Surprising Greenville SC to Awesome Asheville NC

Surprising Greenville SC to Awesome Asheville NC

We took a great trip to Greenville in the Upcountry of South Carolina and then took a mini road trip up to Asheville NC with a couple of stops along the way. Next time you are looking for a 5 or 6 day getaway, this could be a great trip for you.

Driving up I-85 from our home in Atlanta, a brief stop at Chateau Elan, a winery – resort would be a good stop. It is right off Exit 126 in Braselton.

Hampton Inn Downtown Greenville
Hampton Inn Greenville

The drive up to Greenville is a pleasant drive of only a little over 2 hours. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Downtown at River Place  which has a great location on the Reedy River and next to Main Street and Falls Park on the Reedy. We parked our car and didn’t touch it until our departure.

Falls Park on the Reedy River
Falls Park on the Reedy River

Greenville is very walkable with a main street with restaurants, bars, shopping and Main Street has many fine historic buildings plus has the river and the park right there downtown.

Walkable Main Street Greenville
Walkable Main Street Greenville

 

Shoeless Joe Jackson statue
Shoeless Joe Jackson statue

Before you go, check the schedule for the Peace Performing Arts Center which is located on Main Street and is just across the river from the Hampton Inn. Oh, Greenville has a baseball team and stadium downtown too.

Peace Center Greenville
Peace Center Greenville
Main Street Greenville SC
Main Street Greenville SC

We had lovely dinners at Larkin’s on the River and also Soby’s New South Cuisine which was our favorite. Many people told us about Smoke on the Water and Ford’s Oyster House which are favorites. Tripadvisor has 753 restaurants listed for Greenville so you will have many choices. To help with that we recommend taking the Chefs Table Culinary Tour as soon as you can – this is rated one of the top activities for Greenville and will tour several restaurants for food tastings. Right next to the Hampton Inn where we stayed is the Lazy Goat restaurant which you should take advantage of their patio for cocktails and watch the activity on the Riverwalk below.

We walked the Falls Park on the Reedy and enjoyed the wonderful waterfalls right next to Main Street! Check the schedule for the Festivals and Events in Greenville. Take your camera to Greenville as there are wonderful photo ops all around. Below is a photo of the Liberty Bridge (built 2004) across the Reedy River which gives you a good view of the falls.

Liberty Bridge at Falls Park
Liberty Bridge at Falls Park

For serious hikers there is the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail that starts right in downtown Greenville and goes 13 miles to Travelers Rest.

We only stayed three days in Greenville but we can’t wait to go back. We loved walking to everything, the great restaurants, the wonderful Main Street and the park in town.

PS: Since writing this post a few weeks ago we have been back to Greenville and this time stayed at Pettigru Place Bed & Breakfast and loved it. It cheaper than the hotel we stayed at before but we enjoyed it as much or more.  Lori the owner was very nice to us and we loved talking with the other guests. Lovely room, house and gardens. Close to Main Street also.

Pettigru Place Bed & Breakfast
Pettigru Place Bed & Breakfast
Wards Grill in Saluda NC
Wards Grill in Saluda NC

Our next overnight stay was in Asheville NC only about one hour away. About halfway,  we stopped for lunch at a quaint charming Mayberry style town of Saluda NC to have lunch with friends at Ward’s Grill on Main Street downtown (you can’t miss it) and then to visit the charming general store and get some ice cream.

Main Street Hendersonville NC
Main Street Hendersonville NC

Next back on I-26 we stopped at Historic Hendersonville NC which has one of the most amazing Main Street I have ever seen. People were out enjoying it even in the middle of the day and is an attraction in itself. We stopped by and talked with the helpful people at the Visitors Center at the end of Main Street. Hendersonville is popular with visitors as well as retirees taking advantage of hiking, fishing, golf, and the cooler mountain air.

Asheville is a great town to visit with plenty of sites, not the least of which is the Biltmore Estate – house and gardens. In fact you may want to stay in a hotel or B&B near the entrance to the Biltmore house or in a cabin around Asheville or downtown Asheville to be near the bars and restaurants. If you have never been to the Biltmore House, well that is a must. Take a look at what you will be seeing at Biltmore Estate.

Thomas Wolfe house
Thomas Wolfe house

Downtown Asheville is very interesting and walkable. We started off with a visit to the Thomas Wolfe Memorial with a tour of the house and life of author Thomas Wolfe. This is an interesting 13 bedroom house and the guide had a great narrative.

Patrick with Asheville Food Tour
Patrick with Asheville Food Tour

Next we took the Asheville Food Tour with Patrick visiting six restaurants and sampling the food at each (beer and wine too). There was about 10 of us on that tour and we had the best time and had fun with the other travelers on our tour.

Olive Oil Tasting on Food Tour
Olive Oil Tasting on Food Tour

All the restaurants were good especially one named Chestnut which was probably our favorite. We also heard about The Corner Kitchen in Historic Biltmore Village is supposed to be the best in the area.

We began and ended that tour at the Grove Arcade, one of Asheville’s  architectural jewels and the idea of Mr Grove of Grove Park

Inn. We tried to get in Wake: The Foot Sanctuary for a highly recommend foot soaking and massage but they were booked for the rest of the day. Our friend recommended Limonnes, an upscale Mexican restaurant and it was excellent.

Grove Arcade in Asheville
Grove Arcade

Five days did give us enough time to enjoy this trip but I could see spending a few more days in either Greenville or Asheville. But I did like experiencing both in one trip as they are only an hour apart. Our favorite was surprising Greenville and we already know we are going back for another visit.

Boomer Travel doesn’t have to be all international trips or cruises but working some of these regional trips in can be very satisfying.

You might also like:
Boomer Travel Blogs
Boomer Road Trips
Best Small Towns in SC
Why Greenville SC is Awesome on Pinterest
Greenville Visitors Center

Surprising Age 55 Benefits

Surprising Age 55 Benefits

The benefits accompanying that 55th birthday are many, and some of these benefits may surprise you. Advantages of becoming a “senior” can include perks in just about every area of life: finances, health, transportation and travel, everyday purchases, fun, and even education. Here are a few of those perks that you may not know about:

· Reduced insurance premiums: Although many insurance companies view “getting on in years” as an insurance risk, at the age of 55 you qualify to take the AARP Driver Safety course, which can earn you a discount on your annual premiums. This discount is even mandated by law in some states. Contact the AARP or AAA (if you are a member) regarding this program.

· Free legal advice (from a real lawyer!): As a member of AARP (you can join at age 50), you can take advantage of their legal program – if you have a legal question, there are attorneys from the AARP Legal Services Network in your area who will provide a half-hour of their time for a free consultation with members. There are also free legal helplines for seniors in the majority of states (check out www.legalhotline.org).

· Lower property taxes: Okay, this benefit does not apply to 55-year-olds; you are still far too young to enjoy it! The Senior Citizens’ Exemption actually applies to some lower-income individuals age 65 and over. If you are 65+ and your annual income is $29,000 or less, you may be able to shave up to 50% off of the property taxes you pay on your primary residence – whether levied by county, school district, or city.

· Free continuing education: Thanks to the Senior Citizens’ Higher Education Act, after age 55 you may be able to take credit-earning college courses without paying any tuition. This benefit is also income-based: your taxable income in the previous year cannot have exceeded $15,000 to get the free courses. Even those seniors with more income get some benefit, though: they can audit a credit-earning course – or take a non-credit course – free of tuition.

· Active Adult Community:  At age 55 you legally qualify to live in a 55 plus community or active adult community.

· Senior Center: Many senior centers or as some of them are called “active adult centers” have age 55 requirements. Before you laugh, you should check out today’s senior centers in your neighborhood.

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. There are also Silver Sneakers gym programs, prescription medication discounts, senior travel deals, and benefits at grocery stores, national parks, movie theatres, hotels, restaurants, and many other locations. These offers for 55+ customers may not be publicized, so you should check with the local Chamber of Commerce, or simply flash your ID at your favorite businesses and ask, and you may be amazed at how much you can save.

AARP Discounts
Senior Discounts
Grocery Store Discounts
Age 55 Perks and Discounts

Baby Boomer’s Housing Trends

We have observed these 10 Baby Boomer housing trends. Boomers are not doing as some expected in regards to their housing. Links in the items listed go to more details.

1. Many Baby Boomers love seasonal homes in resort locations. Living in a seasonal home for two to six months then returning to their primary home. Some seasonal homes are owned but many are short term rentals. Most seasonal homes are in warmer locations. Most are in resort locations including active adult communities.

2. One level living is a must because of potential mobility issues and safety concerns. This style is referred to as “ranch style” homes.

3. Baby Boomers prefer a enclosed sun room, where they can enjoy the outdoors without the elements.  Fully enclosed is preferable to a 3 season room.

4. One of the the main reason Baby Boomers move is to be closer to their children, grandchildren or siblings.

5. Baby Boomers who can afford it, love living in a Over 50 Community that offers the active lifestyle where they can play pickleball, bocce, tennis, softball, putt putt golf, and so on as well as other activities, entertainment and social life and people to do it with.

6. Baby Boomers are not downsizing to as small a home as expected by some. They still enjoy their space for entertaining and having guests over. Also want a large master bedroom and bath room.

7. A nice patio or deck is also enjoyed but not too big of a yard.  Boomers no longer do their own landscaping maintenance. Boomers want landscaping included or pay a vendor to do that.

8. Many Baby Boomer who do move to a new home end up buy new furniture and having the new place professionally decorated.

9. Baby Boomers that age in place are making improvements to their homes to make them age friendly as much as possible especially with ease of access.

10. Also Baby Boomers that age in place are getting involved with their local senior center that has evolved to have more activities like an Active Adult Community does. Many Senior Centers are now called Active Adult Centers.

Top 55+ Places for Retirement

 

 

Boomers: What To Do While Visiting The Villages in Florida

Thousands of people visit The Villages in Florida each year, some staying with relatives, some visiting on the Lifestyle Preview Plan like we just did and many others renting a home in The Villages.

There is something to do everyday that every baby boomer will find fun. Here are some tips and places to visit during your stay.

1. Pick up a copy of The Villages Daily Sun newspaper, especially the Thursday edition with the Recreation News and schedule for the week.

Sumter Square The Villages
Sumter Square

2. Visit and walk around all three town squares,  Lake Sumter Landing which borders Lake Sumter and has a Florida seaport theme and is located centrally.  There is the original town square of Spanish Springs on the South side. The newest town square of Brownwood with a wild west theme is on the North side.  All three town squares are very walkable and have restaurants, shops and a movie theater. Also there is live entertainment in each square every night of the year!

town square
town square

3. Take a Guided Trolley Tour. Leaves from the sales office at Lake Sumter Landing every day, usually each hour but call ahead.

boat tour at Lake Sumter
boat tour at Lake Sumter

4. Take a Boat Ride of Lake Sumter. It’s only a few minutes but has an interesting and funny guide to narrate.

5. Schedule a Tee Time on the many golf courses in The Villages by visiting TheVillages.net or just call the Sales Office.

6. Enjoy a dinner at some of the wonderful restaurants in The Villages, many located close by the town squares or in the Professional Plazas and Shopping Centers. We loved the Athens NY Restaurant in Spanish Springs and in Lake Sumter Landing we loved Toojay’s Gourmet Deli, City Fire on the Square, and Thai Rudy which was our favorite.

7. Go for a walk in this very walkable place. You feel safe no matter where you go. The squares are a good place to start and all the side streets off the squares, The Villages Parks, along any of the roads and even in the communities. This will give you a good idea of life in The Villages too.

talking in The Villages
talking in The Villages

8. Talk with people, whether they are residents or visitors, everyone is friendly and glad to tell you about life in The Villages or how they are liking their visit.

9. Visit a weekend special event, held every weekend in the town squares and sometimes at the Polo Fields or other venues. A Classic Car Show, a Hobby Craft Show and a Horse Pull was happening when we visited.

10. Visit the Recreation Centers.  A fun and interesting one to visit is the Eisenhower Recreation Center which is decorated by military veterans and their families.

The Villages radio station
The Villages radio station

11. Listen to WVLG Radio, 640MA radio, which is The Villages own radio station.  Awesome music especially in the evenings.

12. Of course you can watch The Villages TV channel also for events and activities.

13, Go to happy hour. It starts at 11:30AM, no kidding. Two for one.

Pickellball in The Villages
Pickleball in The Villages

14. Play Outdoor Games. bocce, pickleball, tennis, shuffleboard, or numerous other outdoor games. You won’t have trouble finding people to play with.

15. Play Indoor Games,. cards of all sorts, board games, you name it, it’s available.

golf carts at The Villages
golf carts at The Villages

16. Drive a golf cart. Tour the 55+ communities in The Villages, visit your town square or just go to the grocery store. There are 60,000 golf carts in The Villages! A golf cart probably comes with your rental, if not, you can rent one.

We only stayed one week and enjoy a little of all the above. I can only imagine staying a month or two like many visitors do.  Or better yet, maybe move to The Villages and make it your home. That’s what a lot of Baby Boomer visitors come around to doing. Be forewarned!

The Villages Daily Sun Online

 

 

The Villages attire
The Villages attire