A New Old Fashioned Way to Celebrate the Holidays

Spend any time in the coastal South in the colder months of the year, and you will hear it said that months that end in “R” are the time for oyster roasts. If you have ever been to these events, you know they bring good friends together for fresh shellfish, roasted over open heat. This December 1st, Upcountry Provisions’ Grove will host its first Holiday Oyster Roast, bringing all the fun of these events to Travelers Rest in a fresh way. We previously highlighted The Grove, Upcountry Provisions’ new outdoor event space in the heart of Travelers Rest, that opened this spring.

“The Holiday party is a way to close down the Grove for the year and to celebrate our first year in business,” said proprietor Cheryl Kraus. As part of the celebration, award-winning Nashville bluegrass musician Billy Strings will headline the music. “He [Strings] has won the IBMA Bluegrass Instrumentalist of the Year. A lot of people consider him to be a prodigy and that is a big deal and we are excited to have him.” There will also be a local bluegrass musician, Matt Fassas, who will open for Strings.

Photo Provided by Billy Strings Press Kit
Photo Provided by Billy Strings Press Kit

Kraus says, “The menu, in traditional oyster roast style, will have steamed oysters and a sauce bar with some fresh sauces from Chef Greg McPhee from the Anchorage. We will also have a couple of soups to keep people warm and a variety of sliders, and craft beer and a cash bar. And then we are going to have some fun desserts and a s’mores bar. We will have at least four fire pits and blankets.”  The oysters will come fresh from the Florida Gulf Coast, while the rest of the food will be crafted and cooked on site for a new way to celebrate in an old fashioned way.

The price for the event is $30 per adult and $15 for children at this family friendly event. Adding to the festive atmosphere, there will be four fire pits, scattered around the Grove.  Feel free to bring your own blankets if the night turns out to be a chilly one.

While the Grove is closing down for the season, it has been a success this year, with events scheduled two or three weekends a month. If, in 2017, you would like to plan an event to be hosted at the Grove, please visit their website. “Our vision for the Grove is to use it in two different ways. We would like to use it as a venue to bring regional acts to town. Also, we want to use it as a wedding and event space,” says Kraus.

Also, Upcountry Provisions would like to open this event up to sponsors and volunteers from local civic groups. If interested in promoting your local group, contact Cheryl at info@upcountryprovisions.com.

So if a cozy, campfire early evening with Christmas decorations hung with care and a fresh take on traditional Southern favorites lights your interests, register early for this first of its kind event here: Upcountry Provisions Holiday Oyster Roast, or pay at the door the day of the event. It promises to be one of the highlights of the Christmas season in the heart of Travelers Rest.





Writer: Jason Greer
Editor: Lacey Keigley
Disclosure: This is a post sponsored by Upcountry Provisions Bakery and Bistro.


Tigerville Comes Back to Life with Renovated General Store

Did you know the recently updated general store in Tigerville has been the community’s center gathering spot since the beginning?

If you ever find yourself traveling north along SC Hwy. 253 and look to the right, just a few hundred yards past the main North Greenville University campus entrance, you’ll see the restored Wood Building general store.

Today known as the Tigerville General Store, it’s home to a pizza and ice cream parlor, a friendly convenience store, and even a gas station. Yet for nearly 130 years, it has stood sentinel as the community gathering location for this part of northern Greenville County, northeast of Travelers Rest.

The T.P. Wood building, before it was restored to become the Tigerville General Store

Like stepping into a Rockwell painting of small town America, this building, originally the T.P. Wood Building, has seen service as a post office, general store, masonic lodge, and community gathering spot since the late 1800s. In the Civil War, in fact, this stretch of ground was used as a gathering spot for local men training for Confederate Army service. The oldest part of the building dates to 1864, when Lemuel Jennings built it.

You see, in that era, there was not a town or village until a store and post office existed first. So from there, a small cotton gin and several homes were built. A few decades later, the high school that would one day blossom into North Greenville University rose up across the road, along with the nearby Tigerville Elementary School.

But while all that happened, and the thermometer rose and fell with nearly a 150 winters, springs, summers, and autumns, the front porch at the general store became the gathering place of a community to discuss work, church, family, wars in far off places, and crops coming in.

Horse races were even held close to the building for a while in the late 1800s.

This area is known by many as the “Dark Corner.” There are many possible reasons why, but one of the more likely stories is that in the late 1800s, a politician from Greenville was giving a speech outside the store, and the crowd began to grumble and heckle him.

In response, he said, “The trouble with you people up here is that you’re dark.”

Needless to say, this became a bit of a badge of honor for the crowd, and the name has stuck for the whole rural region here in Tigerville and its nearby neighbors, up to the present.

The old T.P. Wood Store signage that hung from the storefront

T.P. Wood, a local magistrate and county sheriff’s deputy, bought the Tigerville store and building in 1917, and it remained in his family’s possession until the 1990s. From that point on, even as it became one of the few local stores for North Greenville’s students, it was known simply as the “Wood building.”

Wood was interviewed for a documentary film in 1979 about the property. He talked about the community and his law enforcement work through most of the 20th century.

“That was back when they had 10 deputies and a bookkeeper and a man to answer the phone at night,” Wood said. “Mostly you worked where you lived. So I mostly worked up here.”

And he did work “up here” for his 30 years on the police force, sometimes policing moonshine sellers, and also running the General Store with his wife.

Time took its toll, and the shop became a bit rundown. The post office moved out decades ago, and the gas station emptied. Its purpose was gone and shuttered.

But life came back to this Dark Corner property. It was acquired by the university several years ago, according to North Greenville’s former Director of Development Joe Hayes. The new country store has become part of North Greenville’s dream for the “Village at Tigerville,” which also includes Einstein Bros. Bagels and the Billingsley Theatre.

Inside the restored Tigerville General Store, local produce, convenience items, and old-timey memorabilia are available for sale.

“When the store was open, people would come and sit there [on the benches outside of the store] and talk; it was a place to meet friends, a social gathering place, and that’s one of the things that we want to restore,” said Hayes, in an interview before the store reopened in 2015.

Today, the store is open both to the local community and students looking for an area to hang out and study.

At this bar in the general store, you can order an ice cream.

Now, about 150 years after the first wood planks were built, it is now one of the few authentic country general stores owned by a college in the nation.

If you’re traveling near Tigerville, you can stop in at the Tigerville General Store for a soda or maybe some lunch, or play checkers on the front porch, after refueling your car. You’re not just stepping into a building that has seen so much over its 15 decades, but maybe you’re creating some new memories for years to come, as the front door that has swung open a million times welcomes another traveler in to rest and enjoy this crossroads.

The Tigerville General Store, October 2016

Writers: Jason Greer and Celeste Hawkins
Editor: Celeste Hawkins
Photography: Celeste Hawkins; interior photos provided courtesy North Greenville University
“Greenville Piedmont” Nov. 12, 1979
“Greer Citizen” – May 16, 1994
North Greenville College Yearbook – 1944
Tigerville General Store” by South Carolina Picture Project
“Times Examiner” – July 22, 2015

Travelers Rest Inspires This Best-Selling Author’s Fantastic Tales

If you’re new to Travelers Rest, it won’t take long before you see our small town neighborliness in action. Our deep roots of family and friendship are complemented by a drive not only to succeed, but also to see others succeed. That’s been the experience of author, blogger, and local Melinda Long.

“This is a well-loved area. Travelers Rest was always that picturesque, tiny town when I was a teenager,” recollects Melinda. “Most of us had a strong church family, as well as a whole lot of mamas and daddies. If you got into trouble at school, your parents knew about it before you got home!”

Melinda came to the Travelers Rest area as a girl, and she’s a graduate of local schools Travelers Rest High School and Furman University, where she acquired the skills to develop a career as a middle school educator.

And today, in addition to contributing as a writer to TravelersRestHere.com, she is a children’s book author. Two of her books have even been listed as New York Times bestsellers, most notably How I Became a Pirate.

It was the care of local educators that encouraged Melinda to get into education and to develop a love for telling stories.

“Everybody that went to TR High in the ’70s knew Delia Mosely. As a teacher, she was a legend,” Melinda remembers.

Melinda took Mosely for two different classes during her time in high school.

“One day, she asked me what I planned to do about college. I told her that I didn’t think my parents could afford it. ‘Well, Burr,’ she told me. ‘We’ll see about that.’ The next thing I knew, she was setting me up to meet with the financial aid person at Furman,” says Melinda.

She went on to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in education in 1982.

“Travelers Rest is like that,” Melinda says fondly. “People care about each other.”

The people of these foothills at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains have provided so much inspiration for Melinda and her career, she attests.

“Travelers Rest has given me a lot to write about, as well,” she says. “Growing up here exposed me to wonderful, interesting people. Their colorful characteristics, as well as their lifestyles, always make their way into my writing.”

Melinda has come to know the interesting people of Travelers Rest on a deeper level during her time contributing to TravelersRestHere.com over the past several months. Some of her most popular posts have highlighted firefly keeper Don Lewis, foodie Nichole Livengood, historic home owner John Walker, and graveyard wanderer Penny Forrester.

“Since I began doing this blog for TravelersRestHere.com, I’ve discovered all kinds of excitement here. It’s a fun place to be,” Melinda says.


While inspired by the past, Melinda looks ahead hopefully toward what lies ahead for this community, too.

“It’s incredible to see what’s going on. I recently attended a meeting of the Travelers Rest Artists Alliance. There’s Open Mic Night, Art on the Trail, live music in several venues, and even a newly organized theatre group. That’s just the beginning,” says Melinda, noting her fellow local artists. “I think that TR is going to be that place where people visit just for the food and entertainment, but stay because of the people. As a matter of fact, we’re already on the way.”

The DNA of this community is something that can be built on, even as it is growing and changing, she believes.

“I hope Travelers Rest continues to grow but keeps up that wonderful, small town feeling,” says Melinda, putting into words what so many of TR’s residents feel.

Note: If you’re interested in joining the TravelersRestHere.com team, we’re currently looking for a new site owner: a TR fan with a business mind and lots of pizzazz.

Renew Your Nature-Needing Soul with Two Preserves and a Poem

It’s no secret that the Travelers Rest area has some tremendous natural wonders of the southern Appalachians. And thanks to our heritage preserves, they’ll be around for future folks to enjoy a long time from now.

About Our Heritage Preserves

In northern Greenville County, besides our stunning mountain vistas, we have plants and animals that can’t be found anywhere else on earth. But for a while, some of our land was not treated as well as it could have been.

About 30 years ago, South Carolina became the first state in the nation to recognize the importance of sparing unique lands, creating a heritage trust program so that unique features could exist with little interference.

We are all familiar with state parks and national parks, and even national forests. But these heritage preserves are set aside to maintain habitats for their own sake. Of course, you can visit these areas, either for recreation or education, during daylight hours. But what’s special is that you’re just a visitor. The hand of man is supposed to be light here.

Blooms at Ashmore Heritage Preserve

Two of the areas set aside as Heritage Trust lands are located off Hwy. 276, just a few miles apart, but with very different experiences.

Bald Rock Heritage Preserve

Bald Rock is about halfway up Caesars Head mountain, on the right, going up. At about 170 acres, it features a large, sloped, exposed granite face, where you can view the foothills below and all the way past downtown Greenville. It’s one of the best accessible spots to see spectacular sunrises in the area!

Featuring plants like lichens and pines that are more at home in the mountains than the valley just a couple miles away, this spot’s a great first taste of the Blue Ridge Mountains ahead.

For many years, sadly, this rock and land has been abused. Cars and other debris were disposed of down the slope. Even today, graffiti is found on this rock.

But since the South Carolina Department of National Resources (SCDNR) took over Bald Rock, concerted effort has been made to restore and unveil this spectacular resource to some success. The restoration has been awarded for its effort.

Ashmore Heritage Preserve

A few miles away down the mountain, off Hwy. 276, and a mile up Persimmon Road, is the very much alive Ashmore Heritage Preserve. Here, just off the small parking area and behind a gate, exists over 1,100 acres of mature, hardwood forest; streams; wetland bogs; and a five-acre pond at the foot of Campbell and Green Mountains.

Ashmore Heritage Preserve

Rare plants, like the turkey beard, and some types of orchids and even pitcher plants exist alongside creatures such as the rare Rafinesque’s big-eared bat and other waterfowl. It’s very quiet here, and remoteness like this is not to be missed if you get the chance!

School groups are encouraged to come up here, and there are educational aids from the SCDNR that can help plan student research into how these creatures thrive in this set-aside land.

There’s also a lightly traveled trail that passes through here that does go all the way up to Caesars Head that can be quite strenuous. But the rewards are tremendous, especially in the spring and fall, with mountain vistas and rare plants blooming.

A Poem on the Love of the Land

If you get the opportunity to see Bald Rock or Ashmore, know that many in this area loved this land. They wanted you and generations to come to experience its wonder, and for its natural inhabitants to be left to thrive.

The Ashmore land, in particular, was set aside due to the forethought of Richard Ashmore, Sr., who owned and loved this land. He wanted its unique features set aside in perpetuity.

In fact, he even wrote a poem that sums up his thoughts on the land, inscribed on a monument that still stands in his namesake preserve today:

Leaves are dancing in the wind as the branches nod and sway
As though each twig would like to say,
”Welcome, Friend; it’s a delightful day.”
And may these trees remain uncut,
And may this land stay free and clear;
And may God’s creatures roam and feed without the thought of fear.
Yes, it’s great to look upon a tree and feel the thrill God has for us to see;
Or to be shaded by its leafy arms
As well as thrilled by its lofty charms.
Here, the supreme Architect of all creation
Raised his hand to morning bright
And renewed my soul with nature’s great delight.

Refinery29 recently called us “the place to go when you need to clear your head.” We think they’re right! Ashmore and Bald Rock Preserves are just a few of the great places in/near TR for clearing your head, renewing your soul, whatever you want to call it. Where do you go in our area to do that?

Wildcat Wayside: What the Ultimate Rest Stop Should Be

Today, if you want to take a quick rest on a car journey, you can pull off to a fast food restaurant or a stand-alone rest area alongside the interstate. Nothing is really fancy or memorable about these places. But that hasn’t always been the case.

Our modern-day rest stops are, by nature, utilitarian and spare. Just a place to stretch your legs, grab a snack, and keep on moving.

But what if a rest area was, by nature, more natural and expansive? What if it were more than spare, but a peek into local wonders just off the roadside, like these hills of northern Greenville County?

Well, if you happen to travel along U.S. Highway 276, just a mile or so south of the intersection with Scenic Highway 11, then you’ll find a remnant of a 1930s rest area that’s now a part of the state park system. It’s called Wildcat Wayside State Park, and it’s the kind of place a rest stop really should be.


Wildcat Wayside 2


At Wildcat Wayside, seemingly just a pull-off by the road, with space for no more than a dozen cars to park, you’ll be greeted by a waterfall tumbling out of the woods.

For many locals, the water pool you see from the road is the first swimming hole they remember as a child on hot summer days. For that alone, it’s a place of fond childhood memories for many.

And, yes, you can find vendors on-site selling Southern boiled peanuts and flavored shaved ice. But take a step into the canopy, and there will be unveiled little wonders of these hills, in a space set aside in a hard time.

You see, during the Great Depression, the U.S. National Park Service created six waysides in South Carolina; they were an experiment, really, for the public to have a reason to stop, picnic, hike — all in an era when there really were no restaurants or other amenities in this area.


Wildcat Wayside 5


Until this time, there had been no real state parks to visit. And until the paving of U.S. Highway 276, this was a very remote area. The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), under supervision of the U.S. Army, was enlisted to build and modify these locations, largely to provide work opportunities for unemployed young men.

The 60 or so acres that make up Wildcat Wayside are a still-standing testament to this history and of the wonders of our foothills woodlands. This wayside was meant to demonstrate that small, preserved areas really could introduce the increasingly urban public to the natural wonders of the area.

As you continue along past two waterfalls at Wildcat Wayside, you follow the trail to a flat stone area with a lone chimney. A picnic shelter stood here, where travelers could eat a meal or rest by the fireplace. The shelter has long since been demolished, but even now you can see how well this structure was made, using local stone.


Wildcat Wayside 3


From this point, the trail really gets interesting. You come to a fork in the trail, as it’s about a 3/4-mile loop ahead, which circles the little valley of the Wildcat branch of the South Saluda River.

Taking the loop in a counterclockwise direction is a popular way to view the falls ahead. The trail is well worn, but the forest is dense. This means that for much of this hike, especially during the growing season, you’ll be able to hear the water running over the rocks below, but rarely see it. After storms, the sound of water rushing can create quite a roar.

But there are two wonderful exceptions to rarely seeing the water on this trail. If you take the left fork of the trail, about a third of a mile up the hill, you will come across the Upper Wildcat Falls. The reveal of the falls is a bit sudden, but it’s a 100-foot-high wall of granite, looking straight up.

Please be very careful here. More than a handful of folks have been severely injured by getting too close and attempting to climb up these falls.


WIldcat Wayside 7


Continuing on the trail, just a few hundred yards ahead, is another waterfall at the saddle of the little valley, and it more closely resembles the two waterfalls at the entrance to the park. It’s a good place to sit, listen, rest for a moment, and observe the plant and animal life. There are some rarer plants in this little valley, and if you hike at different times of the year, you will see some interesting blooms.

From here, the trail widens, and it’s a downhill trek back to the park entrance. Someone in reasonable shape can hike the trail in half an hour or so, and it’s a good hike even for small children or some older folks, too.

In a sense, this is now a pocket state park — having all the elements of its much larger South Carolina cousins, but in a bite-sized portion. While its mission has changed a bit from its creation as a wayside rest area, its purpose really has not.

In many ways, a half hour here at Wildcat Wayside is more restful than hours spent at the rest areas we know today.


Wildcat Wayside 1

Writer: Jason Greer
Editor: Celeste Hawkins
Photography: Jason Greer

This Woodsy Hangout is the Best New Thing in Travelers Rest

What do you get when you take some of the best things about Travelers Rest — good food, culture, and time with friends — and put them all together in one space?

You get The Grove.

The Grove is a brand new event venue recently created by the entrepreneurial folks at local eatery Upcountry Provisions. It’s the latest example of all these things coming together in that special way that only Travelers Rest can do.

What was just a wooded, overgrown lot a few months ago is quickly becoming one of the most exciting new event spaces in northern Greenville county, thanks to the hard work of a dedicated couple well known around town for their tasty food at Upcountry Provisions Bakery and Bistro.


The Grove at Upcountry Provisions 2


About five years ago, Stephen and Cheryl Kraus opened their local eatery in a small building on State Park Road that seemed, at the time, unsuited for a restaurant. But with some vision, teamwork, and a relentless approach to try new ideas, they have been a significant part of the refreshing of Travelers Rest’s downtown area.

“I lived in Travelers Rest while studying at Furman and loved the small-town charm that was developing,” says Cheryl. “Steve saw the economic and community benefit of a rails-to-trails project in St. Louis prior to moving to South Carolina. So together, we believed that the city of Travelers Rest, combined with the expansion of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, would create a great location for our restaurant.”

Now, they’re expanding their concept by revitalizing the lot next door and creating The Grove, where, in coming months and years, they hope to create a gathering location for events like receptions; company get-togethers; and even intimate concerts.

“When the property next door to our restaurant became available, we immediately latched onto the vision of extending our offering to the community in and around Travelers Rest,” explains Cheryl. “It certainly has felt like launching a new business in that we started with a rock piece of land that needed power, water, development — which is similar to when we leased the three-bay garage building that is now retrofitted into our restaurant.”


Stephen and Cheryl Kraus 3


“We really want to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary,” says Stephen.

And that is exactly what they’ve been doing in this lot for the last few months in a space that is quickly taking shape. The Grove features an open, grassy area; small stage; lights hanging from trees above; blooming rose bushes; hand-hewn tables; and a restored creek, too.

“We hope to create an intimate outdoor venue that is available for both musicians and parties, that both beautifies and helps develop the current ecosystem that exists on the land,” says Cheryl.

The new Grove site is a way to bring a sense of the woods into Travelers Rest’s little downtown, too. This may just be the start of structures that blend in with the environment and become a catalyst for memories yet to be made under our Southern sky.

“There really isn’t a place like this in Travelers Rest,” says Cheryl.


The Grove at Upcountry Provisions 1


Over the next few months, you can expect to see The Grove continue to develop and grow. The plans are to have it be the site of Upcountry Provision’s Friday night Community Concert series, which now happens on the site of the bakery at the recently expanded patio area. A handful of picnic tables and also longer tables with real tree bar stools invite guests to enjoy their meals, and the music, outdoors.

But the first big event coming to The Grove will actually be Bovinoche (which translates to “the night of the cow”) on the afternoon and evening of Saturday, May 14, 2016. There will be music and some of Upcountry Provision’s wonderful and beloved appetizers and desserts.

The real show-stopper for this event, though, will be open-roasted beef, goat, and even llama. (Yes, we said llama.) It’s all part of what promises to be an extraordinary, slow-roasted meat event. Renowned pitmaster Jeff Bannister has toured regionally, introducing many to whole, slow-roasted meats that will be sure to please all the senses. Whether you’ve met these meats or you’re about to, you won’t want to miss it.

(Hey! We’ve even got a special, exclusive discount for Bovinoche right here for our blog readers at TravelersRestHere. You can buy your tickets knowing that this event, the first of many gatherings in this space, will benefit Meals on Wheels and also the Green Beret Foundation.)


Click on this event flyer to learn more about Bovinoche and to get an exclusive discount from TravelersRestHere.


To get your tickets (plus an exclusive $20 discount) for Bovinoche, visit our events listing.

If you’re interested in inquiring how Upcountry Provision’s Grove site could make your upcoming event extraordinary, then please contact Cheryl Kraus at info@upcountryprovisions.com.


Writer: Jason Greer and Celeste Hawkins
Editor: Celeste Hawkins
Photography: Jason Greer
Disclosure: This is a post sponsored by Upcountry Provisions Bakery and Bistro. In addition, our writer was invited as a member of the media to Bovinoche for free. All opinions are our own.]

Have You Heard These Funny Phrases in Travelers Rest?

The often colorful Scots-Irish descendants who live in northern Greenville County today — located at the end of the Appalachian Mountains — have surprisingly held onto and still use many of the words and phrases that originated in their ancestors’ motherland — words and phrases that haven’t been used widely since the time of Shakespeare!

Have you ever visited a new location and heard a local use an expression that seems weird or foreign, yet familiar at the same time? Even in an age of mass media, where we increasingly operate off the same “song sheet,” so to speak, local expressions can catch us off guard. These idioms and expressions can tell us a lot about how a people live and what they value, or even make us join in on a joke.

The same is true right here in the northern Greenville area, in towns like Travelers Rest, Cleveland, and Blue Ridge.

Richard Powell — a retired landscape design business owner who lives in the valley below Caesar’s Head — first moved to this area over 30 years ago. Being a local but not a native, he is still sometimes surprised at the phrases people use in this area.

“I’ve heard the phrase ‘Go over yonder and get something,’ with very little description of the thing or where yonder was,” Richard says.

The word yonder is one of these adverbs that has its roots in British villages of 500 years ago.




In his career, Richard often heard people describe strange and uncertain situations as like “looking through the bottom of a whisky bottle,” where the world is very blurred — not only referring to the distorted vision through blurred glass, but in reference to the whisky distilling that many are familiar with in these hills.

“He ain’t wire right” is often used to laughingly talk about someone else being eccentric, says Richard. In this case, it is a modern phrase with archaic pronunciation, where the word wire has the Scots-Irish dropping of the “r” sound.

Another useful but archaic word in use here in northern Greenville is nary, as in the phrase, “Nary a one of the older folk remains from those days,” where nary is a quite old British word to emphasis “none.”

You see, the euphemisms and accents here don’t just convey information, but they’re useful to express an idea that may not be apparent on first hearing, or maybe it might take years to grasp. Someone may be underlining something with a phrase that can pass unnoticed in an age of precise, standard definitions.

As another example, in Richard’s career, he frequently heard of people being “ill,” which had nothing to do with their physical health, but was more of a gentle way to say that they were known to have a bad temper. Some linguists say that ill has been used this way since the 1300s in northern England. So again, it’s a quite archaic speech pattern that continues to be used in this Southern subregion.

Frequently in modern media, the speech folkways of the southern Appalachians are used to represent isolated areas in perhaps an unfavorable light. But even this shows how language changes, as these phrases in these hills bear a striking resemblance to how they were once used by the highest ranking nobles of Scottish and English aristocracy hundreds of years ago!

So I reckon the next time you are going a piece along our parts, and you meet some smart folks, don’t be skittish! You are hearing an old tongue used in colorful ways.

What other funny, strange, or interesting phrases have you heard the natives and locals use in Travelers Rest and its neighbor towns? Feel free to share in the comments below.


Writer: Jason Greer
Editor: Celeste Hawkins
Photography: Featured image – Public domain; scenic image – Jason Greer
More Reading – The Dialect of the Appalachian People by Wylene P. Dial

These Brave Hang Gliders Make Flying Look Awesome

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see northern Greenville County from high above, like the birds that hover over us? Adventure-seekers who hang glide off Glassy Mountain don’t have to wonder. They actually do it.

Glassy Mountain — which rises to about 2,700 feet — serves as the home base and launching point for the official South Carolina Hang Gliding Association.

Here, skilled hang gliding pilots soar and rise over the hills of Greenville and Pickens Counties and see this stunning landscape in ways that are hard to imagine from our perspective below.

“We fly relatively slow and have a full, wide-open view to our front, sides, and below,” says Steve Tedstone, one of the leaders of the South Carolina Hang Gliding Association. “For the most part, hang gliding is a floating experience with a panoramic view like no other.”



The South Carolina Hang Gliding Association has been active for nearly 40 years, hosting frequent launches from Glassy Mountain in Landrum on pleasant South Carolina days. From their launch point on the peak, pilots take off towards the south, where they depend on warm air rising from the ground for lift.

It might surprise those outside of hang gliding, but strong winds are not that welcome for hang gliders. The power of these flights comes from the subtle interaction of rising warm air meeting the cooler air higher up.

Spring and autumn are the best seasons here in the Upstate for flying, and volatile summer is the worst time.

Flights can last as little as 15 minutes and as long as an hour. Even two hours can happen, depending on the hang glider’s skill level, general conditions, and just the luck of the day.

Glassy Mountain is rated for H-3 level hang gliders or above, meaning it is of a medium difficulty level for this sport. Any visiting flyers must be current with their U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) membership; sign waivers; bring a working reserve parachute; and be accompanied by a local, experienced pilot.

So how does Steve describe what it’s like to pilot up there?

“The air is like the ocean. It can be super smooth or incredibly rough,” says Steve. “On a rough, white-knuckle day, lots of turbulence, flying can be quite terrifying and landing even worse. On a good, smooth day, it is a euphorian experience that you want to experience again and again.”




The hang gliding site at Glassy primarily serves pilots from South Carolina and northeast Georgia. While there are technically better sites for pilots at places like Lookout Mountain, near Chattanooga, or in several places in Virginia, soaring over our South Carolina foothills has its own rewards.

“Springtime is best: warm air on launch, but very cold if you manage to climb 5,000 feet over the mountaintop, which can happen on a good spring day if you are a skillful pilot. Trees are lush green, hundreds of dogwoods are blooming, and bright grey rock cliffs glisten in the sunlight,” says Steve. “The view is quite beautiful, especially if you gain enough altitude to look down on the Greenville watershed.”

If you meet the South Carolina Hang Gliding Associations’ requirements, you too can soar over the closed-off forest of our watershed, see the trees and hills from above like a soaring hawk, and experience the thrill of the sport from this unique South Carolina location.

And even if you’re not a pilot, and you just happen to see one of these gliders soaring above as you drive along northern Greenville’s backroads, then know that someone is having the thrill of a lifetime, a dream in the air.

“Hang gliding is a dream come true. Almost everyone dreams of floating around in the air as a child. When flying a hang glider, this becomes a reality,” says Steve.

To learn more, visit the South Carolina Hang Gliding Association’s website.


Writer: Jason Greer
Editor: Celeste Hawkins
Photography: South Carolina Hang Gliding Association

Do You Know These 10 Facts about Campbell’s Covered Bridge?

It’s one of the only remaining covered bridges in America. And Travel and Leisure calls it one of the most beautiful.

Like going back in time, a visit to Campbell’s Covered Bridge crosses you over to a bygone era of dirt roads and horse-drawn wagons. At one point, there were four covered bridges in the state of South Carolina — all built to provide safe passage over water and shelter from harsh weather conditions you might meet along your journey.

Of the four bridges, only Campbell’s Covered Bridge remains today, located in an idyllic setting in Landrum, S.C.

Just like South Carolina’s covered bridges, the covered bridges across the U.S. have slowly disappeared, too. Today, Campbell’s Covered Bridge is also one of only 1,500 or so remaining covered bridges in America.

This picturesque South Carolina landmark has more to it than just rarity:

1. End of an Era

Campbell’s Covered Bridge was first built in 1909, in the last days before cars and state roads came to the rural extremities of Upstate South Carolina. Local builder Charles Willis designed the bridge.

2. Bridge Ices Before Road . . . or Not

The main reason to cover a bridge is that the roof protects the bridge deck from harsh weather elements. So in the long run, you’ll need to do much less maintenance.

Unlike concrete bridges today, a covered bridge usually will not ice over on the main deck.


3. Necessity, the Mother of Invention

Until Campbell’s Covered Bridge ridge was built, people, horses and wagons crossed the stream here — Beaverdam Creek — at a nearby shoal.

Later, a wooden, flat bridge was built across the ford before a 1908 flood washed it away.

4. Heavier than It Looks

All told, Campbell’s Covered Bridge weighs in at an estimated 100,000 pounds.

5. When Cutting Corners is Okay

In the early 20th century, the settlements in Greenville’s mountains needed better ways to get their agricultural products to market. This covered bridge turned a 25-mile, all-day trip for some into a trip that could be made in an hour instead.

6. Grist for Grinding

The “Campbell” that the bridge is named for is believed to be Alexander Campbell (1836 – 1920), a local grist mill operator, whose mill was located less than 100 feet away from the bridge.

Farmers would come from miles around to grind their grain at Campbell’s mill in Landrum.


7. Preserved for History

Local land owner Sylvia Pittman sold the acreage around Campbell’s Covered Bridge to Greenville County in 2005 so it could be preserved as a historic site.

In 2009, the bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

8. Riding Roughshod

Campbell’s Covered Bridge starred in a scene in the ’70s B movie A Day of Judgement by horror filmmaker Earl Owensby. In the film, an avenging angel rides a horse over the span.

9. Quiet Recreation

Now maintained by Greenville County Recreation, the bridge and the land around it offer a quiet park to enjoy this historic structure and the nature around it.

Visitors to the area can also visit the foundations of Campbell’s grist mill and the later Smith house.

10. Unforgettable

Campbell’s Covered Bridge today serves as a marker for a way of life that has long gone. No longer needed as a road, the bridge was closed to vehicles in the early 1980s.

But its bold, red-painted wood will stand out in our memories for a long time to come.


Writers: Jason Greer and Celeste Hawkins
Editor: Celeste Hawkins
Photography: Featured image — Mld74 on Wikimedia.org

Helpful Sources
A History of the Upper Part of Greenville County, South Carolina by Mann Batson
“Campbell’s Covered Bridge” on GreenvilleRec.com
“Campbell’s Covered Bridge, Greenville County (123 Campbell Covered Bridge Rd., Gowensville vicinity)”. National Register Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History.
Greenville: The History of the City and the County in the South Carolina Piedmont by Archie Vernon Huff, Jr.