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|Jessica Lollino • 3/15/18|
The Short Version: An abundance of Southern hospitality awaits you and your love in Greenville, North Carolina. The Emerald City has crystalline water and lush greenery that will inspire afternoons full of kayaking and hiking as you reconnect with your partner in this serene, friendly metropolis. Hit the Brew & Cue Trail to quench your thirst and satisfy your belly, and then head out for a show or some live music on the Commons. Enjoy one of the many festivals that come to Greenville, such as Pirate Fest, or just enjoy the laid-back pace of this sweet town. Greenville is an ideal getaway for you and your special someone to enjoy a little rustic romance and togetherness in a welcoming community.
Full of Southern goodness, Greenville, North Carolina, is a small, thriving metropolitan city with the heart of a college town. It has a little bit of everything to create a uniquely personal getaway for you and your partner. Walk the vibrant, foodie-friendly Uptown Greenville District with a diverse art, music, and festival scene, or head outdoors for kayaking or hiking. No matter what you love to do, Greenville has something to delight you.
In addition, Greenville has some of the kindest people you could ever meet. Former Washington, DC, transplant and Executive Director of the Greenville Convention & Visitors Bureau, Andrew Schmidt, told us:
“I’ve never been in a friendlier place. People who I didn’t know would say hi to me and hold doors for me. They ask how you are. It’s a really friendly atmosphere, and it’s also a really vibrant atmosphere because you have the mix of 30,000 college students here. It’s also a very diverse community here. Energetic is the best word to describe it.”
It’s no wonder they say when you find yourself in Greenville, you “find yourself in good company.”
Outdoorsy couples will love the activities and breathtaking nature Greenville has to offer. There’s no short of greenery or water for you to explore as you take some time to unwind and reconnect in the country.
Take a stroll or a serious hike like Andrew does. He said, “Our Greenway System has nine miles of walking and hiking trails that are pretty nice. My wife and I walk the Greenways all the time. It’s just nice to get out and be able to talk.”
Starting at the Town Common, the Greenway winds its way adjacent to the Tar River and eventually toward the East Carolina University Campus. You can also rent bikes from Pedals and Pistons if you prefer.
Couples looking to get a romantic paddle in need only hook up with Knee Deep Adventures. “Knee Deep Adventures does guided kayak tours, which is great for getting away from the traffics and sounds of the city and see some really cool stuff,” Andrew said. “There are places to stop on the way from Town Commons to Port Terminal. It’s pretty secluded, and little beaches pop up where you can go and have a picnic on and share a bottle of wine.”
If you want to get artsy, Greenville has everything from visual and performing arts to museums. In some cases, you can even roll up your sleeves and make some art yourself.
“Glassblowing Studio in nearby Farmville is one of the coolest things I have seen in a while,” Andrew said. “If you want to watch and learn how to blow glass, and then have one of the best steaks around at Plank Road Steakhouse, you can visit one of these nearby smaller towns. They have restored these towns to all their 1930s and 40s storefront and wide streets. It’s a fun, different kind of thing to do as well.”
Greenville also has a thriving music scene. “Music is big here,” Andrew said. “Our Uptown District is the area of the city where most people will go out, that’s where most of the breweries are, and they always tend to have live music Wednesday through Saturday.”
There’s the Sunday in the Park Summer Concert Series, which is a perfect place to bring a picnic dinner and a blanket to cuddle on while enjoying free live music. Or check out the African-American Jazz Series or Greenville Grooves, which takes place every second Friday beginning in September and runs through May.
Couples who enjoy more of an indoor setting will be right at home at the S. Rudolf Alexander Performing Art Series. Many famous artists and acts have performed there, including Tony Bennett, the Bolshoi Ballet, the Russian National Orchestra, and “My Fair Lady.”
If that isn’t enough, Greenville is also home to one very fun and exceptionally unique festival. “Pirate Fest attracts about 30,000 people,” Andrew said. “We are a bunch of pirates here. We celebrate our heritage through the pirates.” Take a picture with a strolling pirate or mermaid and watch the parade with your favorite first mate.
No getaway is complete without worthy eats, and Greenville delivers in that department. You have a ton of restaurants to choose from in the Uptown District. What’s especially convenient is the walkable nature of the area. You can simply park, and then walk to a host of restaurants, breweries, and bars while enjoying the laid-back vibe of Greenville.
A particularly couple-friendly eating event is the Brew & Cue Trail. “A lot of couples are doing the Trail,” Andrew said. “It features seven different barbeque restaurants and four different craft breweries, and it’s a passport type system. For instance, go to Parker’s Barbecue one night and get your stamp. Get a beer at Uptown Brewery, get your stamp. Once you get all your stamps, you come to our Visitor’s Center, and we give you a pint glass or a shirt. That’s a fun thing couples are doing. They do it with other couples, too.”
There are other gems with interesting backstories as well. “Luna Pizza is really neat. The guy who owns it was just in Forbes,” Andrew said. “He was an East Carolina University professor who quit his job and went to Italy to learn to cook pizza, and then he came back and opened Luna.”
For foodies who can’t get enough farm-to-table eats, Starlight Café & Farm is a must. The owners have a farm about five miles outside of Greenville where they harvest in the morning, and it appears on your plate that night. The cozy atmosphere gives an intimate feel, and the fresh, local foods are sure to inspire your taste buds. Don’t forget to try their homemade ice cream for a sweet treat at the end of your date.
Looking to the future, Greenville will retain its small-town Southern charm even as it continues to grow. When discussing what visitors can look forward to this year, Andrew said, “We have a new music venue opening up in a few months called The State Theater. They’ll do a lot of first-rate concerts.”
Whether you want to enjoy some top-notch barbecue, gorgeous green spaces, or local hospitality, Greenville, North Carolina, won’t disappoint. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself extending your stay