HUFFINGTON POST AUGUST 3, 2011: 10 Reasons To Visit Greenville, South Carolina

by Tanja Laden, photo by Melanie Griffin.

Halfway between Atlanta and Charlotte, in the heart of the Deep South, there’s an unassuming but charming town filled with good, old-fashioned Southern hospitality. Greenville, South Carolina is home to some of the best restaurants, parks, and festivals in the area and is attracting more visitors every year.

Unlike so many other Southern cities, Greenville isn’t steeped in nostalgia or re-imagined history. Instead, this city strikes a harmonious balance between the past and the future, embodying the best of America’s olden days while embracing a progressive outlook. With its colorful population, old-school steakhouses, or indie entertainment venues, there are dozens of reasons to check out Greenville, South Carolina. Here are the top ten.

1. Euphoria
In 2006, Greenville’s own star singer/songwriter Edwin McCain founded the Euphoria food, wine and music festival, along with owner of the Table 301 restaurant group, Carl Sobocinski. Five years later, Euphoria is now the most anticipated annual festival in Greenville, filled with four days’ worth of world-class tasting events, seminars, and demos. But at Euphoria, it’s not just about the food; it’s also about the wine and music. This year’s installment features insights from master sommeliers, and live musical performances from Maia Sharp, the festival’s co-founder Edwin McCain, and many others. And given that it takes place in the fall, Euphoria is a chance to catch Greenville at its most beautiful, when the summer sizzle wanes and the leaves begin to change. Euphoria is truly a multi-sensory immersion course on Southern culture, and as good a reason as any to visit Greenville County, “a great place to live, work and play.”

 

2. Greenville-Pickens Speedway

For over 60 years, this half-mile mile oval racetrack between Greenville and Pickens has provided incredible southern-fried racing entertainment for locals. Very historic, it’s the second-oldest NASCAR track in the country and was the site of the very first live televised NASCAR pole-to-pole race on April, 1971 on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. The legendary Earnhardt family started here with Dale’s father Ralph, who was an early track champion (all the track champions’ names are painted on the wall of the backstretch). All the legends of NASCAR — from the current favorites to the heroes of racing past — have passed through the gates of Greenville-Pickens, racing and testing their cars here. Tom Blackwell and his brother Pete owned and operated this track (and the adjoining fairgrounds) for over 60 years. The track has since been sold, but it continues to thrive. Every September, the Upper South Carolina State Fair comes to town for 10 days; it’s a great old-school southern fair with a carnival, rides, games, agriculture and animal exhibits, demolition derby, rodeo, circus, and more.

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3. Horizon Records
Run by local music aficionado Gene Berger since 1975, Horizon is one of those rare remaining “record store” record stores that has survived and thrived as the music industry and the concept of record stores has died. Horizon was alternative long before the word became a cliché, and the store has always been a haven for independent-minded music fans in Greenville. In addition to a wide variety of music (including a well-curated spectrum of southern music like bluegrass and folk), the store features live performances and music-related events on a regular basis.

4. Liberty Bridge
Located in Falls Park, aka “the cradle of Greenville,” the Liberty Bridge has quickly become a local landmark and a point of pride in the local community. The 345-foot-long, 12-foot-wide suspension bridge is named after W. Frank Hipp, founder of the hugely successful media organization, the Liberty Corporation. The unique pedestrian bridge boasts elegant curves and a narrow, lightweight construction above the site where Richard Pearis, Greenville’s first European settler, set up his trading post back in 1768. Today, Liberty Bridge continues to attract visitors from around the world for its exceptional design and breathtaking views of Reedy River Falls.

 

5. BMW Performance Driving School

Located between the city of Greenville and the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP), the $12 million BMW Performance Center offers custom-designed drivers programs to maximize BMW-maneuvering skills. Whether it’s guiding the operation of an M-class vehicle, motorcycle, or by teaching teens to drive, the BMW Performance Driving School features an intense driving course designed to simulate everyday driving conditions.
  • YAMAHA NATURAL SOUND A-700 INTEGRATED STEREO AMPLIFIER
    A classic “hoss” circa 1983/84. 100 watts per channel! Has phono input.
  • BOSE 901 SERIES V SPEAKERS WITH BOSE 901 SERIES V ACTIVE EQUALIZER
    The essentially crossoverless design gives the 901 an unmistakable coherence, the model’s greatest strength. Its incredibly wide dispersion comes in a close second. The Bose 901s sound great anywhere in the room, After extensive listening, the Bose 901s strike me as being damn good. They have some limitations, but don’t all $1,400 speakers? For that matter, what $10,000 speakers are perfect? They are so smooth and musical.
  • SANSUI FR-D35 SEMI-AUTOMATIC DIRECT TURNTABLE
    A new stylus has been installed on the vintage AT cartridge and all features of the table work perfectly!
  • SANSUI SR-525 DIRECT DRIVE TURNTABLE
    Excellent working and sounding Sansui SR-525 full manual direct drive turntable. A new stylus has been installed, and the cartridge has been properly aligned in the headshell according to Sansui specifications. This is a very heavy table with great Sansui build quality.
  • BOZAK CS4000 mod speakers, omg!! these big-boys ROCK!
    8 tweeters, 1 midrange and 2 woofers per. all original, very clean. extremely rare and VERY AMAZING sound!
  • EPI A110 SPEAKERS: 2-way, classic bookshelf charmers! Sound great, woofers rebuilt like new!
    2-way, classic bookshelf charmers! Sound great, woofers rebuilt like new. Circa 1980’s Epicure Productions vintage feature 8”woofers. Critically acclaimed in their day and still sound good, audiophile delivery without the high dollar price. Full-on ready, great sound, woofers rebuilt like new!
  • TASCAM 102 CASSETTE DECK!
    So fresh and so clean! This deck is in great shape and sounds like a champ. Bust out those old bootlegs and mixed tapes.
  • VINTAGE RARE SAE MARK XXXI SOLID STATE STEREO POWER AMPLIFIER WORKS GREAT! SOUNDS GREAT!
    Unit is in really nice physical condition. Recently gone through, tested and checked, all functions have been tested and work great! ready to rock with a pre-amp!
  • ADVENT LAUREATE Mini Tower Speakers
    amazing sound, brilliant natural refined listening experience. woofers on both speakers just completely rebuilt better than new! The Advents, both large and small, sounded pretty good and gave excellent value for the money. The company was one of a long string of companies that descended from the original Acoustic Research (AR). Advents eventually lost their enormous popularity and nearly faded away. International Jensen, a company based in the Chicago suburbs, rescued Advent and resurrected it. The Advent model we tested deserves a Ph.D. Advent appropriately names it the Laureate. The Laureate overwhelmed my skepticism that a modestly priced floor-standing loudspeaker could deliver good sound