When our Man of Honor decided to get married it offered us a chance to visit the Carolinas, a place we had not considered exploring in our many travel lists. Set for Memorial Day Weekend 2017, the wedding was to take place in Greenville, SC, a town serviced by the local airport GSP. For reasons beyond our control, tickets to land there connecting through ATL (we fly Delta) were about $400 USD more total for two people so we had to fly to neighboring CLT (Charlotte, NC) to save some big bucks. Because of this we decided to make an adventure out of our predicament and hit both cities in before and after the wedding. Two states in 4 days. Who knew?
We started the trip in Charlotte, after a long nap and a red eye flight schedule I vowed to never attempt again. Leaving from the West Coast means you sacrifice your beauty rest and we couldn’t risk driving and falling asleep at the wheel so we booked a night at the airport Double Tree. Nearly starved by the trek, my husband found a Cuban restaurant called A Piece of Havana that served mofongo and arroz congri, a savory Latin American meal reminiscent of my grandmother’s cooking. The guava ribs were delicious and we can’t wait to try the recipe at our next BBQ. Afterwards we went to the local AMC 22 theater and watched Baywatch to mellow out for the evening. Worth every penny.
The next day we caught wind of an event called Speed Street named after the racing events taking place in Charlotte Motor Speedway during the holiday weekend. The city close off certain downtown streets to host visitors and entertain them free of charge. The highlight of the event, the Coca Cola 600, was set for Sunday at 6pm but my husband decided against attending because it was going to eat into the wedding post activities. Our college pals were all there for the big event and we had decided to improvise meet and greets while we had the chance. Next time, I promise we’ll make time for some track time but for now, the NASCAR Hall of Fame will have to suffice. 🏁🚥🚘
The Hall of Fame is in the downtown area and costs $20 per adult. They have special pricing for students, seniors and children some including the audio tour and food combos. The museum has about three floors of hardcore fun, history and interactive displays for fans of all ages, giving guests the opportunity to experience the racing culture and early beginnings. This bootlegging sport is a part of the Americana, of the mainstream, and has so many sponsors and driver types that it is hard to not find a champion. Since 1993, I have been sponsoring this sport and I credit it for most of my automobile and racing engineering knowledge. As a fan of #24, back when it was driven by Jeff Gordon, I cannot describe how awesome it was to be in the Hall of Greats, amongst the artifacts of legends. Pretty neat family fun, extraordinary yet relevant to modern times. I highly recommend taking a gander. “Boogity, Boogity, Boogity.”
After a quick lunch at Mimosa Grill, we headed out to Greenville to meet up the crew and start the wedding countdown. The expressway was riddles with collisions and slowdowns, taking about 2 hours to arrive to our destination: The Hyatt in Downtown Greenville. What we saw was an unexpected sight for PNW eyes: Flanked by tech and manufacturing companies, the likes of BMW and Michelin, the bustling city benefits from a mix of charm, culture, history and a booming young middle culture. It is tucked in a very bucolic area with rivers and forests worthy of hikes and camping. Totally felt like a cross of San Antonio, Portlandia and well, the south.
Strolling down Main ST gave us an opportunity to take breaks from the 85°F weather inside ita many breweries, distilleries, mom and pop shops, and epicurean retreats. We were amazed of the cosmopolitan nature of our surroundings, especially in a place we didn’t expect to find Afghan cuisine nor a 24/7 outdoor and challenging scavenger hunt for kids! There’s something for everybody in Greenville, and I’m not exaggerating. When were getting into the valet area we spotted the WWE team setting up for an episode of Monday Night Raw in the nearby events center.
If you ever find yourself in this area make sure to visit Dark Corner Distillery, Sip Wine and Whiskey, Mellow Mushroom, Sticky Fingers, Aryana, Sushi Murakashi/The Orient and the Roost (we did brunch here). There are so many good food choices you cannot go wrong. Some places were pricey but it was because a beer pint was $7 bucks a pop and they didn’t have flights to sample local offerings easier. Outside seating is available almost everywhere with room for kids and pets to join in on the experience. 😍😍😍🐶🐶
I wish we had done more exploring but catching up with friends took up most of our time. Between shopping at lululemon, hunting down local beers and tracking the groomsmen (we were there for the groom) we had a lot on our plate. People mentioned the zoo and a park at the end of Main ST which we saw right before our departure. Guess Cookout, Waffle House and Krystal will have to wait for our next adventure.
Enjoy the pics!