Today we pulled up stakes in Georgia and headed towards Greenville, SC. I opted to take Highway 123, a two-lane highway versus the interstate. Our 2-hour drive was scenic and allowed us to make a stop at Duke’s World of Energy in Seneca, SC.
World of Energy is an educational experience in which visitors walk through interactive displays that explain how energy is created from coal, water and nuclear power. Drake and Mia found it fascinating and it was free!
Tips: They cannot accommodate large RV’s or trailers parking in their lot. We were directed to cross the highway and park in a remote lot. Have a lunch? The grounds are manicured and there are picnic tables available.
From Duke’s World of Energy, it was only another hour to our destination; Paris Mountain State Park, located in Greenville, SC.
Since our itinerary had been left open after Helen. GA, we did not have a reservation for Paris Mountain State Park. Gratefully, there were spots available when we arrived. We were told at the front entrance to make our way to the campground, select an open spot, and a park ranger would stop by to collect payment. We traveled the campsite loop looking for an outer ring campsite, however all were taken. As we studied the interior locations, none looked too level. We ended up picking site 4 as the best of the bunch. It did take longer than normal to get the trailer level but we managed to get it “close enough.”
Tip: If you are making a reservation at Paris Mountain State Park, sites 36 or 40 looked great!
The next day we headed out to explore downtown Greenville. We began our day on Main Street, a 10-block stretch lined with stores (including Mast General Store – our new favorite) and a plethora of independent restaurants. As we walked, I perused menus and vowed we would come for another visit to try some of these one-of-a-kind eateries.
What we were really interested in checking out was Falls Park on the Reedy. We made our way to Greenville’s Historic West End to check out this oasis within the city.
The park is truly a masterpiece with wooded trails lining the Reedy River and little garden areas to pause and soak in some nature. There are historic plaques throughout the park telling the stories of Greenville’s early days as a major textile center and about the grist mills that ran along the Reedy River.
We made our way to Liberty Bridge, a dramatic cantilevered suspension bridge that spans the Reedy River where the falls are located. From the bridge, we had lovely views of the falls and got some great photos from here as well.
All the walking had us hungry for lunch and I had the restaurant already selected; Brick Street Café. I am a huge coconut cake fan and I had read that Brick Street offered one of the best in the South. Lucky for us, it was a convenient walk from where had parked to enjoy Falls Park on the Reedy.
Brick Street felt homey right as we walked in. The menu offered many options; mostly soups, salads and sandwiches. I had a tuna melt that was delicious! They add red peppers to the mix that added a unique and complimentary flavor. Troy opted for “My Man Godfrey’s Roast Beef Sandwich” which was loaded with roast beef, roasted red peppers and melted Muenster cheese. There is only one option for the kids and they loved it! “Scout’s Child’s Plate” included ham, turkey, and cheese slices; served with fruit and peanut butter crackers.
Finally, it was time for cake! Drake and I ordered a slice of coconut cake to share while Troy and Mia chose a slice of “The Best Chocolate Cake I’ve Ever Had” which they loved. As for the coconut cake, it was very moist and absolutely heavenly. It was a generous slice, however, I was still sorry I had to share! We will definitely return to Brick Street Cafe the next time our travels take us to Greenville.
Tip: Greenville is also is home to Children’s Museum of the Upstate and the Greenville Zoo. Both have been added to visit next time we are in town.
Once we returned to Paris Mountain State Park, we made a stop at the Visitors Center to learn more about the park and so Drake and Mia could participate in the South Carolina State Parks Junior Ranger program. While they combed the museum for answers and worked with Park Rangers, I checked out the swimming beach. I kind of wished I had my suit as the water looked inviting, especially after walking around in the hot sun. I also saw that they have canoe rentals which looked like fun too.
Before I knew it, Drake and Mia were getting sworn in as Junior Rangers of Paris Mountain State Park!
Our time in Greenville had come to an end and we had planned to drive straight home, however, Troy had gotten a hold of a map of South Carolina State Parks and said he wanted to check out this cool state park called Dreher Island, located on islands that jut out into Lake Murray. It was pretty close to our route home and just outside Columbia, SC.
We were unable to make an online reservation last minute so we chose to just drive there and see if we could get a spot.
We didn’t learn until we got there that Dreher Island State Park has a 2-night minimum, however, since it wasn’t a weekend and they were not full, an exception was made. We paid for our spot then headed to the campground to locate a campsite.
We were told to look for a spot on the Islander Camp Circle (there are two camp circles in the park) and we located open site #95 which backed up to the shore of Lake Murray. While Troy and Drake got our water and electric hooked-up, Mia helped me prepare a nice picnic lunch to enjoy outside. It was a glorious day and to be inside just wasn’t an option.
After lunch, Drake and Mia pumped up their inflatable raft, donned their swimsuits and life jackets and headed out onto the Lake. They had a blast paddling around, splashing and screaming.
I brought my chair down to the lakes’ edge and put my feet in the water and a cool drink in my hand. It was the perfect time to think back upon this incredible summer journey. We had covered many miles and enjoyed some incredible experiences. I was looking forward to going home, however, heading home is always bittersweet. Too soon, it was time to get the kids out of the water, rinsed off and to get our final dinner on the road prepared. A last night of s’mores on an open fire before leaving for home in the morning.
Tip: There are companies that will deliver rental boats to your campsite! Contact Dreher Island State Park for participating companies.
Click here to watch Drake and Mia’s “Twin Views” report on Dreher Island State Park, SC.