Greenville’s Greatest Hits

by Angela on July 29, 2012 · 9 comments

The Hollicks' Top Ten in Greenville, SC

We Hollicks left our hearts in Greenville.

After the three back-to-back party cities of New Orleans, Orlando and Miami, it felt good to just slow down, surrender to a daily routine, and leisurely romance a sweet, beautiful city instead of hitting various places hard and fast.

Now that I’ve sufficiently bugged you out, let me tell you why Greenville, SC really was so great: the people.

Perhaps it was small city charm. Or call it southern hospitality. Most likely it was the ubiquitous infatuation the people of Greenville had for The Lion King. We just felt so welcomed. Everyone was just so dang nice.  It may not be the most diverse city in the country, but overall Greenville may be our favorite city on tour so far. That is hard for us city-folk to concede… but now with a little guy to think about, the more family-friendly a place is, the more we likey.

10. It all started with our stellar housing — a fantastic place at McBee Station Apartments. Although not as charming as a vacation rental might be, this corporate-furnished unit was clean, fully stocked with everything we needed, and a 15 minute walk to work for Mike at the lovely Peace Center on Main Street. Because I was fortunate enough to wheel-and-deal with the right people in the leasing office, we snagged a huge 1300 square foot two-bedroom, two-bath all to ourselves, complete with a pool, workout facilities, a supermarket within a 3-minute walk, as well as easy access to a quaint downtown that Max and I could amble about without having to drive.

It really was by all accounts a perfect place — despite a near-death experience. Also, Theresa and Zola (our good friends from Vegas who are dancers with The Lion King) lived a few buildings away and were more than happy to babysit Max when we needed a break! Could life get any better?

And we actually didn’t have cable or internet set up, but our neighbor Tony who lived below us (whom we have never met face-to-face, but simply corresponded with via notes taped to doors and text messages) graciously shared his wi-fi with us, free of charge. And we bought a Roku, which allowed us to watch movies and TV shows via Netflix and Hulu Plus. And the cherry on top was that it allowed me to get to CrossFit without any excuses, since it was right across the street. Wait. CrossFit? Tell me more…

9. CrossFit Reaction. Some Lion King friends (led by singer ensemble Tonoccus McClain) started going to CrossFit Reaction, which was literally steps away from our abode. CrossFit promised a constantly varied, high-intensity functional group workout: we’d lift weights, run, do various situps, pushups, pullups, squats, wall-balls, kettlebells etc, all while keeping time or count of rounds. It was perfectly designed for someone like me who hates solitary gym workouts; CrossFit was enough to keep me interested and motivated, short of me actually playing an organized sport. So I tried it out one day with them in 100° weather, came home dripping sweat, feeling lightheaded and seeing stars, but feeling accomplished. I got through a super tough WOD (Workout Of the Day) and that gave me confidence to keep coming back.

Below, Lion King compatriots Tryphena, Theresa, Maurica, Buyi, Noku and Dionne run a mile with me. It was the first time Theresa had run that much since junior high, and she deliriously leapt up when head trainer Brandon took this photo.

For four weeks, I sweat in up to 108° heat and humidity, elevated my strength and conditioning exercises, and made some great friends. The trainers taught and led in a style I really respond to; and working out in a group environment put a bit of healthy competitive spirit in me.  I surely didn’t have the best times of the day or lift the heaviest weights, but hey! I made sure I was never last. Now I’m on a mission to work out at a CrossFit in every city we go, although these guys have set the bar super high. Below, Andrew Arrington (singer in The Lion King, second from the left) and I hang with our trainers Brandon, Jonathan and Taylor.

8. Main Street. This downtown stretch is so enjoyable, so quaint, and surprisingly chic. Max’s go-to place was O.P. Taylor’s, a small neighborhood toy store with a Chuggington Train Track set up in the back for him to play with.

O.P. Taylor’s was where I discovered a line of dolls called “Happy Family” by Hape Toys. The first time I spotted them, I indignantly complained that there were only “Caucasian” and “African-American” families contending for happiness.

But a week later, I saw this on their shelves and felt a little better. But just a little. The eyes are supposed to be happy?

After an inspirational hour-long play session with the trains, Max would usually work himself up enough to have a huge poop, so we’d run across the street to the Chocolate Moose for a cupcake and a diaper change in their restroom (not in that order).

7. Farmers Market. This Saturday stroll down Main Street was the confluence of all that is charming about Greenville, from the live bluegrass music to the friendly coffee stands to the local artists hawking their sculptures and drawings. And the produce! Oh the produce!

6. Roadside Peach Stands. Sydney Manor, Max’s art teacher while in Greenville, recommended that we stop at a roadside stand to try South Carolina peaches, “which are way better than Georgia’s!” A bold statement, but she may speak truth: these peaches did not disappoint.

5. Greenville Drive baseball game. We were able to celebrate the sweltering July 4th holiday with the Cordileones at a Greenville Drive game at Fluor Field downtown, courtesy of the on-field emcee Jeremiah Dew. We had terrific seats along the third base line and even better views of the fireworks afterward, sitting right on the turf, looking up at the night sky.

4. Pisgah Forest. There aren’t many better things in the world than swimming under a waterfall — unless you chase that experience with a BBQ lunch… thanks Chris and Brandon from CrossFit Reaction, for recommending this beautiful state park!

3. The Lazy Goat / High Cotton. We are a bit shocked to have only a couple of food experiences cracking the top ten. While we did have a few good meals, we tried not to eat out as much in this city to save more money. However, two standouts along the Reedy River downtown were The Lazy Goat, where we ate an unbelievable Mediterranean branzino that transported us back to our time in Athens and Santorini; and High Cotton, where we took advantage of a fabulous Southern-style $10 lunch special that included a soup and trout special of the day. We also couldn’t pass up this gorgeous charcuterie.

2. Family photos with Danielle Bryson. For Max’s impending 2nd birthday, we wanted to get some photos done of our little family of three and determined that Greenville was the perfect backdrop. A rather quick internet search led me to the beautiful work of Danielle Bryson, and we reached an even quicker satisfying barter, trading a photo session for two house seats to see Mike perform as Scar in The Lion King and a backstage tour.

Danielle and I had a playdate a week later at the Greenville Zoo with her boys Colton and Ridge, and then our families had brunch together before we left Greenville. Mike made an impression on Colton and Ridge playing superheros here at MaryBeth’s — so much so that Ridge asked if Mike could further play even after our brunch. It made us a little sad, knowing we met such a nice family that we would have most likely been good friends with had we stayed in town…

1. Father’s Day brunch at Soby’s. This ranks as one of the best brunch buffets ever, and this is coming from former Vegas residents! But it was probably one part yummy food, and two parts company. Anytime we’re with the Cordileones, it’s a rollicking good time.

And Soby’s featured some intense Lion King cookies and chocolate fondue that Max and Hero took full advantage of. Photos below by Nick Cordileone.

 

+++ HONORABLE MENTIONS +++

 

- Kindermusik at the South Carolina’s Children’s Theater

On the road, it’s a challenge to quickly find a trustworthy environment in which Max can play with kids his own age. While it’s somewhat the easiest option to have Max hang with Mike and I all the live long day, we know how important socialization and playtime are. In Richmond we had Cartwheels and Coffee, in New Orleans Max had swim class, and here, I found a Kindermusik class with Miss Rosalind. We only attended 4 classes and Max was surprisingly clingy during the songs and activities, but came out of his shell playing with the toys in the waiting room outside the classroom. Sigh.

We also signed him up for an art class when the Kindermusik summer session was over, where I met his sweet teacher Sydney Manor — who we ended up hiring for a few hours to babysit him on our last day in town while I packed the car!

 

- The Greenville Zoo at Cleveland Park

Cleveland Park is home to the Greenville Zoo by the Swamp Rabbit Trail that follows the Reedy River.  It is also home to softball and tennis facilities, picnic shelters, a fitness trail, and playgrounds.  We took multiple trips to the zoo, which housed African elephants, alligators, large cats, miniature deer, giant tortoises, exotic birds, howling monkeys, orangutans and more.   Cleveland Park was also the site of our annual Lion King company softball game, an epic sporting event of skill and athleticism….  And BBQ.

 

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy and John Samberg July 30, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Thank you for the sweet sentiments about our little city. We’ll have you know that Greenville enjoyed having you and The Lion King so much and we are counting down the days until your next visit, hopefully for a longer time! Best of luck in your travels around the country and we look forward to following you!!!

The Samberg Family

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Angela July 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Hello Jane and Rob, as you can read we had such a wonderful time in Greenville and people like you guys were a huge part of why! We hope to be back in the future. Thank you so much for following us!

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PW July 30, 2012 at 2:40 pm

hey Hollicks! Come back to Greenville anytime please!

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Angela July 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm

We certainly would love to, PW. Your city is just so charming!

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ANGELIQUE July 30, 2012 at 2:44 pm

THAT’S IT I’M MOVING TO GREENVILLE, IT’S THE WORLD’S PERFECT PLACE!!!!!!! EVEN BETTER THAN MIAMI? IT’ LOOK’S SO CUTE!! GOOD STUFF AS ALWAYS HOLLICKS!!!!! GOOOOO LION KING!!!!!

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Angela July 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm

A – you said it!

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Jen H. July 30, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Greenville enjoyed the show and it’s beautiful performers! It was a blessing to have ya’ll here last month! God Bless!

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Angela July 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Thanks Jen! Best wishes to you as well, and we are so glad you enjoyed the show!

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Marcel July 30, 2012 at 8:12 pm

This is a really cool blog and so interesting to learn about this kind of lifestyle. I do enjoy theater and the work that goes into putting on a show, and would love to see The Lion King one day. Thanks for posting my comment and have a great one.
– Marcel Maroney

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