until the total solar eclipse.

A South Carolina Revolutionary War Road Trip: Part 3 – Lake Hartwell

Explore the Revolutionary War around Lake Hartwell on this 89-mile road trip through South Carolina.

By Jason Barnette | Travel writer and photographer with 15+ years of road tripping experience

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my Affiliate Disclosure here.

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South Carolina Revolutionary War Road Trip
10-Part Series

Did you know more Revolutionary War battles happened in South Carolina than in any other state? Explore the battlefields, historic sites, and museums with this 10-part series of road trips across the state.

Lake Hartwell, covering 56,000 acres with almost a thousand miles of shoreline, is the center of outdoor recreation in South Carolina’s mountain lakes region. But before the artificial lake was built, the basin was part of the Cherokee Lower Towns – villages in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Shortly after the American Revolution, the Cherokee War of 1776 erupted on the frontier, which led to the Cherokees’ ultimate downfall.

The Cherokee’s legacy is everywhere, from the names of Lake Keowee and Lake Jocassee to the Museum of the Cherokee in South Carolina. A Revolutionary War road trip through this South Carolina region is less about the British and more about the small role of the Cherokees – and what could have been if a young warrior name Dragging Canoe had faced victory instead of defeat.

Explore towns founded by Charleston elites and German immigrants, enjoy outdoor recreation at some of the state’s best parks, and end the trip in one of the most beautiful urban parks on the east coast.

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Road Trip Map

Get all the details at a glance to help plan the road trip. Use the map below to see the route and save it to your smartphone to use on the road trip.
Pendleton, SC
Greenville, SC
89 miles
total distance
suggested duration
itinerary stops
Key Stops

How to use this map | Click the icon in the top-left corner to open the Map Legend, then click on any of the legend items to display more information. If you have a Google account, click the (very faint) star at the end of the map’s name to save this map to your account, then access the map from your smartphone during your trip.

The Village Green is the center of Pendleton – a place to stretch your legs or get lunch at 1826 Bistro.



In the 1700s, wealthy Charlestonians – eager to escape the brutal summers – found a cool paradise along the Savannah River. They sailed to Savannah, cruised on a riverboat, and arrived in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Pendleton was established in 1790, years after the American Revolution ended.

One of the prominent Charlestonians to buy land in Pendleton was Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. But not that Pinckney – the famed Revolutionary War politician and military leader who crafted a draft of the Constitution. The Pinckney who settled in Pendleton and built Woodburn in the early 1800s was a distant cousin. The Pendleton Historic Foundation maintains three historic homes and offers guided tours – Ashtabula, Jenkins House, and Woodburn.


Pendleton is a small town – you can see everything while standing in the middle of the Village Green. Parking is free, and it only takes minutes to walk to the shops and restaurants.

Brews at the Square is an excellent starting point. The craft beer and espresso bar is located inside a converted bank. Board games are available to play, live music is scheduled most weekends, and you can get a delicious coffee – or go straight for the local craft beer.

Sit on the brick patio outside 1826 Bistro – the former Farmers Hall where Thomas Green Clemson announced plans to create a public university – and enjoy a locally sourced menu. Try the variety of American foods like burgers, wings, and sandwiches at Raines on Exchange Bar and Grill, or sample Chef Shaun Chastain’s farm-to-table menu at Blue Heron Restaurant.

The Village Bakery & Café opened in 1995 and serves a menu of delicious Southern foods. If you arrive for breakfast, try their Scratch Made Pancakes, or for lunch, order the Ultimate Grilled Cheese for gooey satisfaction. When finished, walk next door to the bakery and browse their selection of freshly baked pastries.

Itinerary Suggestion

Pendleton is a day trip destination for about 2-3 hours. The best time to visit is Friday or Saturday in mid-afternoon. However, The Village Bakery & Café is only open for breakfast and lunch.

The Pickens’ family grave is well-maintained at the large cemetery.(Top) Pay attention to the corners of Old Stone Church – you might spot the stone marked 1797, the year the church was built. (Bottom)
The Pickens’ family grave is well-maintained at the large cemetery.(Top) Pay attention to the corners of Old Stone Church – you might spot the stone marked 1797, the year the church was built. (Bottom)

No. 1

Andrew Pickens’ Gravesite

Pennsylvania-born Andrew Pickens moved to the Waxhaws region in South Carolina in 1752. He served in the British military from 1758-1761 during the Cherokee War, the local theater of the Seven Years’ War between Great Britain and France. After the war ended, he moved near present-day Abbeville and married Rebecca Calhoun.

Pickens quickly returned to military duty when the American Revolution began and joined the Ninety Six Militia as a captain. In late 1775, conflict erupted on the frontier when Loyalists captured a shipment of Patriot gunpowder. Andrew Williamson was dispatched the capture the Loyalists, and Captain Andrew Pickens was placed under his command. From November 19-21, the Patriot militia was surrounded by a thousand Loyalists at a hastily built stockade fort. The Battle of Ninety Six was South Carolina’s first battle of the Revolutionary War and led to the state’s first casualty.

A year later, Pickens again worked with Andrew Williamson during the Cherokee War of 1776. Pickens joined the expeditionary force into the Cherokee Lower Towns and Overmountain Towns, destroying everything in sight and burning all the crops. At the end of the short campaign, Pickens returned to South Carolina, where he participated in the victorious Battle of Cowpens.

Pickens died at his home in Tamassee, a small community about thirty minutes from Clemson, in 1817. He was buried in a family plot at Old Stone Church, a gorgeous – and still active – stone building completed in 1797. Pickens is buried alongside his wife, son, and daughter-in-law in a well-maintained plot near the parking lot at the church.


No. 2

Site of Fort Rutledge

When the American Revolution began along the coast, British Indian Agents John Stuart and Alexander Cameron headed inland to the Appalachian Mountains. Their orders were to secure Cherokee loyalty and enlist their help during the impending war. Many of the Cherokees were angered by the encroachment of settlers to their villages and hunting grounds. When Stuart and Cameron promised King George III would stop the encroachment, the Cherokees agreed to attack.

Led by Dragging Canoe, the Cherokees splintered into several groups and began attacking frontier farms throughout Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia. South Carolina Governor John Rutledge commissioned Andrew Williamson as a colonel and ordered him to form an expeditionary force to counter the aggression.


In August 1776, Williamson began with the Cherokee Lower Towns – villages in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in present-day South Carolina. Following his orders, he destroyed the villages, burned the crops, and captured Cherokees to be sold as enslaved people.

Before heading further into the mountains, Williamson left a small garrison behind to build a fort. The frontier fortification would guard the supplies Williamson needed to carry out his mission into the Overhill Towns – villages in present-day Tennessee. When completed, the garrison named it Fort Rutledge in honor of South Carolina’s governor.

When the expedition returned in October, the fort was abandoned and later demolished. Nothing remains of the fort today – above ground. Archeologists with Clemson University have discovered the buried remains of one corner of the fort.

In 1908, the Daughters of the American Revolution built a memorial near the approximate site of the fort. The interesting memorial – a miniature fort resembling a child’s playhouse – is hidden on Clemson’s campus near the pumping station.

To get there, start at the Walker Golf Course. Take Lake Drive past the clubhouse and drive just a few minutes along an elevated earthen wall at the edge of Lake Hartwell. Park anywhere on the side of the road before arriving at the pumping station. Walk across the gravel parking lot toward a well-defined trail into the woods – it’s less than a two minutes walk to the memorial.


The Esso Club is one of the most recognizable places in Clemson.



In 1838, Thomas Green Clemson inherited the 1,100-acre Fort Hill Plantation from his father-in-law, John C. Calhoun. Clemson was a prominent supporter of building an agricultural college in South Carolina. At his death in 1888, he willed 800 acres of the plantation for the college. The following year, Governor John Peter Richardson III signed a bill establishing the Clemson Agricultural College of South Carolina.

Otherwise known as Clemson University since 1964.

After visiting the site of Fort Rutledge, spend the rest of your evening at Sole on the Green. The university-owned restaurant and bar feels like a country club with plush carpets and comfortable wooden chairs. Sit inside if you want, but the best view is on the patio overlooking Lake Hartwell.

READ MORE: The 10 Best First Aid Kits for the Car

Eating at The Esso Club is a Clemson tradition and something every visitor should do. The site began as a gas station in the 1940s. In the 1970s, Jack Harmon opened a small barbecue restaurant in the back corner of the gas station. Everything changed in 1985 when Don Quattlebaum bought the restaurant and gas station – and promptly stopped selling gas.

Since focusing on food and drinks, The Esso Club has grown in infamy. In 1997, Sports Illustrated listed it as the “#2 Must See Sports Bar in the Nation.” The dark wood interior is decorated with vintage Esso signs and vibrant orange Clemson gear. The cushioned chairs are a welcome comfort – you’ll want to spend some time here enjoying the delicious food and cold drinks.


For dessert, head “downtown” to College Avenue, park wherever you can find a spot, and walk to Andee’s Custom Blended Ice Cream. Opening in 2006, the small shop serves custom blended ice cream and yogurt in homemade waffle cones or bowls. As a testament to the quality of the treat, the line out the door forms early on the weekends.

In the morning, try breakfast at Pot Belly Deli. Opened in 1994, the deli serves made-to-order breakfasts and lunches every day. Get their breakfast burrito, a specialty craft coffee, and order one of their fried muffins. If you need a great coffee to start the day, head to All in Coffee Shop, a local hangout for college students looking for a study space.

Take a guided tour of the beautiful Clemson University campus before leaving town. Stop at the Class of 1944 Visitor Center to book a tour. Or, you can pick up a campus map for a self-guided tour. Three original buildings remain from the college’s founding – Hardin Hall, built in 1890; Main Building, built in 1894; and Godfrey Hall, built in 1898. Take a walk through the Carillon Garden and around the Reflection Pond.

Itinerary Suggestion

Clemson is the best-suited place to spend an extra night on this road trip. Especially if you plan to explore the university campus or enjoy water sports on Lake Hartwell. After Clemson, the only available lodging is campgrounds – albeit relaxing campgrounds in gorgeous state parks.

Where to Stay

Best Western Plus is a budget hotel with spacious rooms and an outdoor swimming pool. Book with or

The Abernathy is conveniently located beside the university and within walking distance of The Esso Club. The gorgeous rooms will have you feeling at home during your stay. Book with or

The James F. Martin Inn at Clemson University’s golf course is the best place to stay in Clemson. Enjoy a fitness center, and comfortable furnishings, and walk to Sole on the Green in five minutes for dinner and drinks. Book with or

Hampton Inn features outstanding guest rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, and the best complimentary breakfast of any major hotel chain. Book with or

Ram Cat Alley periodically closes for street festivals.



Seneca was founded in 1873 during the Reconstruction Era as a railroad town. The town was named after a Cherokee Lower Town that was destroyed during the Cherokee War of 1776. Today, the town is a hub for recreation on Lake Hartwell.

While passing through, stop at Keowee Brewing Company for a drink. Spartanburg natives and Clemson University alums Alex and Allison discovered homebrewing in Wisconsin. In 2017, they returned home and opened this brewery as a community hub and family hangout. Browse their tap menu, which typically includes IPA, Kölsch, Lagers, Pilsners, and Porters. They have a small food menu of tacos, flatbreads, pizzas, and sandwiches.

Ram Cat Alley Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. The district includes many commercial buildings built from the 1880s-1930s. Many buildings have been renovated into modern shops, restaurants, and offices. The one-block alley at the end of Main Street was named after the cats roaming outside the meat market.

The Spot on the Alley is a no-frills sports bar, but it’s the best place in town to watch a Clemson football game. BREWS on the Alley – from the same owners as Brews on the Square in Pendleton – serves specialty coffee, pizza, and craft beer in a rustic space with concrete floors and brick walls. If you want a comfy sit-down place for dinner, try Bonaterra, a Latin-inspired grill with wings, burgers, tacos, and steaks served on glass plates in a gorgeous dining room.

Stumphouse Tunnel is one of the most fascinating places to explore in South Carolina.



If you think Walhalla resembles Valhalla – a majestic hall in Asgard for warriors who die in combat in Norse mythology – that’s because the small mountain town was founded in the mid-1800s by German immigrants. After escaping the revolutions sweeping through the German states, the immigrants traveled through Charleston and inland to the mountains.

The Oconee History Museum is the best place in town to learn about the early frontier history in the region and see an impressive collection of historical artifacts for a small museum. Located inside the cavernous 1892 Tobacco Factory Building, it will take about 1-2 hours to casually work your way through the museum.

Get something to eat at Carolina Pizza Company, Steph’s Steaks, or Pete’s Drive-In, all within walking distance of free parking along Main Street.

Walhalla is a gateway town into the mountains. Wildwater and the Nantahala Outdoor Center offer whitewater rafting trips on the Chattooga River. Issaqueena Falls is a popular hiking adventure.

But the most interesting thing to do with a day trip is to visit Stumphouse Tunnel. In 1835, a railroad was proposed to connect the Charleston ports directly with the Ohio River Valley. In 1856, construction began on the first of a series of mountain tunnels. But after spending $1 million, the state abandoned the project and left the tunnel incomplete. 1,617 feet of the 1+ mile long tunnel was completed – and it’s open to the public.


No. 3

Oconee Military Museum

In 1933, the Old Rock Building was built with granite removed during the construction of the Stumphouse Tunnel. After serving as office space for decades, the building became the home of the Oconee Military Museum.

The two-story museum features exhibits on every American conflict, from the Revolutionary War to Iraq and Afghanistan. The exhibits feature a bevy of information and focuses on the veterans who fought in the conflicts around the world. With hundreds of photographs and artifacts, exploring the entire museum will take about an hour.

National Park Week 2024

Learn about the annual celebration of the National Park System and read my travel guides to national park units across the country.

No. 4

Museum of the Cherokee in South Carolina

Before the arrival of European settlers, the Cherokees spread across a vast region from modern-day Kentucky to the foothills of South Carolina. When settlers began pushing against the boundary, the Cherokees fought back. This led to the Proclamation Line of 1763, where King George III forbade settlers from moving beyond an arbitrary line down the middle of the Appalachian Mountains.

This line, however, kept the Cherokee Lower Towns firmly within the area of possible settlement. And as settlers continued to push westward in the next decade, the Cherokees grew more frustrated. When the American Revolution started, many Cherokees, bolstered by their own revolutionary Dragging Canoe, started a war to reclaim their land.

But when the Cherokees lost the conflict, they were forced to abandon the Lower Towns – ceding their land to South Carolina. It was the end of the Cherokees in this region.

The Museum of the Cherokee in South Carolina explores the history of the Native American tribe in South Carolina. The exhibits are spread throughout two buildings with dozens of artifacts, interpretive displays, and maps explaining the shifting boundaries. It’s a great place to understand the history of the Cherokees in the state and how the Revolutionary War ended that history.

The Caesars Head State Park overlook provides a breathtaking view on the Blue Ridge Escarpment – the definitive edge of the Appalachian Mountains where the elevation suddenly drops.
The Caesars Head State Park overlook provides a breathtaking view on the Blue Ridge Escarpment – the definitive edge of the Appalachian Mountains where the elevation suddenly drops.

Point of Interest

Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway

South Carolina Highway 11 is also designated as the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway. The route follows sections of the Cherokee Path, a trade route developed in the early 1700s between the Cherokee Lower Towns and Charleston. Cherokees would bring deer skins to trade for gunpowder and lead, allowing them to hunt for food and more deer skins.

READ MORE: Road Trip on the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway in South Carolina

It was also the route Colonel Andrew Williamson marched in 1776 during his campaign against the Cherokees.

Today, the national scenic byway – one of four in South Carolina – traverses the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains 118 miles from Gaffney to Lake Hartwell State Park on the Savannah River. The route connects eight state parks, the highest point in the state, and charming towns to explore.


Point of Interest

Oconee Station State Historic Site

After the Revolutionary War, the frontier opened to a flood of eager settlers. But being hundreds of miles from the new seat of government in Columbia meant lawlessness abounded. From 1792-1798, the South Carolina State Militia manned a blockhouse beside William Richards’ trading post. This provided a safe place for passage through the mountains and a chance to resupply.

Oconee Station State Historic Site preserves the original blockhouse and William Richards House. Tours are sporadic at the remote historic site, but the grounds are typically open during daylight hours.

It’s about a five-minute walk from the parking lot to the historic structures. Interpretive signs explain the local history and importance of the blockhouse. A 1.5-mile nature trail leads to a hidden pond open for fishing.


Waterfalls are hidden in nearly a dozen coves around Lake Jocassee, a lake popular with boaters, kayakers, and scuba divers.

Point of Interest

Devils Fork State Park

In 1973, Duke Power built a hydroelectric dam and created the 7,500-acre Lake Jocassee. The earthen dam is an impressive engineering feat at 385′ tall and 1,750′ across. Lake Jocassee is nearly 300 feet deep and is renowned for its crystal-clear freshwater.

Devils Fork State Park opened in 1990. The park features hiking trails, a campground, and the only public marina on the lake. One of the most exciting and relaxing things to do in South Carolina’s mountain lakes is to book a guided tour of Lake Jocassee. If you prefer to enjoy the lake at your own pace, rent pontoon boats, kayaks, and canoes at Jocassee Keowee Rentals, Eclectic Sun, and Jocassee Outdoor Center.

Another interesting way to enjoy a day is under Lake Jocassee. The clear freshwater is perfect for SCUBA diving. A few buildings and vehicles remain on the lake’s bottom, including an elementary school with students’ desks! With the Lake Jocassee Dive Shop, you can take classes to earn your certification or rent equipment to dive on your own.

If you want something easier and more relaxing – perfect for a day trip through the area – go for a hike on the 1.5-mile Oconee Bell Natural Trail. In 1788, French botanist André Michaux discovered the bell-shaped flower in the Jocassee Gorge. Michaux, appointed by King Louis XVI as the royal botanist to the colonies, was also responsible for introducing the camelia plant in Charleston.

The Oconee Bell is native to a tiny region, and unfortunately, 90 percent of the native habitat is under Lake Jocassee. The flowers bloom mid-March through early April, bringing out hundreds of avid wildflower seekers.


Point of Interest

Sassafras Mountain

“The summit parking lot is just ten minutes from here,” the young lady told me at the Table Rock State Park Visitor Center. Eager to reach South Carolina’s highest point, I hopped in the car and followed her directions along the twisty, curvy, stomach-churning roads.

Thirty minutes later, I pulled into the gravel parking lot just below the summit – and I immediately wondered just how fast that woman must drive.

READ MORE: Visiting the Highest Point in South Carolina at Sassafras Mountain


From the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway, it’s a twenty-minute drive to the parking lot. Moorefield Memorial Highway is a typical two-lane mountain road with a few twists and turns. Turn onto F. Van Clayton Memorial Highway at the mountain’s base, and the real adventure begins. It’s a 4.7-mile drive with a steep climb to the parking lot.

After arriving, you can enjoy the view from the Lower Observation Deck at the end of the parking lot. The scenic overlook was designed by Clemson University students and features a southwest view overlooking Lake Jocassee.

To reach the summit, take the paved trail to the 20′ high observation tower. At 3,553′, Sassafras Mountain is the highest point in South Carolina. But it’s only barely in South Carolina. The state line cuts across the top of the mountain, etched into the floor of the concrete observation tower.

On a clear day, you can see as far as Rabun Bald in northern Georgia, the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina, and nearby Table Rock Mountain in South Carolina.


Point of Interest

Table Rock State Park

Settlers arrived in the area shortly after the Revolutionary War. They founded Pumpkintown, named after the giant pumpkins that quickly grew in the fertile fields. Looming above the town, the 3,197′ Table Rock Mountain is an impressive geological feature with exposed granite slopes. In the 1930s, Table Rock State Park was built around the mountain.

Stop at the visitor center on the shores of Lake Oolenoy for more information about the park and to get a map of hiking trails. Day trip visitors love the Carrick Creek Trail. From the Nature Center, it’s a short hike to a cascading waterfall with a shallow pool perfect for summer splashes.

READ MORE: The 10 Best First Aid Kits for the Car

If you want more of an adventure, try the Table Rock Mountain Trail. The 6.9-mile out-and-back trail features a strenuous 2,316′ elevation change. But you’re rewarded for the effort at the summit with an overlook atop the exposed granite overlooking the reservoir.

Peak baggers might also be interested in the 7.8-mile out-and-back Pinnacle Mountain Trail. The trail ascends the 3,415′ summit of the mountain and features a waterfall and scenic overlook.


No. 5

Grant Meadows Overlook

King George III’s Proclamation of 1763 established a boundary separating the colonists and Cherokees and forbade anyone from purchasing land west of the line. But in the most brazen contempt of the king’s orders, Richard Henderson negotiated the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals in 1775, in which the Transylvania Company purchased much of present-day eastern Kentucky from the Cherokees.

It was the final straw for Dragging Canoe, a fierce warrior and son of Doublehead, one of the treaty’s signers. The following year, Dragging Canoe, with the support of hundreds of Cherokees, began attacking settlements westward of the king’s boundary. Coincidentally, this happened about the same time a fleet of British warships assaulted Sullivan’s Island on the coast.

READ MORE: Visiting Sycamore Shoals State Park in Elizabethton, Tennessee


Facing a war on two fronts, the governors of South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia reacted quickly and decisively. Expeditionary forces were assembled, and the three-pronged retaliation surged into Cherokee territory as far as present-day Tennessee. The Cherokee War of 1776 lasted mere months.

By October, Colonel Andrew Williamson returned to South Carolina and dispersed his army, having utterly annihilated all Cherokee villages. In May 1777, the remaining Cherokee chiefs met with a delegation of Georgia and South Carolina representatives at Dewitt’s Corner near present-day Due West. The Treaty of Dewitt’s Corner required the Cherokees to forfeit all land in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, forever ending their territory in South Carolina.

The Grant Meadows Overlook is a recent addition to the Cherokee Foothills Scenic Byway. The small, paved parking area features a spectacular view of the exposed granite surface of Table Rock Mountain. A nearby historical marker notes the mountain was part of Cherokee land until 1777.



Travelers Rest

After the Revolutionary War, there was a westward rush of settlers eager to move into the Appalachian Mountains. Communities quickly formed at present-day Greenville, South Carolina, and Asheville, North Carolina. In the early 1800s, a wagon road was built connecting the two settlements and continuing into Northeast Tennessee.

Travelers Rest is aptly named because it was the last place for wagoners to resupply and rest before crossing the mountains. Since then, the town has developed into a foodie destination between Greenville and the mountains.

As the Page Turns is a bookstore featuring new and used books, and it’s an excellent place for finding works by local authors and about regional history, culture, and travel. White Rabbit Fine Arts Gallery is operated by Art Upstate, a non-profit organization promoting local artisans’ work in the South Carolina Upcountry. The gallery features a collection of works for sale and hosts art shows throughout the year. RetroMarketplace is run by sisters Edith and Mary, where they sell an eclectic collection of vintage clothing, furniture, and décor.


If you’re hungry and in Travelers Rest, you’re in the best place possible. No one goes hungry in this town from a lack of options.

Start at Swamp Rabbit Brewery & Taproom. In 2014, Ben and Teresa Pierson opened the brewery, turning Ben’s 1980s hobby into a business. The tap menu typically features IPA, German-style beers, and Pilsners.

At Topsoil Restaurant, you can enjoy the food from James Beard Award nominee Chef Adam Cooke. Everything on the menu is Prix Fixe, a French term that means diners get a three-course meal for a fixed price. Andy O’Mara and Loren Frant own Monkey Wrench Smokehouse, the best place in town for wood-smoked pulled pork, brisket, and ribs, and Sidewall Pizza Company, best known for their homemade crushed tomato sauce, roasted garlic sauce, and basil pesto.

The Whistle Stop at The American Café has been owned by the same family since 1945. Today, the original owner’s granddaughter runs the restaurant that’s big on railroad décor. Their “All Aboard” burgers are inventive and delicious, the wood-fired pizzas are made to order, and they have an impressive drink menu. It’s also the only place in town with rooftop seating.

Itinerary Suggestion

Travelers Rest has excellent eateries but no lodging. The best places to stay are thirty minutes away in Greenville. Build your itinerary so you can enjoy dinner here before settling in for the night in Greenville.


Retail shops, a coffee shop, and a brewery are some of the local businesses open at Hampton Station.



In 1768, Richard Pearis became the first European settler in the region when he purchased 50,000 acres around present-day Greenville. But his tenure in the Upcountry was short-lived – after aligning himself with the British during the Revolutionary War, he was arrested and later exiled to Florida. In 1797, Lemuel Alston purchased 400 acres and founded Pleasantburg, the town that was renamed Greenville in 1821.

On your way into Greenville, take a detour to Hampton Station. Built in the early 1900s as railroad warehouses in the Water Tower District, they were eventually abandoned and left to the elements for decades until a group of friends purchased them. They worked hard renovating the industrial site into a sustainable, beautiful community hub for local restaurants and shops.


Sample the craft beer menu at Birds Fly South Ale Project. Owner and brewmaster Shawn Johnson, a former Coast Guard pilot, takes a “funk first” approach to making beer – using modern methods on classic recipes. Sit outside in the shade of trees or inside, where you can see all the brewery machines.

If you skipped a meal in Travelers Rest, this is your opportunity for great food in Greenville. White Duck Tacos began in 2011 in the River Arts District in Ashville, North Carolina. The fresh, locally-sourced ingredients, homemade sauces, and handcrafts tacos were an instant hit. Almost a dozen locations now include Nashville, TN; Mount Pleasant, SC; and Greenville.

Finish your evening with stress-relieving excitement at Craft Axe Throwing. Book one of the sixteen lanes that use World Axe Throwing League-approved targets, order a drink from the fully stocked bar, and see how well you can hit the bullseye.

Where to Stay

SpringHill Suites is a block from Main Street in downtown Greenville, convenient for walking to restaurants after check-in. The hotel features a secluded outdoor swimming pool and on-site restaurant and bar. Book with or

Courtyard by Marriott is a block from Falls Park on the Reedy and a ten-minute walk from restaurants along South Main Street. Enjoy spectacular city views from the rooms and the on-site restaurant and bar. Book with or

Hampton Inn is a block from Falls Park on the Reedy, features a terrace overlooking the river, and has the best complimentary breakfast of any major hotel chain. Book with or

Grand Bohemian Lodge is the pinnacle of lodging in Greenville. Enjoy luxury guest rooms in a building reminiscent of national park lodges and an on-site restaurant and bar. Book with or


No. 6

Upcountry History Museum

Visiting the Upcountry History Museum isn’t like visiting a history museum. For starters, the museum features life-size historical sets interpreting the region’s history, making you feel like you’re walking through history. And then there are the docents – trained staff members eager to answer your burning questions.

Learn about frontier life in the shadow of the lifelike figure of Richard Pearis, explore the issues that led to the Civil War and the Reconstruction Era that followed, and finish with an introduction to modern times in the big city. Plan to spend about 1-2 hours at the fascinating museum.

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No. 7

Falls Park on the Reedy

In November 1775, William Henry Drayton sent a shipment of gunpowder and lead intended as a gift to persuade the Cherokees to remain neutral in the American Revolution. Frontier trader Richard Pearis was tasked with supervising the delivery. However, he instead alerted Loyalists, and the shipment was stolen en route.

Suspected of his British loyalist, Pearis was arrested and sent to Charleston. While held for trial, Patriots raided his plantation and burned the house. When he was finally released about six months later, Pearis headed toward British Florida and never returned to his plantation on the Reedy River.

Pearis’ plantation included the spectacular waterfall that’s now the central feature of Falls Park on the Reedy – you can even visit one wall of the original grist mill foundation.

In 1967, the Carolina Foothills Garden Club purchased 32 acres in the heart of downtown Greenville along the river. Over the next four decades, the former industrial area was transformed into one of the most gorgeous urban parks on the east coast.

The final feature of the park was completed in 2004 – the Liberty Bridge. The curved pedestrian bridge stretches 345 feet across the Reedy River, supported by two towers and a single suspension cable on the south side of the bridge – allowing for unobstructed views of the cascading waterfall below.


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Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.
Do you have a question about travel or road trips? Are you a CVB or DMO interested in working with me? I typically respond to emails within 24 hours. Quicker if you include a good riddle.

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