This Polk County town’s image is forever tied to the steep railroad grade that once brought passengers to downtown, but more recently its outdoor persona is on the rise. It isn’t uncommon to spot a gaggle of cyclists rolling in to refuel on healthy eats at The Purple Onion or cars strapped with kayaks heading to the put-in on the Green River. With the unveiling of a new zipline this spring, it’s an opportune time to seek a fresh-air adventure here.
In May, Green River Adventures is taking thrills to the sky with its mammoth zipline named The Gorge, which takes folks from a ridgetop down 1,100 vertical feet into the Green River Gorge. On the outpost deck, sweeping views of the Green River Game Lands, Mount Pisgah, Bear Wallow, and Rumbling Bald foreshadow the high-wire experience. Once you’re strapped in, prepare to slide down 11 lines that make up the steepest canopy tour in the East. Steep means fast; speeds are expected to reach 80 miles per hour. 166 Honey Bee Dr.; $89, $79 ages 10-11; (828) 749-2800; www.thegorgezipline.com
Alfresco dining is almost mandatory at Blue Gypsy Watering Hole. There’s a large communal banquette indoors, but most folks prefer to soak up the sun—beer in hand—on the ample patios. Owner and chef Jesse Roque bakes scones, croissants, and other goods for breakfast. Pizzas and panini are the lunch mainstays, including the Lean Mean Oinkin’ Machine sandwich with roasted turkey, applewood smoked bacon, Gouda, and basil-pine nut pesto. 110 E. Main St.; Wednesday-Saturday; (828) 749-2392; www.theneverblue.com
Built in 1897, Villa Olivari, stands proud and elegant on eight acres dotted by three charming cottages—Rosa’s, Stone Hedge, and Willy & Lily. Couples or solo travelers should check into Stone Hedge, a sweet little retreat where the character of original rock walls blends with modern amenities. As fetching as all the cottages are, you’ll likely spend an equal amount of time strolling the grounds to enjoy the rose and organic vegetable garden, and, in the summer, pluck raspberries and blueberries from nearly 100 bushes. An outdoor pizza oven and tile-roofed Tea House pavilion will have you lingering outside beyond dusk. This summer, owners Susan and Mark Olivari will host film screenings on the lawn for guests and the public. 451 Corsica Lane; rate for Stone Hedge, $95 per night (two night minimum), $595 week; (838) 808-3594; www.saludasunrentals.com
While You’re There:
EVENT: Coon Dog Day, July 7, 8 a.m.-11 p.m.: Downtown welcomes a parade and float contest, live music with street dancing, and 5K run in the name of man’s best hunting friend. A canine bench show, treeing contest, and night hunt take place at Saluda School Ball Field. www.saluda.com
FORAGE: Pick up fresh produce, flowers, and baked goods at Saluda Tailgate Market held Fridays from 4:30-6:30 p.m., May through October.
TREK: Go hiking with The Saluda Community Land Trust the first and third Sundays of each month at
2 p.m. www.saludaclt.org
SHOP: Kathleen’s gallery on Main Street carries bottle openers and oyster knives fashioned out of ties from the historic railroad line at Saluda Forge in Tryon.