Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Christmas events in the Upstate

If you’ve followed the blog for a while, then you know that during the month of December I switch over to holiday programming with the “24 Days of a Baltic Christmas” series. However, before we put hiking and adventure in Upstate SC on the back burner, here is one more post on Greenville and vicinity – the Femme au Foyer Christmas list, 2017 edition!

Roper Mountain Holiday Lights have become a family tradition over the years, a not-for-profit holiday light extravaganza benefitting education and local non-profits. 2017 will mark the 26th, and final, year of the event, as the Rotary Club of Greenville and the Roper Mountain Science Center Association have found it increasingly difficult to secure volunteers to put on the show. We’ll be heading out for an evening of magic in the coming weeks to take a walk through Winter Wonderland and to drive the 1.5 mile drive through the lighted displays. Maybe even whisper our Christmas list to Santa?

The local Poinsettia Christmas Parade will take place this Saturday (December 2nd) in downtown Greenville, and is always a great way to kick off the holiday season, especially when combined with hot chocolate from Spill the Beans, a walk through Falls Park, and a stop at M. Judson Books to browse for gifts (or to compose your holiday wish list!).

If you’re looking for a small-town Christmas parade, head to Cashiers, NC and you might even see a snowflake or two in the higher elevations! Make sure to stop at the Village Green for some time on a really cool playground, and if you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, check out the hiking and waterfalls in nearby Highlands on Mountain Waters Scenic Byway, Whiteside Mountain, or Sunset Rock.

Ice on Main! Wednesdays mean free skating for the first 50 K - 12 students with a report card or progress report showing B or higher in Math or Science, thanks to a grant by Duke Energy! Students must be from Greenville, Pickens, Oconee or Anderson K - 12 public schools, and the promotion runs every Wednesday except Dec. 20 and 27.

The Festival of Trees is from December 1st through January 1st, with 80 holiday trees decorated by local businesses, schools and community groups showcased in the Hyatt Regency Greenville, the Courtyard Greenville Downtown and the Hampton Inn & Suites RiverPlace. It’s an easy, free afternoon/evening to   combine a tour of the Hyatt with a ride on the Greenville Trolley, and for supermom-status, pack a thermos of hot chocolate and holiday cookies to snack on while admiring the lights from the warmth of the trolley!

Make sure to stop by the Children’s Museum of the Upstate with the kids. With reindeer crafts, Frosty the Snowman Storytime, special events like Breakfast with Santa, and the holiday-themed room on the 1st floor, take a breather from your holiday preparations! Remember, you’ve only got one more day to take advantage of the “two months free” with a gift membership offer, which ends November 30th.

…And while you’re at Heritage Green, swing by the library for a free kids holiday program, or stop in the Upcountry History Museum for Mrs. Claus’ Gingerbread Workshop and to view the Jan Brett exhibit. Meet children’s author Jan Brett at a special book signing on November 30 at 10am – ticket info here.

With cooler temperatures and longer to-do lists around the house, we tend to stick closer to home in December. Local State Parks are among our favorite destinations, Paris Mountain being an obvious one as it’s only 20 minutes away. Rose Hill Plantation State Historic Site hosts a Victorian-style Christmas December 2-3rd, and Table Rock presents a special, ticketed performance by four-time Grammy winning instrumentalist Andy Leftwich on December 15th.

Or head to Lake Conestee Nature Park, for the Christmas Crafts and Campfire event on December 2nd. We love hiking the trails in all different seasons, but winter is one of our favorites because there are no mosquitos, it isn’t hot, and it’s a relative wilderness just outside of the city. Check out one of the guided bird walks, too!

There are still tickets available to ride the Great Smoky Mountain Railway Polar Express, and Bryson City goes all out for the holidays! Visit the train museum, then board the historic train for a 1¼ hour ride to visit Santa at the North Pole.

For a destination a little closer to home, head to Asheville for the Grove Park Inn gingerbread competition. Christmas at Grove Park Inn is full of twinkling lights, Christmas music, and surprises around every corner in the 100 year old hotel.

If you’re still looking for ideas on holiday activities with the kids, check out Kidding Around Greenville’s events list – it’s got everything Greenville + kids!

For those of you who would like to keep in touch this December, I’ll be posting on Instagram throughout the month with our adventures here in the Upstate. And of course starting Friday, 24 Days of a Baltic Christmas will be here on the blog; your annual countdown to the holidays with a showcase of Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian food, traditions and culture! 


  1. Good tips for taking in the holidays. If you are going towards Asheville NC on 26 be sure to catch the Christmas House, 360 Foster Rd Inman. Lights go on at 5:30. This is the 44th year this family has put on the display.

    1. That sounds like something we would enjoy, thank you for the tip!

  2. That area of your country should hire you as a tour guide... You always write such interesting posts.... IF I were younger and raising a family again, I'd want to live in the Greenville area ... Such a great city --especially for families.... Thanks for sharing.

    Merry Christmas.


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