We arrived in the wee hours of Monday on the sleeper bus. The hotel I was staying at – the Holiday Inn, was sort of in the middle of nowhere, near the freeway with the only restaurants nearby being a Burger King and a Waffle House. I had made a reservation for a rental car for the week, though, and went to pick it up in the afternoon.
I walked around downtown Greenville near the theater after picking up the car. The downtown is so cute and thriving. Its so strange how some downtowns are so vibrant and some are so dead. I’m not sure what it is exactly that is the key to the success of a downtown – all I know is that Greenville has it figured out. After the dining abyss of Birmingham, Greenville was a culinary mecca. I had thai food for lunch, which I hadn’t had in ages.
Also downtown is a beautiful park called Falls Park on the Reedy River. The river runs through the downtown, right past the theater – we had a great view from our office. There are also some falls – hence the name Falls Park, which can be viewed from a curved suspension bridge overhead. What a beautiful green space to have amidst all the business downtown.
That night I met up with Ryan, Tony, Justin, Jen, Cuz and Erik for a couple of beers at the hotel bar.
Our load-in at the theater went smoothly, despite having a non-union crew in Greenville. The show also went well that night, and we welcomed yet another new cast member, Rick Costa, who will replace Jonathan Brody at the beginning of next week.
Wednesday, Ryan and I made a plan to go hiking at one of the nearby national parks – Caesar’s Head. First we grabbed breakfast at the Waffle House – quite an experience. It doesn’t matter how charming and progressive and nouveau riche downtown Greenville is, out in the sticks, the real south still exists. And they all eat at the Waffle House. Everyone in there, with the exception of the two of us, was smoking like a fiend all through their meals. It was amazing. And the wait staff in there were out of a movie – at one point I heard one of the waitresses say, “Darlin’, you’re so sweet, you don’t need no maple syrup”. No joke.
We headed off to Caesar’s Head and counted the Waffle Houses along the way – in thirty miles we passed five. The park was amazing. We stopped at the Visitor’s Center to pick out a trail and to take some pictures of the valley.
We decided on a four mile round trip hike to see the Raven Cliff Falls, the tallest waterfall in South Carolina. It was beautiful.
On the way back to Greenville, we stopped and took some photos of another small waterfall, and then stopped for some ice cream at a gas station. There was a stand next door where you could shop for your produce and knives(?!).
Thursday we did a bike ride through Falls Park to Cleveland Park, which a larger park just beyond downtown. Beautiful. What a nice ride.
Thursday evening was the big pub crawl organized by Brian O’Brien as his going-away party. Brian had scheduled us to go to five bars around Main Street, on a strict timetable of half an hour at each establishment. It was great fun, and most of the company participated, although the brave, the proud and the few made it to all five bars (yes I was one of them). We started out at an Irish Bar named Connelly’s, where everyone had a bite to eat and a pint. Then we moved on to City Tavern for fruity slushy drinks. Then Blue Ridge Brewing Company for a microbrew. Then it was on to Meatheads for cheap beer and drinking games (beer pong and flip cup). The party wound down at Barley’s, for one more pint.
Friday we had a put-in rehearsal for David Havasi, who takes over Brian’s track starting tomorrow.
Brian continued the party on Saturday night, hosting shot night. Shot night is usually a fairly quick event, but Brian had gotten snacks, beers, mixed pomegranate margaritas, and set up yet another game of flip cup.
I am going to miss Greenville. The town was really cute and charming, and the area was so beautiful. We also had the best office we have ever had, with four big windows that looked out onto the Reedy River. We didn’t even mind being stuck in the office for an extra half an hour on Friday night when the heavens opened up and it POURED. Rather than get soaked trying to get home, Ken, Jovon, Karl, David, Ryan, Brian and I cracked open a bottle of wine and hung out in the office until the rain subsided. It was really nice.
The one trashy part of last week, besides the Waffle House and the Produce and Knives stand (okay, so I guess there were three trashy things about Greenville) was the view from my hotel window:
Come on, it doesn’t get better than that!
Sunday night we packed up the circus and headed off to Raleigh, North Carolina, where I sit typing this now.
Hope everyone has a great week!