So this is not your first time in Greenville? Maybe you’re here for an extended stay? You’ve strolled downtown, done Falls Park, ridden the Swamp Rabbit Trail several times and you’re wondering: so what else is there? LOTS my friend, LOTS! You need a fun day trip! And this post is for you! Actually the next 3 posts are for you too because I’m going to give you some ideas for what to do and see within 2.5 hours of Downtown Greenville to the north, south, east, and west.
Let’s start with the nearest attraction first until we venture across the border into North Carolina. An hour or less by bike up the Swamp Rabbit Trail from the Inn and you will come to Traveler’s Rest. I would say it’s a ‘postcard perfect little village’ to spend half a day poking around the great shops and sampling the inventive restaurants, but pretty much every place on this list will fit that description! If you’re driving it’s also a great place to start your day trip to all points north with a breakfast at restaurants like Tandem Creperie or Upcountry Provisions and if you near to gear up, duck in to Sunrift Adventures.
Just a little farther up highway 25 you will come to a favorite stop for long bike rides into the foothills – Hotel Domestique with it’s convenient coffee bar and renowned european bistro “17”. If you take the back roads past the North Saluda Reservoir the way the cyclists do on what we all call “The Bakery Ride” you will come to the charming village of Saluda. Saluda is know for its idyllic little Main Street and the Coon Dog Day Festival for dogs and the people who love them, which just celebrated its 53 year.
If you bear left up the 276 out of Travelers Rest instead of to the right up 25, you will soon come to Pumpkintown (yes, it’s really called that!) and from there you can make your way to Table Rock. All manner of hiking, fishing, kayaking and waterfall gazing await you for a lovely day outdoors in Table Rock State Park.
Continuing north on 276, crossing into North Carolina, you can enjoy more hiking and waterfalls in Dupont Forest or Pisgah National Forest and the adorable mountain town of Brevard. A popular place in which to retire, Brevard is also a great hub for cyclists who want to train in the mountains. It’s also known for having a bit of thing for white squirrels and throws a festival in their honor every May.
Back up the 25 and on to the 26, also in North Carolina, you will come next to Hendersonville. Between Saluda and Hendersonville you will see signs for the Carl Sandburg Home historical site. Hendersonville is home to girls camp Ton-a-Wandah, The Mother Earth News, and the North Carolina Apple Festival every September. They also have a thing for bears…
If you hang a right at Hendersonville, down HWY 64, you’ll shortly come to Chimney Rock State Park and beautiful Lake Lure, passing by the community of Bat Cave. There is a bat cave with bats, but you can’t go in; it’s protected. You’ll have much more fun at the lake anyway!
Less than half an hour up 26 and you come to the big town to the north, hip and happenin’ Asheville. Considered a bohemian, artist’s enclave and “hippie capital of the South” (‘dreadnecks’), Asheville has long ranked on enumerable “best of” lists and boasts, among other things, a thriving fresh music scene. You will find plenty to do and see from restaurants to galleries to concerts all surrounded by historic architecture and a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
If you want to check out something really trippy head for the nearby Biltmore Estate. The internationally renowned Chateauesque mansion was built by George Vanderbilt II between 1889 and 1895. There is a Biltmore Village, winery, and Biltmore Forest. A variety of tours, carriage rides and such could easily occupy a luxurious day.
Have I given you any ideas? “Coon Dogs, White Squirrels, and Bears, oh my! Coon Dogs, White Squirrels, and Bears, oh my!…” Keep that Instagram at the ready and hashtag away. Have a grand day trip out and then trip on back Inn!