A new visitor to Greenville, SC, I hear of Falls Park on the Reedy, but have no idea where it is located. Walking along Main Street, I stop and ask a young woman for directions. She smiles and says it is right across the street. Indeed, Falls Park, a 32-acre crescent-shaped greenway, is nestled up against the historic West End Downtown District.
I walk down a wide set of steps and enter the park that is still alive with vibrantly colored flowers even though there is an autumn chill in the air.
The flowers and pathways winding along the Reedy River are beautiful, but the center point of the park is Liberty Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that curves around a waterfall on the river. The 355-foot long suspension bridge is supported by cables on only one side, giving an unobstructed view of the falls — a design unique in the United States.
From the bridge I am able to take in the lovely waterfalls and the expanse of the park; a treasure for residents and visitors alike. Also featured in the park are restaurants, hiking and biking paths, and artwork including a newly installed piece by Dale Chihuly, “Rose Crystal Tower.”
The West End Historic District is also home to wonderful locally-owned gift shops and clothing boutiques housed in century-old warehouses. I visit on a Monday when many stores are closed, but I find two open with unique offerings.
The Emporium is a combination upscale clothing store and gift shop. I was very impressed with the selection and made several purchases.
Another store is actually the flagship for a nationally-distributed jeans empire: beija-flor. The brain child of mother/daughter team Kathy Moore and Emily Whitaker, jeans are made for different figures, in different fabrics and in different styles including a new buttonless/zipperless style great for traveling.
Main Street offers great locally-owned restaurants as well. Soby’s New South Cuisine (try the Shrimp and Grits); Pomegranate on Main (awesome Chicken Kabob with Basmati Cranberry Rice) ; and Larkin’s on the River (try the Warm Shrimp and Crab Dip, and one of Larkin’s famous steak selections) are three excellent choices.
The charm and small-town feel of the West End Historic District is a real treasure in a large city; well worth a visit!
Where to stay: Only 10 minutes from the West End Historic District is Hyatt Place Greenville/Haywood; a beautiful hotel with a friendly and professional staff.
For more information on the West End Historic District and its many offerings including several museums click here.