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Why Greenville SC is Still Memorable to Me

Why Greenville SC is still memorable to me.


Downtown Greenville South Carolina
Downtown Greenville, South Carolina

My mother had this crazy idea for Christmas in 2009 - drive north until we hit SNOW.  Central Florida was hot, as usual, and I never pass up an opportunity to get out!  She, my aunt, and I piled into my mom's small red Mustang early one morning a few days before Christmas.  My aunt, as I learned during our long drive, had never even seen snow, or had been too young to remember it when they lived in Ohio.



chickens while driving
Chickens

For hours we drove, stopping here and there to use the bathroom, stretch our legs, and eat; apparently no time for sightseeing.  It surprised me that my mother didn't even want to stop in Savannah, GA, one of her (and my) favorite spots to visit; it might have been fun to be a little nostalgic since we used to live there, but oh well, I thought, we were on to something new.

By dinner, my mother, having refused to let anyone else drive, was tired.  We had reached a city called Greenville in South Carolina; none of us had heard of it before, which, after spending a few days there, seemed a shame.

Goodbye flat Florida! Hello rolling hills and mountain-scapes!
snow near greenville south carolina
Snow near Greenville

Hiking

On our first morning there, we decided to seek out some hiking trails through the mountains. Hiking is my favorite activity, hands down; I have hiked everywhere I've visited.  While driving along the Cherokee Foothills, unexpectedly, we found what we had originally been looking for - snow!  My aunt smiled as we passed through plowed white banks on either side of us, eventually stopping so she could walk through and touch it.
Poinsett Bridge
Poinsett Bridge

After about a half hour of driving, we came upon a sign pointing out some trails and stopped.  As a hidden bonus, the path we walked through the trees passed along a creek. The soothing sound of the water, fresh mountain air, and crunch of the fallen leaves covering the trails tamed my vagabond soul. Continuing along, we admired some old stone structures, including a stone bridge (Poinsett Bridge); plus, we had a little fun spotting secluded houses between the trees in the distance.
Poinsett Bridge
Poinsett Bridge

Mice on Main

The next morning we decided to explore downtown. My mother suggested that we find the Chamber of Commerce for interesting things to do and someone there told us to visit the Hyatt down the street and pick up a free 'Mice on Main' scavenger hunt sheet. As we entered the lobby my head tilted back, taking in the vastness of the room rising several stories.  We found the concierge desk and they gave us a sheet of paper with nine clues, poems, each about one to two sentences long describing where to find the bronzed mice along five blocks of Main Street. A couple were fairly hard to spot; I suggest searching with friends or family!
Mice on Main
Mice on Main

While walking along Main Street we were engulfed in a variety of specialty shops, like a wooden toy store, and... basically an artisan shop for almost anything (similar to booths at a craft/farmer's market), plus a fun stop in Mast General Store. Why was Mast General Store a must? Well, first, because it is my aunt's last name, and second because they had a lot of unique souvenirs, gourmet food stuffs, and old-timey gifts.
mast general store main street greenville
Mast General Store

Museums

On our last day, we decided to just drive around and see what we found. What's this? A Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum next to the baseball stadium... Why here, in Greenville?  Apparently the building used to be his home and had been transformed into a museum showcasing his life and career. Cool.  We also found several other small museums; too many to really remember individually.
shoeless joe jackson museum greenville
Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum
campbells covered bridge sign
Sign for Campbell's Covered Bridge

Covered Bridge

Our drive brought us back to the foothills, this time in search of the covered bridge my mother had seen a sign for.  She and my aunt told me of how their mom, whom died when I was five, used to love visiting covered bridges; so, of course we had to find it.  Hidden behind a couple farms we found Campbell's Covered Bridge. The wooden structure was painted red, reminiscent of an old barn you might see in movies. The bridge crossed Beaverdam Creek and only seemed wide enough for one car at a time. Nearby, we found what looked like the excavated foundation of a house, which I learned was the Grist Mill and house.
campbells covered bridge sign
Campbell's Covered Bridge Sign
campbell's covered bridge
Campbell's Covered Bridge

My mother and aunt are planning a trip back this Christmas; I would love to walk around downtown again and see the small river and waterfall almost directly in the center - a beautiful mix of man-made and nature.  I highly recommend a visit to Greenville, SC!

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