The Insta-home Challenge: Greenville, SC

by Mike on June 17, 2012 · 21 comments

Great Expectations

One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned recently on the road is to keep your expectations in check. For instance, I had never been to Miami before but heard how fun and glamorous it was, and I had never even heard of Greenville. So which do you think I was psyched to visit more?

Boy, was I wrong. Even with our amazing friends Molly and A.J. and their pooch Luzie showing us around, Miami just didn’t do it for me. We had a few glorious days there with our friends on the beach, and had one really memorable night out with Molly and A.J. in South Beach, but day-to-day living in Miami was just not my speed. Maybe I’m getting old (insert old man joke by Ang here), but from the reckless drivers to the poor customer service, to the nearly always-overcast weather, to the insane face-eating dude, I was ready to go. Yeah, the face-eating happened 2 blocks from us. What I had really wished for was a Trader Joe’s 2 blocks from us. Needless to say, I walked to work with my head on a swivel as I tried to keep my face off a plate! Also, I think the weather was the clincher. To be fair, it was the rainy season while we were there, but I was told all that meant was that it would shower every day a couple of times for 10 minutes or so, and then the sun would come back out. Not the case. It was grey for about 75% of our stay there in downtown Miami.

Despite it all, our biggest treat was to spend time with our friends, so I guess I’m being hard on Miami.  I was sad to leave, but that was because we had to say goodbye to Molly, A.J. and Luzie. They’ve lived in Miami Beach for over 10 years, and made sure we hit up their favorite local spots, like Books & Books Cafe on Lincoln Avenue.

So it was with a melancholic tinge that we turned north to mysterious Greenville, South Carolina. After face-eating man, I did some research to find out what we were getting into. Greenville was once recognized at the “Textile Capital of the World”. It is nestled in some beautiful country, and the downtown area has benefited from some recent “beautifying”, including the upgraded downtown Falls Park at the Reedy River. Sounded nice to me. Also, Ang had found us what sounded like great housing within walking distance of the theater at a place called McBee Station Apartments. (We thought our Miami place sounded good too, but then look what happened.) She was able to secure us a reasonably-priced 2 bed/2 bath with corporate furnishings, and lots of amenities. I was optimistic, but after Miami, I had learned to keep my expectations in check. And with that attitude firmly in place, we rolled into Greenville after a fairly uneventful 12-hour drive. This is what was waiting for us when we arrived:

Well, we’ve been here almost a week now, and my expectations have been blown out of the water. Our place is the antithesis of our Miami place. Where our condo there was cramped and crowded with glass, marble, bulky furniture and mirrors, smelling of cheap air fresheners, our Greenville apartment has plush carpeting, plenty of space, and smells of the great outdoors. It may not have the personality or charm of a vacation rental, but everything is clean, new and non-lethal.

Max can run around the 1300 square feet without us fearing for his life, and he gets his own room! That is a luxury on the road.

Our kitchen is fully outfitted, and even bigger than the one we had in our Orlando house. Our dining set is cute and reminds me of our old one in Brooklyn.

The master bedroom is cavernous, with our own bathroom, walk-in closet and terrace…

There’s free Saturday morning yoga in the complex’s common space, where they just push aside the furniture to make way for the mats. And we’ll be visiting this room often in the next week to watch the NBA Finals on the large flat screen, since we don’t have cable in our apartment. Our downstairs neighbor Tony is graciously sharing his wifi internet access with us so we don’t have to buy it ourselves. In appreciation, I will show him around backstage when he and his wife come to see The Lion King next week.

The pool is beautiful, although right now it’s a bit cold for Max, who has grown spoiled with all the heated pools in cities past. There are also gas grills for our use, too. Glorious!

I will be visiting these workout facilities for some cardio…

…while Ang will join some of the Lion King folks like Tonoccus, Jelani, Dionne, Andrew and Noku for a daily CrossFit workout — literally 60 feet from our building, tucked away in a little garage structure.

I am not only within walking distance of work at The Peace Center, but also the rest of beautiful downtown Greenville, including Main Street, Falls Park, and all of the charmingly inviting shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants within its environs.

Oh, and just 5 miles outside of town?  Trader Joe’s.  Yes! We went a little crazy on our first trip to TJ’s, but we haven’t had it since Vegas. For me, TJ’s is a little bit of home. We picked up all our favorites, including frozen Indian food and bottles of wine.

But… if we need something, and don’t have the 10 minutes it takes to drive to TJ’s, there’s a Publix, right across the street. Here is the view of Staples and Publix from our balcony:

Ang and I are making a concerted effort to eat out less, and having such convenient access to groceries makes it a lot easier. However, each restaurant I pass on the way to work seems to beckon, and we tried one place our first night here called The Lazy Goat — Mediterranean-style tapas in a picturesque setting on the Reedy River. We ordered the branzino, papardelle, and pork belly. It was fantastic.

Then we took our first look at Falls Park. I felt like I was in some fantasy, Alice in Wonderland-like world. This was all within 4 hours of arriving in town!

You might also like:

{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

ANGELIQUE June 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm



Angela June 21, 2012 at 1:24 am

Thanks as always Angelique! Keep on reading, we’ll keep on posting!


Doug McGrath June 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Hello folks and so glad you are enjoying the Upstate of SC. We really have a wonderful place to call home. Glad you all are here!

Let me suggest there is one more thing you should do while here-come out to the BMW Performance Center for an experience you can’t enjoy anywhere else in the world-driving high performance BMW’s on the Center’s track and touring the only BMW Manufacturing plant in North America.

Let me know if your busy schedule allows and I will be glad to arrange for your visit here.

Enjoy your stay in the Upstate!



Marty McD June 18, 2012 at 3:51 am

It looks really beautiful there in South Carolina!


Angela June 21, 2012 at 1:25 am

It is Marty, but it’s also getting HOT. We may be melting a bit before we hit Houston next month, where we will most certainly be in Hades.


Steven Miller June 18, 2012 at 3:53 am

We had a great time at the show this evening. Everyone in the cast is very talented.


Angela June 21, 2012 at 1:25 am

Thanks for commenting Steven! Glad you enjoyed the show!


Ron June 18, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Neat, Hollicks, a town made for your travels. Love seeing Max in the pool: he’s such a swimmer!


Angela June 21, 2012 at 1:26 am

Ron, he will be in the Junior Olympics by the time we see you guys this fall in SF 🙂 Hope the family is well!


Kroeger Family June 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Welcome to Greenville! What an amazing show! It was so amazing, and we hope the entire cast and crew have a good time in our city. Best wishes!

Ted, Sammie, Jo-Jo and Kenny Kroeger


Angela June 21, 2012 at 1:26 am

Thanks so much Kroegers! We’re rounding out our 2nd week here and time is certainly flying.


Rosalind Cross June 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm

Thank you for your kind words and beautiful pictures of our fair city! We are so glad to have y’all, and the entire Lion King cast, here in Greenville. Loved having your family in Kindermusik today!


Angela June 21, 2012 at 1:28 am

We loved being in Kindermusik as well! Hopefully Max will come out of his shell a little more in the weeks ahead. Thanks for commenting Rosalind!


Amy June 19, 2012 at 11:36 pm

Glad you love Greenville! I’m from there and coming back next week. I will also be coming to the Lion King on Sunday! Can’t wait. Your post is making me homesick and I can’t wait to go home!!! Smoke on the Water is GREAT! If you love mexican, Guadalajara is yummy! If you love coffee, don’t miss Coffee Underground. If you like baseball, catch a Greenville Drive game! If you like to shop, hop right into the Mast General Store! Just some more fun things to do in Downtown Greenville.


Angela June 21, 2012 at 1:29 am

Wow Amy, thanks for all these suggestions! We’d love to get to a baseball game while we’re here… plus all the other stuff you said. We are enjoying it in Greenville!


June June 20, 2012 at 12:34 am

Hey there Hollicks! It’s so good to see you guys in better spirits! Miami is overrated and from the sound of your blog post, not a place to eat your face off 🙁 HAHAHA! Have fun in Greenville!


Angela June 21, 2012 at 1:29 am

No cannibalism so far here in Greenville June – knock on wood!


Town and Country Mom June 20, 2012 at 3:37 am

So glad you are enjoying Greenville. It’s my family’s adopted hometown, and we love it! Trader Joe’s is great, but don’t miss out on the Fresh Market–especially the Tuesday specials! And, definitely hit the Saturday Market on Main Street. Also, check out Go Fish for round-the-world shopping and rent some bikes to ride the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Best to you and your family!


Angela June 21, 2012 at 2:35 am

We will be sure to check out the Fresh Market! And we’re counting down the hours until the Farmer’s Market this Saturday – we’ll be there with bells on 🙂 And we’re planning on renting bikes to hit Swamp Rabbit – with a little child trailer in tow!


Janet Edwards June 20, 2012 at 5:36 am

Welcome to Greenville. I am not a native Greenvillian but have lived here since 1986 and have seen this city evolve into a quaint and unique place to live. Some other things that you wouldn’t know is that this is a great city for biking, running and hiking. If you like the outdoors, this is the place to be. Everything is close by. Huge running community with lots of local 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathons as well as trialthalons. It’s definitely a great walking city with great scenery and lots of unique shops to explore. We saw The Lion King this past Friday night and loved it! You guys did an amazing job. Please keep Greenville on your map and know that we love having you here!!!


Angela June 21, 2012 at 2:37 am

Janet – Greenville is certainly gorgeous and we plan on taking full advantage of it, hopefully it won’t get too hot before we leave in 2.5 weeks! I am doing some Crossfit training near our apartment and it does seem that Greenville loves to keep fit (when people aren’t at Smoke on the Water!) Thanks for all the suggestions!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: