It’s been listed among the “10 Buzzy, Unpredictable Travel Destinations to Visit Next Year” by The Wall Street Journal, the “10 Best Emerging Destinations” by USA Today and the “Top 12 Most Underrated Food Cities in America” by BuzzFeed.
Everyone’s talking about Greenville—South Carolina’s cool metropolitan hub in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This new Southern star has plenty to offer, including some 120 restaurants, an assortment of museums, a performing arts pavilion, a baseball stadium and a stunning urban park—all along its tree-lined Main Street.
While Greenville’s revitalized downtown has been transformed into a vibrant city center, visitors still have the opportunity to experience the slower pace of the classic small mountain town in three of its neighboring communities—Travelers Rest, Pickens and Landrum.
All three towns are located within an hour’s drive of Greenville. Read more about them below:
1. Pickens. Founded in 1868 and named after Revolutionary War hero General Andrew Pickens, this quiet mountain retreat has the feel of Mayberry with a quirky twist. The Main Street corridor includes many of your standard stores, selling hardware, general merchandise and antiques. But tucked among them is a theaterworks shop, offering classes in mask making, mime, juggling and unicycling, and a spiritual healing center, featuring a group meditation room and products to purify your space. For the hipster crowd, there’s Coyote Coffee, where you can enjoy everything from protein shakes to delicious sweet and savory crepes. Around the corner is the Pickens County Museum of Art & History, chronicling the heritage of the community. Housed in a 1903 jail, its eclectic collection of artifacts includes the noose used in the last two public hangings in front of the Pickens County Courthouse in the early 1900s. The town and surrounding area also features several historic homes, the 7.5-mile Doodle Trail, Hagood Grist Mill, Hagood Creek Petroglyph Site, and an amphitheater hosting summer concerts and other annual events.
2. Travelers Rest. Best known as the gateway to the mountains and one of the end points of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, TR (as it’s called by locals) has it going on with its ever-growing Main Street corridor, featuring trendy restaurants, gift shops, art galleries, a coffeehouse, microbrewery and moonshine distillery. Travelers Rest also is home to Furman University, one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country. Visitors are welcome to explore the university grounds via a network of trails that includes a 1.5-mile loop around Furman’s centerpiece lake. Once a stopover for weary travelers, Travelers Rest now boasts a popular farmers market, bike skills flow park, performing arts and cultural center offering free outdoor concerts and entertainment, and one of the largest outdoor outfitters in South Carolina. Sunrift Adventures carries a wide range of outdoor equipment, including kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, bikes and hiking, rock climbing and camping gear, as well as clothing.
3. Landrum. You’ll love strolling the streets of Landrum’s walkable downtown with its many historic buildings dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s. The vintage brick structures now house a unique collection of gift shops, galleries, antique stores and restaurants, among them The Hare & Hound Pub. Once a mercantile for the local textile and agricultural industries, the popular eatery features a cozy local tavern atmosphere with additional seating in the covered patio and balcony. Nearby is a park and historic train depot that serves as the venue for the town’s free Music at the Tracks summer concert series. Home to horse farms and the Foothills Equestrian and Nature Center, Landrum hosts a number of equestrian events and activities, including the Annual Blockhouse Steeplechase and the historic Blessing of the Hounds and Thanksgiving Hunt, a ceremony rich in tradition with riders dressed in scarlet coats and black riding habits. If you enjoy hiking, try the Palmetto Trail’s Blue Wall Passage, a 14-mile trek with a section running through downtown Landrum and around the lovely Lake Lanier.