Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Your Upstate Fall Bucket List

Now that we’ve got that harvest moon eclipse fever behind us we can concentrate on autumn here in the Upstate – my favorite time of year in Greenville. The dogwoods and red maples have started turning here in town, although there is significantly more color up in the foothills. We’ve got a busy couple of months ahead of us and so I thought I would share some of our favorite things to do this time of year!

Fall color viewing

Greenville has made several top 10 lists for best autumn foliage viewing including Tripadvisor’s Top 10 Fall Foliage Destinations in the U.S. and USA Today Travel’s Autumn colors: Beautiful fall foliage around the USA. So where should you go to see the season in all her glory? Spots along the Blue Ridge Escarpment will offer the best views over the hardwoods of the Foothills. Within about an hour’s drive you’ll find Caesars Head State Park, Fred W. Symmes Chapel a.k.a. “Pretty Place,” Bald Rock and Jumping Off Rock. If you are up for a longer drive, try Dupont State Forest just across the NC state line. A shorter drive (only about 20-30 minutes) away is Paris Mountain State Park with dozens of trails to choose from. Campbell’s Covered Bridge, Stumphouse Tunnel, Lake Toxaway… I could keep going all day! Or if you want the color right here in town, Falls Park and the Swamp Rabbit Trail are two local options.

An autumn view from Jumping Off Rock

Fall for Greenville

A three day outdoor festival modeled after the likes of Taste of Chicago, Greenville’s “a taste of our town” is the largest food and music festival in the Upstate featuring over 40 restaurants and six stages of live entertainment – definitely something for everybody. Check out live music from local favorites such as Mountain Homes while sampling signature dishes from some of Greenville’s most popular restaurants this October 8th through 11th.  

Apple picking

A local favorite is Sky Top Orchard up in Flat Rock, North Carolina, and although it can get crowded on weekends this time of year, the panoramic views from the rows of apple trees can’t be beat – and neither can their apple cider donuts! If you’re looking for something a little closer to town try Niven’s, although this will be the last season for the Spartanburg county orchard after four decades in the business.

A weekend getaway to the Blue Ridge Parkway

Enjoy the chill in the mountain air while touring some of the most colorful fall foliage in the southeast along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Believe me, it’s hard not to stop at every single scenic vista!

RMSC Fall Harvest Festival

On November 14th the Roper Mountain Science Center is hosting their annual Second Saturday fall harvest festival from 9am-2:30pm. Or pick from one of these other 25 fall festivals from Kidding Around Greenville’s list such as the Spartanburg International Festival, Balloons Over Anderson, Art on the Trail or Oktoberfest in Greenville!

Swamp Rabbit Grocery & Cafe

Make a stop at this local treasure just off the Swamp Rabbit Trail for pastries fresh from the oven and hot coffee, perfect on a crisp fall morning. Fresh, seasonal produce and local goods round out the experience, and if you’ve got kids joining you I suggest a stop at the Swamp Garden – all the better for you to enjoy a special fall treat if the littles are busy at play.

Enjoy a concert at your local State Park

Catch a Music on the Mountain bluegrass jam session at Table Rock State Park Lodge or Music in the Woods at Paris Mountain State Park. The Table Rock SP dates are October 10th and November 14th from 2-6pm, and the concerts in the outdoor amphitheater at Paris Mountain SP are Saturdays from 2-4pm during October (a schedule of performers is available here).

The Falls Park beech tree dressed in gold

Your National Parks

Take advantage of the cooler weather to visit one of our nearby National Parks, Historic Sites or Battlefields such as the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site, Congaree National Park, Kings Mountain National Military Park, Cowpens National Battlefield or Ninety Six National Historic Site. With smaller crowds and lower temperatures you’ll be able to really immerse yourself in the history of our region while enjoy the natural beauty of the Upstate. 

The Greenville Zoo

Popular Halloween event Boo in the Zoo notwithstanding, there is tons going on at your local zoo this fall! With a brand new baby red panda Willie (named after one of our fave musician’s ‘Red Headed Stranger’ album), baby siamang George and twin female ocelot kittens just a month old making their first outdoor appearances, there is plenty of motivation for a fall trip to the zoo. Exciting changes are on the horizon with a new mixed species South American exhibit, but the favorite programs such as Wild for Reading Wednesdays are still on weekly...

For the sports fan

Catch a football game at Clemson or University of South Carolina. (The Tigers face off against the Gamecocks this year on November 28th if you want to cross both teams off your list at once, and if you make it to Clemson, don't forget to stop at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens to see this local favorite decked out in its colorful fall garb…) If football isn’t your thing head to the Bon Secours Wellness Area (or ‘the well’ as it has been nicknamed) to see the recently rebranded Swamp Rabbits play hockey! Formerly known as the Road Warriors (who replaced the Greenville Grrrowl) and affiliated with the New York Rangers, the Swamp Rabbits start their season October 17th.

A new logo, source here

For the beer fan

Take a microbrewery tour here in the Upstate just in time to sample fall-inspired beer such as Swamp Rabbit Brewery’s Marzen, a German style Oktoberfest, or Quest Brewing’s Pecan Porter. A big event is Octoberfest @ Brewery 85 on Saturday, October 24th. And there’s always Dark Corner Distillery’s Moonshine to ward off that late fall chill!

Farmers markets

New farmers markets have popped up across the Upstate to give you plenty of opportunities to shop local seasonal goods. In addition to the State Farmers Market on Rutherford and the downtown Greenville market you have the Traveler’s Rest Thursday Market in Trailblazer Park and the brand new one in Greer. Grab some hot apple cider, buy a couple loaves of pumpkin bread and pick out the mums and gourds to decorate your home.

Wishing everyone a beautiful autumn in the Upstate!
x votre Femme au Foyer

 Thank you for the inspiration Daina!!!


  1. Did you catch the eclipse at all? I saw only a tiny bit - it was far too cloud here that evening. This is quite a list! And I love my name sister's list, too!

    1. We had 100% cloud cover... But my parents said it was quite a show, and my father snapped a few pretty cool shots. I tried following on the NASA livefeed, but it seemed most of the feed was from Alabama - which was also socked in... Come on NASA, you couldn't get a better shot?!

  2. Fall is one of my favorite season's also... I guess IF I had to choose between Spring and Fall, I would truly pick FALL --although I also love Spring.... We don't have much color here yet---but it's been quite warm so far. We need some COLD nights to get our trees to turn...

    Your area is a great place to live in so many ways... Here, we head to the Smokies to see the colors....OR--we'll go over the Asheville and take the Blue Ridge Parkway...

    BUT--this month, some friends and us are headed to West VA to see their Fall colors this month... I've been to the mountains of West VA several times --but haven't been in Autumn... Should be awesome.


  3. That blue Ridge picture is gorgeous. I really miss fall colors!


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