R.I.P. David Brannock - 1957-2010

In my last couple posts I mentioned a Saturday afternoon drive that ended in Hendersonville at the Blue Note Grill. When I first arrived at the Blue Note around 4:00, I was the only patron.  So the bartender and I discussed kayaking and camping and fishing and gardening and miscellaneous other things. After awhile the owner of the Blue Note, David, showed up. I noticed that his signature waist length pony tail was missing. He said he felt he'd finally gotten too old for it. He poured a cup of coffee and then he and I spent a couple hours discussing music, food, craft beer, and the revitalization of Hendersonville. He showed me his new menu and asked for suggestions. We discussed how vinyl records are making a comeback. He mentioned his wife and kids. He was proud that his youngest only had a semester of college left.  After his second cup of coffee, as if on cue, the bartender, Jim, poured him a Speckled Hen, clearly a ritual.  Eventually other patrons arrived.  A woman named Amanda. A Swedish fellow named Bo.  Couples and groups of couples.  Laura Blackley, host of Local Color on WNCW performed with the Swayback Sisters. As the house filled, Dave made the rounds and treated every patron the same way he always does, like we were all old friends.

Two days later David passed away in his sleep.  There will be a celebration of his life this Sunday at the Blue Note. More details can be found here.

Campbell's Covered Bridge

So I unexpectedly found myself alone the other day, something I really needed, so I went for a drive, not really sure of where I'd end up.  Where I ended up can be seen in my last post, but the first stop I made was at Campbell's Covered Bridge.  I had never been there before, but people talk about it like it's something worth seeing. I guess if you're into bridges it's worth a stop and it's not far from Poinsett Bridge which I've blogged about previously.  Personally I think the covered bridge at Dupont State Forest is more interesting.

There's a lot more information about it here.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 25 miles

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The Blue Note Grill

I've previously mentioned that one of our favorite hangouts is the Back Room at the Flat Rock Wine Shoppe in Flat Rock, NC. Well they recently moved a few miles north to downtown Hendersonville into a great historic building. They have the same great menu and same extensive beer and wine list. (They're currently serving Highland's Cold Mountain Winter Ale on tap.) But they have a lot more room and best of all they have live music every night with no cover charge.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 39 miles

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TreesGreenville Turkey Day 8k 2010

The last couple of weeks I've enjoyed helping to plant trees with an organization called TreesGreenville. This is one of several organizations I've discovered through the Hands on Greenville website. As the name implies, the organization plants trees in the area, mostly through the use of volunteers. It's run by a couple of really nice, knowledgeable, laid back people named Joelle and James. The first time I volunteered I learned a lot about how to properly plant a tree, which explains why I haven't always had such great luck in the past. I had similar learning experiences when I've helped plant vegetables at the Project Host Soup Kitchen garden and when I've done trail construction with the Sierra Club. So in addition to helping the community, there is a personal gain involved in these activities.  

On Thanksgiving Day TreesGreenville is hosting an 8K run at the ICAR facility as a fundraiser. So if you can run further than I can, and you need an excuse to get away from the extended family on Thanksgiving morning, you might want to check it out. You can sign up

Thursday, November 25th, 2010 -9am - Turkey Day 8k; 8:30am - 1/4 mile Toddler Trot. Please see the bottom of the page if interested in registering for the Tot Trot.

Hubbell Lighting within the CU-ICAR business park. Hubbell Lighting is located at 701 Millennium Blvd, Greenville, SC 29607.

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Rattlesnake Lodge

In the early 1900's a fellow by the name of Dr. Chase P. Ambler built a stone summer home for his family near Asheville.  He sold it in the 1920's and unfortunately the lodge burned down  a few years later. You can read the details here.

Some of the remains still exists. Reaching them can be a short uphill hike from the location below, or you can do a longer hike (16 miles round trip) by starting at the Craggy Garden parking area and taking the Mountains to Sea Trail east. This is a beautiful hike with great views. 

Distance from downtown Greenville: 87 miles.

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How to Get to the Blue Ridge Parkway from Greenville

Parkway in the distance as seen from Mountains to Sea Trail - Oct, 2008
I keep getting hits from people Googling something to the effect of "how to get to the Blue Ridge Parkway from Greenville" so I thought I'd put a post up about the various ways to get there. 

The quickest and easiest is to take Hwy 25 to I26N to exit 37 and then follow the signs. It takes about an hour. 

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If you're going north on the parkway you may want to keep going past that exit to I40E and take exit 44.  That way you'll bypass the section that runs through Asheville which isn't that interesting (plus it's the only section I've ever seen anyone get pulled over for speeding on the Parkway - and yes I was the one pulled over).

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Another option is to go through Brevard via 276. That's a nicer drive but takes about an hour and a half. It puts you near the Pisgah Inn. An even nicer drive to get to this entrance would be to head up HWY 25 through Flat Rock. 

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A fourth option if you want to get to a section further south is take 276 to Hwy 11 to Hwy 176 to Hwy 215. This puts you near the Middle Prong Wilderness and Shining Rock Wilderness, not far from the Devil's Court House.

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Fall for Greenville

Fall for Greenville starts Friday and it looks better than ever. One of my very most favorite musicians, Jason Isbell, will be opening the festival. I've seen him live half a dozen times, mostly while he was with the Drive By Truckers but also once or twice with his new band, the 400 Unit, and he always puts on a killer show.

There are dozens of other entertainment options at the festival as well.

Here's a little taste of Jason performing one of his songs live:

Distance from downtown Greenville: 0 Miles.

Waterrock Knob

Waterrock Knob is one of the highest points on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It's the 16th highest point east of the Mississippi. From the parking lot, it's a short but steep hike to the top. Even if you're not a hiker, it's worth the stop. Once while there I was standing above the clouds.

There are 40 peaks in the southern Appalachians over 6000 feet. There is a club designed to honor those who hike all of them.  If you're inclined to do so you can reach several of them from this location.  

If you are a hiker and you're good with navigation and don't mind serious bushwhacking, you can have quite an adventure hiking to Mount Lyn Lowery, another 6000 footer where a 50' cross has been erected. There's also an amazing homesite for sale there, which would probably be the highest residential site on the east coast. To get there, when you get to the top of Waterrock, look to your left and you will see a faint little overgrown trail. Follow that trail a couple miles to Lyn Lowry and you'll have some great views along the way, assuming you don't get lost. Even if you do, you'll still have some great views. To say the trail is overgrown is an understatement. Below is a shot of one of the clearest parts of the trail. See that light green area, that's the trail. It gets much worse and you will get turned around and you will get cut up from all the blackberry bushes you have to trudge through. I ripped my pack and my pants.

There are no printed maps of the "trail" and there are no blazes or signs. Other people have left ribbons marking the way and they're fairly accurate but the bushwhacking makes for slow going.

You can find more details and download on-line maps here.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 98 miles

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Greer Oktoberfest

See ya there:  Greer Oktoberfest

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2010    12:00-9:00pm

Entertainment for the day includes performances by the Channelheimer’s Oompah Band, Walhalla German Dancers, Dan Witucki’s Heimatland Musikanten, Al Ulle and the Dueling Slovenians, and the Foothills Oompah Band.
Traditional lederhosen and dirndl, the authentic dress, is encouraged for the event.
Festival goers should expect their mouths to melt from the array of German foods and desserts that will be served. Menu items include Bavarian white sausages, leberkaus, knackwurst, bratwursts, fresh baked pretzels, German funnel cakes, kettle korn, spaetzel, chipstix, glazed nuts, German chocolate cake, Black forest cake, and much more fantastic foods will be sold anywhere from $1 to $5. 
Not only is the Greer Station Oktoberfest centered around German themes, it is embracing local artists and celebrating their creative works. Local artists will be displaying their creative pieces all day in downtown Greer. Work on display includes everything from oil paintings, ceramics, photography, woodwork, jewelry and much more. Festival organizers are encouraging people to come and support these artists and delight in each unique piece.
The official festival beer will be the “Spaten Oktoberfest,” which is the world’s first Oktoberfest beer, created in 1872 for the Munich Oktoberfest. It will be featured at two locations within the festival – the corner of Randall and Trade Street and the corner of Victoria and Trade Street. The festival will also have Thomas Creek, Budweiser and Pepsi products.
Main Stage
12:00 - 4:00pm Channellheimer’s Oompah Band
5:00 - 9:00pm Foothills Oompah Band
Beirgarten Stage
12:00 - 3:00pm All Ulle and the Deuling Slovenians
4:00 - 5:30pm Walhalla Oktoberfest Dancers
6:00 -9:00pm Dan Witucki and Heimatland Musikanten

Distance from downtown Greenville: 12 miles

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Greenville - A good place to live

Fortune Magazine recently named Greenville as one of the top places to retire. This comes on the heels of a  feature article on Greenville appearing in US Air's in-flight magazine.  Meanwhile Charleston is named one of the Top American Towns in this month's addition of Outside Magazine and was recently named the number two vacation spot by Conde Nast.  Asheville was recently named Beer City USA and (along with Brevard) was named one of the best cities to raise an outdoor kid by Backpacker Magazine. Considering that these places are all within a day's drive, Greenville seems like a pretty good place to live.

Otter Creek Water Park

I'm not a big fan of water parks or amusement parks. Something about standing in line for 30 minutes for 30 seconds of thrill just doesn't work for me but the kids seem to like it. I recently took one of my sons to Northside park where a new water park has opened called Otter Creek and with the current heatwave some readers might find it to be a nice diversion. It's kind of hard to find information on it on-line but it's a nice place. Definitely for kids as the deepest swimming area is only 3 feet  deep but they have three slides and a wade pool and one of those fountain deals the kids can run around under. There's also a snack bar. I can't remember what the entrance fee was but it seems like it was about ten bucks for swimmers and two dollars for non-swimming parents.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 12 miles.

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Patriots Point

Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant currently contains an aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown, and a submarine, the USS Clamagore, for public tour.  A battleship, the USS Laffey is also on tour most of the time but is currently in North Charleston at a shipyard for dry dock repairs.  The Yorktown contains a number of aircraft and a newly installed Medal of Honor museum. One of the nice features of the tour is the ability to have a home cooked lunch in the mess hall.

The Point is currently in dire need of federal support. Rep Jim Clyburn has introduced legislation to get the needed funds to keep the ships a float and open to the public.  You can read more here.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 215 miles

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Bele Chere this Weekend

Bele Chere, the best street festival around takes place this weekend.  While there you may want to check out the recently opened Lexington Avenue Brewery, a really cool, funky microbrewry or if you're in the mood for exquisitely good Italian food, try Cucina24 on Wall Street.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 63 miles.

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Flatrock Cinema

Flatrock Cinema is a nice little second run theater about forty-five minutes from Greenville. In addition to the standard movie snacks they also offer beer, wine and "dinner" (although dinner is microwaved burgers or hot dogs). If you want a more upscale dinner you might want to check out the Flatrock Wine Shoppe's Backroom right next door, or for something cheaper the Flatrock Village Bakery across the street is an excellent choice.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 35 miles

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Rocks and Ropes

Downtown Greenville is in dire need of a good rock climbing gym. At one time there were two, Urban Crags and Rocks and Ropes. Urban Crags closed down years ago and Rocks and Ropes has now moved from Main St. to the Blue Ridge area, but it is now open for business. Seems to me the new Ray Kroc Center would be a good place for a rock climbing gym (and a skate park). 

Distance from downtown Greenville: 14 miles.

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Google on Main follow up

I just read on the Random Connections blog that Google is hosting an internet poll to see which city is most deserving of the new Google Fiber. You can actually vote once per day until the polling ends.  Follow this link: 

From the City of Greenville newsletter:
Saturday, March 20, 2010  
7:30 PM 
 Meet behind The Peace Center 

Google is looking for one city around the country to invest billions of dollars in order to try out experimental ultra-high speed broadband internet. Come show your support for why they should select Greenville! The event will include thousands of people with LED-powered, Google-colored glow sticks walking in "fiber" lines into Falls Park and forming the letters "Google." Helicopters and national media will be filming the event from above. Let's make Greenville shine! 

Click here to sign-up.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 0 miles.

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Linville Gorge

Linville Gorge, called the Grand Canyon of North Carolina by some, is a rugged and remote area just off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Linville, NC. There are several trails that descend into the gorge to the Linville River.  It's a truly amazing wilderness area but remember that if you make it to the river, you have to climb back out. The trails are rugged and rarely flat.  See more here and here.

Swimming Hole at the junction of Babel Trail and Linville River.

Top of Linville Falls

Linville Falls

Linvillle Falls up close.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 110 miles.

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Top of the Hops Beer Festival

Holy cow. Are you kidding me? Greenville is actually hosting a brewfest again? Yep. I've been pushing for a Greenville Beerfest ever since the two year old Greenville Beerfest closed shop several years ago. Now I see Greenville is hosting another beerfest.  If you attend, make sure you spend time at my friend Tom's booth.

Click here for the details. Top of the Hops Beer Festival

Distance from downtown Greenville: 0 miles.

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Worley Cave

Worley Cave is a wild and relatively untouched cave located on a farm in Bluff City, TN. The owner of the cave allows exploration of the cave with a qualified guide.

Mountain Adventure Guides offers reasonable prices for qualified guides.

This isn't like Lurray Caverns. It's totally non-commercial. It is unspoiled and very deep.  You will get very dirty, rip your clothes, climb, slide and be expected to walk through an underground river to exit the cave.  You will also have a blast.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 161 miles.

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God's Plan

Seems to be a lot of proselytizing on Main Street lately.  From street preachers screaming hellfire and damnation to wide-eyed young people wanting a "moment of my time." Makes for good street theatre I suppose. Recently I was checking my e-mail in front of Fall's Park when a white van came screeching up beside me. Next thing I knew I was surrounded by several twenty-somethings holding religious tracts who were all piling into the van like they'd just pulled a bank job.

For some reason, I doubt the claim on the front of this Hummer.

St. Francis Mud Run

I got word back that registration is already closed for Art Loeb extreme hike I mentioned in the last post, but this sounds like a good time.

Extreme Hike for the Cure

I've mentioned a couple times previously one of my favorite trails, The Art Loeb.

Well this sounds kinda cool.  Extreme Hike for the Cure

WHO:All adventure and outdoor enthusiast
In just one amazing day, you will hike the 30.1 miles of the famed art Loeb Trail in Pisgah National Forest while you help raise money towards a cure for cystic fibrosis (CF)—this country’s most fatal genetic disease among children and young adults.
WHEN:Friday, April 23—Sunday, April 25, 2010

WHERE:Art Loeb Trail
Pisgah National Forest
Brevard, North Carolina
WHY:Through your participation in Extreme Hike for a Cure, you’ll experience adventure, accomplish a once in a lifetime goal, make new friends and add tomorrows to the lives of thousands of CF patients.

For more information or sponsorship opportunities contact Dede Brand at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at 704.321.7852 or dbrand@cff.org

For more information on CF or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, visit www.cff.org.

Disk (Frisbee) Golf Courses

Recently, one of my sons and I were trying to remember where all the good disk golf course are around here. These are the only ones we could remember.

Timmons Park - This a good one although it was recently re-routed and is a bit confusing toward the end.

Here are a couple more I found on-line that I'm not familiar with.

I'd love for people to chime in and offer others they know of, both in Greenville County and in the surrounding counties.

Update: Hat tip to Otis for the following resource. Upstate Disc Golf Courses

Mojitos Bar and Lounge

My wife and I had a very pleasant lunch at this West End restaurant recently.  The place is owned by a Cuban entrepreneur who moved from Miami to open a business in Greenville.  I'm no expert on Cuban food, but I can personally vouch for their Cuban sandwich. 

A little more detail is given here and here.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 0 miles.

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Fernwood Nature Trail

The parks were packed last weekend with the spring weather. If you head down to Cleveland Park in the near future, be sure to take a stroll on the Fernwood Nature. The Sierra Club spent Saturday morning cleaning it up and adding mulch. 

Distance from downtown Greenville: 0 miles.

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Japanese film series at Furman starts this week

Japanese Film at Furman - Film Series

All films will begin at 6pm and will be followed by a short lecture. 
The first 3 films will be shown in the Patrick Lecture hall in the Townes Science Center. The April 20th screening will be held in the Burgiss Theater in the Univ. Center. 
All screenings are free and open to the public.

Feb. 2, 2010 - The Emperor's Naked Army Marches On
Mar. 2, 2010 - Departures
Mar. 30, 2010 - Dear Pyongyang
Apr. 20, 2010 - Ghose in the Shell: Mobile Armored Riot Police

Helping Haiti Rescue Efforts

No scam here. This is for real. If you'd like to donate to the relief efforts in Haiti you can do so by texting the word Haiti to 90999 from your mobile phone and you'll be billed $10. If you're suspicious you can check the following State Department site for confirmation (last paragraph).


Slideshow of Haiti Destruction - Warning: Very Graphic

Indigo Blue Website

I don't do this very often but here is a new blog that seems like a good compliment to this one. 


Kings Creek Falls

Just up the hill from the wild and scenic Chatooga River is Kings Creek Falls.  This is a good one to catch  on the way to Spoonauger Falls and Ellicott's Rock.

Park at the Burrells Ford Campground parking lot, then take the Foothills Trail, near the entrance to the parking area, to the falls. They're not hard to find.  On the way back to Greenville, you might want to check out Isaqueena Falls and Stumphouse tunnel.

Distance from downtown Greenville: 66 miles.

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