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More attractions in Upcountry South Carolina

Thirsty visitors to Upcountry South Carolina have an unusual variety of choices, from locally produced wine to goat milk or cow’s milk from an organic dairy.

Victoria Valley Vineyards, a new 47-acre winery located in the Blue Ridge Mountain foothills near Table Rock State Park, about 45 minutes from Greenville, offers tours of its facilities and tasting of its European vinifera wines.

“They [Victoria Valley] partner with some upscale Greenville restaurants and serve gourmet dinners in their barrel room,” said Diane Wilson, director of information services for the Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau. “They are up in the mountains overlooking the vineyards.”

Another new option is the Happy Cow Creamery, a 31-year-old dairy operation that recently opened its farm and creamery for tours.

“Since we bottle our own milk, we are able to offer more to see than on most typical dairies,” says the farm’s website. “Your group can actually see the ‘Got Milk’ process from beginning to end.”

A trolley takes groups around the 100-acre farm before touring the milking parlor and the creamery, located in a silo, where the milk is bottled and sold. Samples are provided for tour participants.
“It’s all organic,” said Tim Todd, executive director of the Upcountry Carolina Association.

Split Creek Farm, a 25-year-old Grade A goat dairy, combines milking and cheese operations in a barn. “They have 400 goats and produce their own goat cheese,” said Todd. “An internationally award-winning feta cheese is produced there.”

Also an organic operation, Split Creek Farm’s shop is open daily to sell the milk, cheese, fudge and soap produced by the farm.

Out in the street
In a region rich in natural beauty, it’s natural that its residents want to be outside as much as possible, even in the area’s largest city.

“We like to be outdoors,” said Diane Wilson, information services director for the Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We like our festivals here in Greenville, we like to eat outdoors, and we are really into outdoor entertainment. In the summer, from Tuesday through Friday, there is free outdoor entertainment nearly every night. There is a lot to do for someone coming through during midweek.”

Greenville’s busy and eclectic downtown dining scene features many restaurants with outdoor dining on tree-lined and landscaped sidewalks during warm weather.

Wilson said many communities throughout the region have outdoor farmers markets. “There is quite a large one here in Greenville. They actually close a portion of Main Street.”

The busy festival scene in Greenville features several large events throughout the year, beginning in the spring with Artisphere — International Arts Festival, the BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament, the Greater Greenville Scottish Games and Highland Festival and Freedom Weekend Aloft, one of the largest hot-air balloon festivals in the Southeast — all in May.

The fall includes Euphoria, a food, wine and music festival in downtown Greenville, and the St. Francis Fall for Greenville: A Taste of Our Town, (photo) a large street festival with foods from local restaurants.

The year concludes with a holiday parade in early December and a monthlong holiday festival that includes displays of decorated Christmas trees.