One of the Most Beautiful Downtowns in the USA

When I join my husband on a business trip, since his schedule is set, I’m usually content going along for the ride. Meaning I don’t bother looking up the cities we’ll be in until we’re there. I explore whatever I can on foot and glean what the area has to give. Often I am surprised by what I discover; rarely am I disappointed.

This trip, one of his cities was Columbia and another was Greenville.

Discovering Historic Downtown Greenville was utterly delightful.

Mid-March, the trees in bud, some in brisk colors of mint green or cherry blossom pink. Main Street not only has wide sidewalks, it is a boulevard with clear street signage and banners on the corners letting you know what restaurants or attractions are located on the side streets.

There is artwork in every block—from a sculpture of Joel Roberts Poinsett (who brought Poinsettias to us from Mexico) to Il Porcellino a gift from the Young Friends of Florence, Italy. 

Select squares of the sidewalk have quotes from Anonymous to William Hazlitt.

A river and a falls.

Falls Park on the Reedy River leads you on a pleasant stroll along the river. Find it at South Main Street and Falls Park Drive. Checkout the beautifully landscaped overlooks and paths. Electing to walk the Liberty Bridge is a great way to get a unique view of the Falls. With a length of 345 feet, you have an extended time get some great snaps. Read about the work by the Carolina Foothills Garden Club and the City of Greenville to reclaim and develop this park—now twelve years old.

It was easy to imagine a warm summer evening, a concert in the park, families sprawled around the grounds laughing and enjoying the setting.

What a great street for dining.

After your park-walk, continue meandering Main Street. Several blocks long, this section of town boasts restaurants of every cuisine imaginable with very few empty store fronts. Our two evenings, we elected to dine at The Cazbah and Ristorante Bergamo. 

The Cazbah, with a Tapas menu, also has an extensive wine list for being a 10-table (more seating up stairs) restaurant. The two server/bartenders were hardworking and friendly, recommending wine and helping us with menu choices. We started with a calamari appetizer and salads. I had Seared Scallops, Alex chose Free Range Roasted Chicken—I could have devoured the mashed potatoes. The calamari was tender, not chewy and although the marinara was bland, the other sauce was quite tasty. 

My Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad contained more spinach than I could possibly eat, a tangy with slight spice dressing, and thinly sliced mushrooms. I would have preferred the ball of goat cheese un-fried, but it was very lightly done. Alex’s Hip Hop Salad was mixed greens with crumbled blue cheese and house vinaigrette. We would have loved to try a couple of the scrumptiously described desserts, but were too full.

Ristorante Bergamo has an inviting decor and welcoming staff. Scott was our server and was a delight to interact with. Alex had an Insulata Mista Stagione—the sun dried tomato made this dish. I had a Caesar Salad, which can sometimes be too plain or too lemony for me. Not so with this special salad. My main course was the Linguine al Pomodoro & Basilico. I’m not a fan of red sauce except for Pomodoro and this one did not disappoint. Alex’s Pappardelle con Porcini was as excellent—both pastas were as light as we’ve experienced in Italy.

An inviting charisma.

Warm kindness abounds in Greenville—from our dining experiences to popping into CVS for a bottle of water. Smiles are huge and eye contact the norm. And if you’re very lucky, when you’re strolling Main Street while debating the multitude of dining choices, maybe you’ll be like us and receive an impromptu a cappella serenade from a chap hanging out with his friends.

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