Story is, this hugely popular trail is named for the “Swamp Rabbit Railroad” which carried freight for more than 100 years. It received its nickname from Greenville folks who proclaimed it a very “bouncy” ride. It also traveled through marshlands, where swamp rabbits live. Swamp rabbits are fast, but this trail is one which invites you to journey at your pace – even tortoise-like, if that fits your mood.
Used for biking, skating and walking, it also features a rubberized surface for the benefit of runners. Some use it to travel to and from work every day. Others travel from other regions to test its track and views. We have it on good authority that babies in strollers and canines with their humans love it most of all.
Almost 20 miles of connected trail, the Rabbit links the cities of Greenville and Travelers Rest. It travels beside the Reedy River, and passes Furman University’s picturesque campus, continuing through downtown, by the Greenville Zoo (always popular), and over to Greenville Tech. There, you can bike several ways to hop back on the trail, which goes to Lake Conestee Nature Park. You won’t be lonely, as estimates run as high as one-half million users per year. Avoid weekends, however, and you’ll have room to spare.
WOW Factor: As cities go, Greenville is quite comely, and you’ll see some beautiful scenery during your run, ride or stroll. There are upscale restaurants around the Reedy River Falls, and Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery is right on the trail, with tasty treats for snacking or lunch. You’re not entirely on your own, here, with good lighting, benches, water fountains, rest stops, bicycle racks, a repair station, and picnic areas. The businesses are skilled at serving the rabbit population. You can even catch a ride (with your ride stowed away), back to Greenville on a bus.
Hint: Don’t worry about schlepping your bike to Greenville, unless you don’t leave home without it. There are good rental operations, including Reedy Rides, Pedal Chic, Sunrift Adventures, and the SRT Bike Shop. Note the location of breaks in the trail. Embrace the white stencils along the way; they point out your precise position, should you need assistance. Remember to bring the sunscreen, plenty of water and your smart phone, for images that are guaranteed to make your besties jealous.
Learn more: www.visitgreenvillesc.com
“Who would think our favorite food tour was in Greenville, SC?” Not to disparage this delightful upcountry town, but truly, the reviewer had taken culinary tours in cities large and small. He was happily surprised. You will be, too. For one thing, Greenville is a reinvented town that did its homework, took advantage of its resources, and planned well. And food and drink have been a large part of the renaissance.
Enter John Nolan, local author and historian. He loves his city and, even more importantly, he knows it well. You reap the rewards. Folks love the mix of food, drink and history. A little of everything in one appetizing, entertaining mix. Food allergies? Not a problem. Let them know ahead of time and they will accommodate.
You’ll be visiting five downtown restaurants where you’ll meet the chefs and discover why they chose a particular dish to share, the pairing of beverage, and perhaps a bit about their history. Three hours later, at about 9pm, you’ll be fat and happy – figuratively, of course.
WOW Factor: More than 3,500 folks have taken John Nolan’s tour and it’s gotten shoutouts from Washington and throughout the South. Trip Advisor has rated it #1 activity in Greenville for more than three years. Notable VIPs have joined the ranks of the rest of us as tour-takers and added their accolades to ours.
Hint: This will be dinner for most folks, so go hungry and wear comfortable shoes and layers for multiple inside/outside traversing. If you’re thinking about moving to Greenville, it’s a great way to learn about the city and its food and drink. You will be impressed. You will tell your friends. And, if there’s time, you’ll want to try Greenville History Tours’ other offerings, including a barbeque trail tour, Old Masters Paintings Tour, West End Talking, Downtown Driving, and Historic Neighborhoods and Architecture.
Learn more: greenvillehistorytours.com
“Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it.” Jasper Johns
When I first turned a corner in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and came upon “Christina’s World,” arguably Andrew Wyeth’s most famous painting, it literally stopped me cold. This visual artist became one of the best known U.S. artists in the 20th Century, with his focus on the countryside and romance. The Greenville County Museum of Art (GCMA) is home to the largest collection in the world of his watercolors, and although you’ll still have to travel to Manhattan to visit Christina, there are magnificent paintings to be found here.
An impressive collection of the work of Jasper Johns is also on display. Born in Augusta, Georgia, and raised in Allendale, SC, the artist began painting at an early age, and attended the University of South Carolina for several semesters before moving to New York, at the encouragement of several professors. During his 50-year career, he created his own style, evolving and enjoying meteoric success.
That’s two of more than a hundred artists showcased at GCMA, including a number with strong Southern roots. Entering the museum, a vast skylit area showcases the award-winning architecture and two expansive galleries.
WOW Factor: The art is nothing short of amazing. It’s worth blocking out several hours to fully appreciate the collections housed here. Even the trapezoid structure adds to the feel. Explore The Salon gift shop, which specializes in art books related to their collections. The Salon also offers a selection of jewelry, scarves and home accessories from the New York store, Chaos.
Hint: Special events are held frequently, so as you’re planning your visit, go to their website and see what’s scheduled. If you are particularly interested in one artist, contact them to make sure a collection isn’t traveling. After spending a great morning with the masters, plan to eat lunch at a nearby café. The museum is about two blocks from Main Street. Roost, which connects to the Hyatt Hotel, has indoor and outdoor dining, and there are many more options, including The Green Room, the Lazy Goat and Soby’s. If you can, spend a day or two in Greenville. This upstate town has done an amazing job of creating an urban oasis, designed for strolling, dining, shopping and entertainment.
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