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Old Posted Nov 14, 2021, 8:25 PM
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Greenville, SC: The Flowering Inferno

It's amazing what a little elevation can do. I was born and spent my entire life until last year in the Asheville area, up in the mountains. Even now the house my husband and I bought last year is less than fifty miles away from the house where we lived for the last nine years before coming down here. However, down here we're about a thousand feet lower in elevation and that makes all the difference.

Take spring, for instance. In the mountains spring is not the season of glory. Fall is. Up there in the spring, this blooms, then that, this this over here, then that over there until before you know it, spring has slipped discreetly into deep green summer and you wonder vaguely if you might have missed something. Then, in the fall, you wake up one morning to discover that in the night someone stole all the green away and left behind gold and scarlet and orange. Tourists come from all over to see it. Meanwhile, down here spring is the glorious season. You go to bed one winter night and wake up one spring morning to find everything everywhere awash in blossoms. Then comes another wave in July when the myrtles bloom and the city is a patchwork of scarlet, white, pink, and fuchsia. And now here I'm discovering that fall in Upstate South Carolina can also be quite impressive.

I don't recall the color being quite this brilliant last year, but last year I was still commuting nearly a hundred miles one way to my old job and quietly losing my mind in the process, so I may not have paid as much attention to it all as I ordinarily would have. I do recall though that the leaves here in the fall behave much the way that flowers did in the spring in the mountains, with this changing colors, then that, then this, then that and it drags on for months. I recall some trees near my house still showing fall colors at Christmas. But this year though... The color this year has been spectacular, and what with a year of flowers and these blazing fall colors, the term "flowering inferno" only seemed appropriate. It's been to the point that I felt I needed to get out and capture photographic evidence, and to that end yesterday my husband and I went for a very long walk armed with our cameras. I hope you enjoy.

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That's Paris Mountain there in the background. In addition to fancy asses ensconced in fancy houses, all the local TV and radio stations have their transmission antennas up there, and a large part of the mountain is preserved in a state park. One thing I'll hand to Greenville is that even as it sprawls hell for leather, it manages its noteworthy natural assets quite well. It has preserved the mountain, made a showplace of its middling little river, and celebrated a toxic swamp, among other things.







How many water towers do you count in this photo? How many smokestacks? And why would that be of importance...?













Art is something else Greenville does well. This is one of a set of bronze mice hidden up and down Main Street. It's a game for children to find all of them, plus the bronze copy of the book Good Night Moon that inspired them.















More art! There are several tiles with quotes engraved in them in the vicinity of Court Square.







Everyone photographs the drooling warthog statue. I have photographed the drooling warthog statue. However, it pays to pay attention to other aspects of the drooling warthog statue, such as this charming snake devouring an equally charming frog.





























Trigger Warning: Some sensitive forumers may find the following image disturbing.



Trigger Warning: Some forumers may find the following light fixture (which also rotates) exquisite.















Can you spot the fisherman in this photo?



How about now?











Anyone who is familiar with Greenville knows Falls Park. That's where the big waterfall is, but it is far from Greenville's only park or even its largest. One of the most impressive things about Greenville is the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a greenway that runs more than twenty miles through the county, from the town of Travelers Rest in the north all the way through Greenville down to the Lake Conestee Nature Preserve (the aforementioned toxic swamp), with spurs being built off the trail all the time to serve major new developments. For instance, the town of Mauldin, south of Greenville proper, is building itself a new downtown and a selling point is a new spur of the Swamp Rabbit Trail. In the Sans Souci neighborhood north of downtown, the old Union Bleachery is being developed into a major new urban center and it too will feature a trail spur that is planned to eventually wander all the way up to Paris Mountain State Park.

Meanwhile, several of the city's nicest parks are strung along the trail like beads on a string. From north to south, you can access the botanical gardens at Furman University, Unity Park, the Children's Garden at Linky Stone Park, Falls Park, Cancer Survivors Park, and Cleveland Park, home of the Greenville Zoo, via the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

This is Linky Stone Park, by the way.































































This is Cancer Survivors Park.





































Meanwhile, back in Falls Park...





There were women wantonly doing yoga, right out in public! If you can even imagine!



































Ashevillians visiting Greenville will note that this part of town, the West End, has strong West Asheville energy. Greenvillians visiting Asheville will note that West Asheville has strong West End energy.



















































Remember this boring brown building pictured earlier from the top of a parking deck? It only appears to be boring. On the other side is a truly impressive work of art which honors educator Pearlie Harris, who helped desegregate the Greenville County school system.











Part of the impetus for the mural came when this building was being redeveloped, and the developers wanted to tie it to Heritage Green, a cultural complex where several museums and the main library are all bunched together. At Heritage Green you'll find the Children's Museum of the Upstate, the Greenville Theatre, the Greenville County Museum of Art, the main branch of the Greenville County library system, the Sigal Music Museum with its collection of historic instruments that includes a harpsichord played by Mozart, and the Upcountry History Museum.

















The Sigal Museum is housed in an old Coca-Cola bottling plant.

































Bonus shots from the front lawn at HHNC HQ:











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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947

Last edited by hauntedheadnc; Nov 16, 2021 at 12:16 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Nov 15, 2021, 4:43 AM
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Nice pictures!

I like the artwork around town! It adds some nice flavor. It also doesn't seem overdone or pretentious, either; it seems like just some extra eyecatchers for people as they walk around.

The parks look great, too!

Greenville's minor league hockey team is called the Swamp Rabbits. I wonder if the trail or the team came first (I'm guessing the trail). Trails seem to be the big things everywhere. The Katy Trail is apparently pretty big in the Dallas area, and there are bars and commercial developments along it. A nice trail system is something that Wilmington/Delaware needs up here.

You guys are peaking with the color at the same time as us.
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2021, 1:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
Nice pictures!

I like the artwork around town! It adds some nice flavor. It also doesn't seem overdone or pretentious, either; it seems like just some extra eyecatchers for people as they walk around.
Most of it is relevant, too. Lots of statues of specific people who contributed something to Greenville, or statues to honor the area's history, like the pig and the Cherokee in Linky Stone Park, and the Cherokee fountain at the water department.

Quote:
The parks look great, too!

Greenville's minor league hockey team is called the Swamp Rabbits. I wonder if the trail or the team came first (I'm guessing the trail). Trails seem to be the big things everywhere. The Katy Trail is apparently pretty big in the Dallas area, and there are bars and commercial developments along it. A nice trail system is something that Wilmington/Delaware needs up here.
That trail really is quite an asset. I don't get to spend enough time on it. I'm really looking forward to seeing how they manage to tie the new downtown Mauldin and Paris Mountain in using the trails. I'm also looking forward to the completion of Unity Park, near downtown. They're using it as a sprinboard to redevelop that entire side of town.

Quote:
You guys are peaking with the color at the same time as us.
It's been amazing this year. There's a a church near me where all the maples in the parking lot are a bright blazing orange. At the right angle you can't see a bit of green anywhere.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2021, 5:32 PM
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great photos, beautiful colours! love all of the artwork too. you can tell Greenvillians? lol take pride in their city

Greenville is a nice city in the South.
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Old Posted Nov 15, 2021, 6:46 PM
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Very nice pics!
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Old Posted Nov 16, 2021, 12:26 PM
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great photos, beautiful colours! love all of the artwork too. you can tell Greenvillians? lol take pride in their city

Greenville is a nice city in the South.
They do indeed seem to take pride in it. They've preserved a lot of the industrial heritage and have repurposed it to revitalize neighborhoods all over town, and they know how to really show off natural assets like Paris Mountain and Lake Conestee.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Nov 16, 2021, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by sopas ej View Post
Very nice pics!
Thanks. I don't think they were really as good as the ones I took back in July, but they're okay for a quick run through town. If we hadn't been in a hurry I probably could have taken more time with them, but unfortunately we had a birthday party to attend that afternoon and I had to take what I could get.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Nov 19, 2021, 10:05 PM
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I've been to Greenville three times and I feel like I've still missed so much. It seems like the city is doing so much right in terms of so many things.

Great narration as always...
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Old Posted Nov 20, 2021, 6:50 AM
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awesome. makes me psyched for my work trip there in january.

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Old Posted Nov 20, 2021, 7:00 AM
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Thanks for sharing your seasonal colors, and the muted building colors that go along with it! Fall used to be my favorite season on the East coast of Canada, but similar to your experience, now my favourite season is spring on the West coast of Canada.
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2021, 2:55 PM
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Wonderful pics! And the snake eating the frog is probably my favorite
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Old Posted Nov 21, 2021, 11:12 PM
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Kind of startling how different it looks then when I visited. It was a great to town to Cycle in. Cool shots. Glad to see its thriving.
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2021, 1:07 PM
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Originally Posted by plinko View Post
I've been to Greenville three times and I feel like I've still missed so much. It seems like the city is doing so much right in terms of so many things.

Great narration as always...
I know I'm missing things... Something I definitely still want to explore is all the renovated mills and mill villages. Greenville loves nothing more than to take an old textile mill or cotton warehouse and turn it into apartments and shops. I can think of at least three renovated warehouses alone that are shopping malls now -- they've all got coffee shops, which I'll use as my way to stealthily infiltrate.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2021, 1:08 PM
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awesome. makes me psyched for my work trip there in january.

-
Greenville is looking forward to having you, I'm sure. Hope we can meet up for pics.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2021, 1:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Architype View Post
Thanks for sharing your seasonal colors, and the muted building colors that go along with it! Fall used to be my favorite season on the East coast of Canada, but similar to your experience, now my favourite season is spring on the West coast of Canada.
Winter has always been my favorite season, and November my favorite month. Up in North Carolina though, the color is pretty much gone by the time you get far into November. This year it peaked in Asheville before Halloween. Down here though, it just rolled right along into the middle of November, which was nice.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2021, 1:11 PM
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Wonderful pics! And the snake eating the frog is probably my favorite
As I recall, that statue is a copy of one in Florence, Italy, and was given to Greenville as a gift from Bergamo, its Italian sister city. It's technically a fountain, but all it ever does when the fountain is running is drip, and make it look like the boar statue is drooling.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2021, 1:15 PM
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Kind of startling how different it looks then when I visited. It was a great to town to Cycle in. Cool shots. Glad to see its thriving.
I'm assuming you cycled the Swamp Rabbit Trail? A friend of mine came down from Asheville last week to do just that and reported she had a wonderful time. She did the leg from Travelers Rest to downtown and back.

Out of curiosity, how did it look when you were here? Did you mean different as in how it looks in a different season, or were you here years ago before the explosion of apartment buildings?
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2021, 2:37 PM
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nice tour - looks like a tidy little college town.
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2021, 2:51 PM
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nice tour - looks like a tidy little college town.
It isn't really, oddly enough. At least, the university that it does have isn't a terribly big deal and isn't even in the city limits, ironically enough. Greenville is home to Furman University, which used to be downtown until it moved to a plot of land north of the city sometime in the 50's. The location where it used to stand is now called County Square and is undergoing a massive renovation as a mixed-use urban center and hub for all the county government offices. Other universities like Clemson, USC, Lander, and others offer classes at the University Center, housed in an old mall in the burbs, and there is a big technical college with multiple campuses around the area. Greenville is also home to state arts high school, which is located downtown and was pictured in this thread. All that considered though, it's not a college town per se. The nearest real "college town" is probably Clemson, with Clemson University. You could also make a case for Columbia being a college town with USC being there.
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"To sustain the life of a large, modern city in this cloying, clinging heat is an amazing achievement. It is no wonder that the white men and women in Greenville walk with a slow, dragging pride, as if they had taken up a challenge and intended to defy it without end." -- Rebecca West for The New Yorker, 1947
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Old Posted Nov 22, 2021, 2:56 PM
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Little is also humorous since Greenville is the anchor of a county of ~532,000
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