Greenville area you will wonder why you haven’t heard or visited this part of South Carolina before now.

Photos by Jodie Jacobs

 

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