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Neighborhoods

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Road Trip: Greenville, South Carolina

Becky

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You know how sometimes you’re headed to some town you’ve only seen from an interstate highway (near the Peachoid) for a wedding and your expectations are low? This weekend I traveled to Greenville, South Carolina for a wedding and I could not get over how charming and beautiful that town was. I even ran into John Legend twice – go figure!

Once a thriving textile town, Greenville went through a rough patch, but now the downtown area, the west end and the newly developed Swamp Rabbit Trail along the Reedy river are very impressive. Refurbished mills and new construction include design studios, boutiques, restaurants, hotels and art galleries.

At one end of the trail was this cheerful rainbow garden.

Heading downstream (Greenville is along the fall line, so the river is full of falls and gorgeous rocks), I came across this amazing view of tree roots in section.

The Liberty Bridge is a pedestrian bridge that spans the falls and lands you at the West End of town, which is the cool design-centric area. The bridge is supported by two 90-foot masts that hold the one suspension cable. Quite impressive and a beautiful feat of engineering, the bridge was designed by architect Miquel Rosales.

At the West End side of the bridge sits the charming Passerelle Bistro, where patrons can enjoy the view of the falls from the stone patio. There are also nice clean public restrooms around the corner — always a plus on these adventures.

The West End is full of design businesses like Postcard from Paris. Is this a great ghost sign or what? This is a view from the Swamp Rabbit Trail below.

Circling the West End before heading back to the hotel, we came across an old-school Army-Navy store. Then we ran into Legend and his cutie dog Pippa in NoMa Square, which was icing on the cake. Greenville South Carolina is a charming livable city at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains that I’m still dreaming about almost a week later. I highly suggest a weekend trip, especially during spring or fall.

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Monday, June 7th, 2010

Inspiration Monday: The High Line

Becky

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Ah, The High Line. After years of following this project, from the fight to save it to the competition to the completion of part one, I FINALLY got to set foot on it! I’m so happy. This design is so genius, it might just be my favorite landscape architecture project of all time. In fact, at the moment, I can’t even remember what my old favorite was, isn’t that terrible?
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What’s so great about The High Line? Where to begin? I loved looking down on it from the 16th floor of The Standard. I loved seeing it from the street and thinking “I have GOT to get up there pronto!” I loved experiencing the city from that level, at eye-level with billboards, elevated cars, seeing building facades from a different height. I loved that at first glance one might be fooled into thinking the plantings were wild, but then upon seeing them seeing that they were carefully curated and that unseen maintenance was occurring. I loved all the different options for seating – some amphitheater style, some bistro tables, some lovely benches, some in the middle of a small grove.
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I loved the mix of materials and the overall railroad industrial aesthetic, and I especially loved the metal tracks that remained and reminded visitors what the history of this place was all about – better yet, I loved where the tracks veered off on little side exits into brick walls, which reminded me of the entire industrial system that used to exist – the rail cargo having a direct entrance into the factory buildings. When we all try to be greener, we should think of this true door-to-door delivery where a product could go from the source to the destination in one trip.
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Another thing that’s so interesting is that at one point in urban planning, skywalks were installed everywhere. This move was later blamed for the demise of street life in these areas. Conversely, the elevated public space of The High Line has made the neighborhood even more desirable and drawn even more business down at the street level on up. I’m nuts for this project. If you are too, you should become a friend of The High Line.

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Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Have you been on The High Line Yet?

Becky

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I haven’t, but I’m dying to! What did you think?

I’m a huge fan of Bill Cunningham, and he has a charming video here about the fashions he’s seeing on The High Line.

Speaking of fashion, check out the High Line Merch here. I love the Trina Turk green and white print hat:

Keep up with High Line news over at The High Line Blog and the ever-growing Friends of The High Line flickr group pool. This shot is from flickr member ljpsf.

top two photos from thehighline.org

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Thursday, June 4th, 2009

Sweet Urban Surprises

Becky

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As I navigated my way throught the treacherous sidewalks of Candler Park (I’m talking tree roots messing up the concrete, not criminal danger!), I stumbled upon this charming little planter. Don’t you just love coming across something unexpected like this? It’s such a great representation of that neighborhood – full of funky, cute bungalows and cool, fun, diverse, creative people that live in them.

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Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Curb Appeal!

Becky

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Wow, when you go to look at a $1.3 million dollar house, would this really grab you? I laughed so hard when I saw the sign go up by my worst nightmare, the latest McMansion on the block. At the time, the mud was still covered in hay and and the trash that the workers just tossed there every day – fast food wrappers and bottles blanketed the site. The kind of house that is ruining the Virginia-Highlands and all of its charm. The kind of house that calls itself “Craftsman” and actually represents the opposite of what the Arts and Crafts movement was all about. The kind of house that makes me wonder why there are such ridiculous zoning regulations in Atlanta and why there is not any sort of preservation ordinance in our historic neighborhoods. $1.3 million in this market? No one even got that when the market was good. Good luck with that!

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