Welcome to Greenville, South Carolina!
As a former music teacher, classroom elementary school teacher and in my capacity as a district technology director I’ve had the privilege of working with many of you, and I have a great appreciation for your contributions to our schools. Since my retirement I have been working as a photographer and writer for several travel publications and websites including SCIWAY.net and the South Carolina Heritage Corridor Association. For the past fifteen years or so I’ve been writing about Greenville and South Carolina in general on my own website, RandomConnections.com It is my honor to welcome you to my hometown and tell you a bit about it.
My Greenville roots run deep. My grandparents met and were married in the late 1800s on top of Paris Mountain. Even though I grew up in Laurens County, we always came to Greenville to shop. I’ve made Greenville my home for the past 40 years. I’ve watched it grow from an industrial/textile town into a vibrant cosmopolitan city. However, others have only recently begun to take notice.
As an aspiring travel writer one of my favorite fictional travel guides is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. I can empathize with the protagonist, Arthur Dent, when he discovers that the only information in the guide about his home planet, Earth, was that it was “Mostly Harmless.” Every time I’d pick up a travel guide for South Carolina there would be copious information about Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and the coastal areas. There would be a bit about Columbia as the state capital, but the amount of information on Greenville and the Upstate in general was always disappointing. It was as if the best you could say was that we were “Mostly Harmless.”
But that’s changing...
Through the vision and leadership of folks like Mayor Knox White and former mayor Max Heller, Greenville has thrived and has garnered accolades as one of the best places to live in the Southeast. The tagline “Yeah, THAT Greenville” has become a common phrase. For example, Time Magazine lists Greenville as one of “12 Great Places to Go in 2017.” US News and World Report includes Greenville on its list of “10 Underrated Cities for Art Lovers.” The New York Post has the Swamp Rabbit Trail listed as one of “The 15 Most Scenic Bike Trails Across America.” A recent article in Southern Living lists “5 Reasons Why Greenville is Foodie Paradise.” Just this past weekend Greenville played host to the first rounds of the NCAA March Madness Tournament at the Bon Secours Wellness Center. From food to art to its vibrant downtown, Greenville is a great place to live and visit.
This year’s theme for SCASL is Reimagine, Reinvent, Redefine. That’s what this town is all about. We are right here at ground zero for Greenville’s Renaissance. In the 1980s the Hyatt was one of the first public/private collaborations. In 1990 the Peace Center for the Performing Arts opened, starting a rebirth at that end of town. You may find it hard to believe, but there was once a four-lane bridge right over Greenville’s signature waterfall. In 2004 the bridge was removed and replaced with the Liberty Bridge Pedestrian Walkway. These decisions weren’t always popular at the time, but have served as triggers for further economic development and civic improvement.
So, as a Greenvillian, what is my “Must See” list?
...and there is much, much more than time permits.
We hope you enjoy your visit to our fair city, and that you, too, will be saying, “Yeah, THAT Greenville!”