Travelers Rest: Still the Perfect Name for This Charming Town

by Lacey Eibert Keigley

You hear that name? Travelers. Rest. It’s like a command and an invitation.

And those of us lucky enough to call this “Dark Corner” home agree that Travelers Rest is a place that encourages and beckons us to do both.

Travel and come home.

Explore and rest.

Here’s how:

Travelers Rest is located in the northern part of Greenville County in an area called “the Upstate” of South Carolina, about midway between Greenville, SC, to the south and the Carolina border.

Here’s what is fabulous about this little corner of the earth:

It’s close enough to Greenville to reap all the benefits of a big city, with none of the drawbacks of a big city. Advanced medical care. Trendy restaurants. Educational opportunities. Cultural events. Twinkly lights in the inviting downtown.

It’s close enough to Hendersonville, NC, to treat it as a weekend tourist stop. You can take your guests over the mountain for apple orchards, Christmas tree farms, small town bakeries, and the home of a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet: Carl Sandburg.

Here’s a more complete list of nearby cities, in case you get the travel bug during your time in Travelers Rest:

  • Greenville, SC – 10 miles
  • Spartanburg, SC – 32 miles
  • Hendersonville, NC – 33 miles
  • Asheville – 54 miles
  • Charlotte, NC – 103 miles
  • Atlanta – 155 miles
  • Knoxville – 160 miles
  • Charleston, SC – 222 miles
  • Myrtle Beach – 261 miles

And right here, Travelers Rest is full of charm and small town, know-your-neighbor vibes and good people and great food. So if you never want to leave TR, you can skip out on those other directions and still have everything you need and want.

You know. Travelers rest here.

But the locals do, too.

Travelers Rest. That idyllic-sounding name for this small town? Well, it came about because of the town’s important location for travelers years ago.

You’ll find TR at the base of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains. Whether you call the Blue Ridge escarpment the beginning or the ending of the picturesque mountain range, it’s easy to recognize that the town’s convenient location is a perfect resting spot for whichever direction your wagon is headed.

In the early 1800s, in fact, travelers and drovers (livestock herders) would often stay for the winter before or after they crossed the more treacherous North Carolina mountains to their next destination. That’s how the town got its name. It was the “travelers rest” before or after their journey.

The town was officially established with the name Traveller’s Rest in 1808, but somewhere along the way, it became, simply, Travelers Rest.

The town of Travelers Rest has come a long way from the days of providing a respite for hungry drovers and weary wanderers, but in a lot of fantastic, small town ways, the welcome is still of the same flavor.

A steady stream of new businesses and restaurants have opened up along Main Street and throughout downtown over the past several years to accommodate the over 5,000 residents who live here now and those just passing through, too.

Two particularly popular features have drawn faithful followers: the Greenville Health System’s increasingly popular Swamp Rabbit Trail and the trend-setting Travelers Rest Trailblazer Park.

The Swamp Rabbit Trail officially opened in 2009. This greenway system stretches from Travelers Rest right into Greenville and beyond. The trail is beloved by bikers and walkers and outdoor enthusiasts, with over 500,000 users each year.

Trailblazer Park — which you can actually reach via the Swamp Rabbit Trail, if you’d like — is a performing arts and cultural center that hosts frequent events throughout the year, perhaps the most popular being the seasonal farmer’s market during the summer months.

When you take your turn as a traveler resting here, you’re welcome to rest, of course. But if you feel the need to move around a bit, as well, you will find much to occupy your time and imagination. And your stomach, too.

Travelers Rest boasts an increasing number of local, family-owned unique culinary offerings. (Visit our restaurant guide to get all the details.) You should not leave town hungry, with choices from a brewery to a specialty crepe restaurant, hand-crafted pizza, ice cream, rooftop dining, a bakery, an incredible slice of coconut cake, and so much more.

Although the supplies the original drovers might have needed to stock up on won’t make your modern-day list, the shops in TR will provide for all your needs and wants. Specialty shops offer local t-shirts and local roasted coffee, hand-crafted gifts, running shoes, clothing, pottery, outdoor gear, and just about any other item a traveler would require.

After you’ve stocked up, Travelers Rest is the perfect jumping off point for hitting the trail. Within an hour’s drive, there are several lakes and state parks and hiking trails and camping for the explorer in you.

We think you’ll find that adventure is certainly to be found in Travelers Rest. Adventure, and also the rest that comes after such heady exploration.

Whether you’re a drover or a wanderer, a traveler or a rester, when you’ve landed on this little Upstate treasure, we think it will be a resting stop you won’t soon forget.

Sources

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Travelers Rest received its name for its location – a resting spot before crossing the mountain to the next wide open space. (Or, a resting spot after crossing said mountain.)