Monday, April 18, 2011

The South's Best Kept Secret

When was the last time you went somewhere that “exceeded [all] expectations(1)” by surrounding you in Southern charm along with world-class chefs, hometown Grammy nominated musicians, and celebrated wines from around the world?

Welcome to Euphoria, an experience that is not just a food and wine festival, but an eye-opening weekend to a little known Southern destination full of charm, history and dreams for the future. Welcome to Greenville, South Carolina.

To those who know it, Greenville is a diamond in the rough- one of America’s” Best Places to Live(2)”. For visitors, it’s an unexpected destination where fine dining, extreme adventure, high-end shopping and the arts combine for a unique vacation like no other. For those who call it home, they only sit in anticipation wondering how long they can hang on to their little secret.

“It is a city that combines the cultural and culinary advantages of a big city with all the charm of a small town. I met several people who had visited once and decided they want to move there. It was almost like the residents had been hand-picked, or applied for citizenship. And they know how lucky they are. I hated to leave Greenville because it had fabulous food, sensual spas marvelous museums, and a thriving arts community(3) “

From the minute you arrive, you are simply amazed by the unexpected charm of this destination.

As you drive down Main Street, you notice the trees covered in twinkling white lights that dance along the sidewalks, which are filled with pedestrian traffic- on their way to a Broadway show at the Peace Center for the Performing Arts, or perhaps off to try “Breakout Chef to Watch(4)” Victoria Moore’s latest dish at The Lazy Goat which overlooks the Reedy River.

“This isn’t your average downtown. This isn’t a block of two of renovated warehouses, pricey bistros, and contemporary art galleries. What Greenville, South Carolina, has done to its downtown makes other cities green with envy- think inventive restaurants, locally owned boutiques, a stellar arts scene, and a 30-acre park with pedestrian bridge and waterfall. (And that’s barely skimming the surface.)(5)”

And you’ve only travelled one mile.

Head out of the city’s downtown limits and you will experience the outdoors- The Swamp Rabbit Trail, Blue Ridge Mountains, or Paris Mountain- where you can zip line, hike, canoe, or ride alongside some of the country’s biggest cycling enthusiasts. You might even run into Greenville’s own George Hincapie (Internationally renowned cyclist who rides alongside Lance Armstrong). Or you can spend an afternoon at the BMW Performance Drive center- the only place in the country where you can drive BMW’s the way they were meant to be driven- 90 miles an hour on a wet/dry track, slalom race course and more.

Possibly most surprising of all, however, is the growing foodie culture in Greenville.

“Like a family recipe in an old cupboard, Greenville, SC, is a culinary secret.(6)”

There is one weekend every year that showcases the hometown culinary artists alongside internationally renowned chefs like Thomas Keller, Guy Savoy, Tyler Florence, and literally dozens of others since it began 6 years ago.

Euphoria is a weekend-long food, wine and music festival in Greenville, SC that joins local chefs with chefs from around the country for a weekend full of culinary delights, paired with wines from the world and educational seminars by master sommeliers, wine tastings, and all set to a musical backdrop starring hometown hero, Edwin McCain.

This fall, from Sept 22-25, Euphoria will showcase the best of what Greenville has to offer. I would LOVE to tell you more about this fantastic weekend and this great city. With the arrival of Southwest airlines, Greenville is more accessible than ever, with 7 cities offering flights in and out of Greenville.

“Some places you visit are like eating oysters: They go down easily and are enjoyable, but for the most part they’re rather predictable. Then, once in a while, you pop open an oyster shell to discover not only a deliciously plump, tasty mollusk, but also a delightfully unexpected treasure in the form of a beautiful pearl. Well, let’s just say that Greenville, South Carolina, is that pearl.(7)”

(1), July 2010
(2) Men’s Journal, April 2011
(3) The Travel Lady, August 2010
(4) Esquire, November 2009
(5) US Airways, March 2010
(6) Chicago Sun-Times, August 2009
(7) New Orleans Living, October 2009

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