Greenwood, South Carolina is the home of multiple Black sports legends that played for the NFL, WNBA, MLB and the Negro Leagues, but its most notable resident is the scholar- activist, and former president of Morehouse, Benjamin Elijah Mays. Dr. Mays was born in Epworth in Greenwood County, and his birth home was moved to Greenwood, its current location, where it is furnished with circa 1900 furniture. In addition, there is an annex that serves as a modern museum and theater. Visitors can view an exhibit of Dr. Mays’ personal effects, photographs and large collection of books, writings, films, and speeches. Tours of the Benjamin E. Mays Historic Preservation Site are available by appointment only.
The city of Greenwood is not far from the eastern boarder of Georgia and is less than 20 minutes away from Abbeville, SC and about an hour away from Anderson, SC. It is also a 40-minute drive to Edgefield, home of ten governors, most notably Strom Thurman. Traveling through Greenwood and the surrounding counties is time-travel, rich with history – good and bad – and a memorable trip because of the beautiful scenic views as well as the sights and sounds of the holiday season.
Greenwood “Jingle & Mingle” is the city’s official holiday greeting to residents and visitors alike. Uptown Greenwood’s lights will burn brightly until January 14 and there is a full schedule of holiday-themed events. One of those events is a min art camp for children that will end on December 29.
Until January 8, 2022, you can visit the Arts and Visitors Center at the Federal Building for A Local Look, an annual exhibit of local artwork on view in the main gallery. This annual, year-end exhibition highlights 79 current works by 64 local artists within Greenwood County as well as members of the four local guilds including the Greenwood Area Studio Potters, Greenwood Artist Guild, Greenwood Woodworkers Guild and Dolores von Rosen Basketry Guild. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
For an artful retail experience, visit Main & Maxwell Gallery to view works by local artisans as well as to shop. You can purchase hand-crafted pottery, jewelry and more such as these hand-crafted teapots.
While you’re on Main Street, take in a good lunch at the Black-owned Buffalo Grill of Greenwood. The menu is American and soulful. If you like a good chicken sandwich, then we recommend their grilled Honey Mustard Bacon Chicken sandwich that comes with fresh, hand-cut fries.
There’s also Southern Soul on Main, which offers a soul food menu with fresh seafood. Their sides menu is amazing with fried okra, butter beans, black-eyed peas with stewed tomatoes, fried corn, cabbage and a bevy of other vegetable dishes that are purely southern. Visit them for lunch or their Soulfully Sundays.
Since Abbeville is 20 minutes away, then visit their Christmas on the Square, which is about festive events but also a quaint hometown feeling. There are specialty shops like Pendleton Farms Urban2Country, where you can buy preserves, pickles and some home goods. You can stop off at The Rough House for a hot dog, potato salad and a cold RC Cola. Black-owned Indigenous Underground is the restaurant to visit and enjoy for lunch and dinner, especially dinner.
Indigenous Underground is owned by Chef Erica McCier, who has created a menu as eclectic as the space. Soul Rolls and fried green tomato stacks with creamy, Cajun-style corn maque choux or a deep-fried Monte Cristo sandwich, paired with a green tomato jam are some of the fare. But she also serves grits and alligator. McCier is a former visual arts teacher and a kidney transplant recipient, who has used her love for the fine arts to support local musicians and artists as well as create a sense of community. There is a Sunday brunch menu with vegetarian and vegan options that makes a trip to Abbeville all the more worthwhile.4