Downtown Anderson Offers Small-Town Charm

Downtown Anderson Offers Small-Town Charm

by Sherry Jackson

Anderson grew up as a textile town. Several mills in the area provided the groundwork for a rich and vibrant city while still maintaining its rural roots. When Lake Hartwell was created in the 1950s, it brought those seeking boating and fishing along its 962-mile long shoreline.

Anderson is also commonly referred to as the “electric city” as it was the first city in the United States to have a continuous supply of electricity, powered by a water mill on the Rocky River. A statue of William Church Whitner, who devised a method to transport electricity from the river into the city, sits prominently in the downtown city square.

Today, Anderson’s downtown offers great dining, eclectic boutiques, museums, and cultural activities that are definitely worth exploring.

It all starts with a good night’s sleep

The Bleckley Inn, a 14-room boutique hotel, is top-notch and worthy of at least an overnight stay. Owners Steve and Lynn Kay, who moved to downtown Anderson in 2006, have been, and continue to be, instrumental in the downtown’s redevelopment. After housing the Budweiser Clydesdales in their historic Carriage House stable, the Kays realized that there was a barn for the horses but nowhere in town for their caregivers to stay. In 2011, the Kays opened the Bleckley Inn, and the Carriage House now serves as the Inn’s event space where weddings and other events are hosted frequently.

Spa robes, luxurious linens, and clean and well-decorated rooms are all part of the luxury experience. Nightly milk and homemade cookies top it off, and the complimentary buffet breakfast shouldn’t be missed, with breakfast casseroles, candied bacon, and fresh fruit and pastries.

The inn also has an additional eight rooms with their own unique charm located on the downtown square and two fully furnished apartments available for short- and long-term rental.


Explore art in Anderson

As you stroll along the streets of downtown Anderson, be on the lookout for fish and wrens. Both are part of the city’s art in public spaces initiative. In fact, the city was awarded the 2013 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award, the governor’s award for public art and the highest award for art in the state.  

“Fish Out of Water features 35 large-mouth bass sculptures scattered throughout downtown as an ode to the indigenous species in nearby Lake Hartwell. The Wren Project is a special installation of 20 bronze wren sculptures hidden in the eaves of downtown buildings to provide “a bird’s eye view of downtown.

A 2013 vibrancy grant from Ten at the Top provided funds to wrap electrical boxes and paint crosswalks with images from the book, Little Wren Lost and the Teakettle Call, a children’s book featuring original watercolors of icons across the state and in Anderson.

In the fall of 2013, Carolina Wren Park opened in the heart of downtown. The park provides an amphitheater with a stage, fountain, splash pad, and dancing lights. The venue is also home to “The Block Party” presented by Piedmont Natural Gas on Thursday nights from April to October, where thousands gather to hear local bands and enjoy time outside. On Friday and Saturday nights through December 20, children can delight in falling “snow” at the park.


Southern history lessons

Several historic buildings still stand in downtown Anderson, and a self-guided walking tour guide can be obtained from Visit Anderson. Learn about the Chiquola Hotel, constructed in 1888, now home to luxury condos. The circa-1891 Sullivan Hardware Store now serves as an upscale restaurant, aptly called Sullivan’s Metropolitan Grill.

For a deeper dive into Anderson’s history, stop by the Anderson County Museum. Displays include the history of the surrounding mill villages and what life was like in the rural county. See the impact that Duke Energy and Lake Hartwell had on the area. Admission to the museum is free.

Wet your whistle and grab some grub 

A stop by Palmetto Moonshine will provide an opportunity to taste South Carolina’s first legal distillery and see how “white lightning” is made. A large gift shop allows for plenty of souvenir shopping and to purchase a jar of your favorite flavor of “shine.”

Anderson also has many great dining choices. At Figs Beanery and Creamery you can get your daily java fix, a sweat treat, a scoop of ice cream, or even a sandwich. Located in an old bank building, Doolittle’s Restaurant, where the motto is “Eat. Drink. Do Little,” serves up fresh-made sandwiches, salads, and other specialties.

For dinner, Summa Joe’s is a farm-to-table restaurant offering fresh ingredients for dishes from pizzas, pastas, sandwiches, and other specialty dishes. If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, Sullivan’s Metropolitan Restaurant serves up steaks, duck, and fresh seafood.

Several boutique and antique shops line Main Street, and the city hosts special events throughout the year. So next time you’re trying to decide on what to do, go explore the Upstate’s own Electric City.


Upstate, SC [October 23, 2018] – Ten at the Top (TATT), an organization created to foster collaboration, partnerships and strategic planning across the Upstate, has announced the finalists for the 2018 Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate Community Vibrancy Grants.

The five finalists were chosen from a total of 26 applications submitted for the two grants available in 2018. Hughes Investments is contributing at least $10,000 per year to the program with two recipients each year receiving $5,000 to support a new vibrancy initiative in the Upstate. The program began in 2013 in conjunction with a series of Community Vibrancy Workshops hosted by Ten at the Top. Since the inception of the grants program, Hughes Investments has contributed a total of $67,000 to community vibrancy initiatives across the Upstate.

During the Ten at the Top Celebrating Successes Brunch on November 14th the five finalists will each provide a brief overview of their initiative before the 2018 recipients are selected and announced. The cost to attend the brunch is $35, prior registration is required. The event will be held from 11:30 am -1:30 pm at the Greenville Marriott. To register go to

Below are the five finalists (project name, applying organization, and brief summary):

1st Annual Charles Townes Arts & Technology Experiment – Spontaneous Productions
The 1st Annual Charles Townes Art & Technology Experiment intends to generate awareness and gratitude for Charles Townes, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, who was a Greenville native and graduate of Furman University. The project also aims to be a catalyst for the acceptance and encouragement of experimentation and curiosity—in technology as well as the arts—reflecting some of Townes’ ethics.

Centuries of Gaffney: A Walking Tour – City of Gaffney
The City of Gaffney, in an effort to create walkability and interaction downtown, proposes to place Revolutionary War shields along sidewalks that will celebrate local champions from 1780 and 1781, much like the “Hollywood Stars.” The unveiling of each shield will be done by descendants of each Revolutionary War hero. 

Environmental Arts Festival – Piedmont Physic Garden
The Piedmont Physic Garden (PPG), a botanical garden in the historic center of Union, South Carolina, seeks funding to start an Environmental Art Festival (EAF) along with the Union County Arts Council (UCAC), the University of South Carolina–Union (USC–U), and the Union County Tourism Commission (UCTC). All four entities are located within three blocks of each other, which will allow convenient access to various exhibits and vendors. The first EAF will take place in April of 2020. Over the two-day weekend, people from across the Piedmont and beyond will be drawn to downtown Union to enjoy the arts as well as the outdoors. The $5,000 grant will be used for logo/branding design, artist prospectus development, banners, billboard rentals, and advanced media promotion.

IDEAS Festival – The Arts Center of Clemson, City of Clemson Arts & Culture Commission, Neighborhood Associations
The City of Clemson Arts & Culture Commission, in partnership with the Arts Center of Clemson and Clemson neighborhood associations, seeks to create and deliver a high-impact arts and culture festival in spring 2019 that will increase engagement and participation of Clemson citizenry in city-wide arts and culture initiatives, while also creating a new social justice opportunity. The IDEAS Festival will bring residents from the City and Clemson together to celebrate local artists as well as to gather citizen input for long-term planning for art in public places. 

Movie Night at the Park – Ninety Six Mill Village Association
The Ninety Six Mill Village Association (MVNA), in collaboration with the Town of Ninety Six and local residents, is seeking to build a sense of pride in the community by offering a series of free outdoor events to showcase the community park. MVNA is requesting assistance to help fund the purchase of equipment and supplies to host a regular Movie Night at the Park, which stands on the site of a former textile mill.

The selection committee for the Elevate Upstate Grants Program includes Phil Hughes (President, Hughes Investments), Ingo Angermeier (SmartPulse), and Terence Roberts (Mayor, City of Anderson).

Outdoor Resources Asset Map

Outdoor Resources Asset Map

By Daniel Higgins, Intern, Ten at the Top

Have you ever wondered where you can find one source where you can search for fun outdoor activities without having to open a new page every time you search for something? Ten at the Top and Duke Energy bring you a quick and easy way to find outdoor resources in the ten counties of the Upstate using a virtual map with icons that you can easily sort by county or resource type. Each icon provides a description and address of the corresponding outdoor resource as well as multiple pictures so you can see what it looks like and get a feel for it before you go.

Five to Try

  1. The Nantahala Outdoor Center Chattooga Outpost is located in Oconee County and is a great outdoor activity for families. The Nantahala Outdoor Center has amazing whitewater rafting deals and hiking in great scenery on the western edge of the Upstate, near Walhalla. Southern Living called rafting the Chattooga River “the #1 thing every southerner ought to do.” Click here for scenic pictures captured from previous whitewater rafting events at the Chattooga River.
  2. The Walker Course is a prestigious golf course on the campus of Clemson University and is located on the borders of Oconee, Pickens, and Anderson Counties, but mostly in Oconee County. The Walker Course the home of the Clemson University 2003 NCAA national champion golf team and is a great way for friends and family to play golf in Clemson, South Carolina. The scenery is some of the best in South Carolina, whether you are teeing it up through the woods or on the water on the back nine. Click here to book your next tee time and tee it up where the former NCAA and PGA Tour Champions have before.
  3. The Spartanburg Science Center is a great center for school programs, children’s camps, birthday parties, and support sciences located in the center of the Spartanburg County. The Spartanburg Science Center offers hands-on learning for guests of all ages with live animal rooms, a museum room, and more than twenty-three exhibits. The live animal rooms feature all different kinds of reptiles, amphibians, and fish, while the museum room features fossils, bones, skulls, and rocks and minerals. The center is not technically an outdoor resource, but on a rainy day, you can head here to learn about nature in an indoor setting.
  4. The Diamond Hill Mine is a local mine located in Abbeville, South Carolina. The Diamond Hill Mine features many different kinds of crystals and minerals such as iron, amethyst, garnets, and several kinds of quartz, among others. This mine is very accommodating and is pet friendly—everyone loves a place where they can bring their pets! An added perk is that the mine allows guests to camp there for free. Click here to learn more about the crystals and minerals or to arrange for free camping with your pets.
  5. The Cherokee County Family YMCA Waterpark is a fun outdoor experience for the family located in Gaffney, South Carolina. Like most YMCAs, this YMCA offers many fun activities to get your body in shape for the summer: basketball courts, dance floors, T-Ball, summer camp, swimming, and many more fun activities for young children and adults. One thing this YMCA has that most YMCA’s don’t have is a waterpark. They also offer a summer volleyball camp at the end of July each year, which is taught by the head volleyball coach at Blacksburg High School. You can click here to see the membership offers, hours, and rates for the waterpark and entire YMCA.
Senior League World Series Returns to Easley

Senior League World Series Returns to Easley

By Dewey Evans, Program Manager, Ten at the Top

Baseball is back in Easley, SC (Pickens County) as the Senior League World Series (SLBWS) returns, beginning July 28th and concluding with the championship game on August 4th. A baseball tournament modeled after the World Series in Major League Baseball, youth 13 to 16 years old compete with other U.S. and international teams. Since its inception in 1961, the SLBWS has been played at eight different sites:

• Williamsport, Pennsylvania: 1961–1962

• Bethlehem, Pennsylvania: 1963

• Louisville, Kentucky: 1964

• Des Moines, Iowa: 1965–1967

• Gary, Indiana: 1968–1985

• Kissimmee, Florida: 1986–2001

• Bangor, Maine: 2002–2016

 Easley, South Carolina: 2017–present

Although the popular baseball series moved from Bangor, Maine to Easley just last year, the city is no stranger to the big stage. From 2001 to 2016, Easley was the destination of the Big League World Series (BLWS), which was discontinued following the conclusion of the 2016 tournament. A team from South Carolina won the BLWS title as recently as 2013.

The Senior League World Series, much like the BLWS, is a mix of U.S. and international teams. Each team is placed in one of the two 6-team modified-double-elimination brackets based on geography (US and International):


  • Central
  • East
  • Host (SC District 1)
  • Southeast
  • Southwest
  • West

  • Asia-Pacific
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Caribbean
  • Europe-Africa
  • Latin America


The SLBWS invites 12 teams, differing from its predecessor, which hosted 11. Click the image below to view this year’s bracket.


Doing much more than simply providing residents of Easley and the Upstate a look at the baseball stars of the future, the SLBWS produces a considerable economic impact for Easley and the state of South Carolina. Read below an analysis done in 2015 by Greenville News writer Ron Barnett on the economic impact of what was then the Big League World Series:

“An economic impact study done by Clemson University researchers showed that the tournament generates direct spending of more than $670,000, … Furthermore, using a formula that includes indirect and induced effects, the researchers said the games created at least 12 jobs, local government revenue of $37,081, and state government revenue of $119,933, bringing the grand total of economic impact to $737,472, Barnett reported.” (Greenville News, 2015)

Furthermore, the tournament shines the national sports spotlight on Easley, with the championship game featured annually on ESPN. In 2016, State House Representative Neal Collins (SC District 5), remarked that “You can’t put a price on what it means for the city of Easley, being promoted on ESPN,” he said. “Even more important than that is what it’s building for the young men. We now have 16 years of teams who have been able to experience what it means to be in a tournament like that.”

The 2018 SLBWS, as years past, will be held at the J.B. “Red” Owens Sports Complex. There will be a Fan Fest held on July 27th in downtown Easley beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Fan Fest will include team introductions, family fun, and entertainment featuring Jack N’ Diane’s Dueling Pianos.

For More Information…

• Senior League World Series Website

• Fan Information 

• J.B. “Red” Owens Complex

Connecting Our Future Idea Exchange on March 19th

By Dean Hybl, Executive Director, Ten at the Top

As the next step of the Connecting Our Future initiative to develop a regional vision and actionable strategies for enhancing mobility, transportation and connectivity across the 10-county Upstate region, Ten at the Top is inviting interested stakeholders to share their ideas during the Connecting Our Future Idea Exchange. The workshop is being held on Monday, March 19th from 1:30-4:30 pm at the Michelin Conference Center (517 Michelin Road, Building 18, Greenville, SC 29605).

Born from the Shaping Our Future Growth Scenarios Analysis, Connecting Our Future was launched last fall as a collaborative effort to bring together the various organizations, businesses and local governments who have been working individually on some component of moving people and goods across the Upstate. The Connecting Our Future partners have contracted with Kimley-Horn to create a regional vision and actionable strategies to enhance current and future mobility in the region.

The Connecting Our Future Idea Exchange will be an opportunity for interested residents and community leaders to share their ideas and insights around a number of topics related to mobility in the Upstate. The topic areas include: commuter travel, bicycle & pedestrian, transit, freight movement, workforce access, strategic infrastructure, land use & development and innovation & technology.

“When we first convened stakeholders around transportation and mobility, it was quickly recognized that everyone is working on important elements of moving people and goods across the region, but that most work was being done in a vacuum when in actuality there was an opportunity and need for greater connectivity and collaboration,” said Dean Hybl, Executive Director of Ten at the Top. “The ultimate goal of Connecting Our Future is to increase access to transportation, reduce congestion and improve connectivity across the Upstate. However, without a clear vision and actionable regional strategies, we would continue to struggle to create clarity and synergy on how to accomplish those goals.

“The Idea Exchange on March 19th is an important step in the process as we want to hear and understand the ideas and concerns of stakeholders from across the Upstate,” Hybl added.

Michelin is serving as the host for the Idea Exchange and is one of four Steering Level partners for Connecting Our Future. The others are Duke Energy, Hollingsworth Funds and the Jolley Foundation. In addition other businesses, local governments and non-profits have come together to support this regional initiative. A full list of the coalition partners as well as more details about the entire initiative can be found on the Connecting Our Future website, The final vision and strategies, along with next steps, will be unveiled later this summer.

The Connecting Our Future Idea Exchange is a free event, but advanced registration is requested. For more details and to register, please go to or

Ten at the Top Announces New Programming Managers

GREENVILLE, S.C.— Ten at the Top is pleased to announce the addition of two new staff members, Adelyn Nottingham and Dewey Evans, both of whom will serve as Program Managers for the organization. Ten at the Top is a nonprofit organization focused on promoting collaboration and strategic planning across the Upstate region.

Adelyn joins the TATT team after working for The Haven Homeless Shelter in Spartanburg, South Carolina. She previously served as in the Americorps Vista program through the United Way of the Piedmont working specifically with the Know(2) Program in Cherokee County. Due to her experience in enhancing the quality of life for community members, her efforts will focus on Human Potential, specifically on The Pique, a young professional development initiative, as well as issues facing Upstate seniors. She is also serving as the lead program manager for the Connecting Our Future Transportation, Mobility and Connectivity initiative. Originally from West Virginia, she now makes her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Dewey will coordinate the efforts around Economic & Entrepreneurial Vitality, Sustainable Growth and Community Vibrancy. These areas will focus on improving the Upstate’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, encouraging responsible future growth and embracing the cultural heritage of the Upstate. He comes to TATT with a strong desire to make an impact in the economic and community development arena and is excited to contribute to the Upstate’s regional development strategy. A graduate of Appalachian State University and Pickens High School, Evans currently resides in Easley, South Carolina.

“To ensure that Ten at the Top is appropriately structured to continue accomplishing our mission to build the collective capacity of the region around issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life, we felt it was important to focus as much of our staff resources as possible around our programs and initiatives,” Dean Hybl, TATT Executive Director, said. “Thus, we are doubling our staff of program managers and are very fortunate to have two young professionals with a familiarity for the region as well as a passion for making the Upstate a better place to live, learn, do business and raise a family.”

About Ten at the Top
Comprised of public, private and civic leaders from across the ten-county Upstate South Carolina Region, Ten at the Top was created to connect and encourage regional collaboration through data-driven research and regular convening of leaders and citizens to address key issues facing the region. Ten at the Top works with regional partners to foster collaboration and strategic planning to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for Upstate residents both today and as the region continues to grow. For more information, visit