Aunt and Uncle Fun 2010

Every year for my nephew’s birthday, we take him away to spend some quality time with us. This year we took him to Greenville SC for some baseball fun.

Enjoying the boys of summer

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vampirefan on September 11, 2010

When John and I picked Greenville as this years trip with my nephew, we chose it since he plays baseball and given we could also add waterfall spotting to the agenda. When I told Elijah we were taking in a game, he was super excited.

Unlike many of the other teams we have seen, the Greenville Drive has a relatively short history. Originally the team was the Shelby Reds in 1960. In 1983 the team moved from Shelby NC (near my hometown) to Columbia SC, where they were the Columbia Mets. In 1993 to honor the members of the Doolittle Raiders, who had their initial training Columbia, the team changed its name to the Bombers. As the Bombers they would go on to win the South Atlantic League Championship in 1986, 1991, and again in 1998.

In 2004 the team changed their affiliation and became the Class A farm team to the Boston Red Sox’s. The following year it was announced the team would be relocating to Greenville SC where they would play at the municipal stadium until their stadium would open in 2006. When the team moved they would once again change their name, this time to the current name, the Drive. The name was chosen due to the presences in the automobile industry (BMW had just opened up a plant in nearby Spartanburg).

When they moved to Greenville it was decided to open the stadium in the heart of the historic downtown area. Fluor Field was built in the historic west end amongst the cities every growing downtown area. In 2006 the field was name the "Ballpark of the Year" by The stadium has the same dimensions of the major league affiliates, the beloved Fenway Park. Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin became the first player selected to the All-Stars Future Game in 2008.

On this night the team would take on the Rome GA Braves, affiliates guessed it..The Atlanta Braves. This is a touchy subject around my family, who are all major die-hard Braves fans! We have some pretty sweet seats behind the home base. Like most other games there are plenty of things going on in between innings. There are games for the whole family and a dance off between the mascot (Reedy the frog) and a "bat boy. They have a gift shop both inside the stadium and outside. We stopped on the way in at the gift shop and purchased drinks along with souvenirs. No one told us when ewe purchased the drinks to save the receipt. Thankfully we did, as we started to enter the gentleman who took our tickets asked for our receipts for the drinks! Make sure you save yours.

There is parking on the premises and there are spots in the downtown area if you want to dine and then walk to the game. The have food at the game and there are plenty of dining options downtown before or after the game.


Love it or hate it Loved can you not.

On this night we had a great time as the Drive spanked the Braves 14-3. It was a great night, my nephew loved the game, and it is a cheap family outing.
Greenville Drive at Fluor Field
945 South Main Street
Greenville, South Carolina, 29605
(864) 240-4500

Paradise in downtown

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vampirefan on September 11, 2010

While the Liberty Bridge may be manmade, the Reedy River that runs through the park is the genuine thing. In 1773, shortly after settling into the area, Richard Peris purchased 10 acres from the native Cherokee tribe. Later he would operate a Grist Mill on the Upper Falls. Then in 1852 Furman Institute (now Furman University) set up and operated 3 textile mills and a cotton warehouse, They would run the operation until the 1900’s.

After years of neglect and polluting the river, the Carolina Foothills Garden Club set about to the restore the area. In 1967 the club purchased 26 acres with the intention of turning into a public park. Over the next 40 years the club along with the city and planning committee, and Furman University worked at cleaning up the river and restoring the Falls Cottage. In 1990, landscape architect, Andrea Mians, would start the process of turning the area into a public attraction. It was her idea to incorporate gardens with a pedestrian bridge to connect both sides of the falls.

On September 4, 2004, Mayor Knox H. White opened the spectacular 4.5 million dollar Liberty Bridge and the 13.4 million dollar gardens to the public. The following year at the International Bridge Conference, the Liberty bring was honored with Arthur G. Hayden Medal for outstanding achievement in bridge engineering.

The bridge is 345 feet long, 12 feet wide and 8 inches thick. The concrete deck is supported by a single suspension cable. The distinctive curve is 214 feet and supported by 90 foot towers weighing 26 tons. The towers lean at a 15 foot angel.

At the entrance of the park guests can admire Bryan Hunt’s sculpture, Falls Lake Falls . It is one of 3 editions with the original being in Tokyo. This sculpture is the only one on this continent.

This is truly a spectacular place in the historical downtown area. There are a number of hotels that can be found offer some lucky guests unbelievable views with their stay. You will find all kinds of restaurants to give you some energy for walking around the park. Some such as the Overlook Grill even offer views as well with some great dining. There is also plenty of unique shopping

Then there natural settings. Oh my, this is the place to kick of your shoes, and curl up your toes in the grass and for a moment, enjoy being a kid again. Go over to the rivers edge and wade in the river along with the ducks. The path is lined with cooling trees and yummy flowers everywhere you look. There are so many flowers that it is a botanical wonderland. As you walk to the base of the falls, you will want to scrabble along the rocks to get an awesome view of the falls. Or if that is too much for you, then just go on out to the shallow pool that has developed. You will find lots of other people joining you as we seen all ages out enjoying the waters on the hot weekend. There are several other bridges here giving you plenty of places to take some amazing pictures. Which of course means it is truly a spectacular for formal pictures. As witness by several groups out taking formals pictures including a bridal party, Quinctera party, and a group of lovely ladies I formal gowns.

You can rent places out for formal events. There are garden tours offered. They hold a number of events through out the year. You should also visit the site in the evening as well as the place is bathed in soft white lights giving in ethereal beauty.


Do I recommend it? I most certainly do!

For a terrific place to enjoy nature at it’s finest, just come on out to Falls Park at the Reedy.
Falls Park on the Reedy River
615 South Main Street
Greenville, South Carolina, 29601
(864) 467-4350

Whole Lotta Cute in One Spot

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vampirefan on September 11, 2010

For 50 years now locales and visitors have been enjoying the cute critters that call the Greenville Zoo home. The zoo covers 14 acres with hundreds of (mainly) cute critters of varying species.

The big animals here include a couple of giraffes, elephants, a beautiful leopard, and a lion and his mate. Neither of which cared to pose for pictures so at least when I was here you got a butt shot. They have numerous birds including a Toucan, which is my nephew’s favorite. My favorite, the flamingos, have a spacious place to roam and wade. Near them you will find crocodiles and huge snapping turtles.

My nephew’s favorite was the reptiles building. Here guests (mainly the male guests) can see all varieties of slithering snakes as well as scary spiders and more girly friendly turtles and frogs. In African I found the amazing and wonderful orangutan. This sweet and amazing guy just made me want to put my arms around him and protect him from the world. Then there is an adorable baby playing on a swing and having a great time.

Visitors of all ages enjoy the barnyard. Guests can feed and or pet some snuggleable goats, there is a very sweet and adorable pot bellied pig (who is on a diet though) and some chickens will be glad to take your wafers. In additional to all this there are beautiful gardens and trees throughout the park. But one unnerving sign I was spotted was "snake crossing", which I can only assume doesn’t mean the ones safely behind the glass! Yikes!

The zoo does have restrooms, shelters for picnics, and concession stands. They do have a very nice gift shop and they also sell the elephant "poo" paper, just like I picked up at the Columbia Zoo! And bring two quarters and a shiny penny for the squashed penny machine. They do hold a number of events through out the year, zoo camp, and even spend the night at the zoo (which Elijah’s class is getting ready to do). You can also hold special events here or have a birthday party here.

I do say this as a reminder with each zoo I review. They are a member of the AZA which means they have strict standards in regards to the treatment of their charges. And they do take great care of their animals and the animals are kept on open and spacious accommodations and only critters such as birds are changed (and then they have nice comfy cages). And they participate in conservation programs.


I guess you liked it? It is a zoo full of cuddly critters..of course I had a ball.

While this as a smaller zoo compared to others I have visited, it is none the less equally enjoyable. I am sure you will find that you will enjoy it too!
Greenville Zoo
150 Cleveland Park Drive
Greenville, South Carolina, 29601
(864) 467-4300

Beauty that seems like a world away.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vampirefan on September 11, 2010

Just about 30 minutes outside of Greenville you will find yourself almost a million miles away from the urban area. You will find yourself in the beauty in the SC Upstate. There are several parks within the area.

Our original destination was Cesar Head State Park. My nephew now loves waterfalls and really wanted to see some and we knew there were several waterfalls within the park. We arrived at the park’s ranger station. When we finally got squeezed into one of the few parking spaces to be found with all the construction going on. We ran up to the restrooms before hitting the trail. I go look at the information board to try to find a trail map. There is a large one, but not small ones we can take with us. So we head across the road to another information board to see if there were any maps.

None here either. And it looks like by the map, the shortest trail would be 2 ½ miles. Now John and I wouldn’t have worried but we knew Elijah wouldn’t be up to the hike. When we came back from the restrooms, we noticed that the ranger station is not open. While studying the second board across the road, we spy a ranger. So we run across the road to enable his assistance. He tells us that DuPont State Forest is about 2.5 miles down the road and they have several waterfalls in close proximity and 2 of the trails are less than a mile.

He invites us inside the ranger station (now open) and he shows John how to get to the park. While he is doing that Elijah and I walk around shopping. This is a great station. There are local made crafts, books, kids stuff, and souvenirs galore. They have restrooms, snacks, and drinks. They have information on local attractions. And they have my all time favorite…and cheap..souviner..the squashed penny!

We did get to enjoy much of the park since we ended up at DuPont State Park in nearby Brevard, I did want to mention this wonderful park to readers in case you find yourself in this area of the state. There are several waterfalls with the park. I also wanted to mention that YMCA camp that is within the park. They have an outdoor chapel know as "pretty place" because of its stunning views of the mountains. You can visit the chapel when not in being used by the Y. Campers to the park are welcome to enjoy the Sunday church services. But at Easter they do hold a community Sunrise Easter service that is open to the public (and is my Easter 2012 destination.)

Website/info (they do list SC falls as well)

The Waterfalls of South Carolina . 2001. Brooks,Benjamine/Cook, Tim. PCF Press.

So what do ya think From what time I spent there, I thought it was great. And I am looking forward to Easter 2012!
Caesars Head State Park
8155 Geer HWY
Greenville, South Carolina
(864) 836-6115

Triple the beauty

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vampirefan on September 11, 2010

Just across the road from Hooker Falls you will find the equally and stunning Triple Falls, While it is a little more of a hike than Hooker Falls, it is still a fairly easy hike.

The water here also comes from The Little River and gets it start from the French Broad River It sits at an elevation of 2360 feet. And the falls is one of 6 found within the DuPont State Forest near Brevard. Back in the 1890’s it was known as Rags Falls. But one look and you will see why it is known as Triple Falls. The three falls combines have a height of about 100 feet. The first 2 falls have heights of about 25 feet while the third is 45 feet. The movie also has an appearance in Last of the Mohicans with Daniel Day Lewis. It can be seen when Hawkeye and the Mohicans escort Cora, Alice, and Hayward to Ft. William Henry.

You can park in the same parking lot where the trail to Hooker Falls starts. There are port-a-potties at the beginning of the trail, just bring your own hand sanitizer. You can also park along the sides of the road as well. If you park in the parking lot, there are a set of stairs leading up to he road. You just cross the road and just past the bridge you will see a set of steps that lead down to the trail. I did not see any other way to get to the trail from the road.

As you follow the trail, just like I told you with Hooker Falls just take you time and enjoy the views. The trial is a little less than ½ mile to the observation deck. It is a fairly easy hike with only a slight hill as you near the observation deck. Along the path you will see wildflowers and maybe even the occasional wildlife spotting. There are plenty of places along the way to stop for a picnic, to take a break, to swim, or just catch some rays.

There is an observation deck allowing you an amazing view of all three falls. You can get a great picture of the whole family with the falls for the Christmas photo. There is also a place to sit a spell and take a break before going back or going on around the bend and heading onto the falls. We didn’t go on past the observation deck but we did see a number of people of all ages making their way to the base of each of the falls. So as you can tell by that sentence, each one does have its own area to photograph and walk out to the falls. High Falls is also nearby in the same area and is about a mile in length to the falls. Unfortunately my nephew was worn out after these two and wasn’t up to another hike. So we will save it for some other time.


Other resources:

North Carolina Waterfalls: A hiking and photography guide . 2005. Adams/Kevin. Blair Publishing,

So did you enjoy the falls You betya!

The falls are just stunning and what a way to spend the afternoon. And great fun for the whole family.
DuPont State Forest
High Falls Access, 1300 Staton Road
Cedar Mountain, NC
(828) 877-6527

No charge for this hooker.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vampirefan on September 11, 2010

There are a total of 6 waterfalls within the environs of the DuPont Forest. Of all the trails this has to be the easiest. It even has port-a-pottie and accessible trail. Meaning the whole family can come out and enjoy it.

The Falls were named for Edmund Hooker, who had a mill near the falls in the 1800’s. At the time, the falls were known as Mill Shoals. The falls come from The Little River and starts with the French Broad River. It sits at an elevation of 2200 feet. The waterfall is self is only 14 foot high but it is about as wide as it is high. While it may not be very high, it is very impressive. The falls tumble into a shallow pool that is perfect for cooling off in the summer heat. While here, we saw quite a few people jumping from the top of the falls ledge to the pool below. You hear the falls long before you arrive at the water tumbling from the ledge is impressive and beautiful. Yet not so powerful that it is dangerous. People of all ages were swimming right up to the falls all without incident.

There is a large parking lot, yet on the summer day, it was full the whole time. If it is full just do like everyone else and park along the side of the road. Just be careful when getting out on both sides and make sure you leave room enough for people to get out. After parking along the side, we walk across the road and make our way through the crowded parking lot. There are about half a dozen port-a-potties right at the start of the trail. Just remember to bring your hand sanitizers. The pathway is flat and even and very wide as to accommodate the crowds and wheelchairs. The ¼ of a mile walk is absolutely wonderful filled with lots of waterfall wildflowers and on our day, butterflies. So while fun awaits, try not to be in such a hurry. Take your time and enjoy the walk. There are also lots so smaller places we see people gathering and wadding in the river.

As you arrive at the ledge of the fall there is an observation deck to get a great look at the falls or just relaxing if you don’t care to go any further. From here you can take a small trail that will bring you right to the falls. There are lots of tree roots to help you keep your balance. If you choose to keep going, you will find you’re self at the base of the falls. This is a popular watering hole with the whole family. The water isn’t very deep and there are plenty of boulders around the plop your towels and gear on. We saw all kinds of people floating around and enjoying the weather.

This beautiful place also served as a movie set a few years ago. The Last of the Mohicans starting the delectable Daniel Day Lewis was filmed here. If you have seen the movie this is where Daniel’s character, Hawkeye, go over the falls in a canoe. So now you can tell people you have been on a real movie set.


Other resources:

North Carolina Waterfalls: A hiking and photography guide . 2005. Adams/Kevin. Blair Publishing,

Did you like it . It is a beautiful waterfall, of course I did.

This is waterfall hunting at it’s finest with great results awaiting you at the end. So bring the whole family and come and enjoy such fun in such a beautiful surroundings.
DuPont State Forest
High Falls Access, 1300 Staton Road
Cedar Mountain, NC
(828) 877-6527

Some Frank in SC

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vampirefan on September 11, 2010

Anyone who has read some of my previous journals knows I am a huge admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright. So I knew there was a house in Greenville, and I wasn’t about to leave without at least a looksie at the home.

The home was built in 1955 for Charlcey and Gabrielle Austin who were both librarians at the local library. Both were unhappy with their apartment and wanted a home that included 3 bedrooms, space for their maid, and a porch with a $20,000 budget. I assume some of their money came from their father, William, who owned the Morgan-Austin Company (a building materials company).

The future home owners first contacted Frank on August 12, 1950. Their previous abode was a mere 100 x 200 square feet. They were told Wright would prefer a larger site and by January of the following year they had sent Frank a topographical survey.

The home sits on 2 acres of land that overlooks a creek. The home was built from tidewater cypress and is 1,727 square feet. The home was built by Harold Newton and cost around $40,000. The original owners lived in the home for only 12 years. They also had full sets of furniture built for the home made of the same wood as the house.

Of course the home is a private home so please respect the owner’s privacy. I am sure the owners must be used to people coming by to see their home and take pictures. But please stay on the road and just take pictures from the road.

When we pulled up there was a home on the corner that looked like the Austin home except for the roof. As I was trying to see the address, a very nice gentleman came out and inquired if I was trying to find the Frank Lloyd Wright home (apparently I am not the only one who has been looking for the house). I said yes and he pointed to the gate near where we were parked and said that was the home. I said thanks and proceed to go to the curb and see how much of the home I cold see. I should have asked the very kind neighbor if his home was designed around the same time as it look so similar to the home. All I could see was the roof but for me that and my pictures were enough.

But there is yet another chance to actually see and go into a FLW home in SC. Auldbrass sits just outside Beaufort SC (halfway between Savannah GA and Hilton Head). It took about 20 years (1938- 1959) for the home to be built and it is the only plantation home that he ever designed. You should know that "plantation" home refers to the architectural style and nothing to do with an actual plantation (the big Gone With the Wind "Southern" Plantation homes are actual generally antebellum design and refers to a plantation that was ran on the property often involving slave labor). But anyway producer, Joel Silver ( The Matrix ) purchased the home in 1986. Under the purchase agreement Joel agreed to open his home to the public. So every other November in odd numbered year (and sometimes for other occasions), Mr. Silver generously opens his home to the public to enjoy. So your next chance to see the home will be November of 2011. You can go to their website site at and sign up to be notified when tickets go on sale.

Here are some great resources for Frank’s masterpieces:

Frank Lloyd Wright Field Guide . 2005. Heinz, Thomas A. Northwestern University Press.

Frank Lloyd Wright; The Houses . 2005. Hess, Alan/Weintraub, Alan. Rizzoli Press.

Auldbrass; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Southern Plantation . 2005. De Long, David G. Rizzoli Press.

Recommendation ? It is Frank Lloyd Wright, whada ya think?

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