If it’s been awhile since you’ve visited Greenville, S.C., your first response will likely be “I like what they’ve done with the place!” Indeed, Greenville has transformed itself from a vacated textile town to one of the most visited, vibrant and happening cities in the Southeast.
First impressions of the pretty downtown, with its sparkling, tree-lined streets, are validated time and again as visitors experience all that Greenville has to offer – magnificent dining, comfortable lodging, stellar entertainment, unique shopping, and exciting outdoor sports and recreation.
Take a sunset stroll across the Reedy River on the Liberty Bridge, a 355-foot pedestrian suspension bridge that glows in the evening light and stretches above the river’s 60-foot waterfalls and the Falls Park gardens. Bike the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a rails-to-trails project that runs through downtown. Shop in a wide variety of retail shops and the many art venues. Visit Heritage Green, home of four nationally recognized museums, to soak up fine art, history and educational fun time with the kids. Catch a show at Peace Center for Performing Arts, where Broadway shows during the 2014-2015 season include “Once,” “The Book of Mormon” and “Pippin .”
Ninety-nine restaurants – many of them chef-owned – can be found along an eight-block section of Greenville’s Main Street. Culinary interests collide here in most flavorful ways. Greenville History Tours just launched a second culinary tour for this fall called “Tastes of the South,” which takes you to five local hotspots that give the flavor of Southern cuisine. This is great for groups or individuals. Details: http://bit.ly/UkDDGD.
Craft beer is on the rise in Greenville. Two new breweries – Brewery 85 and Swamp Rabbit Brewery – were added this spring. This summer will officially launch Greenville Brew Tours, an experience that will take guests on four stops to experience the craft beer scene here. Details: www.greenvillebrewtours.com.
There are more than 900 hotel rooms in downtown alone. The Marriott Hilton, The Hilton Greenville and The Crowne Plaza have all recently completed multimillion-dollar renovations; plus, five new hotels are on their way, including The Aloft Hotel.
Cycling is huge in this area, so it makes sense that 17-time Tour de France racer George Hincapie opened Hotel Domestique ( www.hoteldomestique.com) – a luxurious haven for cyclers looking to train and ride with the best – in nearby Travelers Rest. On the property is the amazing Restaurant 17, headed by Adam Cooke, formerly of Blackberry Farm. Details: www.hoteldomestique.com.
For lovers of food, wine, music (and beer), plan a visit Sept. 18-21 when Euphoria! spices up Greenville’s downtown – already a foodie culture – with a full festival weekend lineup to celebrate food, wine and song. Indulge in tastings, multi-course dinners and food truck goodies. Learn about wine and new cooking techniques. Feel the pull of the music until the dancing begins. The atmosphere is a bit, well, euphoric.
Guest chefs include David Guas (Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery; Arlington, Va.); Ford Fry (The Optimist; Atlanta) Jacob Sessoms (Table; Asheville); Jacques Larson (Wild Olive; Charleston); John Currence (City Grocery Restaurant Group; Oxford, Miss.); Jonathan Banta (The Atlantic Room at The Ocean Course Clubhouse; Kiawah Island, S.C.); Ken Vedrinski (Trattoria Lucca; Charleston); Kevin Gillespie (Gunshow; Atlanta); Kevin Johnson (The Grocery; Charleston); Lionel Vatinet (La Farm Bakery; Cary); Nate Whiting (Tristan; Charleston); Nico Romo (Fish; Charleston); Ryley McGillis (Jasmine Porch at The Sanctuary; Kiawah Island); and Samuel Jones (Skylight Inn, Ayden).
Musical talent this year comes from Bob DiPiero, Mark Rapp, Rivers Rutherford, Sixwire, The Piedmont Boys, Tim Nichols, Seven Handle Circus and West End String Band.
Get the full schedule at www.euphoriagreenville.com.
Area info: www.visitgreenvillesc.com.