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

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

 

Boomer Living Trends

Here are some trends happening with us of the baby boomer generation. If you are a boomer, can you relate to any of these?

Buying a New Car

Boomers have been buying new cars, even though many of us are driving less. The catalyst for baby boomers to buy a new car is the safety equipment in new cars these days. My wife Mary Ann picked up her new Honda yesterday with Navigational system and Sensing, replacing her 2009 model car.  It is amazing what cars can do these days. Boomers feel these items make today’s cars safer and easier to drive.  One day when self driving cars become available, there may be another boomer car buying spree.
safer autos for baby boomers

Being More Active

Boomers are becoming more active and getting out for walks and playing pickleball and other sports.  I joined 10,500 boomers at the National Senior Games a couple of months ago and witnessed the passion first hand.
National Senior Games race walkers

Attend to Our Health

All boomers’ lives are affected by their health and that is becoming more clear by the day. The Medicare nurse comes to our homes each year to check up on us (if you have an Advantage Plan).  Many of us do annual physicals and preventative dental work.  We visit health fairs and do Health Screenings which are medical tests that doctors use to check for diseases and health conditions before there are any signs or symptoms. Screenings help find problems early, when they may be easier to treat. Many of us are dealing with chronic health conditions that alter our lifestyle.

Downsizing and Moving

Almost every boomer I talk with has downsized or is downsizing, getting rid of stuff they no longer need. Many times this is in preparation for a future move to a home more suitable to their needs, like a retirement home in a 55+ active adult community or small town.
retirement home

Traveling More

Travel while you can is our motto. Traveling is our new purpose it seems. I am astounded at the amount of travel quite a few of my friends are doing. Back to back major trips that would have been considered “trips of a lifetime” are taken in a year.

That’s the way I see it from here.

Robert Fowler
Village at Deaton Creek, a 55+ Del Webb Community

 

Bucket List Travel


Bucket List Travel Can Improve Your Health, Broaden your Perspective, Even Lead You Into New Careers

If travel is something you long for, I encourage you to do it. Don’t let fears or worries stop you.

Study after study reveals that travel is good for us. It’s good for the body and good for the mind. It lowers stress, strengthens relationships and gives you memories for a lifetime.

Whether you like natural beauty (think rivers, mountains, beaches, waterfalls), cultural experiences (think museums, concert halls, art galleries), or historical sites (think battle grounds or presidential libraries), traveling to these places can enrich and enlarge your life in numerous ways.

Want to be amazed? Fascinated? Awed? Travel somewhere you’ve dreamed about but never actually been. Or, return to someplace wonderful you visited decades back and feel the wonder anew.

My husband, Al, and I began to travel in earnest after we were involved in a serious automobile accident in 2012. That wreck brought home to us how fragile life is. How it can be snatched away in a moment, in the blink of an eye. We decided to stop putting off our travel dreams.

Since then we’ve cruised through the Panama Canal, visited the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, ridden on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, cruised the Mediterranean, driven the Blue Ridge Parkway, and cruised the Mississippi River on an honest-to-goodness steam-powered paddle-wheeler.  Next spring, we’ll cruise the fjords of Norway.

We’ve been pleased to learn that travel is associated with lower rates of heart disease, reduced risk of depression, as well as increased brain development. Yes, our brains can develop even at our “seasoned” ages.

Activities such as touring a museum, finding your way through an unfamiliar town,  walking along the beach have positive mental, physical and social benefits.

Traveling develops new skills. And that increases confidence.

When we travel and meet people from unfamiliar cultures, we may find new ways of looking at life. And that can give us a different perspective on things. We may find ourselves growing intellectually and emotionally.

Because travel often includes walking, we may find ourselves actually getting in better shape. We may even lose weight and gain muscle as we hike, stroll, walk or amble about.

Escaping the every-day, if only for a weekend, can energize and renew us.

Travel is fun.

And you never know where your travels will take you. Al and I have made friends we never would have met otherwise. And we found our travels so amazing, that we began to write about them.

So travel has turned us into authors. We write travel memoirs, filling them with all the wit, wisdom, discoveries and surprises we experience on our journeys.            This year, we’re publishing three books about a trip we took in 2014.

Color_Cover_Promo_72dpi copy

 

Cruising the Mediterranean, describes our adventures in  Amsterdam, Venice, Athens, Istanbul and other places. It was named an Amazon #1 best seller in the senior travel category.

Indie Book Reviewers say that the book is “…full of adventure and life and great advice on traveling.”

 

 

FindingOur second book, Finding Ourselves in Venice, Florence, Rome & Barcelona,  was also named a #1 best seller in the senior travel category. In addition, Amazon named it the #1 Hot New Release in Venice travel guides.

In this book, we visit local markets, famous sites, and quiet out-of-the way neighborhoods, staying in Airbnb apartments and using Barcelona’s hop-on hop-off bus to show us around.

Rick Bava, author of In Search of the Baby Boom Generation, said this  about the book: “The beauty of these wonderful places shines through every page.  I recommend it for Baby Boomers and others whose hearts long to travel. You’ll feel like you’re right there…”

And we have a third book, coming out soon: Cruising the Atlantic, Our Epic Journey from Barcelona to Miami.

          I tell you this to underscore how travel can take you places you never dreamed of. Who would have imagined that a wreck caused by a texting driver slamming full speed into us would result in our becoming travel memoir authors sharing our trips with readers around the world?

But there you have it. We’re either writing about a trip, planning a trip, or we’re on a trip, enjoying all the benefits of travel.

At our age, we have the time for travel and we have more money for travel than we had as young adults. Still, we are careful with our travel funds, and try to get the most value for our dollars.

If you have a travel dream, I encourage you to take it.  Travel now, while you can. The Internet can make the trip easier than ever. Nearly every city, state or national park has a website where you can check out tours, lodging, points of interest, even maps of the area.

Do some online exploring, plan with care, fuel your sense of adventure, trigger your imagination, then make your dreams come true.

Al and Sunny Lockwood have traveled by foot, car, rail, air and cruise ship. Everywhere they go, they capture unforgettable moments — Al with his camera and Sunny with her reporter’s notebook.  Their work has been published in magazines and newspapers. This photograph was taken in an Athens coffee shop, when Al and Sunny ducked inside to escape a sudden downpour.  You can contact the Lockwoods at  sunnyandallockwood@gmail.com

 

 

 

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