By Chris Bunting, The New York Post
January 10, 2017
Take a hare-raising bike ride along the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail.
There are 33 Greenville’s in America, give or take, but the one in South Carolina has far and away received the most media attention of late, having been plagued by those creepy clown weirdos last year.
But so far in 2017, it seems they’ve filed back into their clown car and moved the circus elsewhere, leaving Greenville footloose and squeaky red nose-free, unencumbered to resume what it’s been doing so well these past few years: gentrifying.
Lift your spirits at the Dark Corner Distillery.
Yes, not even the Deep South is immune to gentrification. And Greenville’s done an exhaustive job dolling up its north/south-split main drag with boutique shops, exotic eateries, craft beer bars, performance spaces, a no-joke distillery, a Segway livery stable — all magically preventing the town’s official (and easily derisible) tourism tagline “yeahthatgreenville” from skewing sarcastic.
It’s the Greenville to end all Greenvilles — which is an amazing feat, considering not more than a decade ago its streets were too dangerous to walk at night.
So walk already!
Time to choose your own adventure along Main Street.
Bookworms, find your way to M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers, where guest authors oft appear.
The Sox have a minor-league outpost in Greenville.
Junk food junkies, head to Poppington’s Gourmet Popcorn, where there are 75 flavors of the detonated kernels on tap.
Baseball fans, get thee to Fluor Field where a Boston Red Sox minors team plays, the fightin’ Drive! (Green Monster replica included.)
Aesthetes, keep an eye out for the public art that sits sentry over the strip “Orbital Trio” up the north end, “Nexus of Light” down south).
And should summer ever returns to the land, so too will the popular TD Saturday Market.
That’s just an itsy-bitsy taste of Main Street; hop on the free trolley that serves its clean, curbed breadth to discover the rest.
The Downtown Trolley is gratis.
Are crêpes the new grits? To find out, rent a bike from Reedy Rides on McBee Avenue and pedal the 21-mile GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail (in case you forgot you’re in the South) to Traveler’s Rest, where a couldn’t-be-nicer couple, Brad and Kristen Hartman, sure hope so. He formerly in the Air Force, she an erstwhile nurse, the two were reborn in 2014 as restaurateurs, serving up the Gallic pancakes at Tandem Creperie.
If bikes and crêpes are a little too lazy Parisian afternoon for your liking, engage in the inevitable BBQ Trail Tour with John Nolan. He’ll take you to three candidates outside of downtown for what he calls “100-mile drive” barbecue, meaning it’s worth driving that distance to eat. The most interesting is the third and final stop, Bucky’s BBQ, as it’s run by an evangelizing chap named Wayne Preston, who at one time was a millionaire, lost it all, then got it back through a series of self-described “miracles.” What he doesn’t delve into is how exactly he lost it all to begin with — I’d drive a 100 miles to hear that story.
Moo-sey on over to American Grocery for (try not to think about it while you eat it) cow tongue.
For dinner there’s the jumping American Grocery on, you guessed it, Main Street, where chef Joe Clarke adds a funky touch to traditional Southern cookin’ that he picked up while living in La La Land for a dozen years.
While its W XYZ bar sits impudently on the fourth floor instead of the lobby like it oughta, the hip Aloft Greenville Downtown is conveniently right in the middle of things at the corner of Laurens and Washington streets, a block away from Main Street (from $116).
Falls Park on the Reedy River is home to a 345-foot curved bridge held in the air by a single suspension cable — the only such bridge in the country. Greenvillians know it as Liberty.
The Grand Bohemian Hotel (you’ll find and like one in Asheville, NC, across the border) announced to the universe it will soon break ground in downtown Greenville overlooking Falls Park, the sexiest piece of real estate in town, many locals maintain.
Over on the chow front, the boom that saw almost three-dozen restaurants open last year continues. Sean Brock is opening a Husk Restaurant in the next 12 months, while almost two dozen other restaurants are slated to open in 2017. None is more anticipated than Jianna, a mod-Italian resto under the aegis of executive chef Michael Kramer, who opened McCrady’s in Charleston and Voice in Houston.
But most importantly, six new breweries have opened or are nearly there, adding to the five existing local craft brew ops in town.
FYI, Greenville will host first and second rounds of March Madness (men’s) this year at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. The NCAA relocated the games from North Carolina after the Tar Heel State passed its controversial “bathroom bill” last March. Whoops.
See the article here: http://nyp.st/2jo6w1Q