have you ever been to greenville, south carolina?
i visited for the first time on sunday for business.
we flew into the airport in town, retrieved our luggage, drove to the hotel, checked in, and looked up a restaurant to eat dinner at. it was going to work out great – the place we decided on was only about 5 minutes away, and it was on the main street.
as we drove through that little stretch of greenville, i saw tons of fun shops that i would have loved to stop in. peering into the windows, many of them decked out for halloween, i thought to myself, it’s too bad they’re all closed – if it was a little earlier, we might be able to stop in. it was dark out, but the trees were wrapped in white lights, and i could see that the buildings were pretty and artsy and many were historic-looking. a beautiful suspension bridge stretched over a small river, and lots of interesting restaurants lined the street.
walking into the restaurant we had chosen, it struck me that there was something a little odd about the town, but i couldn’t put my finger on it. i had already decided that it was a little gem of a main street though.
inside, there were only a few people at the tables, and no one was at the hostess station. we looked around for someone to seat us, and just then, a man walked over. “uh, I’m sorry, but we’re closed. we close at nine on sundays,” he told us. we looked at our watches, surprised. I hadn’t thought about the fact that it was a sunday.
but no big deal – there were lots of restaurants within walking distance, so some of them had to be still open. right?
the minute we stepped outside, though, it immediately occurred to me why the place felt so strange.
it. was. quiet.
like crickets chirping, the faint hum of a highway off in the distance somewhere kind of quiet. where were the young people sitting at all the lovely little outdoor patios for dinner or drinks? or the older couples taking a stroll along the river? where were the cars trying to score a perfect parking spot? that’s when i realized, we aren’t in kansas anymore.
maybe i’m just used to big cities and college towns, but it was 5 after 9 on a sunday night and this place was dead.
upon discovering that three more restaurants in the area had just closed for the night, we desperately approached a host at one of them and asked him if there was any places nearby that were still open. and he laughed a bit and responded with, “you two are definitely not from around here, are you?” apparently, everyone goes to bed at 8 in greenville.
luckily, the man was very nice and directed us over to his favorite bar which also had an extensive dinner menu and some decent food, and not to mention, beer. so we were happy campers and that was that.
the next morning, we left before the sun to do what we came for and then went to the airport and headed home. so, much to my disappointment, that quest for a restaurant was the only greenville experience that i was able to have this time. i guess i’ll just have to add this sleepy little town to my bucket list of places to visit! just remind me not to go on a sunday night…