Venture Through Travelers Rest on the Swamp Rabbit Trail

By:Marie McAden

Date:4/29/2015

The once sleepy community of Travelers Rest, South Carolina, is an Upstate destination for foodies, beer geeks and fun-loving adventurers, thanks to a misplaced cottontail and his namesake trail.

Opened in 2009, the 18.7-mile GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail connects downtown Greenville, South Carolina, to TR, as it’s known to locals. A favorite with area cyclists, runners and walkers, the paved rail-to-trail pathway has acquired star status, earning raves in national publications such as Southern Living, USA TODAY and Outside Magazine.

The Rabbit is bringing traffic into the town’s Main Street corridor, a four-lane thoroughfare that had previously served visitors as simply a route to the popular Paris Mountain, Table Rock, Caesars Head and Jones Gap state parks.

Vacationers are welcome to stop in TR to begin or end their trip on the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail. To meet the needs of these thirsty and hungry travelers, restaurants, shops and a microbrewery have popped up along the Rabbit’s route, providing visitors with countless options for entertainment in Travelers Rest.

One of the first establishments to open on the Main Street corridor was the Cafe at Williams Hardware, a casual eatery and eclectic gift shop housed in, well you guessed it, an old hardware store. Realizing Swamp Rabbit users would need a place to stop and buy a bottle of water, the homegrown McCarrell sisters renovated the historic building into a lunch spot with a screened-in back porch overlooking the trail.

Since then, a number of other restaurants have opened along the trail, among them Tandem Creperie and Coffeehouse, Duke’s Doggs and Shortfields.

Several of the businesses have embraced the humorous selection of a wetlands cottontail as the name of the railway that once chugged through the South Carolina foothills.

At The Whistle Stop at the American Café, the hare stands guard near a vintage steam engine built in the 1800s. The Swamp Rabbit Brewery & Tap Room features a huge mural of the barrel-clad rabbit bursting through the building’s brick wall.

The entertainment district in Travelers Rest also includes other fun spots to quench your thirst or grab a snack, including Copperhead Mountain Distillery advertising “free moonshine samples,” Down Home Desserts and The Forest Coffeehouse.

Visitors also will enjoy popping into the many boutiques and gift shops occupying the gallery of brick buildings lining Main Street such as Carolina Honey Bee Company, My Sister’s Store, the Sunflower Gift Shop & Art Gallery, Silver Lily Boutique, Goose Feathers and Through the Looking Glass, a shop with a curated collection of vintage clothing and curiosities.

Don’t have a bike? Rent one from Sunrift Adventures, an outdoor outfitter conveniently located near the start of the trail at 1 Center St. in Travelers Rest. A hybrid or cruiser is $30 for the full day.

For an interactive hospitality and dining guide to Travelers Rest, visit http://travelersrestsc.com/. For more information on recreational activities in South Carolina, visit DiscoverSouthCarolina.com/recreation.

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