Grit Blogs > Travel With Marilyn

Discovering Greenville SCs West End Historic District

Marilyn JonesA new visitor to Greenville, SC, I hear of Falls Park on the Reedy, but have no idea where it is located. Walking along Main Street, I stop and ask a young woman for directions. She smiles and says it is right across the street. Indeed, Falls Park, a 32-acre crescent-shaped greenway, is nestled up against the historic West End Historic District.

I walk down a wide set of steps and enter the park that is still alive with vibrantly colored flowers even though there is an autumn chill in the air.

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The flowers and pathways winding along the Reedy River are beautiful, but the center point of the park is Liberty Bridge, a pedestrian bridge that curves around a waterfall on the river.

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The 355-foot long suspension bridge is supported by cables on only one side, giving an unobstructed view of the falls — a design unique in the United States.

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From the bridge I am able to take in the lovely waterfalls and the expanse of the park; a treasure for residents and visitors alike. Also featured in the park are restaurants, hiking and biking paths, and artwork, including a newly installed piece by Dale Chihuly, “Rose Crystal Tower.”

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The West End Historic District is also home to wonderful locally-owned gift shops and clothing boutiques housed in century-old warehouses. I visit on a Monday when many stores are closed, but I find two open with unique offerings.

The Emporium is a combination upscale clothing store and gift shop. I was very impressed with the selection and made several purchases.

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Another store is actually the flagship for a nationally-distributed jeans empire: beija-flor. The brain child of mother/daughter team Kathy Moore and Emily Whitaker, jeans are made for different figures, in different fabrics and in different styles including a new buttonless/zipperless style great for traveling.

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Main Street offers great locally-owned restaurants as well. Soby’s New South Cuisine (try the Shrimp and Grits); Pomegranate on Main (awesome Chicken Kabob with Basmati Cranberry Rice); and Larkin’s on the River (try the Warm Shrimp and Crab Dip, and one of Larkin’s famous steak selections) are three excellent choices.

The charm and small-town feel of the West End Historic District is a real treasure in a large city; well worth a visit!

Where to stay: Only 10 minutes from the West End Historic District is Hyatt Place Greenville/Haywood; a beautiful hotel with a friendly and professional staff. (864) 232-3000.

Visit the website for more information on the West End Historic District and its many offerings including several museums: (800) 717-0023.