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Archive for the ‘Guides’ Category

Why Travel When You Can Plan A Staycation in Greenville, SC?!

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It happens every year. You survive the South Carolina winter, which likely includes a little snow, many cold and damp days, and even a few 60+ degree days thrown into the mix. The key here is: you made it through and spring is in the very near future!

If you’re like me, with kids in Greenville County Schools (GCS), spring includes the much loved and desperately needed Spring Break. That glorious week off of school for the kids and, hopefully, off work for the parents. What do we do?

  • Leave town.
  • Head to the beach.
  • Go west to snow ski.
  • Fly to a remote tropical island.
Faulkner Canva Photo

The options are endless! Like so many GCS families, my family typically travels for Spring Break. What makes my family unique is that every year I hear my husband grumble about how he hates winter but also isn’t a fan of the summer heat and humidity. And yet, we LEAVE town for Spring Break during his favorite season of the year.

I get it. I really do. But, let’s be honest, I’m not giving up an annual trip during Spring Break! As a result, we’ve become big fans of staycations . . . right here in the Upstate! What’s not to love? A staycation is quick, easy to plan and full of great options close to home!

If you’ve considered a staycation or are just now realizing it’s a viable option, read on. I’m sharing some of my family’s favorite staycations as well as ideas and pointers for planning your own!

A Staycation Close to Home: Downtown Greenville

Everyone loves downtown Greenville, my family included. But let’s face it, even though we are only 20 minutes away, we don’t visit downtown very often. As a result, we love staying overnight “in the city” and having plenty of uninterrupted time to check out many of the fun things to do in the area. The options are endless for a staycation in downtown Greenville. Here are a few possibilities!

Where to Stay

Clearly, not the most important element of the staycation concept—however, since the word starts with STAY, so will we!

As a loyal Marriott family, we really love the Springhill Suites on Washington Street. It sits across the street from Fireforge, one of our favorite breweries in the area, and is very close to everything on Main Street.

There are so many hotel options in downtown Greenville that you can literally pick your hotel based on which part of downtown you want to be closest to, which loyalty program you’ve pledged your undying love to, or what amenities they offer. Embassy Suites Downtown Riverplace offers a rooftop bar. AC Hotel is new and super fun with multiple places to eat or drink inside the hotel, plus it’s surrounded by all the new development where Greenville News used to sit. If you prefer the west side of downtown, there are several smaller, boutique hotels out that way too.

What to do

Talk about a loaded question! The options are truly endless.

Downtown Greenville offers one of the best Saturday morning farmers markets in the area! Happening every Saturday morning from May through October, this is your chance to walk down Main Street without dodging cars, while you shop for flowers, fruits and vegetables, fresh baked bread, handmade soap and so much more! Even though this doesn’t run during Spring Break—be sure to mark your calendars for May!

Rent bikes and hit the Swamp Rabbit Trail. Reedy Rides is right downtown and can hook your whole family up with bikes. Head north past Furman University and into Travelers Rest. Or head south to Cleveland Park. Stop by Cancer Survivors Park or Linky Stone Park along your way! So many options.

Visit Falls Park. This alone could occupy hours of your time. Walk across the bridge, explore the gardens, and venture a bit further to the galleries. You could even have a meal or snack at Passerelle while enjoying the park from above.

Find the mice in downtown Greenville! Whether your kids have never done it or done it a thousand times, the Mice on Main scavenger hunt is truly iconic and a must-do for families when visiting downtown Greenville!

Take in a baseball game. The Greenville Drive stadium sits right in the west end of downtown and makes for a fun spring afternoon destination!

Go for a hike. If you’re not quite ready to head home after checking out the last morning, sneaking in a short hike may be exactly what you need. Paris Mountain and Conestee Nature Preserve are two great options not too far from downtown.

Is the weather not-so-great? No problem! Downtown Greenville has some pretty cool places to hang out indoors too.

Get your game on at Group Therapy. This indoor fun zone offers something for everyone, including ping pong, mini golf and more! Keep in mind, Group Therapy is adults only after 7 pm. Sorry kids!

Walk and shop. Not gonna lie, this is how my family tends to spend a good chunk of our time when we staycation in downtown Greenville. My goal is to walk from one end of town to the other, then back. Stopping wherever we want along the way, we check out hotel lobbies and rooftops, boutiques, kitchen stores, antique shops and, of course, the Mast General Store.

Downtown Greenville has several breweries the whole family can enjoy. When you think brewery, you may think adult-only but you are wrong! Breweries typically offer amazing outdoor spaces, giant TVs, games, great food, and yes, beer. My family has loved Fireforge for years, though recently we’ve been known to enjoy some hot chicken and foosball at Yee-Haw Brewing Company!

Don’t Forget the Nearby Cute Downtowns

Downtown Greenville is certainly not the only option for a staycation in a cute downtown without traveling too far from home. Downtown Greer is one of the cutest downtowns in the area, has a new hotel in the midst of it all, a giant park you can walk to and so many cool festivals. Downtown Simpsonville and Downtown Fountain Inn are two more good choices for a fun staycation as there are plenty of things to do, places to eat, etc.

A Staycation Down the Road: Downtown Spartanburg

Did you know that before Gather came to Greenville, downtown Spartanburg had Fr8yard? Yep, it’s true. Downtown Spartanburg is another great option for a fun overnight trip with the family. Tons to do, lots of places to eat, a scavenger hunt of their own and so much more!

Where to Stay

You know what else downtown Spartanburg had before downtown Greenville? The AC Hotel. This Spartanburg hotel sits right downtown, is walkable to everything and offers rooftop dining at Level 10. This AC Hotel has an outdoor pool and you can even bring your pooch! The area also has other large hotel options as well, like Spartanburg Marriott, and several smaller boutique type inns as well.

What to Do

There is certainly no shortage of things to do in downtown Spartanburg! My family has loved Fr8yard for years! It’s South Carolina’s first open air biergarten. Don’t be fooled, it offers way more than beer. Great food, live music, games and tons of space to hang out and have fun with your people.

Visit a super cool park. If you’re visiting downtown Spartanburg with kids, be sure to check out the park situated in the heart of it all. Even my “I’m too old for a playground” kid loved Play on Main, which is actually a school playground but open to the public when school isn’t in session.

Experience Lighten Up Spartanburg. The art scene is legit and another fun way to explore downtown Spartanburg. We love strolling the streets of downtown Spartanburg and finding the lightbulbs. Not familiar with Lighten Up Spartanburg? You should be! Over 20 life size fiberglass lightbulbs can be found throughout downtown Spartanburg and the surrounding areas. Finding and photographing these lightbulbs is something my family loves to do each and every time we visit downtown Spartanburg. Heck, maybe finding ALL the lightbulbs should go on my personal 2023 bucket list!

Visit a street festival. Perhaps you should plan a Spartanburg staycation around one of the city’s popular street festivals! Hubs City Hog Fest, Cribbs Burger Fest and Spring Fling are all happening in downtown Spartanburg this spring.

A Staycation a Stone’s Throw Away: Downtown Asheville

Close enough for a quick overnight but not exactly a staycation, downtown Asheville is another favorite destination for my family. Here you will find lots of fun things to do, great food, cool hotels, and even a pinball museum, all with a beautiful mountain backdrop.

In the past we have stayed at Renaissance Asheville Downtown but next time, may check out the AC Hotel. Like the AC hotels in Greenville and Spartanburg, the AC Hotel Asheville also has a rooftop dining option, tapas style Capella on 9. And unlike the South Carolina hotels, this rooftop venue offers some amazing mountain views to enjoy as you sip a glass of wine.

Another great aspect of a semi-staycation in Asheville is proximity to so many outdoor activities like hiking or whitewater rafting. And don’t forget about the beloved Biltmore Estate right outside of downtown Asheville. If you plan it right, you could enjoy a staycation in Asheville capped off with a trip to Biltmore Blooms; Biltmore’s annual flower extravaganza! Perhaps a staycation in Asheville calls for a whole weekend to truly enjoy this mountain city and even a small portion of what it has to offer. Not too bad for only a hour or so drive from home!

Plan Your Own Staycation

Next time you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and your kids over-scheduled, consider an escape in your own backyard! When life gets crazy, a staycation is a great way to bring your family back together while having a lot of fun and making memories!

As you plan your own staycation, be sure to keep the following in mind:

  • You don’t have to travel far.
  • Make it a surprise!
  • Many hotels will even let you bring your dog.
  • Wrap up your staycation with an activity the next day.

As the years go by and kids grow up, I find myself counting down the years until my oldest daughter (now 14) heads off to college. I get a little knot in my stomach as I realize the clock is ticking! Truthfully, hanging with her boring mom, embarrassing dad and annoying little sister isn’t always at the top of the to-do list for my teenager. This is another reason my family has really embraced the staycation concept!

No weeks of planning. No friends with us. No hours on electronic devices. It’s just our family together for 24-48 hours and pure togetherness as we walk, explore, play and eat. It’s all about the memories we make! We have made some good ones on our staycations and look forward to making some more.

I hope you found this piece helpful in planning a fun staycation for your own family!

Contact Elizabeth Faulkner

Elizabeth Faulkner
[email protected]

Read more about Elizabeth Faulkner on Kidding Around.



Hotel Hartness: Where Luxury and Comfort Meet in Greenville, SC

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Hotel Hartness, a four-star boutique hotel that prides itself on providing true hospitality service, opened its doors March 15, 2023 in Greenville, SC.

Located off Highway 14 between Pelham Road and Roper Mountain Road, the hotel will offer 73 luxurious guest rooms and suites, an event center and ballroom, a waterside restaurant, a luxury spa, and more.

We had the opportunity to tour the property near the end of its construction, and we’re excited to share more about our visit with you. When you’re on the property, you feel like you’ve stepped away for a beautiful, quiet retreat.

So whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway, a day at the spa, a dinner date, or somewhere nice for out-of-town guests to stay, you’ll definitely want to consider Hotel Hartness.

Hotel Hartness in Greenville, SC

Hotel Hartness History

Tom Hartness purchased the Pepsi-Cola Bottling rights in Greenville, SC in 1940, and over the next 70 years, the Hartness company evolved as a total packaging solutions provider with over 100 patents. Tom’s son, Pat, grew up in the business and eventually took over, while his son, Sean, became a senior executive. After a decades-long run of successful business ventures, the family sold Hartness International in 2009.

Pat acquired the land where the Hartness community and Hotel Hartness are located. It’s a total of 449 acres and has rolling pastures, lakes, creeks, and lush forests.

Not only did the family business once take place on the land, but Pat and his wife, Mary Lou, lived on an estate on it as well. Their beloved homestead welcomed friends and family through weddings, holiday celebrations, charitable events, and family gatherings. The former Hartness home has been reimagined into Hotel Hartness, and as you walk through the hotel, you’re sure to get a sense of family history and pride.

Hotel Hartness Greenville, SC

Hotel Hartness Features and Amenities 

The Hartness family wants to ensure the hotel evokes their dedication to Southern hospitality. Upon checking in, hotel guests will be greeted with a cocktail (Bellini, anyone?) and can expect an array of intentional services, including an evening turn-down service with fresh macarons made by the Pastry Chef.

Hotel Hartness Greenville, SC

The Great Room is the former living room of the Hartness family, where they celebrated many family events, and guests may lounge and mingle here now.

The Captain Bar at Hotel Hartness
The Captain Bar at Hotel Hartness

The Captain is the hotel’s indoor bar, aptly nicknamed after Tom, the family’s patriarch. This area was formerly the Manor’s kitchen, and the original 200-year-old reclaimed wooden beams are still in place.

Hotel Hartness Greenville, SC

Hotel guests receive a complimentary breakfast that they may enjoy in a beautiful, modern breakfast area. 

Hotel Hartness Greenville, SC

All artwork throughout the hotel has been carefully curated by the Hartness family and Art Houzze, a Greenville-based business dedicated to connecting artists and art enthusiasts. The art collection features pieces from artists who are from or work in the Upstate. A plaque accompanies each piece of art where you can scan the QR code to read more information.

Ballroom at Hotel Hartness

The hotel also boasts of over 16,000 square feet of meeting and event space. There are indoor venue options and outdoor options, all of which can be customized for weddings, social gatherings, and corporate events. The White Oak Ballroom can host up to 300 guests.

While we could not tour Spa H (they were putting final touches on the flooring), we can at least tell you that there will be a comprehensive menu of unique and creative treatments. The spa will be open to both hotel guests and the public. There are even 4 guests suites located in the spa. It sounds perfect for a couple’s getaway! The opening date for Spa H is TBD.

The Patterson Restaurant at Hotel Hartness

The Patterson Kitchen + Bar rests beside a beautiful, tree-lined pond. The window walls can be opened for an indoor-outdoor dining experience. 

The Patterson Kitchen and Bar

The restaurant will serve contemporary American cuisine and continue the Hartness dedication to hospitality and service. Chef Tanner Marino will source as many ingredients from the on-site farm and local suppliers as possible, so you can rest assured that your food will be fresh.

The Patterson Kitchen and Bar

The Patterson Kitchen + Bar is open to the public and officially opens on March 22, 2023. Reservations are encouraged.

Where is Hotel Hartness

Hotel Hartness is conveniently located in Greenville, just 10 minutes from Greenville-Spartanburg Airport and 15 minutes from downtown Greenville. And it’s a very short drive from Woodruff Road.

Hotel Hartness
120 Halston Avenue, Greenville

Discover more places to stay near Greenville, SC.

Dig In: Creating a Garden with Kids

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Ready to get outside and enjoy spring? Backyard gardening is something the whole family can do together, plus, it can provide delicious food for your table! Springtime vegetables are some of the easiest and most low-maintenance vegetables to grow. You don’t need many supplies at all to get started and you can order what you need and have it delivered straight to your door or order ahead and pick it up. Here are the vegetables you can start growing this time of year and how to get started!


3 Helpful Babysitter Services Near Greenville, SC

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Are you looking to find the perfect babysitter? Greenville, SC offers several options. We know the process of finding trustworthy childcare for your little ones can be stressful. Because of this, babysitting and nanny services are emerging that require strict background checks. These extra security steps are helping eliminate many parents’ fears about who exactly is caring for their children.

This list includes babysitter services that pride themselves on providing top-notch caregivers that are ready to help your family thrive!

Babysitter Services in Greenville, SC

Find the Perfect Babysitter Near Greenville, SC

Jovie: Childcare Reimagined

Services Greenville, SC; Nationally

Jovie has reimagined childcare to meet the needs of today’s families. Meet the Jovie squad, your team and companion in childcare. Jovie has over 20 years of experience and expertise as college nannies and sitters. Jovie offers in-home childcare for work, date nights, or whenever you need it. Jovie has you covered.

Platinum Sitters

Platinum Sitters Website
Services Greenville, SC

Platinum Sitters require sitters have a clean background check, a clean driving record, and multiple years of childcare experience. Most importantly, caregivers must love working with children! Platinum Sitters offers occasional care, recurring services, and special group event rates. Check out their website for more information.

Smartsitters South Carolina

Smartsitters South Carolina Website
Services throughout Upstate, SC

Smartsitters South Carolina conducts one-on-one interviews and several security checks on all caregivers. Some services offered include on-demand and overnight care, nursery staffing, and recurring services. Excitedly, Smartsitters offers concierge service! Request a sitter directly through their website.

Reading with children

More Child Care Options

For more childcare options, check out our list of Parents’ Night Out/Kids’ Night Out Events hosted by local kids’ venues in Greenville, SC. You may also want to scroll through our Ultimate Guide to Daycare in Greenville and the Upstate and our Guide to Preschools and Day Care.

No Electricity? Meals & Food For Power Outages

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Preparing for the storm and wondering what meals you can cook without electricity? If the power goes out, what is there to eat? You’re wondering about food for power outages. With storms approaching and a possible power outage, thinking ahead about meals to make if you have no electricity can be a smart move amidst grabbing the obligatory bread and milk from the grocery stores. Today we’re making storm prep easier with several no-power-meal ideas.

Our readers are awesome. We asked them for ideas on what to make if we end up losing power due to a storm. They answered with a lot of creative suggestions.

We’re answering:

  • What meals can I cook without power?
  • What food should I buy before a storm?
  • What can I feed my family if the power is out?
  • And, we have a handy food for power outage grocery list!
Meals for power outages

This article includes:
What Meals Can You Make With No Power? Meal Ideas for Power Outages
Food for Power Outage Grocery List


A Travel Guide To Myrtle Beach, SC: Things to Do, Where to Stay, and Places to Eat

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Planning a family vacation to a great beach in SC? Myrtle Beach is a clear favorite, and it is easy to see why. As one of the most popular beaches for vacationing in SC, Myrtle Beach offers top-notch hotels and resorts along with tons of family-friendly activities along the Grand Strand. So we’ve gathered up reviews and coverage from Kidding Around into one convenient guide! Our guide includes places to stay, where to dine, fun activities, and more to help you create the perfect vacation.

Travel Guide to Coastal SC: Myrtle Beach

Greenville’s Ultimate Spring Guide: Things to Do in Spring

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Searching for things to do in Greenville. SC this spring? Finally, the weather isn’t freezing and it looks like we made it through the worst of winter. There are even tulips showing their colors and trees flowering. It’s spring and time to get outdoors and enjoy all the great family-friendly events and egg hunts and festivals that come with this time of year in Greenville. We’ve gathered all our best spring content and set it up here so you can find something great to do this spring.

Are you in Spartanburg? Here’s our Spring Guide to Spartanburg.


15 Day Trips with Teens Near Greenville, SC

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Are you looking for a fun day trip with teens? Need a way to spend a day with your teen near Upstate, SC? These are a great way to spend some quality time exploring together or just having fun. Here’s our list of the 15 best day trips for teens & tweens near Greenville!