Thursday, July 30, 2015


It is Thursday and time to head home. Woke up to a sunny day and not too hot at 8:00 am. I decided to take a walk and headed down Main Street to the falls. Tried a few side streets and admired the beautiful gardens and floral arrangements. I recently got a FitBit and tracking my steps. I also use Map My Walk on my iPhone. Anyway I am walking more and did over two miles this morning. Came back, showered, had some tea and packed. We left and vowed to return as there is so much more to see and enjoy in this interesting town.

Driving home we passed through Columbia, the state capital. I have been anxious to visit the art museum which has an Andy Warhol exhibition. Jeff was not interested so I parked him in a shady spot and walked a few blocks to the museum. Really enjoyed the artwork and commentary. The exhibit was small, but definitely worth the stop.

We continued on towards home and arrived safely. I had time to unpack my bag and water the parched plants before heading out to a rehearsal for the 2015 Follies.

Song title today from the Beatles in honor of Andy Warhol's paintings of Chairman Mao.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tupelo Honey

Yea, it is Wednesday and our day to tour the BMW plant. We slept late and drove over towards Greer. This is another cute little town nestled in lush, upstate South Carolina. We had a plan to drive some country roads, but ended up only going as far as Campbell's Covered Bridge. Built in 1909, it is the last covered bridge in the state. Only 35 feet long and 12 feet wide it is "an excellent example of a four span Howe truss."

Being careful not to miss our appointed tour time we headed back to Greer and had lunch at a pizza joint. On to the BMW plant where we were immediately impressed by the grounds and enormity of the plant, about 1,050 acres. We spent some time checking in and exploring the Zentrum, which is their museum and cafe building. They have some cool motorcycles and cars on display here, including an Isetta. This teeny car had a one cylinder engine with 13 horsepower and could go up to 50 miles per hour. It came in a coupe, sedan and convertible. It could also pull a tiny trailer. A great way to travel in the early 1950's. My parents had a friend who came to visit with her son in his Isetta. He took my mom for a ride and she returned saying she felt like a milkshake. I always remember how the entire front opened to be the door.

At 2:00 our group of 10 were given clear goggles and headphones. Our guide, Shanna, walked us over to the body shop where robots amazed us. Most of the initial welding and work on the car bodies  is done here with no human interaction. Later workers get involved with loading parts for the robots. Each vehicle is made to order and the parts are all ready for that particular car of SUV. BMW keeps no inventory and suppliers keep a constant stream of parts coming to the plant.

The entire procedure was mind boggling and true perfection. The facility ran flawlessly and they produce 1300 vehicles each day. After our walk we went to another building where we were whisked through on a tram. The seats and console are from the SUV and very comfy. We saw the drive trains after their painting being assembled. All the electronics, seats and tires are done in this building. The finished cars are then loaded right onto a rail line and transported to their owners. What an amazing tour and I highly recommend it.

Now it was extremely hot today and at 4:00 we headed back to Greenville to rest. A nap was just perfect. Later we walked down Main Street and had dinner at Tupelo Honey. This restaurant is cutesy, mountain decor and part of a small chain that started in Asheville. Fresh biscuits with Tupelo honey and blueberry preserves started off the meal which only got better. I had a nutty, fried chicken breast and still smacking my lips. Came with a tempting choice of sides. I had baked mac and cheese and quinoa with blueberries, mint and feta cheese. Incredibly delicious and I could not finish, although I tried. Jeff had traditional fried chicken and declared it really good. Did some strolling to get rid of a pound or two and back to the hotel to sleep.

More statues and a view of the upper falls.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Long and Winding Road

Woke up to sunny skies and decided to forgo the museums this morning and take a ride in the upcountry. Our route took us west and north towards the highest altitudes of South Carolina. We passed through the the town of Pickens and drove to the grist mill which was closed. On to a waterfall which we never found on two tries. I got spooked when a ratty pickup pulled out and took off at a high speed. A large confederate flag was attached to the bed and rippling in the breeze.

We saw a sign for Sassafras Mountain and turned to ascend the highest peak in our state. A treacherous, curvy road which took us to a hiking trail head with a lookout. This was not the correct road with the visitor center. We looked out and it was getting a little overcast, but a beautiful vista.

Lots of hardwood and pine trees  and on a clear day you can see Georgia and North Carolina. Headed back down the mountain in a low gear.

Next stop was Table Rock state park with a lovely visitor center and clean bathrooms. It was sad to see the map of their camping loops since we are no longer campers. Luckily we decided not to go into the park and take the 4 mile hike to the famous mountain. Instead we opted for a recommended place for lunch which was pretty lame, but rustic. We left just as it started to rain. Then it started to pour and never let up. We drove slowly and passed through Travelers Rest and the Furman University campus. Could not see much through the driving rain and somehow got back to the hotel. I had to stay in the car for a long time till I could run for the door without getting completely soaked.

A nice nap under warm sheets was just what we needed to fix our wet bodies. Now it is after 5:00 and the sun is shining. Time to go for a walk and some food. We decided on the Blue Ridge Brewing Company and enjoyed a comfortable place with good food. Afterwards we walked down to the falls to see them with the lights on. Not too exciting, however we did find another mouse with a little help from some young tourists. This one was peeking down from a metal frame.

Along Main Street are many statues and informative plaques. We enjoyed learning about a former Mayor, Max Heller. As a young man he escaped Europe and the Holocaust and ended up in Greenville. He became successful in business, politics and as a visionary in creating this beautiful downtown.

This statue and plaza is dedicated to the desegregation of the county high school.

One area has metal  plates set in the sidewalk with famous quotations and interesting sayings. Lots to see and do here. A bit of TV finished off the evening.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Smoke on the Water

Easy to pick a song title today as that is also the name of the restaurant where we ate dinner. Well here we are in Greenville, SC. This is a short and much needed getaway to an area that is loved by all our friends who have visited. Greenville is located in the northwest corner of the state near the foothills of the Appalachians and near the Blue Ridge Mountains and Parkway. We are about an hour or so from Asheville, NC.

We spent about five hours driving here on country roads that passed through tiny towns and a few small towns. Notably was Aiken, which is known as an equestrian community with many horse events during the year. It was lovely with a wide, grassy median dividing the Main Street in town, beautiful houses and gardens were everywhere as well as horse statues.

Arrived mid afternoon and checked into our hotel on the Main Street. We are already impressed with the wide, shady street full of restaurants and shops.

After resting for a while we walked a few blocks down hill toward the Reedy River and waterfalls which are the main tourist attraction. Along the way we search for mice! There are nine tiny brass mice hidden along the street and the object is to find them all. We found six and will look for the rest tomorrow.  My favorite is one resting under a state of General Green for whom the town is named. This little guy is wearing a tri-cornered hat and playing a drum, just like Yankee Doodle and his pals.

We passed the river and went uphill into the West historic district to have dinner at Smoke on the Water. Great choice as it is a comfortable place with a great menu and delicious food. I had crab cakes with a loaded potato cake, squash casserole and cole slaw. Jeff had prime rib and all this came with corn bread and a talkative and interesting waiter. I also had a drink- a pointsettia. Named for the flower which is named for James Poinsett who brought the flowers here from Mexico. Here I am sitting with his statue.

Outside the restaurant in the Historic District is a statue of "Shoeless Joe Jackson." He was a native of Greenville and they have this statue and a museum dedicated to this hometown hero.

After dinner we walked to the falls and over the interesting suspension bridge. Sat for a while admiring the beauty and gardens.

On the walk home we stopped at Marble Slab Creamery to cap the day off with some ice cream. Met some nice people today and saw some new and beautiful places.