Things to do

Beyond Frank Underwood’s hometown is your Greenville reprieve

(NYT29) GREENVILLE, S.C. -- January 29, 2004 -- DEMS-EDWARDS-6 -- The Skyline of Greenville, S.C. where North Carolina Senator John Edwards and the other democratic candidates will be gathering Thursday night Jan. 29, 2004 in the state's democratic debate in preparation for the primary Tuesday Feb. 3, 2004. (Jeffrey S. Otto/Wilmington Star News via The New York Times)
(NYT29) GREENVILLE, S.C. -- January 29, 2004 -- DEMS-EDWARDS-6 -- The Skyline of Greenville, S.C. where North Carolina Senator John Edwards and the other democratic candidates will be gathering Thursday night Jan. 29, 2004 in the state's democratic debate in preparation for the primary Tuesday Feb. 3, 2004. (Jeffrey S. Otto/Wilmington Star News via The New York Times) Wilmington Star News

It’s no secret that Charlotte has grown into a “real” city. We have a booming beer-conomy thanks to our many local breweries, a rich arts community and plenty of unique ways to spend your weekend (hello, free fitness classes, Summer Pops, Science on the Rocks, and much more).

But, what if you need a little reprieve from the 704? Enter Greenville, S.C.

Travel time

About an hour and 30 minutes. Be sure to catch the Peachoid Water Tower in Gaffney and wave hello to Frank Underwood’s hometown.

What to do

– Venture to the farmers market. With vendors that peddle items from flip flops, to fruit and pasta, to popsicles, the TD Saturday Market takes over Main Street Saturdays from May to October. I hit the market on a Saturday, snagged a “Skinny Genes” Kuka Juice, some fresh-from-the-farm peaches and strawberries thanks to Callaham Orchards, and chatted with the local artist behind North Main Stone.

– Stroll to Falls Park on the Reedy/Swamp Rabbit Trail. A quick jaunt down Main Street lands you here. From the landscaping to the winding paths, this park is immaculate. I got a limp-y four miles in, but I enjoyed the opportunity to take in the beautiful houses and natural areas along the trail. You can also rent bikes.

Where to eat

– Grill Marks on Main. Known for their burgers, this place didn’t disappoint. I ordered the Portobello Napoleon with tomato, grilled onion, brie and pesto thinking I’d probably wish I had ordered a burger at a place known for their burgers (doh), but this was the perfect light lunch!

I’d suggest treating yo’ self to one of their Burgers of the Week, especially if you ran or biked (or, heck, just explored) the Swamp Rabbit Trail earlier.

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– Nose Dive Gastropub. I’ll speak to brunch and beer here. They have a GRITS BAR, people. This is not a drill.

My chicken chilaquiles was just OK and I got the grits bar as my side but wished I had been wise enough to choose it as my meal. Toppings vary, but all that mattered to me was there was cheese (a variety) and bacon.

They have a pretty extensive beer list that includes Thomas Creek Honey Suckle Saison. Someone help a beer gal out and tell me where I can get this in Charlotte, ASAP.

Where to stay (if you need more than just a day trip)

At the historic Westin Poinsett, rooms start around $219 per night but that puts you right in the middle of it all. The Marriott is just down Main Street with equally convenient proximity and a smaller price tag, with rooms starting at $179 per night.

So next time you get the itch to GTFO of the QC (excuse my abbrev), think about the Greenville to the South. And get there.

Photo by Jeffrey Otto.


Nicole Brantley

Nicole Brantley is a native Charlottean who is equal parts do-gooder, beer snob  and exercise enthusiast. Follow her on Twitter @NikkiBrantley.

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