Greenville SC – Yeah, THAT Greenville!

Southern hospitality, outstanding and delicious food and drink, perfectly quaint Main Street, parks, festivals and art – a place that is ideal to live in and a place that is ideal for a family vacation, a girlfriend getaway or even a solo trip – Yeah, THAT Greenville!

I recently spent a few days in Greenville, SC courtesy of Travel South USA. I received an all expense paid visit, however, all opinions are my own.

I can’t wait to go back! Why? Because Greenville, SC was named in the Top Ten Hottest Foodie Cities in the U.S. by People Magazine – one of the Best Cities in the United States by National Geographic Traveler – #3 Top Small City in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler – and, One of the 50 Best Places in the World to Visit in 2018 by Travel & Leisure. Even with being named all these things, Greenville feels like small southern town American when you stroll down Main Street.

If your time is limited, the best way to see Greenville is definitely through Greenville History Tours. Don’t be fooled by the name. It’s not all about history. You can combine a tour with a culinary tasting. 

The creator of the laser pointer was a Greenville guy!

The tours offered highlight the best sites, historic buildings, public artwork, historic homes and neighborhoods, shops, and restaurants. Their tours create unique and memorable experiences for everyone. Greenville History Tours is a perfect way to get a feel for the area before exploring on your own.

The Food

Main Street in Greenville has over 120 restaurants. Almost all are locally owned. Greenville has over 1,000 restaurants in total which has made the area a foodie paradise.

With so many choices you are sure to find just what your taste buds are craving. You are sure to have a hard time deciding where to dine.

My favorite dining spot when I was there – Pomegranate on Main; not just because of the absolutely delicious Persian food I enjoyed but also because of the owner and his story.

The restaurant serves traditional Persian recipes prepared using fresh ingredients and healthy cooking methods. Visitors can enjoy beef, chicken, lamb, seafood, rice and vegetables – prepared in a unique way with saffron, mint and pomegranate.

Pomegranate on Main opened in 2007 as a way for the owner, Ali Saifi to share the culture and heritage of his homeland with visitors to Greenville. 

Ali was born and raised in Iran and through his restaurant he is able to share the easygoing, hospitable and friendly nature of the people of the southern area of Iran – “southern hospitality.”

He says customers often ask him about Iran and about the culture, and are surprised to learn it’s different than what they perceive from watching the news. Saifi learned his restaurant was a way of introducing people to a culture that was important to him and one that many people didn’t understand. “We’re all human beings. We’re all friends. Just our governments don’t seem to get along, which I can’t help that out,” he says.

Ali came to the United States in 1973 and became a US citizen in 1980. He moved to South Carolina in 1982, bringing the very first Subway to the area. He has a strong love of family and a value system that dictates philanthropic giving.

Those values motivated the former Shiraz, Iran resident to create a project in his hometown of Shiraz that has the potential to change hundreds of lives. He has set about to restore orphaned teenagers with their biological families. Orphaned children in Iran are released from care at around 15 years old. Those children are frequently given to an orphanage as babies because the family can’t afford to care for them, but the family is still living. When Saifi saw this firsthand while visiting his family, he immediately began looking for a way to help give these teens. He wanted an alternative to the street lifestyle to which they will often succumb.

He now runs a service that will assess orphans, locate their biological families, determine whether or not it is a viable living option, and then a trust fund is set up that will support the entire family and the child’s education through college so that the child can stay with their family.

Tea is an end to Persian meals. Silver tea service sets made by Ali’s sister are used in the restaurant.

His story, along with his food, touched me deeply. Not only does he help his home country in such an unbelievable way, he also gives back to the Greenville community that has been so generous to him.

 I loved the cranberry rice so much, Ali kindly emailed me the recipe – I have yet to be able to get it to taste as good as his!

Accommodations

No matter how you like to stay, you’ll be able to find the perfect spot in Greenville. From luxury accommodations to campgrounds and cabins, there is a place to stay for every visitor.

Travel with a furry friend, no problem! Pet-friendly accommodations can be found in the area that will welcome your pet with open arms.

I had the pleasure of staying at the Springhill Suites by Marriott Downtown Greenville. The location is ideal – in easy walking distance to all there is to do along Main Street and downtown Greenville – restaurants, boutique shopping, and entertainment.

The lobby is a great spot to “hang around” with friends!

When I stayed the hotel had only been open for approximately 3 weeks so needless to say was beautiful, brand new, immaculate and comfortable.

It’s a beautiful hotel that has you feeling like you are staying at a resort in the middle of the city. The amenities include free high speed internet service, a 24/7 state of the art techno gym facility, an outdoor seasonal pool and sundeck, and a complimentary breakfast every morning. Top of the line toiletries are in each room as well as coffee, coffee maker and mini-refrigerator.

The hotel offers one restaurant, Oak & Honey, as well as a free hot breakfast buffet and a convenience store. The menu at Oak & Honey offers something for everyone and their bar menu has a large selection to choose from.

Things to do

There is so much to see and do in Greenville that you won’t be able to visit just once!

The Greenville Zoo, the BMW Performance Center, Carolina Music Museum and the Children’s Museum of the Upstate are just a few of the many things for the family to do together.

Wineries, breweries, distilleries and spas can be added on for the adults. The list of things to do, places to see and attractions to enjoy is huge. You can make your list as long as you like depending on how long you’ll be visiting.

You can create a visit that focuses on outdoor activities, museums, food or just about anything else you can think of. I know I can’t wait to go back!




Celebrate Spring at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach

If you’ll be heading to the Myrtle Beach area this spring, you can celebrate the season with five outdoor activities for the whole family at Barefoot Landing.
 
 
Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, the area’s only waterway shopping, dining and entertainment complex, is celebrating the start of spring with a variety of fun activities the entire family will enjoy.
 
Inaugural Pup Crawl and Mutt Madness
 
Barefoot Landing will be hosting its first Pup Crawl and Mutt Madness Games to benefit The Humane Society of North Myrtle Beach on Saturday, March 23 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
 
Animal lovers can pre-register online at www.hsnmb.org for a $20 wristband which entitles them to discounts on food and drinks at participating restaurants as well as a Barefoot Landing doggie bag with a souvenir cup (while supplies last).
 
Mutt Madness will showcase puppies playing their own cute version of basketball to get in the spirit of the famous college basketball tournament taking place at that time.
 
Shelter dogs, whose adoption fees have been sponsored by Barefoot Landing shops and restaurants, will be available for adoption following Mutt Madness. Bring your pooch, dine, stroll, raise money for the Humane Society of North Myrtle Beach and help some homeless pups find their forever family. Registration on the day of the event takes place at Faux Paws Dog Shoppe.
 
Spring BFF Shop & Stroll
 
The spring also brings a new round of BFF Shop & Strolls.
 
On Tuesday, April 2 and again on May 7 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., you can shop, stroll, enjoy sales, discounts and even treats at participating stores. April’s event donations will benefit Relay For Life of the Grand Strand and during May’s event we will be accepting donations for The Humane Society of North Myrtle Beach.
 
North Myrtle Beach Summer Camp and Activities Fair
 
On April 6, bring the kids out to start planning for the summer with the North Myrtle Beach Summer Camp and Activities Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
 
Visit with various vendors offering camps and activities to keep the kids active and happy on their summer break. Games, activities, characters, face painting and much more will be available for everyone to enjoy during this family event in Dockside Village.
                                                                                               
Live Music Every Weekend at Barefoot Landing
 
Enjoy the great outdoors as the temperatures warm up with live music every Friday and Saturday starting on April 12 through May 25 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Dockside Village Amphitheater.
 
Bring a blanket or your lawn chairs and settle in for some free entertainment before or after dinner out at one of Barefoot Landing’s many restaurants.
 
Barefoot Bunny Hop
 
Another fun, family event is the Barefoot Bunny Hop on Saturday, April 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
 
The event will feature a visit with the Easter Bunny for the children. Parents are encouraged to take pictures. An Easter Egg Hunt with various age groups starts at 11 a.m. and everyone will enjoy the antics of DJ Hip Hop and his Easter Dance Party, along with face painting and balloon tying stilt walkers all in Dockside Village by the playground and amphitheater.
 
More information about Barefoot Landing is available at www.bflanding.com, 1-843-272-8349, and Twitter,Instagram or Facebook.
 
 
 



Ropes Course and Beach Arcade Now Open at LuLu’s North Myrtle Beach

 

I spent a sun shining great morning at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach today for the grand opening of LuLu’s Beach Arcade and Mountain of Youth Ropes Course.

For those of you that do not know, LuLu’s is owned by Lucy Buffett, sister of Jimmy Buffett and Margaritaville fame.

Lucy Buffett is an outstanding businesswoman in her own right so even if she weren’t related to her famous brother, she would be well known in the restaurant business as well as for her other endeavors from cookbooks, merchandise and beer.

As I listened to Lucy speak at the grand opening this morning something she said made me smile and really tells you everything you need to know about her and her restaurants – “I just want to provide all of my guests with the ultimate vacation experience.”

As the mother of two who loved to spend hours (and all my money) in arcades when they were young, I was impressed by the quality of the games. It also seems to me the cost as well as the level of games make it possible for every kid to leave the arcade with a smile on their face. Adding up points on their digital card doesn’t seem overly difficult and the prize levels are wonderful.

I can remember my kids saving and saving points in the arcade and for a few thousand points only walking away with some candy or lots of those Chinese finger puzzle things. I was impressed by the fact that at LuLu’s Beach Arcade it doesn’t look like the kids will need high numbers of ticket points to at least go home with a prize that will make them happy. Adults who love to play arcade games will also be impressed with the high end prizes available.

With the opening of the Beach Arcade and the Mountain of Youth Ropes Course right next to her North Myrtle Beach restaurant – LuLu’s at Barefoot Landing – a visit to LuLu’s is a vacation in itself, so treat yourself and your family. The real world can wait!

The outdoor ropes area does have height and weight limitations but looks like it will be a huge hit!

I’m looking forward to bringing my grandchildren back to play!

Official Press Release:

Lucy Buffett’s LuLu’s at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach continues to enhance its appeal with its LuLu’s Beach Arcade and Mountain of Youth ropes course opening on March 13.
 
Lucy Buffett, the recent recipient of South Carolina’s ‘Restaurateur of the Year’ award, will be present at the Grand Opening. The first 25 guests to arrive on Wednesday, March 13 at 11 a.m. will receive a free $25 play card.
 
“LuLu’s has always been about family,” explains Lucy Buffett. “When we added our first ropes course at the Gulf Shores location, it was wildly successful and complemented our mission to create a coastal dining and recreational experience for families.
 
The kids get to play in a safe environment while the grown-ups have a drink, enjoy delicious fun food and listen to live music.”
 
LuLu’s has partnered with FACE Amusement to bring you LuLu’s Beach Arcade and Mountain of Youth ropes course. FACE Amusement has been a leader in the amusement and attraction industry for over 30 years and has popular attractions all across the country.
 
Bucky Mabe of FACE Amusement says, “After an exhilarating climb on the 48-foot-tall tropical-themed ropes course, you can enjoy fresh Gulf seafood in a truly stunning restaurant, with a vibe only Lucy can provide. We’re excited to partner with LuLu’s and expand the fun, family-friendly atmosphere it introduced when it opened in June 2018.”
 
LuLu’s Beach Arcade will offer both new games and old-school favorites such as Skee-Ball, basketball and racing games that children and adults alike can enjoy.
 
FACE Amusement began installing the ropes course in December. The Mountain of Youth features a splashy color scheme conducive to the bright exterior of Lucy Buffett’s restaurant. Participants are equipped with a harness through the multi-level attraction, which features 26 elements and ends with an optional free-fall exit.
 
LuLu’s has become largely known for its fun, coastal cuisine, tropical cocktails, spacious and relaxing atmosphere, complete with a manmade beach area showcasing its Fountain for Youth water feature. LuLu’s has also created new family beach traditions with its free family events including Billy Claus, Noon Year’s Eve, Tropical Vow Renewal and the Easter Egg Dash.
 
LuLu’s has two additional locations – Gulf Shores, Ala., and Destin, Fla. Its Gulf Shores location also features a ropes course and arcade, which Buffett has deemed wildly successful.

 

About Lucy Buffett

Creative chef, businesswoman, author and storyteller, Lucy Buffett is the creator of the LuLu’s brand. Lucy has taken her initial dream, LuLu’s Gulf Shores & Destin, to become a destination in itself. From restaurants, branded merchandise, cookbooks, Bloody Mary Mix, seasonings, sauces, a children’s book, and Crazy Sista Honey Ale beer, Lucy Buffett combines true Southern coastal graciousness and authenticity with the nerve of a successful entrepreneur. Known as Crazy Sista for good reason, Lucy marches to the beat of her own drum; she plays nice, but usually by rules she has bent, broken or reinvented.

 

About LuLu’s

The original LuLu’s, a small waterfront dive, opened on Weeks Bay in Fairhope, Alabama in the late ‘90’s. In 2003, it was time for a change, so in her typical Crazy Sista style, Lucy picked up the party and moved on — literally loading the restaurant and crew onto a barge for a storied cruise to her now-famous location on the Intracoastal Waterway in Gulf Shores.
 
Serving over 3,500 people daily during peak summer season in Gulf Shores, Alabama, LuLu’s is a family-friendly dining and entertainment destination complex. Other venues on the property include the Bama Breeze Bar to wet your whistle; the Sunset Grill for a little taste from the big kitchen; the Fountain For Youth to cool off the kids; the LuLu’s FUN ARCADE for all-weather fun; the Mountain of Youth, a safe, three-story ropes and climbing course for the adventurous kid in all of us; and Munchkin Mountain for the little tykes to have some ropes course fun.
 
In June 2015, Lucy and the crew added an additional location in beautiful Destin, Florida. Another true destination complex, LuLu’s Destin is 21,000 square feet and seats 400 comfortably. Keeping true to the LuLu’s feel, it is nestled along the Intracoastal Waterway, on Choctawhatchee Bay; and of course, next to a bridge. Complete with a sandy beach, Fountain For Youth and one of the best views in Destin, Fla., LuLu’s Destin has been embraced by the local community, participated in numerous fundraisers, and employs up to 300 people in season.
 
In June 2018, Buffett opened her third LuLu’s in Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. The approximately 20,000-square-foot destination combines a great dining experience and a fun, family-friendly atmosphere. In addition to the full-service 400-seat restaurant and outdoor dining areas, LuLu’s features a large sandy beach area inside the complex complete with pails, shovels, and toys galore provides an ideal playtime fix for kids, while live music keeps the adults entertained. The newest location also features the Fountain For Youth to cool off the kids, an outdoor Shag Bar, and will add the LuLu’s FUN ARCADE and ropes and climbing course in 2019. All locations combine to serve over one million guests per year.

 

About FACE Amusement Group Inc.

Located in Johnson City Tennessee – was formed in 2013 by owners and Tennessee natives Bucky Mabe and Mark Larkey. Although the FACE company was officially formed in 2013, the company and leadership team has 20+ years of success of creating memorable experiences. 
 
The company originated as B&M Amusements in 2001. This was primarily a route business in the Southeast where Bucky and Mark would lease games and/or lease space in grocery stores, convenience stores and truck stops. The owners then partnered with Coach Clarence Mabe, Bucky’s father, and formed S&M Amusements. In 2005, the trio’s love of the games and family came together with their first owned and operated Video Arcade, Rockin’ Raceway in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Today they have over nine family entertainment centers located in Tennessee, Florida and Missouri and will soon be opening a new concept in North Myrtle Beach. Their unique portfolio consists of Arcade City Arcades, Big Top Arcade, Rockin’ Raceway Arcade, 7D Dark Ride Adventure Attractions, The Branson Coaster, and The Mirror Maize. The company rebranded as FACE in 2013.
 
They will be extending their entertainment offerings in March 2019 in a joint partnership with Lucy Buffett at her popular LuLu’s Restaurant. FACE will be operating The Mountain of Youth Ropes Course and Lulu’s Beach Arcade, offering their guests a full experience of great food and fun. FACE has recently formed a new entity – FACE Hospitality, and are looking forward to the exciting growth plans that they have established as they continue to look at how to reinvent the family experiences to include food & beverage and unique entertainment options.
 
FACE believes that in order to be successful they must take care of their employees, their guests and their business – and in that order. They have established a set of values that defines how all FACE employees behave. FACE stands for Faith, Attitude, Consistency and Excellence.
 
These values are what FACE looks for when recruiting new employees and they ensure that they are all aligned on this because they believe this is what they can offer their guests. FACE is diligent and focused on delivering the best experience for all of their guests and lives by their Brand promise – FUN guaranteed.
 
Not only does FACE value their employees and creating lifetime memories for children of all ages, they believe in giving back to the communities that they are invested in. As part of their wide-reaching philanthropic efforts, the Bear Hugs program was created – a program by which every stuffed bear plush toy that is won out of the crane machines equals another being donated to a local charity. FACE has donated thousands of bears to a variety of charities.
 
While they participate in several community charity events and programs, the program that is most well known is Bear Hugs. STAR Family Christmas is another program that Bucky and his team are passionate about. This program is a special opportunity for FACE Amusements to offer selected families special experiences during the holidays. 
 
“We are more than just an arcade or an attraction. We are different because we ensure that our guests are in clean, fun and upscale entertainment centers where there are plenty of employees to help the guests get the best experiences possible. And we are excited about the new growth plans that have been laid out for the entire FACE company,” Bucky Mabe, CEO of FACE.
 



Don’t Miss the 18th Annual KidzTime Festival at Broadway at the Beach – Myrtle Beach

Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, S.C., is set to host the 18th Annual KidzTime Festival on Saturday, February 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a family-friendly event open to the public, featuring FREE admission.

Whether you’re a local looking for a fun day for the kids or a visitor looking to add some excitement to your visit, the KidzTime Festival will be the place to be on the 23rd!

There is never a shortage of things to do around the beach but the annual KidzTime Festival, in it’s 18th year, is a full day of fun you won’t want to miss. It’s free to attend and helps a good cause all at the same time. Mark your calendar and get ready for a full day of fun! 

Broadway at the Beach has partnered with Help 4 Kids for this year’s KidzTime Festival and during the event, representatives from Help 4 Kids will be collecting much needed items for their Backpack Buddies program.

These items include: canned pasta, Vienna sausages, Pop Tarts, chicken noodle soup, toothpaste, toothbrushes, socks and underwear for school-aged children, K-12th grade. Attendees are encouraged to bring donations for this local organization helping the kids in our community stay healthy and not hungry.

This year’s festival will take place in parking lot 17, near the Broadway 360 Observation Wheel at Pavilion Park West on the 21st Avenue North side of the property.

A wide range of vendors will be participating and will be located inside and outside of a large, heated, circus-style tent.

A variety of kid-friendly games, interactive activities, performances, mascot appearances, character appearances and giveaways will be offered by vendors. These include, but are not limited to, face painting, stilt walking balloon artists, bounce houses, trackless train rides, spin-to-win wheels, corn hole, a petting zoo, art contests and more.

Live performances, prize giveaways and demonstrations will be featured throughout the duration of the festival on the stage set up inside the tent.

Festival goers will also be treated to a special visit from Marvel Comics superhero Captain America. He will be visiting from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with occasional breaks.

More information about Broadway at the Beach and the 18th Annual KidzTime Festival is available at BroadwayAtTheBeach.com or by calling 1-800-386-4662. Broadway at the Beach is also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

DATE: Saturday, February 23, 2019

TIME: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

EVENT: 18th Annual KidzTime Festival

LOCATION: Parking Lot 17 near Broadway 360 Observation Wheel at Pavilion Park West (21st Avenue North Side) – Under The Big Tent – Broadway at the Beach – Myrtle Beach, SC 29577

Don’t forget to put the 18th Annual KidzTime Festival on your calendar for February 23, and spend the day at Broadway at the Beach.  Admission is free and there will be fun for the entire family!




The South Carolina Chocolate Shop Road Trip

If you’re a chocolate lover I bet you never thought to take a road trip based on chocolate. Or a chocolate road trip through South Carolina.

I personally have never encountered a piece of chocolate I didn’t immediately fall in love with. If you’re like me and have a weakness for chocolate, then this road trip is made for you!

Below, you’ll find seven old school chocolate shops and a great road trip that connects them all. What a great way to see some of South Carolina too!

Photo: OnlyInYourState.com

You’ll want to start in either Fort Mill (near Charlotte) or Hilton Head. Although the actually driving time is do-able in one day (7.5 hours) I recommend enjoying the trip over at least 2 days.

Chocolat Boutique – Fort Mill

The Chocolat Boutique is located at 1012 Market Street, Fort Mill, SC and is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Photo: Chocolat Boutique

Chocolat Boutique is a gourmet chocolate store with an on-site kitchen where their chocolatier and small team creates handmade truffles and confections.

They have developed their own range of chocolates as well as offering freshly made bonbons imported directly from Belgium and Switzerland.

Vaughn Russell Candy Kitchen – Greenviille

You’ll find the BEST unique and specialty chocolates at 401 Augusta Road, Greenville, SC. The store is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed on Sunday and Monday. 

Photo: Vaughn Russell Candy

Vaughn Russell is family-owned and operated from a single location in Greenville, South Carolina. The Vaughn Russell specialty is gourmet chocolate. They offer a wide range of chocolate covered nuts, caramels, cream centers, truffles, and more, with a signature trademarked Mint Pecan.

Chocolate Reigns – Columbia

Chocolate Reigns is located at 4920 Monticello Road, Columbia, SC, and is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Photo: Chocolate Reigns

Chocolate Reigns is a women owned and operated business dedicated to customer satisfaction and hospitality. The business started as a party and event planning enterprise. They specialize in fresh and delicious berries, cupcakes, and treats that will delight and please the sweetest of sweet tooth’s. All items are made with love and covered in chocolate!

Kilwins – Charleston

Kilwins is located at 59 S Market Street, Charleston, SC and is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. If you would like to add in an additional stop on your road trip, Kilwins offers another location in Myrtle Beach.

Photo: Kilwins

The sweet scents of pecan pralines, fudge, waffle cones, home made caramel, corns and brittles entice market goers. You can just follow the sweet aroma to the front door.

The Chocolate Tree – Beaufort

The Chocolate Tree is located at 507 Carteret Street, Beaufort, SC and is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.


The Chocolate Tree is Beaufort’s one-stop-shop for fine chocolates and other confections made right on the premises! You can also have your candies shipped anywhere in the world.

Chocolates by the Sea – Hilton Head

Chocolates by the Sea is located at 24 Palmetto Bay Road., Hilton Head Island, SC and is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Chocolates by the Sea has been established as having Hilton Head Island’s finest confections. Winning awards each year, locals and visitors travel to come to taste the delectable hand dipped chocolates, signature barks, and specialty items.

Kilwins – Shelter Cove, Hilton Head

Kilwins is located in the Shelter Cove Shopping Center. The address is 112 Shelter Cove Lane, Hilton Head Island, SC. The hours are Sunday through Friday, from 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Kilwins Hilton Head offers a variety of ice cream, cased chocolates, hand paddled fudges, caramels, corns and other confectionery creations.

Are you ready to pack your bag for a chocolate lovers road trip? I am!