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Romantic Weekend: Greenville

Libby Wiersema Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.
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Greenville was once considered South Carolina’s best-kept secret. Judging by the number of people seeking out this town for dining, entertainment, arts and recreational opportunities, the secret is definitely out.

Couples have taken note as well, flocking to this picturesque city nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Add to this natural beauty a hip vibe, progressive arts community, world-class dining and Southern charm, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a romantic weekend getaway.

 

Friday afternoon: Check-in
If you’re dreaming of mountain views, you’ll love the floor-to-ceiling windows of a sophisticated Hyatt Regency Suite. (Make sure to specify “mountain view” when you book your room.) You’ll also love the location as the hotel is situated in the heart of downtown. That means all the action is just a short walk away.

For accommodations on the cozy side, snuggle up at the Pettigru Place Bed & Breakfast. You won’t be giving up easy access to downtown as the bed and breakfast is located in the Pettigru Historic District within walking distance to just about everything. When you book, choose one of the inn’s romance packages for special touches like champagne, flowers and chocolate-covered strawberries.

 

Friday night
It’s time to officially kick off your romantic weekend. Hyatt guests should stop first at the onsite Orb Lounge for a pre-dinner cocktail beneath the 40-foot artisan chandelier. If you’re staying at Pettigru Place, enjoy a glass of wine in the romantic English garden.

For a sumptuous dinner, stroll over to the award-winning steakhouse, Rick Erwin’s West End Grille, located about 15 to 20 minutes away. Low lighting, impeccable service and Linz Heritage Angus steaks will have you swooning. This restaurant also has the distinction of being a 2018 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence recipient, so peruse the wine list for a special bottle. Save room for the divine Key lime pie as your final course. Note: If you’re celebrating an anniversary, mention it when you make your reservation for a “bubbly” surprise at your table.

For lighter appetites, slip into a table for two at the sleek tapas bar, Cazbah. An inspired wine, beer and bubbly list offers exciting selections and the tapas are sublime. Don’t skip their famous “lobster cigars” or the particularly tasty free-range chicken enchiladas. Split a chocolate empanada for a sweet ending to a perfect Greenville dining experience.

If you’re in the mood for live entertainment, make plans to attend a world-class performance or show at the Peace Center or Bon Secours Wellness Arena, both venues that draw the biggest names in music, Broadway tours and more. Or on a smaller scale, groove to live jazz at the club Blues Boulevard, located downtown. For other entertainment options, consult your hotel concierge or inn host.

 

Saturday morning/afternoon
After a luxurious sleep, you rise early today and there’s a good reason for that. It’s time for some outdoor adventure! The Greenville area is known for its natural beauty and outdoor features that urge folks to get out and move around.

But first things first. It’s time for breakfast. If you’re staying at the Hyatt Regency, you place your order for room service the night before—answer that knock on your door and enjoy a made-to-order breakfast for two in the privacy of your room. For Pettigru Place guests, it’s time for the highlight of your stay—an indulgent breakfast designed to spoil you. Cinnamon roll pancakes, Italian omelets and banana pudding stuffed French toast are some of the tummy-tantalizing dishes you might be served. Take a seat in the elegant dining room and prepare for a breakfast experience.

Now, put on something designed for movement and grab your comfy athletic shoes. Time to pedal off some of that breakfast with a bicycle tour through Greenville. Reedy Rides offers a picnic tour, which includes lunch from a local eatery. This is a popular choice for couples. Armed with your directions, take off on a comfy-cool cruiser bike for a leisurely four-hour trip, beginning with a stretch on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a picturesque greenway along the Reedy River that runs through downtown and beyond.

Picnic at Falls Park at the Reedy, one of the most popular outdoor attractions in Greenville. Park your bikes; there are plenty of racks throughout this bike-friendly community. Walk the architecturally alluring 345-foot-long suspension bridge, take in the public art displays and drink in the breathtaking beauty of this local treasure. Ready to pop the question? This park offers several romantic backdrops to create the perfect scenario.

For an option that’s easier on the knees, forego the bikes and walk down to Falls Park to take in the sights. (On the way, meander through the TD Saturday Market, a downtown outdoor affair brimming with fresh produce, baked goods, art, live music and people! At the footbridge entrance to the park, grab a cuppa joe from Spill the Beans coffee shop, then enjoy it together as you explore the wonders of Falls Park.

Afterward, it’s time for a tour of Greenville’s vibrant breweries. The Brewery Experience offers a variety of options, including the “Afternoon Delight,” a three-hour roundup of some of the city’s best breweries, including Thomas Creek, the area’s oldest such operation. After all that morning walking, the best part might be that you can get off your feet as the tour guide whisks you away to your destinations in a comfy 12-passenger van.

Ready for a light late lunch afterward? Stop by Caviar and Bananas on your way back to your accommodations and grab a freshly made sandwich or salad.

At this point, you’re ready for some serious relaxation. This might mean returning to your room for some alone time and perhaps a nap. It could also mean surprising your sweetie by announcing you’ve reserved a couples massage at River Falls Spa. The “Table for Two” option holds all kinds of promise for an afternoon of total pampering together: rich robes and slippers and a visit to the Luxury Suite where your body and mind will be soothed and renewed by a skilled masseuse. Next is a hydrotherapy treatment followed by the grand finale: sipping champagne in front of a welcoming fireplace and water wall. However you choose to relax, you’ll be nice and refreshed for your evening out on the town.

Saturday night
Now that you’re both fully rested, prepare for an intimate night of dining. There’s a table for two awaiting you at Passarelle Bistro, named by CNN Travel as one of the world’s most romantic restaurants! (Of course, you’ve made your reservations well in advance.) Walk to this quaint, French-influenced café overlooking the falls of Reedy River. Begin with a pleasing charcuterie and fromage plate and glass of French wine. Nicoise salad, ratatouille, duck cassoulet—these are some of the expertly prepared European dishes you can experience. Try the lavender creme brulee for dessert if you have room.

Other notable dinner options include the much-lauded, Lowcountry-centric Husk and Hall’s Chophouse, both with Charleston origins, and Soby’s, where you can feast on New Southern cuisine at a Greenville’s dining institution.

Savor a stroll back to your accommodations, but plan to make one more stop to cap off your evening. Take the elevator at Embassy Suites all the way to the top. Up on the Roof offers craft cocktails and sweeping views of the area. The sights alone are priceless and you will relish the memory of the night you took your love to this magical city.

 

Sunday
It’s departure day and your bags are packed. If time allows, don’t miss the Greenville County Museum of Art, a premier institution distinguished for housing the largest collection in the world of Andrew Wyeth paintings. But you can’t do all that art appreciation on an empty stomach. If you’re staying at the Hyatt, brunch at the hotel’s onsite restaurant, Roost, is highly recommended. Pettigru Place guests will be treated once again to a decadent meal to hold them over until they reach home. Either way, the taste, sights, sounds and beauty of Greenville are sure to fill you until your next visit.

 

Libby Wiersema
Libby Wiersema lived in California and Alabama before settling in South Carolina 30 years ago, where she's covered the state's best culinary offerings and tells the stories behind the food.