(Art, The Bard, Greeks, Great Scots & a little Caribbean Crush…)

It’s still May and despite some decidedly unseasonable weather last week, it’s still one of my favorite times to be Downtown! As the flowers bloom, so does Downtown and she shows off with a whirlwind of events that’ll get you out of your house and down on Main Street! This week’s blog highlights everyone’s favorite Arts festival, some works by the Bard, party with some cool Caribbean vibes, going Greek and a lot of guys in kilts!

To art lovers, Spring means one thing…ARTISPHERE! This weekend, our fair city will play host to this exuberant celebration of the visual and performing arts. Beginning with a fancy Opening Gala at Courtyard by Marriott and Nantucket Grill on Thursday, Artisphere launches into full swing on Friday, May 10th. Featuring not only exhibits from local and regional artisans, this arts extravaganza also spotlights performances from local musicians, theatre groups, dance troupes and other performing artists. Saturday and Sunday’s festivities also include Wine Tasting, Artists’ Demonstrations and Classes, as well as fun events for the kids at Kidsphere. And, since Sunday is Mothers’ Day, this event offers an excellent array of creative gift ideas for Mom. As always, restaurant vendors will be on hand to offer a variety of choices in food, beverage, beer and wine. Hours for this festival are noon -8PM on Friday, 10AM – 8PM on Saturday, and 11AM – 6PM on Sunday. There is no admission to this event held on Main Street and Broad near Falls Park. For more information, visit

Fans of all things flamingoes and flip-flops will LOVE the South Carolina Children’s Theatre’s Annual Fundraiser, Caribbean Crush! This laid-back event featuring Caribbean steel drums, fantastic food, beach drinks and a silent auction has been the talk of the town for the past 6 years. So, don your sunglasses and Hawaiian shirts and join the other Bermuda-shorted partiers at ZEN on Friday, May 17th. The festivities go into full swing at 7PM, with tickets still available for $50 and all proceeds benefitting the many wonderful programs for children and teens the SCCT has to offer. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit

The Greeks have known how to throw a party for thousands of years and Greenville’s Grecian community proudly carries on that tradition with their annual Greek Festival. For four fun-filled days (May 16 – 19), Greenville becomes “Greekville” as St. George Greek Orthodox Church becomes a sea of all things Greek. Beginning on Thursday, May 16th, you will be able to satisfy your cravings for souvlaki, gyros and all kinds of yummy Greek pastries as lunch and dinner will be served at the Hellenic Center. Don’t have time to sit down to eat? They have drive-thru service at the Elford Street entrance, so you can get a taste of Greece in minutes. The “glendi” (that’s Greek for party) really starts up on Friday, with an assortment of food, traditional Greek dance and live music. All that dancing will leave you exhausted, so be sure to stop by the Kafenion (Greek Coffee Shop) to recharge your batteries with a steaming cup of Greek coffee and a wedge of delicious baklava, before strolling through the Marketplace to view an assortment of Mediterranean wares. The festivities continue full swing through the weekend until Sunday evening. Hours are 10:30AM to 8PM (Dining only) Thursday, 10:30AM to 10PM Friday and Saturday, and 11:30AM to 8PM Sunday. Cost of admission is only $1. For more information, visit:

On Thursday, May 23, the Scots invade Downtown in true Highland fashion to rock out to the music of the Celtic band, Cleghorn (with guests, Smash the Radio and The Greenville Pipes & Drums) at Downtown Alive! Then on Friday evening, Downtown will be awash in plaid as kilted revelers stroll down Main Street in the Great Scot Parade. Starting at 6PM, the Parade, which grows larger each year, will feature pipe bands, Scottish military re-enactors, Highland themed floats, Scottish forest fairies and more tartans than you can shake a bagpipe at – all to get the weekend started Highland style! The Friday festivities will grow to a fevered pitch with a raucous “ceildh” (that’s Gaelic for party)at the Peace Center Amphitheatre, featuring the music of Rathkeltair and Albannach. Want to really release your inner Braveheart? Then join your fellow Gaelic enthusiasts at the 2013 Greenville Scottish Games at Furman on Saturday, May 25. Competition begins at 8AM with evnts such as caber-tossing and piping continuing all day. Afterwards, visit the food tents to taste such Scottish delicacies as haggis (trust me, you really DON’T want to know what’s in it) and to browse through the vendors’ tents featuring goods from the heathered isles. Once again, Saturday’s events will wind down with a rockin’ Celtic Jam. For an events schedule, to order tickets and for more information on the Scottish Games, visit:

If all the world is a stage, then the stage is definitely set for the Upstate Shakespeare Festival at Falls Park. Every Thursday – Sunday, beginning May 23, Downtown thespians and other fans of a fellow named Shakespeare, will have the chance to experience some of his finest works…with a twist. This season marks the 19th for the festival , which Southern Living has named one of the Best Summer events in the South and attracts over 18,000 each summer. The Festival kicks off with a modern retelling of the action-filled drama, Hamlet (which runs through June 15th) The next in the series, Comedy of Errors will open on July 11th and run through August 3rd. Performances begin at 7PM and are free and open to the public. For more information, visit

So Downtownies…May is practically bursting with fun things to do in the DTGVL! So, why are you still sitting at your computer? Get yourself Downtown and enjoy all it has to offer! See you there!


Mother’s Day is coming up on May 13th. What most Moms want more than anything, is quality time with loved ones – that and taking a break from the kitchen. A great way to accomplish both is to take her to one of the many wonderful Downtown restaurants for a nice brunch. And with the delicious menus these fine establishments are cooking up, you’re certain to become Mom’s favorite!

If your Mom loves cool jazz as much as fine Southern cuisine, then High Cotton is an excellent choice.  This Downtown favorite is extending their usual brunch hours to 10AM -3PM so that they may better offer a special Mother’s Day menu.  With such delectable items as Crispy Banana Stuffed French Toast, (served with a pistachio brittle, red berry compote and Tahitian vanilla bean syrup), Wild Mushroom Quiche (served with goat cheese, Swiss chard, asparagus salad, grainy mustard aioli), and the ever popular Shrimp & Grits (with smoked chicken Andouille sausage, sweet corn, charred tomato), Mom’s eyes will sparkle with pride at her smart, sophisticated children!  For more information and menu items, visit

If Mom prefers to dine al fresco, then The Green Room is an utter delight!  With wonderful outdoor (weather permitting) and indoor dining and a menu that will make you drool, The Green Room aims to please. Try the Blue Corn Crab Benedict – two poached eggs on top of fried green tomatoes & blue corn crab cakes with a spicy Hollandaise sauce and served with your choice of side (I like the House Potatoes) or, to satisfy your sweet tooth, the Stuffed French Toast – thick bread stuffed with raspberry cream cheese and coated with Frosted Flakes (yes, Frosted Flakes) and served with two sausage links – YUM! Have the bar staff mix up a Bloody Mary or a Mimosa and your Mom will truly be in “high spirits”! To see more of their delish menu offerings, visit:

If your Mom is a traditional sort, take her to brunch at Greenville’s historic Poinsett Hotel. Spoonbread Restaurant at Poinsett recalls the days of yesteryear, when ladies wore white gloves and men wore hats to church.  Named after the famous spoonbread served at Poinsett’s restaurants for decades, this charming establishment has all the gracious hospitality South Carolina is known for.  With such menu items as Chilled Strawberry Mint Soup, Cucumber Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette and Broiled Atlantic Salmon with Lime Butter, you will swear you’ve been transported back to the Roaring Twenties! To see more of their nostalgically delectable menu, visit

If your Mom is a little edgy and …well, Bohemian…then the aptly named Bohemian Café has the vibe she’s looking for. The Bohemian boasts a cool, laid back atmosphere that jives well with its eclectic menu, (after all, what do you expect from a restaurant that takes pride in being non-conformist). My favorites are the Veggie Burger (I always order mine with bacon – and they actually do it!) and the Salmon Florentine Benedict (have a to-go box ready to take home the extra, trust me). With their “Build Your Own Bloody Mary” option, it’s no wonder this groovy spot is a favorite with local artists and musicians. Check out more of their amazing menu at:

To add a distinctly Mediterranean flavor to your brunch, make your way to The Lazy Goat. Not only does this truly unique restaurant offer gorgeous views of the Reedy River from their outdoor dining patio, but their menu will make you think you’ve found the Promised Land!  Try the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Macerated Berries, the Souvlaki Marinated Pork Loin or any of their assortment of homemade pastries and fresh fruit.  Finish off the meal with a dessert of Mini Key Lime Tarts or Mini Chocolate & Hazelnut Tarts and a cup of strong coffee. Nirvana! For more menu options, see:

These are just a few of the many wonderful brunch options in our gorgeous Downtown. Sunday brunch is popular, especially on pretty days, so reservations are STRONGLY recommended (and in some places, required). After your meal, you & Mom can walk off all those calories in Falls Park or along our picturesque Main Street, or visit one of the many art galleries and museums Downtown. Your Mom will finish up her special day thinking she just might have raised you right after all!

Here are a few more Brunch Options:

■Nose Dive (0AM – 2PM)  PH: 373-7300

■Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen (11AM – 2PM) PH: 233-6009 – The Green Room’s Cajun Sister Restaurant

■Soby’s (10AM – 1PM) PH: 232-7007

■Larkin’s on the River (11AM – 2PM) PH: 467-9777

■Wild Wing Café: Blue Jean Brunch (11AM -3PM) PH: 242-9453

■Liberty Tap Room (11AM – 2PM) PH: 770-7777

■Mary Beth’s (9:30AM – 3PM) PH: 242-2535

■Nantucket Seafood Grill (11AM – 3PM) PH: 546-3535

■The Trappe Door (11AM – 2PM) PH: 451-7490

■Devereaux’s (11AM – 2PM) PH: 241-3030

■Smoke on the Water (11AM – 2PM) PH: 232-9091

■Coffee Underground (9-2) PH: 298-0494

■Blue Ridge Brewing Co. (11-2) PH: 232-4677

■ Mary’s at Falls Cottage (10-2) PH: 298-0005

■ Saffron’s WestEnd Cafe (9:30-3) PH: 241-0401

■High Cotton: Jazz Brunch (10AM -3PM) PH: 335-4200

■The Green Room (9AM -5PM) PH: 335-8222

■Spoonbread Restaurant at The Westin Poinsett (10:30AM – 2PM) PH: 421-9700

■The Bohemian (11AM – 2PM) PH: 331-2589

■The Lazy Goat (11AM – 2PM) PH: 679-5299

et cetera