In mid November 2015, I travelled with 89 individuals from Greenville, SC to Austin TX on an inter community leadership visit sponsored by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce. Our group collectively represented the arts, government, development, real estate, restaurants, entrepreneurs, affordable housing leaders, tech and chamber of commerce leaders from our Greenville SC community. The purpose of the visit was to learn from Austin, a city that is growing by the rate of 130 people a day.
Some of the things that impressed me most about Austin, TX:
1) Waller Creek Project
2) Affordable Housing Options
3) Rainey Street
4) Capital Factory
5) Bunkhouse Group Boutique Hotels
6) Great Cycling Friendly City
We met with leaders from various sectors and learned what a rapidly growing city has done right and what they could do better. These are valuable insights as Greenville manages it’s growth. Greenville has been featured on many top 10 lists over the past few years and our secret is getting out! Just look at the number of cranes dotting our City skyline and the number of new residential and commercial developments going up downtown.
As we explored the city of Austin it is not hard to notice that there is something special going on there. The amount of live music, restaurants, outdoor space and new development is remarkable. It was also pretty apparent that there was a large homeless population and the traffic was and issue. I talked with locals and they had a lot to say about how quickly their city has changed. Most of the growth has happened in the last 5 years.
I saw a lot of similarities between Greenville and Austin. These first two projects in particular really inspired me.
Recognizing and highlighting the natural features of a city can prove to be a very wise move. Waller Creek in Austin had been long ignored and covered up. Similarly, our Reedy River and especially the Reedy River Falls in the heart of our downtown was once covered up with a bridge and very polluted. The Waller Creek project still has a way to go but aims to create valuable, attractive natural spaces following the creek. The master plans include a trail, parks, green space and an amphitheater.
In Greenville, our Falls Park on the Reedy River is a glowing example of cleaning up and developing around a natural feature. I think we can continue to follow the river and create another exciting space in the proposed Mayberry Park just west of downtown Greenville. Much like the Highline in NYC and Millennium Park in Chicago our Mayberry Park can be home to art, culture, sports and much more. We already have the Swamp Rabbit Trail running along the river in this area.
Affordable Housing – M Station and Capital Studios by Foundation Communities
I hope to see initiatives and incentives for affordable housing developments around Greenville’s proposed Mayberry Park like these two developments we saw in Austin, TX. With the Kroc Center and AJ Whittenburg School in place the area is poised for development that meets the needs of low income families like M Station and Capitol Station developments by Foundation Communities.
M Station is 150 unit tax credit property. It offers 1-3 bedroom apartments for families with income of $20,000-$50,000. It has a rainwater cistern, solar panels and outdoor solar lighting which makes utilities 75% less for residents. It is on the public transit line with light rail and bus stops right out the front door and car to go stations and bike racks for 75 bikes.
Services offered to residents include after school care and summer programs for 700 kids. Adult education from personal finance to advanced degree programs with local universities and community tax filing services for residents.
Capital Studios in downtown Austin is a single room occupancy (SRO) development. They offer micro units around 500 square feet with large community space, to single people and rent for $400-$600/month. There are 10 units set aside for the creative class (artists, musicians) and 47 units set aside for veterans.
The City of Austin in 2006 overwhelmingly passed and $55 million general obligation bond with 75% of the funds going to rental housing and 25% going to home ownership. In 2013 another $65 million general obligation bond was passed for affordable housing. It was clear to see Austin’s commitment to a plan for affordable housing for its lower income residents (civil servants, teachers, artists, veterans) who are an integral part of the community. Affordable housing was considered part of the infrastructure of the city.
The Greenville Housing Authority has a 5000 person waiting list for affordable housing. There is a real shortage of private housing stock offered for affordable housing credits in Greenville. I think we can learn a lot from what Austin has accomplished.
I came away with a strong sense of hope. The people of Austin have a can do, creative determination to solving their problems and the problems faced by most cities today.
People are drawn to communities that offer rich culture in a variety of arts, music, restaurants, outdoor amenities, good schools, safe streets, etc. These are the elements that make a community thrive for locals and visitors alike. People want to live in cities that offer a good job economy, with quality, affordable housing and a lot to do when they are not working. This is how you attract talent and tourists.
Rainey Street is a perfect example of this. This block of smaller, older homes was zoned commercial but also fell under historical preservation protection. Some one had the great idea to open a bar in one of the small houses and soon more bars and restaurants continued to pop up along Rainey Street. Large residential developments are going up right along side this distinctive little street that attracts thousands of locals and visitors. Rainey Street was a favorite stop for many in our group!
Artists come in and create a vibe, a scene that is intriguing and entertaining, then entrepreneurs open shop to create another layer of amenities to serve the people who are drawn to the vibe and the developers create the density that sustains the artists and entrepreneurs. This is a formula that when executed well and intentionally can produce a thriving community. I saw that in many places around Austin.
Visiting the Capital Factory was also a highlight of the trip. This is a very rich space for start ups, co-working and serves as an entreprenurial incubator. They host 50 different events each month! Who wouldn’t want to come to this cool space?
Boutique Hotels -Bunkhouse Group
We also visited Liz Lambert‘s San Jose Hotel and St. Cecilia Hotel. I love her story and appreciated her accomplishments even more after watching her documentary “The Last Days of the San Jose” where she shows how she ran a transient hotel for three years until she received the loan she needed for a complete renovation. She went on to re-open the San Jose Hotel, a cool, boutique hotel housing many of the visiting bands and artists. Her other properties in her growing boutique hotel empire include – Hotel St. Cecilia (Austin, TX), El Cosmico (Marfa, TX) and future properties under way in Mexico and more.
Great Cycling City
Finally, I discovered that yes, Austin is a great bike city and loved exploring it on two wheels one morning when I ditched the meetings to go get a feel for the city!
To Do List:
In closing I came back with a wish list/to do list …
1) Start a music festival in the future Mayberry Park. Do it now, before the amphitheater is built and grow it to be a world class musical festival much like Summerfest in Milwaukee where I worked the grounds crew for six summers while in high school and college.
2) Uplight all the mill towers dotting the west Greenville landscape, showcasing our textile heritage. A solar lighting solution would be ideal!
3) Work to promote affordable housing around Mayberry Park and around Greenville. It is part of our infrastructure and will help to insure a vibrant, healthy community.
Bottom line … Mayberry Park presents a fresh canvas for some exciting public/private partnerships to creatively solve housing problems, build the quality of life and health of our citizens, install more public art and make some music!! With targeted focus on that area spectacular things can happen. Want to help? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with ideas, suggestions or to join the team. I think we need to start a Mayberry Park Conservancy!
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It was wonderful to have this group of playwrights at the inn all week for Centre Stage’s New Play Festival. The Swamp Rabbit Inn, a hotel alternative in Greenville, SC, is a favorite among artists and chefs and creatives looking to relax, work and collaborate in a homey, fun and funky environment like we offer at the inn.
Swamp Rabbit Inn: The Perfect Place to Write, Work, and Relax | Centre Stage
The Swamp Rabbit Inn and properties offer great lodging for wedding guests and bridal parties in Greenville SC. Yes, Greenville is a hotspot for locals and out-of-towners to host a myriad of wedding festivities at locations across the city. Falls Park, Huguenot Loft, Old Cigar Warehouse, Zen and Greenbrier Farms are some of the favorites that come to our minds when we think of fantastic wedding venues in Greenville SC.
Old Cigar Warehouse and Zen are the closest in proximity to the Swamp Rabbit Inn. Just two blocks from us on Main Street in downtown Greenville, they have weddings down to a science. Situated in the historic West End of Greenville, SC directly on Main Street, the character of the spaces, the lighting and unique feel of these buildings leaves you wanting nothing more for your celebration. Whether it’s a rustic industrial feel or a sleek modern backdrop, Greenville has the venue to suit your style.
When choosing your wedding reception venue please consider having your guests stay with us! We can accommodate groups up to 16 at the Swamp Rabbit Inn downtown Greenville and up to 26 and 13 respectively at the Swamp Rabbit Lodge and Furman Cottage, just 7 miles north of Greenville near Furman University and Travelers Rest. We host bachelorette weekends, engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, out-of-town family and guests of brides and grooms from all over the world. Build even more memories from your wedding weekend in the comfortable, stylish setting of a Greenville vacation rental by the Swamp Rabbit Inn and Properties.
Decorated in fun and funky fashion from IKEA, our properties are comfortable and memorable. We have great common indoor spaces for gathering and large decks and porches for enjoying the outdoors. Cook together in our community kitchens or grill outside and have a bonfire too!
Guests enjoying our properties!
Our guests say it all!! Check out our reviews on Trip Advisor, VRBO and Facebook! Sign up for our email list for events, announcements and special offers! Call us today to see if your wedding weekend is still available! We would love to help make your special day even more special for you and your guests!
One of the greatest attributes of this beautiful city we call home is that it allows small, boutique, independent places like us branch out and do really great, cool community events to bring folks together. At the end of the day, isn’t that what it’s all about? Truck INN Tuesdays brought people from all over the place to 1 Logan St. to meet up, have a taco and a beverage, support local Makers, Farmers, and Popsicle Stands, and listen to live music.
We think that’s what summer is about: hanging out, block-party style with your buddies after the 5pm bell rings. No fuss, no muss, just a great time. Truck INN Tuesdays hosted residents of our backdoor neighbors, 400 Rhett Apartments, downtown dwellers, newcomers to the city from Louisville, KY, recent retirees living in Travelers Rest, commuters from Easley, Spartanburg, and Greer, the nice folks from Pickwick Pharmacy, the ever elusive behind-the-scenes guys from Albino Skunk Festival, local bike shop employees, a magnitude of doodle dogs, and yes, even Pickle the Pig. One of our favorite groups that came week INN and week out was the gaggle of parents and kids on their bikes, taking the trip over on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
We want to thank all of our Food Trucks: Automatic Taco, Highway 301, JB Tingles, and Ellada Kouzina. Special thanks to the Community Tap. Our live musicians Jay Deihl, DJ King Harold Pendleton, Launch, Passing Scene, John Stanislawski, Brooks Dixon, Jake Erwin, My Girl My Whiskey and Me, and especially West End String Band and Stringed Keys for playing twice. And all of our Makers who came week INN and week out, braving the heat and potential for rain almost every week: King of Pops, Reedy River Farms, Greenville Goods, Jocie Pots, Rivertown Nola, Ella Marie Handmade Clothing, Cooks Flips, LeeAnalyze, From SC with Love, Kuka Juice, Pallet & Crate, Heather VonCamp, Modern Forestry Soy Candles, Bone and Ink, Happy Arsenal Jewelry, Malia’s Mark, Kathleen King, Velo Valets, Pinebox Daddy, and The Bike Shed at Swamp Rabbit Inn.
To find out more about upcoming news, events, and all things we love about Greenville, join our newsletter list here. And as always, like the Swamp Rabbit Inn Facebook Page, our sister rental, the Swamp Rabbit Lodge, and The Bike Shed at Swamp Rabbit Inn. Follow us on Twitter @swamprabbitinnsc and Instagram as well!
Greenville is quickly becoming a destination town for foodies. The downtown area alone boasts over 30 different restaurants, 50 bars, and several night life spots. The 7th Annual Upstate Foodie Fest gives locals and visitors alike the opportunity to try some of best places in town at the most affordable prices. With the Swamp Rabbit Inn’s West End location, we’re 2 blocks from some of the very best places Greenville has to offer. We’ve also discounted room rates through the end of August, so join us, take in some of the best culinary experiences Greenville has to offer, and enjoy our beautiful southern city.
From August 20th-30th, visit participating restaurants and enjoy 3 courses for $30. Some of our favorites include Breakwater (located 2 blocks from the Inn), American Grocery (located 3 blocks from the Inn), and Passerelle Bistro (a 2 minute beautiful bike ride to Greenville’s Falls Park).
With all of the exciting events coming to Greenville in the fall, the musicals, the food festivals, and football games, choosing to stay at the Swamp Rabbit inn & Properties means living like a local. We pride ourselves on the very best guest satisfaction and encourage you to spread the word about the best place to enjoy a lifestyle lodging experience.
Looking for a last minute Summer getaway deals? Come visit Greenville, SC and get some great deals on hotels and restaurants. Upstate Foodie Fest starts August 20 – August 30 with $35 price fixed menus at some of the BEST restaurants in Greenville and just outside our front door!
We’ve entered into the Dog Days of Summer here in Greenville, SC. Kids begin school next week, we know football season is right around the corner, and the slow days of Summer will soon transition into the hectic days of the Fall. Here’s the opportunity to come to Greenville, SC and savor the last few days of Summer 2015.
The Swamp Rabbit Inn in Downtown Greenville, SC
Now through August 31st, enjoy 20% off regular room rates at the Swamp Rabbit Inn. Located 2 blocks from Main Street in downtown Greenville’s Historic West End, The Swamp Rabbit Inn boasts 6 rooms, 2 deluxe with en-suite bathrooms, and 4 rooms that share 2 full bathrooms. Easily walkable and bike able to all sorts of attractions in Greenville, The Swamp Rabbit Inn accommodates the weekday business traveler, the budget-conscious adventurer, wedding parties, festival goers, and folks looking for a local lodging lifestyle experience.
Take in a baseball game at the Greenville Drive stadium, stroll back from a wedding reception at the Old Cigar Warehouse, or grab a great cocktail at American Grocery. We even have a local block party in our parking lot every Tuesday night with food trucks, live music and local makers called Truck Inn Tuesdays!
The Greenville Drive Boston Red Sox Affiliate Team
We’re pleased to offer the Swamp Rabbit Lodge at $200 per night, whole house rental, for the remainder of August. The Swamp Rabbit Lodge is situated just past Furman University, 200 yards from the Swamp Rabbit Trail. It’s a great mid-mod lodge space with plenty of room for 24 people sleeping comfortably. Take in all that the booming bedroom community of Travelers Rest, SC has to offer: the TR Farmers Market, Sidewall Pizza, the TR Tasting Room, and Tandem Creperie.
The Swamp Rabbit Lodge Near Furman University and Travelers Rest, SC
Bike the Swamp Rabbit Trail
#BikeInnBikeOut #TruckInnTuesdays #lifestylelodging #yeahTHATgreenville
Kathleen King, the artist responsible for the wall art, murals, and various other pieces around our vacation rentals has just installed her newest rendition on the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Kathleen was brought to Greenville by the County Parks & Rec department as the Coordinator of the Swamp Rabbit Trail Public Art Collection. Following her notoriety for “The Tortoise has a Spare”, the painting on the side of the TTR bike shop next to the Swamp Rabbit Cafe, Kathleen was prepared to create a second piece. The Greenville Track Club and Visit Greenville SC funded the second installment. Entitled, “The Runner”, it’s fond nickname has become “Ethyl” and it’s constructed out of acrylic on plasma-cut steel. As a kinetic piece, each section spins independently.
Kathleen drew her inspiration from what it actually feels like to run- the ‘freedom of movement through space’. The Greenville Track Club is placing their former president Darrell Jennewine’s bronzed shoes under a bench near the sculpture and the piece will be dedicated to him this fall. You can find the sculpture near the train track crossing on the Swamp Rabbit Trail near Bramlett St.
Greenville is a cycling town, there’s no denying that. The integration of bike lanes into new road projects, pump tracks and new mountain bike trails being added to parks, and the ever-expanding Swamp Rabbit Trail has all lent a hand to the boom of bikes in this city.
The close proximity to the Swamp Rabbit Trail (SRT) from the Swamp Rabbit Inn has had many out-of-town guests clamoring for a bike to use while they’re staying. Our solution? The Bike Shed at Swamp Rabbit Inn: a small spot behind the Inn full of vintage treasures, local tees by the folks at Greenville Goods, cold and hot beverages, and bike rentals for locals and guests alike. For $15 a half day or $25 for the whole day, this includes a lock and a helmet (safety is sexy y’all). Our Bike Shed Manager, Lisa, is happy to give you pointers on where to go, or buy a Cycling Greenville Guidebook for your return travels.
#bikeinnbikeout #shoptheshed #biketique
We’re in the thick of things- summer is sultry, the kids are out of school, vacations are coming and going. Greenville is a beautiful town year round don’t get us wrong, but our favorite time of year has to be the early fall. Not only does the weather begin to cool and the leaves change, but Greenville becomes host to 3 of the most spectacular events: Euphoria Greenville, Indie Craft Parade, and Fall for Greenville. And we LOVE a good event (#truckINNtuesdays).
Euphoria Greenville is celebrating its 10th year! Taking place from September 17-20, it’s the perfect September weather to take in all that downtown has to offer in one place. “Founded in 2006 by platinum-selling singer and songwriter Edwin McCain and restaurateur Carl Sobocinski, euphoria educates, entices, enlightens, and entertains. This highly anticipated weekend-long event includes exclusive tasting events, cooking demonstrations and wine seminars, as well as multi-course dinners and live musical performances. Dedicated to excellence, euphoria features domestic and international wines, celebrity chefs, master sommeliers, and national recording artists.”
The Swamp Rabbit Inn is located, well, a quick hop away from the epicenter of this event and is sure to fill up quickly. Check out our Reservations Page to reserve a room or the entire Inn for the weekend.
Maybe the outdoor music and food scene isn’t your thing? Maybe local and regional crafters and makers just scratch that Pinterest itch for you. The Indie Craft Parade has called Greenville home for a few years now, and as all hot events, the competition has become fierce to be granted a vendor entry. Each maker must submit an entry to be judged by a panel so know that only the coolest, most fun and amazing hand-made goods are present at this event. Located at the impressive Huguenot Mill on West Broad in downtown Greenville, the event takes place September 18-20. We recommend the VIP tickets because it’s just that awesome.
The big daddy: Fall for Greenville. If you love all things Greenville, food, music, locals, outdoors, and general good times, this is your event. This event takes over nearly all of Main St and runs all the way over the Reedy River in the West End. This is one of the largest, if the not the largest attended events in all of South Carolina. Our restaurants take to the streets, setting up booths to sample food, drinks, and snacks. Music lineups vary depending on the time and day but usually ends with a bang! Interested in staying at the Swamp Rabbit Inn for this weekend? Check our Reservations Page today.
The Swamp Rabbit Lodge is quickly becoming a hotspot of activity, especially for our athletically-inclined guests. Just last week we were privileged to have TriMarni hold their triatholon camp at the Lodge. Here’s what they had to say:
“Our first Greenville Trimarni camp is now complete!! Blog recap posts to come…..
We knew our campers would be exhausted on day 4 but we didn’t take it easy onthem.
We started with a recon ride of our run course and then a climb up and down Paris Mountain followed by a very technical course before repeating the climb up to Paris Mountain one more time with a very strong effort. ~3600 feet of climbing.
After the ride, a quick transition to our 7-mile run. ~950 feet of climbing on a beautiful hilly course with a “best effort” up Roe Ford road to finish off camp.
What an amazing group of athletes who gave 100% for every workout at camp. We are all exhausted, hungry and extremely sore…….Trimarni Greenville camp was a great success!
Karel and I can’t wait to plan our next Greenville camp!!
Thank you to our amazing photographers Taylor and Elizabeth and to Tricia and Taylor for providing the BEST SAG Support throughout our camp. We were well hydrated and fueled thanks to them!
And thank you Swamp Rabbit Lodge for providing the perfect place for our campers to stay!”
We’re also excited to announce Velo Girl Rides First Annual Upstate SC Tour. This is currently open to the public and is held at the Swamp Rabbit Lodge from October 21-25. Enjoy great accommodations, fully sagged and support ride, and fun camaraderie with fellow cyclists. It’s sure to fill quickly so reserve your space today.