Hello beautiful people and welcome to your weekly dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space and on this journey. I hope that all of you had a wonderful last week, and that you are enjoying life wherever you are. Last week we wrapped up our conversation about the seven chakras. What a lovely journey that was! I hope that you are able to apply some of the tips to your own life for healthy chakra living.
Speaking of journeys, I recently took a real trip to Greenville, South Carolina. I can honestly say that Greenville, South Carolina—there is also a Greenville, North Carolina, had never been on my radar of top places to visit within the United States. I am glad that I opened my mind to a visit there! See this week’s video here: https://youtu.be/Id6oL9I7vSg
I have a list of places that I would like to visit, both domestically and internationally, and at the top it says “This or Better.” I trust that if there is somewhere that I should see, eventually I will end up there. I suggest making such a list for yourself, as you never know when you may get an opportunity to have a little adventure and to cross a place off the list. I also suggest picking a variety of destination types—go somewhere for great food, or for great natural treasures, or for a great cultural experience. All of these different experiences add to the kaleidoscope of your travel experience.
Last fall we went to Asheville, North Carolina for a long weekend. It was cool, but I learned quickly that traveling during a pandemic required a lot of advanced planning, making reservations, and just being as patient as possible.
As the world, begins to open up bit by bit, and as my travel party and I were all vaccinated, we felt that a weekend trip was in order. One of my best friends grew up pretty close to Greenville, and so that was some of the inspiration about why we went. It is similarly situated to Asheville, so I had something to compare in my mind. I have visited South Carolina before—during the Solar Eclipse of 2017, my family and I drove down to see the end point of the eclipse, which happened in Charleston.
That was an experience. During that trip we also made a stop in a place called Moncks Corner to see the Mepkin Abbey—home to Trappist Monks, and home to the Mepkin Gardens which are both peaceful and stunning.
Greenville, SC is approximately a two hour drive from Atlanta, GA, 1.5 hours’ drive south west of Charlotte, NC, and about an hour south of Asheville, NC by car. There is also the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport if you are interested in flying in. For our Greenville trip, we chose to stay at the Aloft Hotel in Downtown Greenville.
Aloft Hotels are part of Marriott Bonvoy, so if you are staying, make sure to connect your Marriott account so that you can get points. The Aloft was perfectly situated for walking almost anywhere we wanted to go. It was clean, organized, and unique.
They also welcomed dogs—we didn’t have a dog, but it seemed like Greenville as a whole was very pet friendly.
Our room offered a great view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Greenville is located at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so if you are a nature lover, this is a big plus.
Our hotel was located pretty close to Main Street, so once we checked in we were able to go exploring. I found the downtown area to be really beautiful, clean, and filled with fountains and artwork. There are also butterfly exhibits or artwork all over town. The city really promotes art and music.
Our stroll took us to Reedy River Falls and to see the Liberty Bridge—a pedestrian suspension bridge that allows you to get a great view of the falls.
Before we went onto the bridge we stopped for a sweet treat. At Spill the Beans, coffee bar and ice-cream shop, we tried a unique ice cream creation. They let you choose a base and then your toppings. After that they blend it all together. I think I had a vanilla base with pineapples, pistachios, mango and Nutella. It was a beautiful day weather wise, and so we enjoyed our ice cream while taking in the natural beauty of the falls.
Later that even, we went to dinner at a place called the Trappe Door, which was conveniently located across the street from our hotel. It had a Belgian pub theme, and reminded me of the Ratskeller in Memorial Union, at the University of Wisconsin where I went to school. The food was excellent, and the service was even better.
After dinner, we strolled along Main Street. You can learn a lot people watching, and also just slowing down to pay attention. I learned about how students from Sterling High School played a role in ending segregation in the area—including at the lunch counters at the Woolworths, and their role in integrating the library and other public spaces.
We also stopped by the Savannah Bee Company to do a honey tasting—we also did this in Asheville, and if you ever get to do a honey tasting at a honey bar, I highly recommend it. One unique flavor was the Black Sage honey, which had a very herbal undertone. We also stopped in a crystal shop—shocker—and got to take in a beautiful sunset.
I am a big fan of including time on trips for some downtime and rest. So we had a little break, and then met up to go to the Swordfish Cocktail Club. You do have to make a reservation by phone in advance, but this place that gives the vibe of a speak easy was super worth it! The club clearly values quality of the drinks they make. Everything was beautifully presented, and the drinks were delicious. Each drink was a work of art—science meets art.
All of the bartenders were great, but Brad, who we garnered was one of the co-owners, wanted to make sure that we had a good experience, and we did. One of the drinks that I had took twenty minutes to make. He placed it in a salt water container, and allowed science to do something fancy.
What resulted was a beautiful frothy beverage (that came with a spoon). When I took my first sip, it felt as though I had been transported to the far East—for an evening under the desert skies. He also taught us about good gin, and after swearing gin off after college, I felt like, I could make a pleasant return.
We topped the night off with warm milk infused with Brandy, and homemade (at the cocktail club), cookies. Needless to say, I slept really well that night.
The next day we had brunch at Tupelo Honey, literally also right outside of the hotel door. Everything was scrumptious.
One of the trends that emerged during the pandemic that will probably stay is restaurants using QR codes that you can scan to see the menu. I think this will be around even after the pandemic. Of course, everyone does not have a smartphone, so they will always probably have some menus on hand, but this cuts cost, and having to clean down paper/plastic menus.
After brunch we went for a walk/mini hike on the Lake Placid Trail at Paris Mountain State Park. The park was beautiful, lush, and green. I love to be out in nature—there is something peaceful, healing, and soul stirring about seeing greenery, and hearing the natural flow of water. We also drove all the way up the mountain after we walked the trail, but there was limited parking, so we just got the scenic view.
Afterwards, we explored a bit more of Main Street. This included stopping at one of the many art galleries that are in the city. The one we visited was the artist guild of Greenville. I got two prints, one by a black artist and engineer named John Pendarvis. The other piece was by an artist named Pat Grills. He was actually in the gallery at the time and gave us a tour pointing our pieces by different artist that were really notable. He was a very kind soul, and even signed the print that I bought from him. He taught art and art history for the Greenville County Schools for over 42 years. A few years ago, his students surprised him and his wife with a trip to Europe. He and I talked about some of the travel experiences there, which was super cool. You just never know where you will meet a kind soul.
After our art gallery visit, we stopped at a super cute coffee shop called Coffee Underground. I had an amazing white chocolate beverage and a piece of apple cider pie. We laughed and chatted and then headed back to the hotel for some downtime.
Later we met up with the parents of one of my best friends for a delicious dinner. Nothing beats a good meal and good company! Post dinner we marveled at the beauty of the city at night, went for drinks at a place called Up on the Roof, and laughed and chatted into the night.
On our final day, we had brunch at a place not in the downtown—but worth the drive—called the Fork and Plough.
I really enjoyed my visit to Greenville. I think if you are planning to take a trip during the pandemic—and yes—we are still in it—and even once it ends, it helps to do some research and planning in advance.
We made reservations at a lot of the places that we went to. This is helpful especially at busy meal hours.
Also call ahead to make sure that places are actually opened. One of the galleries that we wanted to see seemed like it was open according to Travel Advisor, but Google seemed to indicate that it was closed. When we got there it was permanently closed.
Also, open your mind to new experiences and sights.
These are some of the things that make travel fun—you never know when you might fall in love with a place. Greenville reminded me that Southern Hospitality is a thing. Everyone, everywhere we went were friendly, kind, and helpful. I always felt safe, and I really was pleasantly surprised at how cool the town was. Someone we met at the cocktail club, had grown up in Greenville, and said, “Don’t tell anyone how amazing it is here…” Well, the cat’s out of the bag! Enjoy, and if you ever visit, let me know how you enjoyed it.
As always, may the stars shine brightly over your week, and if you are enjoying these videos and blog posts, please like, comment, share, and subscribe to my blog and YouTube channel. Have a beautiful and adventurous week!