Friday, May 13, 2016

A whirlwind tour of Greenville and the Upstate

The mountain laurel is blooming!

We might not have discovered this, if not for our guests… Included in our tour of the Upstate were stops at Wildcat Wayside (Wildcat Branch Falls), Bald Rock and Caesar’s Head State Park – where these gorgeous flowering shrubs were in various stages of bloom.

Nauris and Kristina arrived on the Lauris’s birthday, and after an evening celebration involving ice cream, presents and (possibly) more ice cream, we retired to ready ourselves for a long day. The itinerary was ambitious, but we were intent on showing off our corner of the world, which this time of year is at its prime.

In the morning I headed to Beechwood Farms to pick strawberries with the boys, our guests meeting us in the field just in time to head further north, to Wildcat Branch Falls. The weather has been rather dry and so the upper falls were running low, but with the laurel blooming and the warm temperatures conducive to splashing around in the lower falls, the boys (and hopefully visitors!) were content.

On to Bald Rock Heritage Preserve. We had the rock pretty much to ourselves, and with the sun directly overhead the view stretched for miles.

As our guests continued on to Caesars Head State Park, Vilis and I headed back to town to pick Lauris up from school. After a quick snack we regrouped, then jumped in the car and shot to the zoo in effort to beat the thunderstorms.

With only a few hours left until the zoo closed and impending clouds on the horizon, the zoo was empty. We met the baby giraffe that was born in early February, Tatu. The name means "3rd child" in Swahili, being that Tatu is Autumn and Walter's third calf. Luckily only a few drops of rain fell, and by the time we made it out to the playground the sun was shining again. Then it was on to downtown, for a tour of Main Street and Falls Park.

Artisphere started yesterday, and so downtown was already filling up. With a show at the Peace Center and various other events going on, things were really hopping for a Wednesday night and we joined a stream of people on an evening stroll through the park. An extended stop at the falls, and then our incredible beech tree with its exposed roots – a full circuit of Falls Park ended with empty stomachs, and we headed across the streets to eat dinner at Chicora Alley.

As long as the day had been, the following was even longer... we were headed to North Carolina to hike up Glassy Mountain!

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