Friday, February 7, 2014

A "Yeah, THAT Greenville!" Bucket List

I've now lived in Greenville for over four years, and though I do tend to fall into the trap of doing the same things over and over again at times (because hey, I enjoy them!) - I've also seen a lot that the city has to offer. So with the help of some local friends, I've put together this "Yeah, THAT Greenville!" Bucket List. Some of the things on this list, I have yet to experience - but to be honest I'm hoping that in creating it, I'll eventually get myself out to check them off :)

Now, this list is long enough that I decided to split it into a few categories - Festivals & Events, Food & Beverage, and Out & About. So without further ado...


FESTIVALS & EVENTS


Artisphere

The less crowded and therefore slightly more enjoyable of Greenville's two big annual festivals, I actually stumbled upon this my first spring here. They have demonstrations and tons of [insanely expensive] art for sale, some [a.k.a. not nearly enough] food and and drink booths, etc. Artisphere takes place in mid-May and has won several awards (it's in the "Top 20 Events" for Southeast Tourism and was named one of the "Best Art Fairs" in 2013).


Concert at The Handlebar

I've been to The Handlebar several times, for everything from an 80s party with an okay 80s cover band to going to see awesome acts like the Silversun Pickups and The Roots. Tickets are usually affordable, and the venue itself is great in that it's very intimate.You'll stand the entire time, sure, but hey - there's a reason this place has lasted since 1994, and hosted so many awesome bands!


Fall for Greenville

Oh, FFG. I've had the best of times, I've had the worst of times...
Seriously though, when I went to Fall for Greenville in 2007 and 2010, I had a blast. So much food to try! And the beer garden in 2010 was the best - the 'tasting card' was soooo worth it.
I don't really know what happened, but starting in 2011 FFG became so ridiculously overcrowded that I was actually glad I had plans and missed it last year (2013). That, and don't even get me started on the weak-ass beer garden.
Still, if you want a chance to sample tons of local restaurants and hear everything from local cover bands to national acts, you should definitely experience Fall for Greenville at least once.
Though let's just say that if I make it back there this year, it definitely, definitely, won't be on a Saturday.

NOLA's Dirty Dozen Brass Band performing at FFG 2011


FOOD & BEVERAGE


Barley's

First things first: for some reason this place was voted 'best pizza in Greenville'. It's not. Yes, I'm picky about pizza. The food here isn't terrible, but it's not great either. The beer selection, on the other hand, isn't matched by any other bar in the area. That, and Barley's was actually named "Most Arrogant Bar" in the US by Stone Brewing Co.! (And I've actually run into some pretty 'arrogant' bartenders here, but hey, it's part of the, erm. charm, right? haha)



Coffee Underground

Okay, so if you can get past the fact that the service here is slow as molasses (especially if you're actually being served by a waiter), CU is one Greenville staple that is not in any way, shape, or form overrated. The coffee is awesome. You can get mixed drinks and beer, too. And every food item I've tried - from chocolate chip scones to the "Pancakes Plus" to breakfast scrambles to their Garden Grill sandwich - has been exemplary. Not to mention that this is the place to go for comedy shows, poetry readings, and live music by local artists.


Dark Corner Distillery

While the moonshine is something of an acquired taste, Dark Corner's quaint Main Street store and visible distillery are great for a quick stop - and tasting!



Greenville Breweries

Okay. So I'm being kind of bad here and lumping Greenville's three breweries - as well as our downtown brewpub - into one category. But hey, I have my reasons (mainly the fact that this blog entry is going to be insanely long as it is).
What I really propose is making up your very own Greenville Brewery Tour (preferably with a DD! don't be stupid, people) - either starting at Quest and then stopping by Brewery 85 and Thomas Creek, ending at Blue Ridge for food as well as beer...or starting at Thomas Creek and continuing on to Brewery 85, Quest, and BRBC. (Thomas Creek and Brewery 85 being back to back either way is a location thing.)
Generally, Thomas Creek is the best for tours, because along with having good beer, they're really laid back there.


Brewery 85 is new - it actually just opened up last weekend (2/1/2014) - but I'm already pretty impressed with their beers. I'd say they are the most 'drinkable' of the three main breweries ;)


As for Quest, it's mostly just a tasting room, but it has the most comfortable atmosphere, and their BPA and Coffee Stout are awesome. Finally, while I'm not a *huge* fan of BRBC's main four beers, they do sometimes have great seasonals, and the food here is awesome (I'm particularly fond of their "Steak Bomb" sandwich and french fries, not to mention their homemade ketchup.)
So I guess the next question is, who's up for doing this with me sometime soon, and who can I hire to be our DD? :D



OUT &ABOUT

BMW Zentrum

I'm honestly not the biggest 'car' person. I love my VW GTI and that's that. But BMW is huge in this area - due to the, you know, giant plant in Greer - and they even have their own museum. Additionally, at certain times you can tour the plant (though tours are suspended at the moment, they are expected to resume later this year [2014] - possibly in the summer), or take part in their 'performance driving school'.


Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery

If that's not enough, I can throw a few names at you: Rubens, Veronese, van Dyck.
Whether you're an art aficionado or just looking for something to do on a rainy day, you should really brave BJU to see this gallery.


Caesar's Head

The overlook of this park sits atop the Blue Ridge Escarpment.
There's a 420 foot waterfall, Raven Cliff Falls, here as well.
Not to mention the "Hawk Watch" from September to November, when birds of prey are migrating over the area.
Caesar's Head is just under an hour from downtown Greenville, but it feels like a world away...making it a great 'escape', of course :)



Children's Museum

If you have kids, this is a must for obvious reasons ;) My sister even had an 'annual pass' for my niece and nephew at one point, they loved it so much. As an adult, it's not somewhere I would necessarily frequent - but they do have several adults-only events throughout the year, including Grown-Ups Only Night and (I think?) the Chocolate Soiree. Nothing like eating a bunch of yummy food, having a few drinks, and pretending you're a kid again, amiright?





Falls Park

Nestled right smack in the middle of downtown, this award-winning park and its signature bridge are pretty much the first thing I show people when they visit me in Greenville. It's beautiful, it's clean...and my dogs love it too ;)




Fluor Field & the Greenville Drive

I went to my first Drive game in May 2007, and I've been in love ever since.
I've even been a season ticket holder since 2010.
Why?
The field is beautiful. Tickets and concessions aren't overpriced.
The games are fun and the fans really get into it.
Plus, I'm a Red Sox fan, born and raised, and this is a Red Sox farm team...what's not to love?
(At least for me...haha)




Greenville Zoo

Here's the deal - I'm not a zoo person. And Greenville is a small city, so as zoos go...well, admittedly, this one is pretty weak. But...it's also inexpensive and my sisters and their kids love going. Additionally, there are a couple events held here annually - most notably Brew at the Zoo and Sippin' Safari - that are 'after hours', adult-oriented, and often a lot of fun.




Main Street

Ahh, what is there to say? Main Street in this fine little city really does speak for itself. Wide, tree-lined, with many of its older and really cool-looking buildings still intact...restaurants, bars, and awesome little locally-owned shops galore...there's truly something here for everyone, and I know that every time I walk down this road on a nice day I'm once again reminded why I fell in love with Greenville in the first place :)




Mice on Main

This is a fun little game to play, whether you print out the clues and make an afternoon of it or just try to catch sight of the mice as you're wandering around downtown. If you've got kids, buy the book that these mice inspired and really make a thing out of it...
...and if you don't have kids, there's always the option of doing a "Mice on Main Bar Crawl" :) Basically, print out those clues, find those mice, and each time you find one stop and have a drink in the closest bar.
But hey, don't expect me to give away their locations!
(This Flickr album has some great pictures and additional hints about where to find the mice - check it out!)



Paris Mountain

Though I *have* been to Paris Mountain, due to a late arrival and some cold weather I never did make it to the top :-/ Needless to say, I know that it has some great views of Greenville, and it's actually IN the city (technically) - so I can't wait to go back :)


Swamp Rabbit Trail

So I'm a bad Greenvillian and despite my years of living here, I've never stepped foot on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
Okay, maybe I've technically stepped foot on it, but never to actually walk, run, or bike any decent portion of it. Sad, I know - especially as one end of it is located not that far from where I live, *and* it goes straight through downtown Greenville! It's well-known and very popular, so walking/running/biking a good portion of it is definitely on my Greenville bucket list...and hopefully I'll get to it sooner rather than later!


Table Rock

Located out in Pickens, Table Rock is a reasonable drive from Greenville and offers some great hiking and beautiful views. While I've driven out to the area, I've never hiked to the top or seen the waterfall at Carrick Creek Overlook, so this is another thing I'd like to check out and check off (my list) in the near future.


...well, folks, that's all she wrote...for now, anyway. New things to do are constantly popping up in this booming little city - and that's another one of the things I love about it. So until next time...go check some things off your Greenville bucket list! ;)
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