My friends, if you have need of a quirky city setting for a story, go to Downtown Greenville. Oh my gosh, we couldn't walk anywhere without seeing something inspirational, educational, or just plain cool.
I had no idea the place would be so cool, so I didn't bring my camera. Luckily, since our Maine trip, my mother upgraded her cell phone to one with a better camera. I commandeered it for a considerable portion of the trip.
Okay, so first thing about downtown Greenville? It has a river in it! With waterfalls! And a park around it!
(Look at that sky. What a beautiful day it was.)
How gorgeous is that? All natural too. And as you can see from the second picture, there's a bridge that crosses the gorge, a suspension bridge! When you're on it, looking over, you can ever so slightly feel the bridge move under your feet. A gentle swaying as a constant reminder that you are very high, and the water beneath you only ankle deep. I stayed on longer than my legs wanted to, just watching the people climbing on the rocks below.
There are tons of paths around the park, leading to restaurants, amphitheaters, the local zoo (a two mile walk from where we were). Partway towards the zoo is a memorial to a U-2 pilot killed during the Cuban Missile Crisis. A local boy, the monument suggested that his untimely death led to the cessation of hostilities and the end of the crisis. All I could think while looking at the memorial was, "This could totally be a plot device." I mean, it's a decommissioned F-86, a Sabre, (a plane the pilot flew before he became a U-2 pilot) just sitting in a park. It just screams "potential conspiracy theory" or "what if it still works and someone had to take it to save the day?"
There's also inspiration in the form of tiny little mouse statues scattered, hidden around the town. You can walk right by them without noticing. Unless someone knits one a tiny little scarf for the oncoming cold. There's magic here, I tell you.
And in this tree too. Look at those roots. Can't you just imagine some kind of portal opening from that? It's practically a hidden doorway.
If all these don't convince you to visit Greenville, then maybe this will.
SURPRISE! IT'S A BOOKSTORE!
M. Judson's is a relatively new independent store, only open three months ago, and if you don't fall in love with it as soon as you walk in, see a doctor for your missing sanity. The aged courthouse architecture embraces the warmth and openness of the store. With plenty of space for spreading out with a book and a drink and baked good from the in-store coffee shop, or settling in with your laptop to do some writing (NaNoers welcome, they're hosting write-ins!), it's heaven in a store. Even the coffee bar is getting in on the whole "books" thing.
Seriously, it all was almost enough to make me want to move, but my area's got it's own share of great bookstores. Sure, they're not in adorable ex-courthouses with gorgeous stairs leading up to it, and they don't have write-in space, or quirky coffee bars with book-lined halls, but...
Yeah, okay, I want this bookstore in my town. I want this TOWN in my town. All the above, plus potential characters on every street (from the girl with green hair and the man rocking out on his scooter as he drove down the street to the drooling boar statue), countless restaurants to try, and a zoo to explore, I will definitely be going back when the weather turns for the warm again.