GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The city of Greenville, South Carolina is bustling full of things to do year round. But, don’t forget that Greenville County has at least five times the number of fun activities to do. The only catch, you just might have to drive a little farther to get there.
At Lake Conestee Nature Preserve, for a small donation (the ask is three dollars) visitors can walk dogs, push strollers, ride bikes, run or walk across 12 miles of trails. For Birders, photographers, and nature fans there are more than 250 species of bird throughout the park.
The Director of Communications and Development, for the Conestee Foundation & Lake Conestee Nature Preserve, Mary Walter said their small staff is able to annually teach nearly 4,000 children thanks to those donations.
Donations also help those interested in learning about the preserve on their own through the 40 Learning Loop signs installed throughout the park.
“It’s a pretty sweet deal when you think about this 400 acre nature preserve,”Walter said. “You can come and enjoy this outdoor place right here 10 minutes south of the city.”
Upstate visitors, Pam and Gary Nicholson, are big fans.
“We really like downtown Greenville and the Swamp Rabbit Trail and then walking through Falls Park,” Pam Nicholson said.
The couple are visiting their son and daughter-in-law from Pennsylvania. They noted that they’re happy they made Greenville part of their destination vacation.
“Greenville sells itself with its Main street, its downtown, Falls Park and then the county’s got all these other places that you can come and see,” Gary Nicholson added. “You have some deep woods. You have your open marshland and swamps and the Reedy River coming through. It’s just all these different natural environments and they’re all there to be enjoyed and made so accessible by the trails, love the trails.”
Once you’ve been inspired by nature, take those creative juices, maybe a beverage or two, and head to Wine & Design near Haywood Mall.
Owner Timothy Cunningham explained that his shop offers more than traditional painting. Visitors can sign up for chunky blanket knitting, acrylic paint pours, glow in the dark paint, and several themed classes like date night, trivia night, and Galentine’s day.
He added that even if you think you’re not artist, don’t think Wine & Design isn’t for you.
“No! It’s definitely for you. That’s why we have several professional artists here to teach you and coach you through the whole two hours process. So, everybody goes home with something complete that they can actually show the world when they get home,” Cunningham explained.
To keep with health safety regulations class capacity is at 50% for social distancing (classes can fill up fast, especially on the weekends). Cunningham said the air is cleansed with sage and all high touch surfaces are organically disinfected between classes.
To help create your picture perfect painting, professional artists sketch out what you’ll be painting on your canvas ahead of time. Thus you already have an outline, Cunningham noted that the hardest part sometimes is picking colors.
“We tell them just think about what room is this going in? Is this going in the bathroom? What are the shower rugs’ colors? Things like that, so, they pick their colors eventually,” Cunningham said.
If you’d like to have Wine & Design at home or have the studio all to yourself, private parties are available. Additionally, Cunningham added that they do partner with restaurants, bars, even apartment complexes for events.
Every Saturday are kids paint classes. If you don’t want to leave your home, take a home paint kit, also Zoom paint sessions are available four days a week.
The stable offers an almost boutique experience, given its one-on-one packages that are more unique than others.
Owner Kristin and her two year old son Colton Ahlum love to show off their beautiful horses Luna, Sonya and Chevy.
Ahlum said Sonya’s personality, even at 14 years old, is sassy but soft with all who met her. She said Luna, also 14, is more of a drama queen in her personality. Both mares are very gentle with adults and children. Chevy, the stable’s only gelding, is more for advanced riders who want to canter, trot, or practice in the arena.
But it’s not just horses, chickens, a rabbit, and a barn cat are also stable stars Ahlum added.
Ahlum said that no matter if it’s a family, a couple, or one person, the package allows her to make sure you and the horse have fun while being safe.
“Maybe the parents want to come out and maybe they want to brush a horse. Or maybe they want to lead their kid around. We totally are fine with that, we’re happy with that. We encourage that,” Ahlum said.
Many of the visitors start off with brushing and saddling the horse. Ahlum explained that she teaches all the basics of horse riding and children seem to be very receptive.
“Kids really get a kick out of coming in and really just feeling like they’re taking care of the horse and really making a bond with their horse, before they just hop on and ride,” Ahlum said.
Ahlum said the best news for her younger visitors, a 36 inch miniature horse will be joining the stable for children five years and younger to ride.