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Jul 26

Land of Mountains, Woods and Rivers

Solitude PointeWe scheduled a 4 night stay at Solitude Pointe campground , near the town of Cleveland in the South Carolina Upcountry, mainly due to its fairly close proximity to Greenville to the south and Asheville to the north.  With help from the owner and a staff member, Bill backed the trailer into a lovely site.  We were tucked away in the woods, with a small brook running by, our own fire pit and private deck!  campfire at solitudeRestroom and laundry facilities were spotless and there was a hiking trail around the campground.  The notice on the garbage dump instructed guests to lock the door to stop the bears from getting in!  We didn’t see any bears but it took us just a couple of days to decide to stay here for a week, despite the rain!

We took an 11 mile drive to the nearest grocery store to stock up on some food and were ready to explore the area as well as relax and enjoy our mountain retreat.

Bill’s sister and brother-in-law live in Greenville and they visited us on their motorbikes one day.  They are familiar with the area and acted as our guides. They are still learning to be “native speaking” guides because they are Michigan transplants so, fortunately, we could understand them!pumpkin

We started off with lunch at a restaurant down the road called the Pumpkintown Mountain Opry.  This unusual, four story building, considered a monument to old-world craftsmanship, was built in 1986 and is literally in the middle of nowhere!  Their flyer states that Most Saturdays the New Dinner Theatre presents a Country Cabaret at 7pm and you can expect a “Hogg-Slappin’ Good Time”! Unfortunately, there was no show scheduled on the Saturday we were there!

drive to Caesar HeadAfter lunch we drove up to the top of Caesar’s Head State Park where, at 3,208 feet, we were presented with a mind-blowing panoramic view of the Blue Ridge wilderness area. You feel like you’re at the top of the world as you look beyond Table Rock to a mountainous landscape that seems to go on forever!  According to the Table Rock website a Cherokee Indian legend states that a Cherokee Chieftain named the Table Rock Watershed “Sah-ka-na-ga”.  When he finished hunting, he would stop here and use the Table Rock Mountain as his dining table while sitting on Stool Mountain to dine on his venison.  We love stories like that!

On our drive we passed cyclists puffing and panting their way up the twists and turns!  Apparently the US cycling team practices here for the Tour de France so you can imagine how difficult it is.  When we reached the top we met one of the cyclists – an American currently living in Belgium – and took his picture as he held his bike up high!! He had every right to be proud of his accomplishment.out look

(Note: We have had two bicycles attached to the back of our RV Trailer since we left Florida … and they have yet to be used!!   Priscilla hasn’t ridden a bike for years – and isn’t too keen, with 3 hip replacements – but Bill is determined that we will use the bikes sometime on our trip.  Stay tuned on that one!)

Our visit to the South Carolina Upcountry gave us a whole new appreciation of the diversity of the State.  Frankly, in the past when we thought of South Carolina, the first thing that came to mind was Charleston!  And, of course, the city certainly deserves its place in history.  But, we learned that there is SO much more to South Carolina!  Numerous waterfalls cascade down the forested mountain slopes … some close to the road and easy to enjoy, others requiring serious hikes.  It’s a hiker’s and naturalist’s paradise!

Greenville

A couple of days later, we drove to Greenville to meet up with our family members for an evening walk and dinner in downtown Greenville.  We were in for a real surprise!  Once known as the Textile Center of the South, Greenville suffered from textile mill strikes and the Great Depression and it was not until the 1970’s and 80’s that a major revitalization of the downtown area was started.

Despite the fact that Greenville is a growing metropolis, the downtown and West End area has the feeling of a small town, with big city amenities and lots of activity!  Along with tourists and local residents we strolled down the tree lined streets in the West End, admiring beautifully restored brick buildings housing art galleries, specialty shops and businesses. Smoke on the WaterNumerous restaurants, many with outside seating, offer every type of cuisine you can think of.  We sat outside and enjoyed an excellent meal, after which we walked a block to Falls Park.

The Reedy River runs through this beautiful 32 acre park which was created where derelict textile mills and warehouses once stood.  Paths wind throughout the park… perfect for serious exercise or just a “stroll in the park” to enjoy the landscaping and indigenous plants.   As daylight faded we stood on the Liberty Bridge and admired the 60ft natural waterfall.  There is nothing man-made about this water scene!

bridge

The bridge itself is unique — a 355ft suspension bridge, supported on one side only by two 90ft. tall steel masts!  As the light faded, the bridge took on a subtle glow from lighting on the handrail.   What a perfect way to end an evening!

As a result of the revitalization of the downtown area it’s not surprising that people of all ages are moving here from the suburbs.  We passed several condo buildings designed to fit in with the look of the area and also noticed the top floor of many buildings had been converted to residences.

As we left downtown Greenville, we realized there was much more to see and do here than we were able to fit into our brief visit.  But our next stop – Asheville – was calling and it was time to hitch up the trailer and get moving!

 

Photos:  http://goo.gl/BYkYQ7

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5 comments

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  1. Donna

    Outstanding posts, love the pics too. Sounds like you guys are finally living the dream. Be safe, have loads of fun and thanks for sharing your adventures. Donna

  2. Manzar Lari

    Wow, I would love to “dine” at the Table Rock Mountain and Stool Mountain. The view from the top sounds terrific!

  3. Mark

    If you’re still in the area you should stop by the BMW factory, know you’ve probably seen plenty in Detroit… but it’s pretty impressive. We stop there back in January and there still adding more buildings to the factory. Best if you make reservations though.

    http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g54448-d534525-r118037632-BMW_Zentrum-Spartanburg_South_Carolina.html

    Safe travels 🙂

  4. Mike Lince

    I can see why you decided to stay a week at that beautiful campground. All the comforts of home and in such a great setting. I wonder if you are roasting marshmallows as the fire burns to a hotbed of coals? I love all the photos. I remember how Bill loves all the coolest technology, so I expected to see the Google+ albums, and I was not disappointed. 🙂 Safe travels! – Mike and Florence

  5. Judith Peterson

    I love being an armchair traveler, but your pictures and travelog are making me want to get in the car and go. Thanks also for the maps – it helps me with unfamiliar territory. Take care and be safe. Judith

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