downtowngreenvillegirl











(Or…Movies, Market, Men in High Heels, Painting the Town Red & Lots of Rubber Duckies…)

May has to be one of my favorite times to be in Downtown Greenville. The near-perfect beauty of Downtown’s bright green foliage, & brick red buildings silhouetted against the Carolina blue sky is enough to take my breath away! Add to that, the increasingly pleasant temps and the also-increasing number of great events going on, and you have more fun than should be legal! Too much fun, in fact, for just one blog! This week’s “Part 1” contains tidbits about Moonlight Movies, The Saturday Market, a Men’s High Heel Race, an invitation to paint the town Red…and a whole lot of cute little rubber duckies!

Fans of classic movies anxiously await Moonlight Movies. This free, city-sponsored event allows movies fans to view the classics outdoors in the splendid beauty of Falls Park. Shown each Wednesday (weather permitting) starting at 8-ish in the evening, this family-friendly event takes place every May and September. This year’s theatrical line-up includes the 1953 drama, “From Here to Eternity”, starring Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr (May 1), John Ford’s 1956 western, “The Searchers”, starring John Wayne (May 8), the 1938 Cukor comedy, “Holiday”, starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant (May 15) and the delightfully quirky “Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein” (May 22). The movie for May 29 is a Viewer’s Choice, where the movie garnering the most fan votes will be shown. The choices are “To Catch a Thief”, “On The Waterfront” and “Philadelphia Story”. Lawn chairs, blankets and picnics are welcome, but like most city-sponsored events, pets are not allowed. For more information, visit http://www.greenvillesc.gov.

Let Kentucky keep their thoroughbred racing horses, we’ve got cute ‘lil rubber duckies! This most beloved of Downtown’s annual events, the Reedy River Duck Derby, takes place Saturday, May 4th at Reedy River Falls Park and benefits the many local charities assisted by the Rotary Club of Greenville. An all-day event (10AM – 4PM), the fun includes plenty of kid-friendly activities for families. The highlight, of course, is the race itself, which starts at 2:30PM, with participants battling for an array of fabulous prizes. A mere $10 will purchase a certified racing duck to enter in the race (MUCH less expensive than a high-strung thoroughbred horse), or you can purchase a “Quack Pack” for $30 and receive 4 ducks for the price of 3 (all to better your chances of victory). Prior to the official duck race, the Greenville County Soil and Water Conservation District will conduct its own race of “Yucky Duckies” to promote clean water. If you would like to purchase a duck for the race or wish to find out more about this event, visit: http://www.reedyriverduckderby.com.

One of the most anticipated openings in Downtown Greenville is the start of The Saturday Market. Visitors and locals alike are invited to take a morning stroll on Main Street (at Court Street) every Saturday from May to October to experience the delectable sights, sounds, scents and flavors of this favorite Downtown tradition. The 2013 market season starts up again this Saturday, May 4, from 8AM until noon. Featuring the finest in fresh local produce, beautiful crafts by area artisans and live music by some of the region’s best talent, The Saturday Market is family friendly fun for all! For more information and a calendar of weekly events, visit http://saturdaymarketlive.com.

The next event is also one of Greenville’s favorite May events – The Red Party. Each year, AID Upstate invites others to “Dine With Friends” as part of their annual fundraising and Aids Awareness campaign. After having dinner with your pals, participants are invited to The Red Party to enjoy drinks at the cash bar and free desserts. Everyone is welcome to come and “Dance Your Face Off” at this year’s Silver Jubilee soiree at ZEN Greenville on Saturday, May 4th. The festivities will start up at 9PM and last until midnight! There is no need to purchase advance tickets, but a $25 donation is required (and greatly appreciated) at the door. Funds raised will provide supportive services to those Upstate families affected by HIV/AIDS. For more information on The Red Party, AID Upstate or to participate in “Dining With Friends” visit https://www.facebook.com/TheRedParty.

Women in high heels…fashionably elegant …Men in high heels…side-splitting hilarity! See how the “other half” lives or just come get your chuckles – all for a great cause – at the 2nd Annual Men’s High Heel Race on Sunday, May 5. The stillettoed, testosterone-fueled masses will meet up at Ford’s Oyster House and Cajun Kitchen at 9AM, before making the mad “diva dash” down Main Street, in a riotous competition for some really cool prizes! All proceeds benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research (JDRF) in the Western Carolinas. Want to don your best pair of pumps and take part? Registration is going on now (through Friday, May 3) for a participation fee of $25. Participants will be treated to post-run brunch at Ford’s where they can kick off their heels and rest their tired tootsies! For more information, or to register for the race, visit https://www.facebook.com/MensHighHeelRaceGreenvilleSc.

So there you have it Downtownies…a virtual plethora of May happenings. Check next week’s blog for “Part Two” of this article. Until then, have fun, be safe and see you Downtown! Now, if I could only find a tiny jockey to ride my Duck Derby entry, I’d be set!



Well, Downtownies…February 12th is Fat Tuesday, otherwise known as Mardi Gras. For those who don’t know, it is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the start of the 40 days of Lent, when traditionally, you give up sweets ( and general frivolity) as a symbol of fasting.  Fat Tuesday (and the weekend before) is a customary time of celebration and decadence and no city does it better than New Orleans.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows of my love for the Crescent City. It is probably the only place with even a chance of ever pulling me away from my beloved Downtown Greenville. This time of year, I find myself feeling a little nostalgic for my “other” city. If you also feel the need to experience Mardi Gras – NOLA style – but can’t make the trip to the Gulf Coast, Downtown Greenville offers a little bit of The Big Easy, right here in the Upstate.

Probably the closest you can come to Bourbon Street without leaving Main Street is Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen.  Located on South Main, this fun-loving eatery offers some of the best Cajun cooking outside The Quarter. And do they know how to do up Carnival Season! Starting this weekend, Chef Damon has created a special Mardi Gras menu that’ll make you start your own Second Line! They are kicking off the festivities on Saturday with a boisterous Masquerade Ball in their upstairs rooms, with dance music from DJ Apollo, drink specials and all the throw beads you can catch. The cost is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Costumes are strongly encouraged. The festivities continue on Fat Tuesday with a party worthy of its own parade krewe. DJ Apollo will return to provide dance music and drink specials and party favors will having you shouting “Throw me somethin’ mister” in no time!

Not to be outdone, Smiley’s Acoustic Café, throws  its own Mardi Gras soiree, that has become nearly legendary in the Greenville music community.  Featuring a casual jam session with members of local faves, The Work, Smley’s is all about “le Bon Temps”! With New Orleans inspired food & drink specials, Moon Pies and throw beads galore, this celebration will make you feel you’re in a rockin’ juke joint in the Treme’!!

Since Mardi Gras is all about “living it up, before giving it up”, a stop by a Downtown bakery on this most  decadent of Tuesdays may be in order. Chocolate Moose on Main,  is the perfect place to indulge in some sweet,  delicious cupcake debauchery! With cupcake flavors in Southern favorites like Red Velvet, French Toast and Bourbon Pecan Pie, your taste buds will be jazzed up big time!

The Mardi Gras festivities may put you in the mood to hear some of the music New Orleans gave birth to. Brown Street Club offers some mighty smooth jazz nightly from Tuesday to Saturday. On the 12th, enjoy the talented trio of Brendan Williamson and friends.  With the cool atmosphere and the hot tunes, you’ll think you’ve stepped into a underground jazz club on Frenchman Street.

So, there you have it Downtownies – lots of ways to experience a little NOLA in the DTGVL! So, let your hair down, kiss a stranger, dance in the street and Laissez le Bon Temps Rouler! See you Downtown!



Well, we’ve made it through 2012…despite the Mayans’ (& others) predictions to the contrary. Now you are looking for ways to ring in 2013 in style. No worries…Downtown Greenville offers several events to help you make this New Year’s Eve an evening to remember!

Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues “Blue Year’s Eve” Parties at The Handlebar have taken on an almost mythical status. Nothing welcomes a whole new year quite like the incendiary blues of Mac Arnold and his “juke-joint rockin’” band. This celebrated bassist, who played with the legendary Muddy Waters, can definitely be considered a beloved musical institution here in the Upstate. Joined by his fellow bluesman from Chicago, Mr. Joe Moss, Mac aims to rock in 2013 in style!  Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the genius of this blues icon! Tickets are $16 ($18 for those under 21) and are sale now at The Handlebar. For more information, visit www.handlebar-online.com.

For a chance to see a blues star in the making, swing on by Mac’s Speed Shop and rock out to the blazing guitar licks of teenaged phenom, Marcus King. This very talented young musician and his band will be ringing in the New Year with some wicked tunes that’ll be impossible to sit still through. This special NYE performance is free to Mac’s customers, and starts at 10PM. For more information, see www.macsspeedshop.com.

Flashback to the 80’s at Wild Wing Café with Greenville’s favorite retro band, Retro Vertigo!  Featuring big hair and sunglasses at night, these sharp dressed men perform everything from The Talking Heads and Devo to REO Speedwagon and Cheap Trick.  For only a $5 cover charge at the door, you too can rock out to…well…U2! There will be drink specials and party favors galore, as well as a free champagne toast at midnight! For details, call 242-9453.

RockHouse Greenville says “Why limit the festivities to just ONE location, when you can have the NYE Bash to end all NYE Bashes at TWO locations?” This year, their New Year’s Eve Party will take place at both Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen, as well as The Lofts at Falls Park. The $20 cover charge will get you a Hollywood-style Red Carpet Arrival, free Champagne toast, pulsating dance music from 2 DJs and drink specials unlike any other club in Greenville. To purchase tickets and for more info, visit www.rockhousegreenville.com.

If you prefer to welcome 2013 in a more relaxed, laid-back manner, then head over to Smiley’s Acoustic Café for their Smilin’ New Year’s Eve.  Chill out to the indie tunes of Kelly Jo Connect, followed by those Downtown faves, The Swingin’ Richards. As always, there is no cover charge…just a good time with good people. For more information, see www.smileysacousticcafe.com

For those looking for a hot NYE party with some cool jazz, you are in luck! Two of Downtown’s premier jazz clubs are ringing in the New Year in their own stylish manner. High Cotton will be serving a special New Year’s dinner, with music provided by the Jamie Wright Experience. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 335-4200. Not to be outdone, the Brown Street Club will be ushering in 2013 with a little help from the smooth sounds of  Dan Z followed by The Shane Pruitt Band.  For more information or to make reservations, see www.brownstreetclub.com.

For Downtown thespians looking to start 2013 in a dramatic fashion, the Greenville Light Opera Works invites you to join them for their 2013 New Year’s Gala and Fundraiser at Centre Stage. This benefit event for Greenville’s Light Opera Works will feature an open bar, a dessert buffet, dance music provided by Innfusion and both silent and live auctions. Opera and musical theatre lovers will also be treated to a special cabaret performance by Ms. Andrea Leap as well as a sneak peek performance of GLOW’s 2013 season. Tickets for this swanky soiree are $100 per person/ $180 per couple and can be obtained through www.greenvilleopera.org.

So there you have it Downtownies…eight ways to ring in the New Year…to suit every party style and budget. And, as always, if you’ve enjoyed too much revelry of the alcohol-related manner, please take a cab home. We want you around to enjoy all the fun Downtown Greenville has to offer in 2013. Happy New Year!

Just in case you’ve had too much fun, here are numbers to some of the area’s Cab Companies. Please remember that this is their busiest night, so be patient and expect delays …

Yellow Cab – 864-233-6666

Greenville Metro Cab – 864-235-8807

Budget Cab – 864-233-4200



One of my favorite holiday movies has to be The Christmas Story. Who can forget that hilarious scene when Ralphie & his family, holiday dinner having been devoured by the Bumpuses’ dogs, are forced to have their holiday meal at the only restaurant in town that is open…Chop Suey Palace. If you find yourself without Thanksgiving dinner (from consumption by the neighbors’ dogs or for some other reason), don’t resort to “Chinese Turkey”…head Downtown to one of these fine eateries for a Thanksgiving meal worthy of its own holiday movie!

If you want a home-cooked meal to rival Grandma’s, look no further than Spoonbread Restaurant at The Westin Poinsett.  Deriving its name from the famous ‘spoonbread” long served at the Poinsett Hotel, this iconic eatery offers both brunch & dinner options on Thanksgiving Day. Start your holiday off right with Virginia Ham & its Maple Mustard Glaze and some Maple Rosemary Biscuits.  Or visit their Made To Order Omelet & Pasta Station…with over 25 different ingredients to choose from. Come back for dinner and enjoy such Thanksgiving classics as Sage Rubbed Turkey served with all the traditional sides such as Cornbread Dressing & giblet gravy or Cinnamon Pumpkin Soup. Or, for a twist on tradition, try the Seared Salmon, served with a Mustard Glaze over Goat Cheese Grits and Braised Collard Greens. Finish it all off with a big slice of Pecan Pie or Red Velvet Cake and your taste buds will be thanking you!

Another longtime favorite of Downtown foodies, Soby’s, will also be open Thanksgiving Day. Chef Shaun Garcia & his team are putting together a wonderful Thanksgiving menu featuring all your favorites such as Buttermilk Braised Turkey & Pineapple Glazed Pit Ham and sides such as Brown Sugar Spiced Sweet Potatoes, Maple Butternut Squash Succotash & Soby’s delicious Garlic Cheddar Biscuits. Add a dessert of their delightful Pumpkin Cheesecake Bites & it will be a day well-spent. Soby’s Table 301 partner, Devereaux’s, will also be serving a special menu on Thanksgiving Day. Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage & Rosemary and Roasted Pork Loin will be taking center stage, supported by such appetizing sides as Green Bean Casserole & Sweet Potato Puree. Their dessert menu looks mighty tasty as well, with Apple Spice Cake & Chocolate Mousse Cake & more – making it hard to choose!

If you prefer your Thanksgiving to be a little more laid-back and Lowcountry, then head to High Cotton for some down-home cooking, Charleston style!  For starters, try the Roasted African Squash Soup –Maine Lobster, Pumpkin Seed Brittle & Vanilla Crème Fraiche.  Want to forego the traditional Thanksgiving fare in favor of some traditional Lowcountry delicacies?  Then try the famous High Cotton Shrimp & Grits – featuring huge Shrimp with Chicken Andouille Sausage, Melted Leeks, Sharp Cheddar Grits & Tarragon Broth…you may never have turkey for Thanksgiving again! For dessert, try the Pecan Tart with decadent Chocolate Sauce & Cranberry Compote…YUM! If you want to go even more laid-back, visit Sticky Fingers, who will be preparing a delicious Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings. Not feeling Turkey? They will also be offering their regular menu of amazing BBQ favorites.

The weather on Thanksgiving Day promises to be gorgeous, with sunny skies & highs in the mid-60, so you may opt for dining al fresco. The Green Room, with its cozy outdoor seating and its delectable menu, is an excellent choice.  Start things off with a Southern classic appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes, served with Herbed Cream Cheese & Red Pepper Relish.  Move on to something a little unexpected, like their Braised Short Ribs, served with Horseradish Mashed Potatoes & Bacon Brussell Spouts. Thanksgiving traditionalists need not fret, The Green Room will be serving Brined & Roasted Turkey, as well as the expected sides such as Herbed Stuffing and Macaroni & Cheese (which is considered a vegetable here in the South) as well as Pecan Pie (although I tend to opt for the sinfully delicious Chocolate Brownie, a la mode & topped with a yummy Blackberry Sauce). The bar will remain open late for those wishing to hang out and get in the “Holiday Spirit” of the alcohol-inspired sort.

Speaking of the Holiday Spirit, several bars will also be open Thanksgiving Day for those who want to escape all the “family togetherness” for a little while, or who maybe just want to get together with friends (who I call my “urban family”). Downtown watering holes that will be welcoming guests on the 22nd include such local favorites as Sharkey’s Pub, Barley’s Tap Room (upstairs only), Blue Ridge Brewing Company, On The Roxx, City Tavern & the bar at Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen.  As always, if you imbibe in too much of the Turkey of the bottled, Wild variety…PLEASE take a cab home! We want you around to enjoy many more good times Downtown. Well, have fun & be safe Downtownies…and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

More Info on Restaurants:

■High Cotton: 550 S. Main Street, 335-4200 – Open 1PM-7PM – http://www.mavericksouthernkitchens.com/highcotton/greenville

■Spoonbread Restaurant at The Westin Poinsett: 421-9700 – Open for Brunch 10:30AM-2:30PM & for Dinner 5:30PM-9:30PM- Brunch Cost: $29.95 for adults, $14.95 for children 7-12; Dinner Cost: $32.00 – http://www.westinpoinsettgreenville.com/restaurant

■The Green Room: 116 N. Main Street, 335-8222 – Open 11AM-8PM – Cost:  $30 for adults, $12 for kids under 12 – http://www.thegreenroomupstate.com (Bar to remain open late)

■Soby’s: 207 S. Main Street, 232-7007 – Open 11AM-7PM – http://www.sobys.com

■Sticky Fingers: 1 S. Main Street, 331-7427 – Open Noon – 7PM – Cost: $17.99 for adults, $8.99 kids 4-12 – http://www.stickyfingers.com

■Devereaux’s: 25 E. Court Street, 241-3030 – Open Noon-4PM – Cost: $28 for adults, $14 for children 7-12 – www.devereauxsdining.com

 



Most Southerners will be quick to tell you, we’re just a little more creative than your average folk. Maybe it’s because our resourceful forebears had to make do with very little, or maybe it’s because the heat & humidity force us to do things more inventively, but life tends to be a little more imaginative here in the South. After all, a great many world-renowned artists, writers, actors and other respected thespians hail from this region. Downtown Greenville is no exception…we love our art and we love our artists! This month spotlights the love we share for the artistic side of our fair city with two really cool art events.

The first event is a newcomer to the Greenville Arts Scene.  Inspired by a similar event that takes place each summer in New Orleans, White Linen Night Greenville strives to showcase Downtown Greenville’s thriving Arts Community and to introduce art conneseiuers & art “newbies” alike to the many wonderful local galleries tucked away just off Main Street in a way that is fun, friendly, and …best of all… FREE! Part art gallery tour, part pub crawl & shopping excursion, this laid-back event is a farewell to summer celebration throughout Main Street from The Hyatt to the West End.  Visitors will find art openings at a dozen galleries on and near Main Street, with contemporary works by local, regional and nationally known artists. Also, many of the galleries will feature live entertainment, refreshments and artists’ discussions & demonstrations. Plus, those taking part in the “crawl” can register for a chance to win prizes such as gift certificates and other “goodies” from some of the coolest Downtown restaurants & retail establishments.

Taking place September 1st, attendees are encouraged to wear white during this Labor Day Weekend event – traditionally the last time one was supposed to wear white. Festivities begin at the Artists Guild Gallery of Greenville (200 North Main Street) with registration from 5PM until 6PM. Galleries will be open for the Art Crawl until 10PM. Not to be left out of the fun, many Downtown restaurants and retail establishments are offering White Linen Specials on food, drinks and other products during the event.  Art lovers of all ages are encouraged to come out for this wonderful chance to see (and purchase) some incredible local art and learn about Greenville’s vibrant art scene from the artists and gallery owners themselves.  For more information on White Linen Night Greenville, visit their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/WhiteLinenNightGreenville or follow on Twitter @WhiteLinenGVL.

The second event sharing the September arts spotlight is one that is making its long-awaited return to the Downtown events calendar. Art in the Park draws renowned artists from all over the Southeast region as well as thousands of on-lookers for a weekend of exhibits, demonstrations, and a gallery showcasing over 200 original works of art.  Established in 1991 as a festival for local artists, Art in the Park grew to include the best artists of the upstate and beyond, until 2008. By popular demand, Art in the Park is back for its 18th season, bringing back the best of what the festival brought to the community and its artists. The weekend of September 22nd & 23rd, South Main Street from Broad to Camperdown and at the end of the Liberty Bridge at Wyche Parking Lot will become a sea of artwork available not only for your viewing pleasure, but will also be for sale.  The event will take place 10AM – 6PM on Saturday, the 22nd and 11AM – 5PM on Sunday, the 23rd. For those wishing to broaden their artistic experience to include the culinary arts, Larkin’s on the River will be hosting an “Art After Dark” event on Saturday, the 23rd, from 7:30-11:30PM. For more information on Art in the Park & Art After Dark, visit: http://www.artintheparkgreenville.com.

So, venture Downtown and take in some of our city’s finest art & culture.  These events are a great way to introduce families to fine art and can also make an excellent Date Night or Girl’s Night Out event (especially White Linen Night and Art After Dark). Then you can top off your day or evening with a tour of Downtown’s “Art in Public Places”, hunt for the many “Mice on Main” with the kids, or treat yourself to dinner, drinks and dancing or live music at one of the many excellent Downtown venues! Sounds to me like time well-spent in our beautiful Downtown…which is itself a divine work of art!

For More Information:

White Linen Night Greenville:  A fun, friendly and free art crawl of several Main Street galleries – but with a twist! Find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WhiteLinenNightGreenville or follow on Twitter at @WhiteLinenGVL.

Art in the Park: Making its much anticipated return after a 4 year hiatus, this most favorite of Up[state art festivals features work from many local & regionally known artists. For more info, visit www.artintheparkgreenville.com

Art After Dark: An evening of good food, good spirits, good music and great art at Larkin’s on the River.

Art in Public Places: Take a walking or scenic driving tour through the City of Greenville and discover a diverse collection of unique artwork that has complemented the city’s continued growth. Each tour provides scenic maps of the city, photographs of all the city’s artwork and detailed descriptions and historical information.  For more information, visit: http://www.greenvillesc.gov/Culture/ArtinPublicPlaces

Mice on Main: Inspired by the book, “Good Night Moon”, these 10 wonderful little mice can be found peeking out from under foliage and landmarks throughout Downtown. Because of ongoing construction, some of the mice may have moved to a new location. For more information & hints to help with your own Mouse Hunt, visit: http://miceonmain.com

 



et cetera