Monday, June 01, 2020
If you haven’t explored Spartanburg’s west side, you’re missing out on modern twists on the tastes of Spartanburg’s history, authentic and creative international flavors, outdoor adventures and adventurous arts showcasing the work of some of the most creative artists the area has to offer.
On West Main Street is the Artists Collective Spartanburg, formerly the West Main Artists Co-Op. The space, which houses dozens of working artists from Spartanburg County and elsewhere around the area, is in a 20,000-square-foot former Baptist Church building with 32 studios featuring the work of more than 50 local artists.
As you walk through the space, you can browse incredible paintings and sculptures, and see artists working away in the studio spaces available at the Artists Collective. There’s a gallery shop and artists’ work can be purchased online, and there are monthly workshops available for anyone looking to embrace their artistic side.
One of the most unique features at the Artists Collective is The Printery, a popular look into the past of the printed word. The Printery is an authentic letterpress created to give people information and hands-on information about how type used to be created, with presses and lead type.
Only a few miles past the Artists Collective sits Heirloom: A Milltown Eatery which opened its doors in the former Spartan Mills headquarters along with the 1881 Event Center and the Hilton Garden Inn – Spartanburg.
Heirloom puts modern twists on Southern cuisine while staying true to Spartanburg’s roots in agriculture and textiles. The restaurant’s menu and décor is inspired by mill town families gathering around the dinner table each night.
Dishes prominently feature local farmers and ingredients to create Instagram-worthy plates and incredible tastes.
Opt for the house pickle plate for a tart start, the cornbread and sorghum butter for a savory snack, or the biscuits and jam for a little pre-dinner sweet treat. From there, choose your own adventure with a couple of small plates; mix-and-match with the Hoppin’ John Hushpuppies, Sweet Potato Stacks, Pimento Cheese, Brussel Sprouts, Seasonal Greens, or Tea Drop Deviled Eggs. Finally, fill up on the Roots to Tips Pasta, or Garden Vegetable Wrap.
Tucked away in a strip mall off of W.O. Ezell Boulevard is another newcomer to Spartanburg’s food scene with fresh, explosive flavors – Holy Molli.
The northwestern Mexican-inspired dishes at Holy Molli include favorites like burritos, tacos and nachos. But there’s also the other international-meets-Mexican options like the Tempura-fried steak sushi roll. Owners Luis and Lydia Stark wanted to provide diners with something unique in Spartanburg while offering quick service and a comfortable dining area.
Some of the items on the menu have been passed down through Luis and Lydia’s families, making Holy Molli’s cuisine a little different than some of the traditional Mexican faire you might be used to.
If you keep venturing westward, you’ll find some of Spartanburg County’s best outdoor adventures.
Historic Anderson Mill, located along the North Tyger River, is home to South Carolina’s oldest standing mill. The structure dates back to the 19th century, and Spartanburg County was officially founded at Anderson Mill in 1785. The mill itself is undergoing a restoration effort and isn’t to the public, but it does provide a nice site-seeing addition to any picnic or outdoor stroll.
The mill contains stones with two water wheels and various machinery, all adjacent to a set of rapids. The current building is the result of a major rebuilding effort after the mill was heavily damaged by floods more than 100 years ago.
Grab a kayak or canoe, either your own or a rental, and head down to the Tyger River. New access points along the river make waterway exploration, complete with serene landscapes and glimpses at wildlife like waterfowl and more, easy.
The Tyger River, the longest waterway running through Spartanburg County, winds through densely wooded areas, but there are parks and other venues along the river. Tygerberry Landing at Berry’s Pond is one such area, complete with ADA-accessible kayak launches along with a nature trail, picnic area and a pier perfect for fishing. The trail includes sitting areas overlooking the water, perfect to stop and take in nature’s beauty on a warm, spring morning.