It only happens once a year. Nope it’s not Christmas or July 4th, in fact it’s not even a holiday. It’s Greenville’s annual winter storm.
Okay – so it’s not a guarantee. But for the past few years I’ve lived here, at least one winter storm has passed through. And, weirdly, I find myself looking forward to seeing Greenville in the snow.
I know what you’re thinking. Me? Snow? Looking forward to it? Because if there’s one thing that’s no secret, it’s that I hate the cold. The winter. The biting wind. The freezing rain. The wind chill. After four years in Ohio and two in Pittsburgh, winter has quickly become my least favorite season.
But there is one thing I do miss about winter. Snow. Especially those first few snows of the year. Where seeing the flakes fall to the ground brings a smile to my face. I feel this almost giddy, child-like joy take over as I bundle myself up to run out into the white.
And in Greenville I only get around one chance a year to experience it. So when Winter Storm Helena passed over the south and dumped 3-4” of snow in Greenville, I piled on the layers for an afternoon outdoors.
Alright, so maybe I didn’t rush out at the break of dawn. Instead I woke up lazily, made blueberry waffles, played a round of Mario Kart, and then headed out at around noon. Now the roads were crazy, and Ryan and I were not going to risk driving anywhere on them. At least not until the snow melted. So instead, we headed out on foot.
The neighborhood was not exactly deserted, there were people about, but still it seemed quiet. There’s just a silence to snow that I love. The only sound the soft crunch of your steps as you head down a snow covered sidewalk.
I stopped often in that first half mile or so, trying to capture the glistening trees and silent streets. I felt almost giddy when I spotted a tree covered in both pink flowers and snow.
After about a half mile, we decided to extend our walk and head into town. Not a lengthy distance, but also not one we make regularly. We left our neighborhood, passed through another, and reached downtown.
Here were the people. It seemed the braver souls had ventured downtown that morning to also get a glimpse of Greenville in the snow. We passed through, heading for Falls Park at the far end.
Now, if you’ve never been to Greenville, then you might not know we have a waterfall in our downtown. And there’s just something about it that draws people there. Maybes it’s just the novelty of having a waterfall in the middle of your city, but it seems every walk I take in town passes me through the Park at one point or another. And today was no different.
I took my time, photographing the snow covered falls from every angle. Enjoying the fact that, even though there were people about, it wasn’t the crushing crowds you get on warmer days. I even braved the ice covered pathways and headed down to the base of the falls. Amazingly I had it to myself for a few minutes.
But then I forced my eye to turn away. To take in the small details of Falls Park, the ones that sometimes get overlooked.
We continued onwards until the cold started to seep into my bones (see comment above about me and winter). And I knew there was only one thing that could warm me up.
So we headed to a couple of our favorite bars – played some pool and darts and, of course, drank my favorite dark beer.
It’s our yearly tradition, our snow routine. Walk the neighborhood. Head into town. Be dazzled (once again) by the waterfall. And finish the day off with a beer in one of our favorite bars.
In any other city, I would probably groan at the thought of snow. I would let my hatred for winter overtake me. (And trust me, I did in Ohio and Pittsburgh.) But here I know it’s rare. A treat once a year (if we’re lucky). A chance to see this city in a different light.
Oh Greenville in the snow…why do you happen just once a year?
4 thoughts on “Just Once A Year: Greenville in the Snow”
Hello. Gosh can I relate to your story. I grew up in Meadville PA; having been a Pittsburgher you’ve most likely heard of Meadville. Now we live in NW Ohio do I know winter weather as well as you do. Like you, I hate the cold, the ice. However, if one bundles up warmly it’s not too bad of a problem. I’d like to move southward but my husband can’t stand the heat. I tell him thats what air conditioning was invented for. 😃 My brother who lives in California tells me that Phoenix Arizona is the place to be. Idk but sign me winter weather warrior. 😃
Northwest Ohio gets some crazy winter storms so I know you are well used to the snow! After so many years, I had to move South. The heat in the summer can get quite intense at times, but I love it compared to the cold.
Wow, Fluffy should probably move to New Hope or (more likely) the East Village. So as a life long resident (and assuredly not making 6 figures a year) lets just cut to the chase. Is downtown over priced? Yep. Surprise? You see, had you been here even as recently as the late 80s you’d know what a pit it had become after the textile industry imploded. It took a LOT of money to clean things up (and stop the waterfall turning different colors / smelling of raw sewage each time it rained heavily) and (hilariously enough) people expect a return on their investments. The byproduct is (shockingly enough also) people wanted to live closer to downtown again as things improved which made home prices shoot up as well. Yanno, it’s people like fluffy that used to bemoan how the county was ignoring the downtown area back when it was a pit and businesses moved out to be nearer the 3 (yep, 3) shopping malls we once had. Then when they finally started to turn things around these same people cry about gentrification. Well pick your poison princess, are we gonna keep building up the suburbs and do our shopping along Haywood / Woodruff road or cluster around downtown? Because which ever you pick, people will want to live there and home prices will in turn reflect that. Simple supply and demand.
As far as our christian duty to help the poor, I’d wager you wouldn’t know what that looked like from a hole in the wall. There are many churches in the area (welcome to The South) and many have out reach programs to help the elderly and disabled. Furthermore, if you hit hard times you can get affordable housing but (shocker) it won’t be on main street. It’s going to be in less desirable areas. The good news? If you straighten yourself out and work hard you can slowly but surely move out of the crappy neighborhood and into a better one. Course, that requires dedication and discipline, two things I’d wager ole Fluffikins know only as abstract definitions.
And as for the driving thing, please spare us all. I see one more transplant shooting down I-85 cut across 3 lanes of traffic in a Camero or their leased bimmer trying to make the BMW exit for their shift… The only thing better are the ones that for some reason turn on their flashers when it rains and do 10 under the speed limit in the left lane. Are there that many people moving here from the desert? Is it a NY thing? Seriously, what is the deal with that?!?
Anyway, I’d suggest Portland for ole fluffykins, seems more like their kind of place.
As for the OP, the once a year snow is lovely and always worth going out to enjoy when it happens. I personally go to the nearby mountains for some truly breath taking scenery, but downtown is ok as well. Especially when you have those quiet moments to yourself.