Bavarian Pretzel Factory

Bavarian Pretzel Factory's New Home
Bavarian Pretzel Factory in the former Italian Market location

NOTE:  This restaurant is now closed.

I have a problem with Oktoberfest. I love German beer and German food. What bothers me is misuse of the term. The Munich Oktoberfest actually runs the last couple of weeks of September up until the first of October. In America it’s become a marketing ploy with little relation to the original festival, where “Oktober” = any day in October. Even so, my sister Glynda and I usually share an Oktoberfest at least once a year, and this time our scheduling just didn’t work out. So, we headed out to the Bavarian Pretzel Factory for a late October feast.

I had visited before, with mixed results. The first time I arrived at 6:30, just as they were closing. I had no clue that in their original location they weren’t open for dinner. 6:30 was just…odd. I finally did have lunch there with my friend Keith a couple of months ago and had prepared to do a write-up then. However, as we were finishing up I overheard our waitress telling another customer that they would soon move to a new location. I decided to hold off until I could visit the new place, since anything I wrote would soon be outdated.


Linda Sue Gschnitzer opened the restaurant on Woodruff Road several years ago, after moving to South Carolina from Bavaria in 2007. The original restaurant was a small storefront in an out-parcel row of stores in front of the Target on Woodruff Road. There were a few long tables, trying to evoke the spirit of the beer halls of Munich, but there really wasn’t much space for a restaurant.

When Haus Edelweiss closed for good this left an opportunity for BPF to expand. In fact, our waitress on that first visit had originally been at Haus Edelweiss, and I recognized her from there. The empty Italian Market location behind the Barnes and Noble on Congaree Road was available, so last month BPF moved into that space, easily quadrupling the size of the original restaurant. Along with the expanded space came expanded hours, and a large space for a retail outlet. From the looks of their website, it appears that Bavarian Pretzel Factory has plans to expand to more location. Continue reading “Bavarian Pretzel Factory”

Dupont Forest in the Fall

Hooker Falls
Hooker Falls in Dupont State Forest

The beautiful weather this week has made me want to get out and take photos of fall foliage. I especially wanted to catch some shots of the early morning light. So, Wednesday morning I headed up toward the mountains in search of some color.

My first stop was Caesar’s Head. I had planned to do some time-lapse photography. However, time-lapse is made more interesting with clouds, and this morning there weren’t any to speak of. I took a few shots from the overlook, with fall leaves framing the view. I also took a couple of shots across The Dismal toward Table Rock. Little pockets of fog had settled into the valleys across the Piedmont.

Caeser's Head Overlook
Caeser's Head Overlook
Table Rock from Caesar's Head
The Dismal
Foggy Piedmont Continue reading “Dupont Forest in the Fall”

2013 Upper SC State Fair

Rides in Motion
Rides in Motion, but No People

I really hated that I couldn’t stick around at the South Carolina State Fair a couple of weeks ago to get some photos of the rides at night. The lights are always amazing, and are perfect for long-exposure photography. So, I decided the next best thing would be to head to the Upper South Carolina State Fair on a weekday evening and take some shots.

When I arrived the parking lot was a bit sparse. I found a place right next to the gate. It was a Tuesday evening, and I wasn’t expecting huge crowds. However, this place looked like a ghost town. I’d like to chalk it up to being an off night. The Upper State Fair is a bit sleazier than the State Fair, and the lack of people just exacerbated the problem. It was downright creepy.

Fair at Night
Snowcones Continue reading “2013 Upper SC State Fair”

Falls Park and Wings of Freedom Tour 2013

B-24 and P-51
P-51 Mustang and B-24 Liberator in Formation over Greenville

This weekend the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour is in town at the Downtown Airport. Ken Cothran and I decided it would be a cool thing to do, so we headed out that way. The tour would include a B-17 Flying Fortress, a B-24 Liberator, and a P-51 Mustang.

I picked up Ken Friday morning in Clemson and we headed toward Greenville. The airplanes didn’t open until 2:00, so we had some time. First a cup of coffee in Clemson, then we took a leisurely drive back on Highway 93, avoiding the more direct Highway 123. We drove through the towns of Central, Norris, Liberty, and Easley. We enjoyed the views, but didn’t stop for photos.

We decided to wander around downtown Greenville until time to head over to the airport. I found a perfect parking place right at the top of the entrance to Falls Park. We walked over the Liberty Bridge and took more photos of the falls.

Falls Park
Falls Park-011

Down in the park we walked toward the old Furman Arboretum and the smaller set of falls on the little stream.

Falls Park-001
Falls Park-002 Continue reading “Falls Park and Wings of Freedom Tour 2013”

An Autumn Paddle on an Inefficient River

South Edisto River-035
South Edisto River

Saturday was the second Saturday of the month, and time for another Lowcountry Unfiltered adventure. However, in this case Upcountry outnumbered Lowcountry. Matt was the lone adventurer from the lower part of the state. Alan and I would make up the Upcountry contingent. Marc would join us from Columbia. After bouncing around several ideas for paddling venues, we decided upon something relative mid-state, equally inconvenient for all of us. We would be paddling a section of the South Edisto River beginning at Aiken State Park.

I got an early start and picked up Alan along the way. Our route left the Interstate at Newberry, and took us down through the country past Batesburg-Leesville, Wagener, and other small towns. We passed lots of interesting old stores, churches and other buildings, and both of us wanted to stop and take photos in the rising sunlight. However, we had an appointment to keep.

Our original plan was to paddle from the state park to Keadle Bridge. I had measured it at about 12 twisting river miles – quite a paddle. When we got a call from Matt saying that he was Windsor bridge, and for us to meet him there, I was relieved. That would cut four miles off of the trip, and make it more reasonable. I adjusted my GPS and we headed on down for our rendezvous.

Windsor Bridge was down a dirt road in the heart of Aiken horse country. There were lots of horse farms along the route. The river access itself was a single lane boat ramp covered in trash and graffiti.

Windsor Road in Aiken
Trash at Edisto Put-in Continue reading “An Autumn Paddle on an Inefficient River”

The Last EdTech

This week many of my former instructional technology colleagues gathered for the South Carolina Educational Technology Conference. This was the second year in a row that the conference was held in Greenville, and it’s being right here in my back yard presented a unique set of problems. Last year before deciding to retire, I had … Continue reading The Last EdTech

A Visit to the State Fair

State Fair Tilt Shift
South Carolina State Fair

For years I’ve wanted to visit the South Carolina State Fair. I’ve passed by the empty fair grounds so many times on my way to meetings at SCETV. Once I even attended a meeting while the fair was in session, but didn’t have time to stop. This year, now that I don’t have obligations during the week, I was determined to make it happen. I called Dwight, since he lives in Columbia, to see if he wanted to come along.

We had planned to do this on Thursday, but I had looked at my calendar wrong, and discovered a conflict. Yes, retired people do have scheduling conflicts. Fortunately, Dwight was able to shift his schedule, and we were able to head down on Thursday.

October 9 was opening day. Gates opened at noon, so we headed on over and got into a VERY long line.

State Fair Lines
Waiting in Line

However, the line split into several openings, so when the time came, it moved more efficiently that we thought it would. At noon a recording of the Star Spangled Banner played over the loudspeakers, and we were off.

Our first stop was not the ticket booth, but a security check-point. There was a magnetometer and the works. I was loaded down with camera equipment, but the thing that held me up was my little Barlow knife. They wouldn’t let it through. I could either surrender it, or walk it back to the car. Knowing that the line was moving fairly quickly, I chose the latter rather than lose a knife. Fortunately, the security lady let Dwight hold my place in line so I was able to skip ahead.

Security Station

Even though the gates were open at noon, only the exhibits opened at that time. The midway wouldn’t open until 3:00. That was OK, though. I had been lamenting the demise of all of the agricultural exhibits at the local county fairs, so that’s where we would have started anyway. Continue reading “A Visit to the State Fair”

Remembering Merrittsville

Poinsett Bridge Side
Poinsett Bridge

I’m trying to catch up with my blogging, so I’m about a week behind. Last week was a busy one.

October 8, 2013

Tuesday evening Glynda and I made a trek up to Landrum for a showing of a film entitled “Merrittsville: The Lost Village of the Dark Corner.” Merrittsville is one of the towns on my ghost town list, so I was very interested to hear what they had to say about it.

I had a little bit of information about Merrittsville. I knew it was once on the North Saluda River on land now inundated by the Greenville Watershed Reservoir. That meant that it was completely off limits – we couldn’t even venture along the banks to see if something remained of the town. Merritsville School was once located just below the reservoir dam, but is now long gone, demolished to make way for the water utility. North Fork Baptist still stands, and Laura and I have attended a wedding for one of her students there.

Continue reading “Remembering Merrittsville”

Crazy Week

It’s been one of those weeks where things have been happening too fast to document. Most of these are major, cool things, but I just can’t get to all of them. Here’s a quick rundown… Monday – Chorale Rehearsal Tuesday – film on a ghost town in Greenville County shown at the Landrum Library Wednesday … Continue reading Crazy Week