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 Participate in Senior Games

Boomers Participate in Senior Games

This week I was a participant in the North Fulton Golden Games, a collaborative effort by 5 local cities that provides a month-long series of Olympic-style events and activities (shot put, discus, one-half and one mile walk, one-mile run, tennis, golf, and bowling) for adults age 50 and older.

Participants compete in track and field events, pickleball, tennis tournament, golf tournament, Bocce ball competition, ball room dancing, swimming and more. I came in first in the one-half mile walk in my age group and enjoyed several other activities. Our senior center helped with sign up and even transportation.

There is a state competition and in my state it is the Georgia Golden Olympics which is scheduled for September 17-20, 2014 in Warner Robins, GA. Every state has a similar event and here a senior games list by state. All this feeds into the National Senior Games Association which will have the 2015 National Senior Games in Bloomington/Minneapolis/St. Paul in July 3-16, 2015 in which they are expecting 12,000 athletes ages 50 and up from all over the county.

Here are some photos from our local senior games.

senior games torch ceremony
senior games torch ceremony


discus throw at golden games
discus throw


shot put at senior games
shot put


mile walk at senior games
mile walk
toss event
Toss event
football toss at senior games
football toss – good throw!
brisbee throw event for seniors
frisbee throw
seniors horseshoe event
crowd at senior games
crowd at senior games

National Senior Games will be in Minnesota July 3-16, 2015.

See post about my visit to the Georgia Golden Olympics

Celebrity Equinox Cruise Ship Photo Blog

Photo blog of the Celebrity Equinox. Just back from a 10 night Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship, my second cruise on this beautiful ship.

Just back from a 10 night Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship, my second cruise on this beautiful ship.  I have now taken 19 cruises and I think the Equinox is the best so far. Here are some of my photos of the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship.

Photo Blog of Celebrity Equinox Cruise Ship

The Lawn Club on the Deck 12
The Lawn Club on the Deck 12

The lawn club is amazing. Up on the top of the ship are two large areas of real grass!  We played bocce ball and was in a golf putting contest (which I won, see photo below).  The lawn club area makes this ship and the other solstice class ships really unique.

ship lawn putting contest
Putting contest at Lawn Club

 Well that is not all, right next to the Lawn Club is the Corning Glass Show. Given a couple of times a day while at sea, you have got to see this. True artisans at work.

Corning Glass Show on Equinox
Corning Glass Show
Rear deck of Celebrity Equinox
Rear deck of Celebrity Equinox

On the same level at the rear of the ship, there is a bar and sitting area. Up above you will the outside tables from the appropriately named Oceanview Cafe. This must have been St Thomas.

Dance Class
Dance Class

There is always some activity going on in the many foyers of the Equinox.  I believe this is some sort of dance exercise group. You don’t sign up, just show up. In the evenings there  games here.

Speaking of foyers, this one below is the Grand Foyer on Deck 3. Part of this foyer is the elevator atrium that shows four glass elevators as they go all the way to the top of the ship. Quite a sight. In the Grand Foyer there is always something going on, like dance classes, demonstrations, formal dancing, and mini “interactive” shows by the ship’s entertainment cast.

Grand Foyer on Eqinox
Grand Foyer

One evening the cast came down the stairs of the Grand Foyer and gave a mini show which turned into a dance party. It was wild!

Interactive Show on Equinox
Interactive Show on Equinox

The main entertainment area is the Princess Theater where two shows a night are staged. I liked this theater because there were no chairs and tables to bang around and camp your sitting.  Comfortable and every seat is a good seat, even in the balcony.

Princess Theater on Equinox
Princess Theater

On a returning sea day there is a great brunch from 10am to 2pm.  Do not miss this, it is excellent.

Brunch on Equinox


One reason not to miss the brunch is the beautiful original food and ice carvings. Bring your camera like I did.

Food Carving on ship
Food Carvings

By the way, we took a cooking class at the Murano Specialty restaurant and really enjoyed it.  You get a great meal with the package. You have to ask the restaurant about this as I don’t think it is advertised.

Cooking Class Murano
Cooking Class

Of course there is a 24 hour computer room (staffed during the day)

computer room aboard the Equinox
Computer Room

Other rooms include a library

Library on Equinox


And a card game room

card game roon on the Equinox
Card Game Room

Of course on a Caribbean cruise the pool area is very popular. Entertainment stage, hamburger and hotdog grill and bar right there too.

pool on the Equinox
Outdoor pool

But we liked the Adult Pool in the Solarium.

adult pool Equinox
Adult Pool

This little cafe is also in the solarium. They serve healthy food and have fresh fruit drinks and smoothies which we like.

Cafe in the solarium
Cafe in the solarium

Well there are many more attractive places on the Celebrity Equinox but this should give you an impression of this beautiful ship.

Boomer Cruise Vacations
Boomer Travel

Oh, I better let you see the outside of the Equinox.

Celebrity Equinox
Celebrity Equinox

Retirement Activities – Enjoy Your Local Park

Retirement Activities for Boomers –
Enjoy Your Local Park

at the park

It is nice being a retired baby boomer and having the time to enjoy the outdoors.  I especially enjoy visiting Newtown Park, one of our nice parks in Johns Creek GA. I bet you have a nice park near you too that could be enjoyed.

Parks Are For Enjoying

Everyone has a park nearby, maybe they observed from the road as they drove to work or visited for a short time on the weekend. But when you have the time you can really enjoy a nice park, all free of charge which is something when you are retired.

Spend some of your time at your park and you may make it a regular retirement activity and place to enjoy like I do. I usually visit my park about 5 days a week, sometimes with more than one visit per day. Some of the things I enjoy at our park I have listed here.

Observe nature at the park whether it is a trail through the woods, native plants, ducks on the pond, blue birds nesting on a fence post, tad poles and fish in the lake or squirrels running about.

This morning, I took the photo above of sun lighting up the top of tall ornamental grass on the border of the community vegetable gardens.

Get some sunshine and fresh air. Even a short time will give you some vitamin D. Fresh air is good for your lungs and spirit. Getting out in nature is rejuvenating. It is good to get away from the computer and TV for awhile.

walking at the parkGet your exercise at the park in a natural way by using the walking trails. Join a walking club or walk with a friend and the time will fly by. I am a member of the Park Place Pacers that walks every Tuesday and Thursday and sometimes more. Many parks have a recreation center with a gym. Swimming pools are common at parks. In the community building or in our case the active adult center, my wife takes yoga, I take Dancing with the Stars and there is Zumba and Silversneakers exercise classes too.

Use the shelters and other park facilities.  Our park has a community building and an active adult center and is building an amphitheater.  There are picnic pavilions and bar-b-que grills. Many parks have recreation centers at the park.

games at the parkPlay games at the park. There is all kinds of kid’s atheletic fields at the park and it is nice to stop for awhile to watch a 3 year old take his first turn at T-ball or the older kids playing baseball, soccer or lacrosse. Our park has two Bocce Ball courts and we have a regular baby boomer team that plays on Monday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. Playing Bocce is great for socialization and physical activity. Boomer games that can be played at a park include adult softball, shuffleboard, horseshoes, badminton, pickleball, tennis, volleyball, table tennis, bean bag toss or cornhole as it is sometimes called.

Inside the community buildings, in our case the active adult center, there are board games, bridge games enjoyed by a large number of folks and of course bingo.

Enjoy your hobby at the park. As you can see I like to take photographs at the park. There are countless ever changing scenes providing subjects for you. I have seen people with the artist easels painting watercolors scenes at our park.

dog parkEnjoy the dog park Bring your dog to the park and spend some time together or just stop by and enjoy seeing the dogs running around chasing things and playing with other dogs.

Farmers Market is held every Saturday morning during the Summer at our park and it is an exciting time to visit the park. Fresh vegetables and home products, crafts, jellies, breads, fruits, and lots more.

Arts in the park is held several times during the year with art displays or craft shows where local artist have their wares for sale.

Entertainment in the park including a movie night with big screen movies after dark and on weekends a band plays music sometimes. Can’t wait for the new amphitheater to be finished and see what that brings.

Meditate and live in the present at the park. Just sit in the sunshine on a park bench and do nothing. Watch as people and pets go by. Sit and gaze at the pond and all the things happening in nature there. Stroll over to the community gardens and see how things are growing. Watch a bocce ball or softball game for awhile.

Visiting the park is fun, affordable and good for you.

Parks are not just for kids, they can be a great retirement activity as well. Get out and take some time to enjoy your local park. Do you go to the park now? Do you like the outdoors? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.