Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Festive Day in Greenville, South Carolina

Since we only had a three day reservation at Table Rock, we had planned to spend all of our time inside the state park. But when we heard about all the activities in Greenville on Saturday, we just had to go see this little city. After a full day of activities, we are now a fan! We started the morning at the Saturday morning Farmer's Market on Main Street.

Main Street is closed to allow the vendors and the vendees plenty of room. Tents are provided, and they line both sides of the road. We enjoyed the samples, and purchased some home-made walnut apple bread because Mark loves bread. We also bought some farm-raised and milled corn grits, because Denisa loves eating like the locals while we are traveling. (We had the grits for breakfast, but Mark still prefers cream of wheat instead of this "cream of corn." He must be a yankee.)

Speaking of food, Greenville was also hosting Greek Fest this weekend. So that was another reason for us to make the trip to town. From the farmer's market we walked north to the Greek Festival at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral. We ate a satisfying lunch of Pastichio, Keftedes, Manestra, Spanakopita, and Athenian Chicken. For those readers that don't know their Greek food (and who don't have the menu with definitions of each in front of them), we ate "Layers of macaroni, cheese, sauteed ground beef and cream sauce"; "Greek meatballs"; "Mediterranean rice pilaf"; "Triangles of filo pastry, feta and spinach"; and "Delicately seasoned chicken with Greek lemon-butter sauce". We forgot to take a picture of our plates before we gobbled down all that food. We got to eat our meal beside a local couple that has helped with the festival since its inception. She had been cooking Greek food for weeks, and was working in the kitchen all day today. She was now leaving to work in their restaurant that evening. 

But we did remember the camera when we approached the dessert table. We ordered a generous serving of Galaktoboureko (baked custard dessert with a puff pastry top) and chocolate Baklava (layered filo with nuts, baked to a golden brown and covered with spiced syrup and chocolate). We were so satisfied with our Greek meal!

Besides feeding thousands of people each day of the three-day event, the Greek Orthodox church also offer tours of their cathedral. The front of the sanctuary is decorated with the icons so important to their church, including their patron saint--Saint George.

The dome had a mosaic of Jesus at its pinnacle. When sitting in church each Sunday, Jesus is looking over this congregation.

We certainly needed to walk off some calories, so we headed south to the city's Fall Park. Just as the name would suggest, Reed Creek tumbles across the beautiful rock falls downtown.

This area used to be covered by a highway bridge that intersected Greenville, and the falls were hidden under the busy road. But in 2002, the city leaders voted to remove the bridge and create Falls Park. Now instead of a busy highway, there is the lovely Liberty pedestrian supension bridge.

We were amazed by the number of people walking the park this beautiful Saturday afternoon. Besides walking, there is also a biking trail that goes through this downtown area. The "Swamp Rabbit Trail" goes all the way from downtown Greenville to the little town of Traveler's Rest ten miles away. We normally would be riding our bikes on a trail like that, but there were too many other things to do today.

There were plenty of people walking their dogs at the park. But this guy was causing quite a stir with his pet pig. He even brought snacks to the park, and we have to say that his pet was eating like a pig.

We had the most fun, however, watching a family of ducks at the park. Mother and Father duck were parading their large family around the falls area.

Even the ducklings were used to the crowds of people, coming quite close to a crazy woman sitting on the ground with a camera in her hand.

Meanwhile, Mark is sitting comfortably on the bench, getting a front row seat for the duck parade.

Sorry for all the duck pictures, but they were so darn cute that the crazy lady with the camera took way too many photos.

Falls Park was well landscaped, and the hydrangeas are finally blooming in this part of the country.

We noticed a group assembling at the park. They held strange looking instruments playing even stranger music. The group formed a circle, with two people in the center jumping and doing hand stands and cart wheels. We talked to one of the participants, and this is a form of Brazilian martial arts. 

We are getting more and more impressed with this little city of Greenville. There are nice crowds of people walking on Main Street and in the park. There is a good number of restaurants with outdoor seating and they all seem to be busy. There are also interesting statues and sculptures on Main. This would be an interesting bronze statue of a famous Revolutionary War hero--General Greene. But it's made even more interesting by something close to his boot.

That's one of the little mice statues found along Main Street. There are hints to find all nine of the mice, and it would be a great scavenger hunt for children (and people like us).

As if there wasn't enough happening in Greenville today, it was also Armed Forces Day. There was special music downtown, a classic car show, and a parade at 5:00. We watched as the military representatives presented the colors at the beginning of the parade.

This being the south, we also had a section of military re-enacters flying the confederate flag.

When we pulled into town this morning, we parked in a free space a couple blocks off Main Street. We attended all these events without ever moving the car all day. We had walked for miles, so we thought we deserved another dessert from the Greek Festival. Mark had seen the Baklava Sundae booth earlier.

So we finished our fun day in Greenville with ice cream topped with a rich mixture of the same ingredients found in those wonderful baklava triangles. That special dessert was a great ending to a great day in a special little city in South Carolina. Instead of saying it was our "icing on the cake," today we will say it was our "baklava on the ice cream!"

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