The Art Bomb

Located in the township of West Greenville, the Art Bomb is a funky building housing several artists studios. This weekend is a great time to check it out as part of the Open Studios tour. Not only can you check out the Bomb, but there are several other studios within walking distance that will be open Saturday from 10-6 and Sunday from 12-6. You can download maps of all the studios open this weekend here: Greenville Open Studios

While at the Bomb be sure to check out my favorite artist.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 1 mile

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The Thirsty Monk

This is one of my favorite new places in Asheville. It's across the street from one of my other favorite places, Jack of the Wood. But unlike Jack of the Wood, which offers their locally made microbrew, the Thirsty Monk specializes in Belgian Beers. They are so serious about it that each beer is served in a special glass designed for each beer style. They've also recently opened a bar upstairs featuring American craft beers. Although they don't offer wine, they have several Belgians that will appeal to the wine connoisseur.

The Asheville Beer Blog has an excellent review of the Monk.

And here's a podcast about the Monk.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 62 miles.

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NC Nature Center

The North Carolina Nature Center is basically a small zoo featuring animals that are (or at least once were) found in western North Carolina, including bobcats, mountain lions, black bears, foxes, wolves, owls, golden eagles, red tailed hawks, etc.

A Greenville Zoo membership will get you into the nature center for free.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 67 miles.

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Get Mavericky

This Sunday, Tina Fey impersonator (and future Fox News guest host) Sarah Palin will be sending the McCain campaign into further nosedive by appearing at the Asheville Civic Center. I saw Jerry Seinfeld perform there years ago and I have no doubt Palin will offer just as many laughs.

The Alaska governor is scheduled to appear Sunday evening at the Asheville Civic Center, according to the McCain campaign. Free tickets to the event will be available from 4-8 p.m. today at the Asheville Victory '08 headquarters, 16 Regent Park Blvd., according to the Buncombe County GOP Web site. Tickets will also be available at McCain campaign headquarters in Bryson City, Boone and Hickory.

So if empty pandering and talk radio cliches are your thing, get your tickets early.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 61 miles.

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North Carolina Arboretum

The North Carolina Arboretum contains a large variety of gardens and trails.

A bonzai garden is one of the current features.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 55 miles.

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Wedge Brewery

Wedge Brewery is a great new pub located in the River Arts District of Asheville. When you drive into the parking lot you might think you're in the wrong place. You might even think this is all a practical joke, but check it out.

The customer area of the pub itself is smaller than my living room but they serve several craft brews. The brewmaster was previously the brewmaster for Green Man Ales, found at another of my favorite places, Jack of the Wood. The only beer I can vouch for so far is the Golem, as it's the only one I had a chance to try, but it's an excellent elixir.

And while there you can check out several artist's studios in the area. Much like West Greenvillle, the River Arts District is a repressed area of Asheville that is being revitalized by local artists.

Wedge Brewery Podcast

Distance from downtown Greenville: 63 miles.

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Poinsett Bridge Heritage Preserve

This bridge, located in northern Greenville county, was built by Joel Poinsett in 1820. In addition to being one of the earliest settlers of Greenville, Poinsett also discovered the Poinsettia flower.

Supposedly the bridge is haunted by an old slave who was hung from it, a laborer who died building the bridge and by an indian tribe. Yet again, I witnessed no ghosts, but my wife's camera went dead as soon as she tried to photograph it. Hmmmm.....(Mine worked fine.)

Distance from downtown Greenville: 39 miles.

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Walk America 2008

This guy walked in front of my car today at the corner of Pine Knoll and Wade Hampton as I was stopped at the light, so I looked up his website to see what it was all about. Apparently he's walking from San Francisco to Massachusetts. From his website:

I'm BJ Hill. I am a 32 year old teacher who is walking from San Francisco back home to Massachusetts. I carry a notebook with me, and ask people I meet along the way to write a message to the next President of the United States. I hope to give these thoughts, concerns, and ideas directly to the president after he is elected in November.

So keep an eye out for him. This reminds me of a great book A Walk Across America as well as John Muir's 1000 Mile Walk to the Gulf.

His route:

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Riverbanks Zoo

Should you decide to head to Columbia to take your family to the Riverbanks Zoo, you might consider running by the Greenville Zoo first and purchasing a yearly family pass. The pass will not only get you and your family into the Greenville Zoo for a year, but it will also get you free passes to the much larger Riverbanks Zoo, as well as a number of other zoos. For a family of four, the yearly membership will cover the price of admission for one trip to the Riverbanks Zoo so it's well worth it.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 101 miles

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Moses H. Cone Memorial Park

A nice place for hiking or horseback riding, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park is accessible via the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 141 miles.

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Blue Ridge Brewery

(Image from BR's website.)

Greenville's only brewpub has several new seasonal selections which are worth checking out. I stopped in recently to check out their Black Honey Imperial Elixir Stout after reading about it on the Asheville Beer Blog. It definitely lives up to the hype. While there, Jay the brewmaster was kind enough to offer me samples of his Pilsner and Oktoberfest as well. Both were also excellent.

It's a good month for Jay. He's also featured on the front page of the current issue of Southern Brew News.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 0 miles.

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Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls in the Mountain Bridge Wilderness area of Northern Greenville can now be accessed via a 2.4 mile trail starting in Jones Gap State Park.

Despite the drought, there is still nice water flow over the falls, although several of the smaller creeks and falls nearby are dry. To get there, take the Jones Gap trail for about three quarters of a mile and when it splits take the red trail to the right.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 25 miles.

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Obama Rally in Asheville, NC Sunday Oct 5th

Assuming you can find gas between here and Asheville (which is hard to do at the moment) here's a day trip worth considering this weekend.

"Obama is holding a campaign rally in Asheville Sunday. The rally, called 'Change We Need With Barack Obama,' takes place at Asheville High School’s Memorial Stadium. Gates open at noon and the rally is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m." More from Blue Ridge Now

And if you missed the VP debate Thursday, here's a condensed transcript.

Biden: McCain’s policies are no different than George Bush’s policies.

Palin: Darn right…things are bad…McCain is voice of change…by golly…gee whiz…I’m an outsider…voted for the war before you voted against it… Well heckfire I may not answer the questions the way you want me to, or any question I don’t want to answer for that matter, but I’m going to pretend I am…this great country…soccer games…kids…did I mention my special needs child and gee willikers ain’t I cute…Say it ain't so Joe, can I call you Joe...I still don’t know who the heck Fannie and Freddie are but they sound like good folk…so be a good American and vote for me, Joe Six Pack …maverick, maverick, maverick, maverick, maverick, maverick…

More on Palin’s appeal to the base:
Plain Folks
Glittering Generalities

Distance from downtown Greenville: 63 miles

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