The Cunningham Team Greenville Real Estate Blog

Feb. 5, 2019

Greenville's Falls Park | Greenville SC Parks

In the heart of downtown Greenville, South Carolina, located in the Historic West End District, is a jewel of great beauty: Falls Park on the Reedy River. Daily, the park enchants visitors with its natural waterfalls, colorful gardens, modern art displays, cutting-edge architecture, and delightful dining. 

Greenville falls park on the reedy river

Falls Park on the Reedy shines a delightful aura on Greenville, making it a wonderful community to operate a business, raise a family, or retire.

However, no jewel comes out of the earth in its full glory. First, it must succumb to the tools of miners and artisans. So it was with Falls Parks.

Falls Park in Greenville County South Carolina

History of the Falls Park

It all started in 1768 when Richard Pearis established a grist mill and trading post at the base of the iconic falls of the Reedy River. Several years later, Pearis purchased 50,000 acres of land around the Reedy, selling off and bequeathing parcels along the way. In 1852, Furman University bought 50 acres, including the site of the future Falls Park.
Industry continued to flourish around the Falls because the water provided much-needed power, but problems with sanitation, industrial waste, and dilapidated buildings turned the once diamond in the rough into an eyesore.
It took a concerted effort to restore the land to its original beauty and form it into the jewel it is today.
Flowers in Spring Falls Park Greenville County, SCFurman University began a rehabilitation effort of the Falls Park area in 1929, opening the Furman University botanical garden and arboretum. However, the rehabilitation efforts were impeded in 1960 when the four-lane Camperdown bridge was built over the Reedy, obstructing the view of the Falls. 
In 1967, the Carolina Foothills Garden Club took possession of 26 acres of the land, which would become Falls Park. Efforts were made to clean up the water of the Reedy which was still polluted with textile waste and other environmental hazards.
In the 1980s, the Carolina Foothills Garden Club and the City of Greenville developed a master plan for Falls Park to restore the original beauty of the area and provide a delightful, welcoming place for individuals and groups to enjoy. Their master plan, in concert with the city, county, and local universities, brought the Falls Park to the luster that spectators enjoy today.
The plan included removing the Camperdown Bridge so the beauty of the Falls could be seen unimpeded. The bridge removal happened in 2002, and the Liberty Bridge was built in its stead. The Falls Park on the Reedy River officially opened to the public in 2004.
You can learn more about the history of Falls Park at and
Hampton Inn and children's play area in downtown Greenville, SC

Fun Places to Visit in Falls Park

Developing Falls Park into a modern jewel included weaving the historical features and feel of the area with innovative additions. As a result, visitors now have a plethora of fun places to visit at Falls Park. Some attractions are bold and centrally located so all can find them with ease. Other interesting facets are neatly hidden, requiring a little guidance to discover.
Here are several sights worth seeing while visiting Falls Park.

The Liberty Bridge

Liberty Bridge in Falls Park, Greenville County SC
The Liberty Bridge is a prominent feature at Falls Park. It was constructed in 2003-2004 to replace the view-dampening Camperdown Bridge. Architect Miguel Rosales designed the suspension bridge with a cantilevered cable and curved deck. This one of a kind bridge is among the best pedestrian bridges worldwide and has received international and national awards for design. 
When you walk across the bridge, you can gaze down at the river below or look out to see the Falls rushing over the slab rocks blackened by water. Turn around, and you can see people enjoying the spacious lawn, strolling on walking paths, and relaxing on benches. Plus, you can observe waterfowl bathing in the river. 
Liberty Bridge in Falls Park, Greenville County SC
Galen Cunningham

The Medusa Tree

The Medusa Tree is a hidden treasure worth taking a short hike to discover. It borders Falls Park but resides on the property of the SC Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities. The tree is an American birch with a complex maze of roots blazing through the side of a cliff. This tree, also called the Root Tree, provides a perfect photo opportunity for family and friends. 

Falls Cottage

Falls Cottage was built in 1894 and had fallen into considerable disrepair before the Carolina Foothills Garden Club included it in their restoration project. The cottage is a protected landmark on the Historic Register. It has been the home of Mary's Restaurant since 2004 and hosts many private events.

The River Lodge 

The River Lodge is an open-air pavilion located in Falls Park on the Reedy. It is available for rentals for picnics or in conjunction with Old Mill Garden for events with more grandeur. It is located near the southeast corner of the park between the Swamp Rabbit Trail and Furman College Way.
Gardens in  Falls Park, Greenville County SC

SC Governors School for the Arts and Humanities

Governors School next to Falls Park, Greenville County SC
Nestled behind Falls Park, the SC Governors School for the Arts and Humanities is built to resemble a Tuscan village. The residential high school offers rising artists the opportunity to hone their artistic skills in a safe and beautiful environment. Doors opened to its first full-time students in 1999. The school borders the park on the southwest side.

The Falls

The main attraction of Falls Park on the Reedy is the Falls. Plus, it is the namesake of the park. The Falls can be admired from many locations on the terraced landscaping in the park on either side of the Reedy River. 
Falls Park, Greenville County SC
People are often seen wading near the base of the Falls or relaxing on the surrounding rocks. However, people are discouraged from climbing (you can see why, after a rain).

The Swamp Rabbit Trail

The ever-growing Swamp Rabbit Trail is over 20 miles in length and runs along the Reedy River, connecting schools, parks, and local businesses. Conveniently, it runs directly through Falls Park, taking you under and over bridges, near the SC Governors School and River Lodge, by Medusa's Tree, and more. 
Gardens in  Falls Park, Greenville County SC

Harriet's Garden

Harriet's Garden is one of the hidden gems at Falls Park. If you don't know it's there, you may never stumble upon it. The garden is named in honor of Harriet Wyche, who was instrumental in establishing and developing Falls Park. Harriet's Garden hosts the Rose Crystal Tower, which you can learn more about under Art in the Park. Visitors can find the garden behind the West End Market in Greenville.

Pedrick's Garden

Pedrick's Garden is a two-acre garden near the west end of Falls Park and adjacent to Harriet's Garden. There you can enjoy raised flower beds, a seating lawn, pedestrian bridge, and the lovely Sunflower Fountain. Pedrick was an essential figure in the restoring of Falls Park. 
Falls Park, Greenville County SC

Little Falls Park

Little Falls Park is a quaint and nearly hidden section of Falls Park located at the original site of the 1929 Furman Universities arboretum. There you will find small streams, cascading waterfalls, terraced paths, green foliage, stone walls, and mysterious portals behind rod iron gates.

Art in the Park 

Falls Park has a fine collection of art created by world-renown artisans. Below are four pieces worth note.
The Rose Crystal Tower, also known as the Chihuly sculpture, can be viewed in Harriet's Garden in Falls Park. The glass sculpture "was designed to evoke the essence of [Harriet] Wyche's favorite flower – the rose," according to Greenville News. Artist Dale Chihuly created the rose-colored glass sculpture from crystal-shaped Polyvitro pieces. The 22-foot tall tower is a sight to behold.
Falls Park, Greenville County SCFalls Lake Falls is a reflection pool adorned with a 16-foot bronze sculpture located near the Main Street entrance to Falls Park. The sculpture by world-renown artist Bryan Hunt is one of three in a series and the only one located in our continent. The art piece symbolizes the naturally occurring falls located in the heart of the park. 
Untitled 2002-2003 is a unique sculpture designed by artist Joel Shapiro in the modern art tradition. The statue is sometimes referred to as the dancing or running sculpture. It is located on the other side the Liberty Bridge when you enter the park from Main Street. 
Sunflower Fountain is a cast bronze sculpture fountain adorned with sunflower-like spirals that spurt water out of the center. The fountain is located in Pedrick's Garden where you can also see the Sunflower Circle and Sunflower Lawn. The fountain was designed to honor Pedrick's favorite flower: the sunflower. 

The Restaurants of Falls Parks 

No trip to Greenville is complete without enjoying some local eats and treats. The Falls Park will not leave you disappointed in this area. Besides the numerous specialty eateries located in walking distances from Falls Park in the downtown area, there are options located in Falls Park. 
Mary's Restaurant serves hungry customers in the historic Falls Cottage. Diners can enjoy a gourmet lunch, a weekend brunch, or schedule a private dinner event. Plan your visit carefully as the award-winning Mary's Restaurant has limited hours.  
Restaurants in Falls Park, Greenville County SC
Passerelle Bistro is a casual French bistro located on the upper grounds of Falls Park. There you can dine under cover or in the open air enjoying the bustle of downtown Greenville and a view of the Falls. The bistro serves fresh and seasonal dishes with iconic French dishes like croque monsieur, ratatouille, and escargot.
Spill the Beans is the perfect place to grab some smooth coffee or premium custom-blended ice cream before you set out to walk through Falls Park. It is located near the Main Street entrance. 

Enjoy Falls Park Everyday

When you live or work in Greenville, South Carolina, Falls Park on the Reedy River can be yours as often as you like. Soak up some sunshine, get some much-needed exercise, and enjoy the beauty. You can not exhaust this jewel as each visit reveals a new facet of its glory and grace. 
If you are thinking about moving to or retiring in Greenville, South Carolina, the Cunningham Team of Professional Realtors with unique services above and beyond other realtors can help you find the perfect home that meets your needs. 

More info on Greenville, South Carolina Real Estate and Homes for sale. Contact us! (864) 679-0707 Sources: Greenville News, and GSA Business

Jan. 23, 2019

Lake Conestee Nature Park | Greenville SC Parks

Located south of the city of Greenville, just off Mauldin Road, is one of the hidden jewels of Greenville County.  Lake Conestee Nature Park (LCNP) is a 400+ acre nature preserve owned by the Conestee Foundation and operated by the Greenville County Recreation District. 
The park itself was opened in 2006, but the area included in the park has a long history of influence in the development of Greenville County. The Conestee area (pronounced CON-es-tee) grew up around the Reedy River.  The first property owners were likely Revolutionary War patriots and soldiers rewarded with deeds to land in the area.  The properties changed hands multiple times over the next 100 years, but the Reedy River and its shoals continued to provide power for the mill and manufacturing businesses located on the river. 
Reedy River at Lake Conestee Nature Park 2007
By 1820, the village of Conestee had formed around the mill located there.  The date the first dam was built on the Reedy River is unknown, but by 1892, the demand for power had grown and the rock dam was raised to its present height, creating the 130 acre Lake Conestee.  
Lake Conestee, 2007
In 1890, only two mills were located in the area.  By 1915, twelve mills were operating, and all the mills were discharging sewage and industrial contaminants into the Reedy River.  The city of Greenville and other industries also discharged raw sewage and manufacturing waste into the Reedy.  All of this waste found its way to Lake Conestee.  The water in the lake could not be used for anything, except to power the mill.  
Lake Canestee Nature Park Trails 2007
By 1925, the buildup of pollution led Conestee Mill to sue the city of Greenville for damages suffered by the mill and the employees of the mill caused by the pollution of the Reedy River.  The lawsuit was not settled until 1931.  Conestee Mill was failing by then, due to the Great Depression and the effects of the lawsuit, so the settlement did not benefit the mill.  The lawsuit did, however, benefit the area by providing the push to clean up the pollution in the Reedy.  The LCNP website has an excellent and very detailed review of the history of this area. 
Lee and kids
Since 1892, the size of the original 130 acre Lake Conestee has gradually decreased to 20 acres.  How did that happen?  Sediments and soils from area development, including the construction of I-85, have filled in about 90% of the lake. The area is now mostly shallow wetlands.  The former lake bed has been capped with bottom land forests. The contaminants from the lake’s early days as a collector of industrial waste and sewage remain in the lake bed under the cap and are managed as a Brownfield site by the Conestee Foundation through a voluntary cleanup contract with South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). 
Passive recreation activities, such as walking and biking, do not pose a significant health risk, based on assessments by SCDHEC and the EPA.  The long-term plan for management is to keep the sediments in place and undisturbed and to keep the dam in excellent condition.   The transformation of the property from an area loaded with noxious chemicals to its present status as a wildlife sanctuary and community asset was spearheaded by the Conestee Foundation and its executive director, Dave Hargett, Ph.D.  
In fact, in December of 2017, the LCNP was recognized as 1st runner-up for the Phoenix award, a national award given by the EPA for excellence in reuse or redevelopment of brownfield areas!  And the vision for the future of Lake Conestee Nature Park continues to expand.  Plans are in the works to add another 200 acres to the park with additional trails, education areas, and facilities. 
Those 400 acres of bottom-land forests provide a wonderful place for exploration, education, and recreation!  Currently the LCNP has 6 miles of paved trails, 6 miles of natural surface trails and 4000 feet of bog boardwalks.  Three miles of the Reedy River run through the park.  
The trails at LCNP also form the southern hub of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 22-mile multi-use trail system running through Greenville County along an old rail bed and the Reedy River.  The paved trails in LCNP are handicapped and stroller accessible and are a wonderful place to go for a stroll with family and friends.  On a recent Sunday afternoon, people were jogging, riding bikes, walking in their Sunday best (including heels!), and pushing strollers and wheelchairs.  
The trails are shady and cool in most places, providing a welcome respite from the heat in the summer. Benches and picnic tables are scattered throughout the park, useful when a visitor wants to sit awhile and enjoy the surroundings. 
The natural surface trails are well-maintained and allow the visitor a sense of even greater escape from the city.  None of the trails are very strenuous.  And even though the LCNP is only 2 miles south of the interstate, off busy Mauldin Road, the quiet of the forest surrounds and envelops the visitor to this place.
The trails are marked with signs and blazes.  A map of the entire park and all the trails is available on the trails page with a PDF of the park and it's trails. Recent additions to the trail system are the “Family Friendly Walks”.  Each of these walks has their very own map with options for shorter or longer distance.  Details and maps of these new trails are also available on the Lake Conestee Nature Park ( home page. The variety of wildlife and foliage in the LCNP is amazing, especially given the park’s recent history as a industrial waste dump site.  Multiple species of animals and more than 200 types of birds make their home here. 
  In fact, LCNP is considered one of the best birding sites in the Upstate. The Greenville County Bird Club ( leads guided bird walks in the park on the third Saturday of every month and the National Audubon Society has named it an “Important Bird Area of Global Significance”.  
greenville_parks_birdingEducational opportunities abound!  Four “Learning Loops” are located on the trails.  These Learning Loops each include 10 learning stations and those stations are packed with knowledge about the lake, the early settlers and development of the area, the wildlife and foliage.  The Learning Loops are available for formal field trips or for self-guided tours. Other field trip options include programs designed for children from toddler age to high school.  Some of the activities include finding items that start with the letters of the alphabet, looking for wildlife (both real and realistically stuffed!) on the trail, identifying plant parts, and studying water quality.  Selecting one of the Learning Loops to follow on your visit would be time well spent.  
You may even see beavers at work or observe their past efforts! However, just spending time alone in the forest (or “forest therapy”) and simply soaking in the air, the quiet, and the peace, helps to relieve stress, reduce fatigue, and increase energy.  LCNP has many areas where you can do just that.  Clearly, LCNP provides a place for everyone of every age to spend time in nature. 
As noted on the complete park map, there are 13 entrances to the park, but only 5 have parking areas.  The best place to park, especially for a 1st visit, is in the parking area for Conestee Park at 840 Mauldin Road.  The main entrance to the LCNP can be accessed directly through this park.  Another entrance to LCNP is located at the dog park in Conestee Park. Only passive recreation is allowed. That means walking, biking (unless marked as prohibited), running, jogging, observing wildlife and geocaching are permitted.  
Swimming and wading in the wetlands areas, horseback riding, fishing, boating, hunting, camping, and motorized vehicles (except wheelchairs and authorized vehicles) are prohibited.  Also prohibited are alcoholic beverages, amplified music, and fires. The LCNP practices the “Leave No Trace” philosophy.  Pack out what you bring in.  Leave behind the artifacts, plants, animals, wood, and rocks that were there at the start of your visit.  No bathrooms are located within the nature park itself, so plan ahead!
Which brings up another subject.  Lake Conestee Nature Park and Conestee Park are easily confused!  Conestee Park (also operated by the Greenville County Recreation District) is a great place to visit in its own right and has 2 of its own trails, a playground, a dog park, ball fields, picnic areas (including a beautiful shelter), and a community garden.  Bathrooms are also available in this area.   Lake Conestee Nature Park begins where Conestee Park ends.
LCNP is open from sunrise to sunset 7 days a week.  Visitors are responsible to be out of the park before the gates are locked at sunset.  Admission is free.  Dogs are allowed in the park but must be kept on a leash at all times and are not allowed to go in the water.  The “Leave No Trace” philosophy also applies to our canine companions, so plan to pick up and carry out any waste.  Lake Conestee Nature Park is a designated wildlife sanctuary, but it is also a sanctuary for those not-so-wild human visitors.  Enjoy!
To find property near Lake Conestee Nature Park or homes for sale Greenville, SC County click here or 
CALL US at (864) 679-0707 
Jan. 17, 2019

Is 5G Technology a Smart Move for Greenville?

Greenville, South Carolina, is slated to become the world's first "smart city" according to a press release issued by Sprint on January 8, 2019. 
Sprint plans to build a "5G enabled Curiosity™ IoT infrastructure and ecosystem" that will connect Greenville to Sprint's "blazing-fast" network and propel the city in the future. The plan includes:
  • A 5G Enabled Network 
  • Micropositioning Technology 
  • A Connected City Center
  • Edge Computing 
  • And more 
"Cities used to invest in roads, rails and airports;" says Mayor Knox White in the release, "the infrastructure of the future to attract investment is digital." White continues, "Sprint's Curiosity IoT with mobile 5G is readying cities to attract the business of the future." 
Proponents of this technology expect the cutting edge network to attract digital start-ups and companies involved in research and development in artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics.

What Does This All Mean?

Tech-savvy consumers and those who keep up with the latest "smart" technology may need no explanation of what it means to be the world's first "smart city." The rest of us, on the other hand, may need a little enlightening. So we will break down some of these technical terms into simple, bite-sized pieces. Later, we will discuss the impact the technology will have on the world, Greenville as a city, and on the Greenville real estate market.  So what exactly is a 5G enabled Curiosity™ IoT infrastructure and ecosystem, micro positioning technology, a connected city center, and edge computing?
I'm glad you asked. When it comes to "smart cities" there are no "dumb questions." I was asking the same questions myself. Let's start by defining some terms. 

5G Enabled Network 


When wireless Internet technology first hit the cellphone scene, it relied on a 3G network. The system was slow, but it allowed users to have access to the Internet via their mobile devices. However, as life got faster, the amount of data people needed to access remotely also increased. The solution was the next generation in wireless technology: 4G and 4G LTE were born to keep up with the pace.  
5G is the upcoming next generation of the cellphone data transfer network. Sprint estimates that 5G will be 100X faster than the latest 4G technology. However, there are two components necessary to employ the benefits of the system: infrastructure and device. A device that is capable of 5G speeds will not benefit the user unless there is a 5G infrastructure available where the wireless connection is needed. And this infrastructure is exactly what Sprint is proposing to bring to Greenville, South Carolina: a 5G enabled network. 


For Sprint, curiosity is "a powerful catalyst" for change, allowing the mind to think outside the bounds of the norm. Sprint shares on their website why they named the network Curiosity™ IoT: "Our curiosity drove us to ask, 'what if we brought network intelligence, AI and algorithms to the edge of our network?' Acting on this question we built our latest innovation: the first dedicated, fully virtualized and distributed core IoT network and integrated operating system. So it was only natural that we named it Curiosity™ IoT."


IoT (Internet of Things)

The Internet is best known as the World Wide Web or www dot the world is your oyster. With the press of a button, humankind has access to all kinds of information and nearly unhindered communication with people around the globe. As technology gets "smarter," it is morphing beyond the scope of information and communication between people. 
Technology can now communicate with things, not just people to things, but also things to things. The Internet is evolving into an advanced network where devices can interact with other devices: This is the Internet of Things or IoT.  
Jason Morgan writes in Forbes, "Simply put, this is the concept of basically connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet (and/or to each other). This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices and almost anything else you can think of. This also applies to components of machines, for example a jet engine of an airplane or the drill of an oil rig….if it has an on and off switch then chances are it can be a part of the IoT."

Infrastructure and Ecosystem

As mentioned previously, there are two essential components necessary to upgrade technology: the device and the infrastructure. And so it is with the Internet of Things. Before devices can communicate at 5G speeds, there needs to be an infrastructure in place that allows for the high-speed data to flow through the city. Plus, that infrastructure needs to work alongside the broader wireless ecosystem that allows 5G communication to occur at all. Sprint plans to bring this technology to Greenville, South Carolina, first.


Additional Components of Sprint's Plan

The above provides a general picture of the plan for Greenville in conjunction with Sprint's Curiosity™ network. However, there are a few additional components in the project.
  • Micropositioning Technology: Sprint's 5G network for Greenville includes micropositioning technology that enables communication between vehicles, unmanned drones, and smart machines so they can navigate and react in real time in designated areas in the city. This technology could mean better mapping services, streamlined traffic control, and improved parking.
  • A Connected City Center: The "smart city" center is connected wirelessly to the 5G network with the capacity to connect the IoT through micropositioning technology developed by the W8less Corp., according to Douglas Webster of the Smart Greenville team.
  • Edge Computing: Edge computing is the next step in the evolution of data storage and retrieval. Once upon a time, mainframes stored and computed data, then we had personal computers where we could safely store our information, presently we use "the cloud" to store large amounts of personal and business data. Edge computing brings "the cloud" to Greenville. Having the data storage facility nearby increases data retrieval speeds. 

5G Could be Like Seeing Color for The First Time

According to Sprint, who is merging with T-Mobile in 2019, "5G could create up to 3 million new jobs and $500 billion in economic growth." Marcelo Claure, CEO of Sprint has high expectations for the smart move to 5G. He writes, "...imagine how 5G will revolutionize everything in our lives. Speeds 100 times faster than today, driverless cars, incredibly smart robots and smart city technologies will be powered by an always-connected 5G network."
Additionally, the upgrade is expected to bring lower prices and better cellular connection worldwide. "And only our new company is equipped to deliver a faster, more reliable network at lower prices and with better value. Sprint and T-Mobile have good network coverage on their own, but together we will deliver an amazing and seamless experience in busy city areas, rural towns and everywhere in between." Claure also believes the 5G network will spark a wave of creativity in the marketplace. 
"We will create the best nationwide mobile 5G network and fuel a giant wave of innovation and disruption throughout the entire marketplace. This step up to 5G will be like the step up from black and white TV to color TV. It’s a game-changer!" 
There are other players in the field besides Sprint that are working behind the scenes to see that Greenville gets "smart." A primary driver of this technology is the Smart Greenville team, whose efforts attracted Sprint to Greenville in the first place. 
Team member Douglas Webster hopes to see the 5G infrastructure up and running in Greenville as early as March or April of 2019.

5G Will Bring New Life to Greenville, South Carolina

Curiosity, they say, killed the cat. It seems it will do just the opposite for Greenville. Below are some projected benefits for the city. First, Greenville will have a share in the projected 3 million new jobs and $500 billion in economic growth. Second, the cutting edge technology will attract more state-of-the-art businesses to Greenville, including digital start-ups and companies involved in research and development in artificial intelligence, automation, and robotics. Mayor Knox White has taken a proactive role in bringing 5G to Greenville in conjunction with the "Smart Greenville" team. 
He shared, "We’ve been meeting with telecom providers for some time about how Greenville might 'move up' the list for 5G deployment. Sprint has an active and innovative program and answered our call! "The immediate goal," White says, "would be [to] bring early benefits of 5G to certain sections of our city — making downtown, for example, even more desirable for doing business. So you can see how this might give us a competitive edge in recruitment." Finally, there is another important market that will be affected by the technological advancements in Greenville, South Carolina: real estate. 

5G Will Create a Real Estate Boon in Greenville 

Anything that highlights Greenville as a leader in technology or industry creates a great boon for new companies and encourages existing companies to expand here in Greenville. Companies want to see advanced infrastructure and purposeful investment in technology in the cities they relocate or grow in. These factors all increase demand in the real estate market, either in rentals or purchases. More companies mean more people, which translates to more money in the local economy, making it more affluent.  
All these things create a higher demand for food, entertainment, and housing and raise prices on existing homes. It also shows that Greenville is an up and coming place that provides an excellent quality of life for people like retirees or young people who are thinking of relocating someplace "cool."  If you are thinking about investing in real estate in Greenville, South Carolina, there has never been a "smarter" time. The award-winning Cunningham Team of ReMax Realty Professionals can help you find the perfect home, condo, townhouse, or commercial property in Downtown Greenville, SC  Contact Us  864.679.07047 Sources: Greenville News, and GSA Business   
Jan. 3, 2019

The Home-buyer's Guide to Natural Lighting

Are the 3 L's of real estate changing? When looking for a new home, there are many factors to consider. Location is likely the first item on your list. It could be in the second and third position as well. Is the neighborhood safe? How far will you need to commute? What are the schools like? Then there's the age of the house, number of bedrooms, the layout, and the size of the kitchen. With all the considerations, you may not realize you are overlooking an important feature: lighting, lighting, lighting.



How Important Is Natural Light?Natural light offers many lasting benefits for you and your family. This guide will provide valuable information about natural lighting and its role in the home-buying process. Let's begin with the basics.What Is The Difference Between Natural and Artificial Light? While no one decries the invention of electricity and the ability to see in the dark, manufactured light differs from natural light in wavelength and color. You may have learned the colors of the rainbow as a child: red, orange, yellow, blue, green, indigo, and violet. These are the colors of light, and nature has placed them in the sun in a particular order and intensity that changes as the sun moves through the sky (from our vantage point).


In an attempt to replicate solar light, man has invented fluorescent, incandescent, and LED light sources. These bulbs successfully create the illuminating factor of the sun but without duplicating the full spectrum and variations of intensity and wavelength. The bright side is that humans can now function in the evenings with enough light to do almost any activity under the sun. The downside is that artificial light may have adverse effects on sleep cycles, mood, and productivity. No one is going to suggest throwing out your light fixtures, but you can benefit from natural light by allowing more of it into your home. If you are looking for a new home, you may want to add natural light to your checklist of necessities.


Why Is Sunlight Important for a House?

According to studies, natural sunlight influences more than what our eyes behold. The illuminating effects of the sun shining its light into a room can have an impact on the emotions, behaviors, and productivity of those inside. You've probably experienced this firsthand without translating it into thought. You walk into a bright room and suddenly feel refreshed and invigorated. It just "feels" right. A dark room can have the opposite effect. You walk in and suddenly feel a heavy weight fall upon you.



There is science behind this phenomenon, and the range of benefits reach farther than feelings.

Seven Benefits of Natural Lighting in Your Home

Consider these seven reasons why you should place natural lighting on your home-buying checklist.


  1. Hold property value. Many people desire natural lighting in their homes. If you purchase a home with more sunshine, the house may be more marketable in the future, commanding a higher price when you decide to sell.
  2. Save on utilities. More light harnessed from the sun means lower lighting costs. Studies estimate that lighting your home costs about $200 a year on average. Turn to natural light, and you could put that money toward a new window.
  3. Improve sleep. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports a direct correlation between indoor natural sunlight and better sleep. In one study, those with more indoor sunlight exposure experienced longer sleep duration and better sleep quality compared to those with less light exposure.
  4. Be more productive. The same study showed that people exposed to natural light were also more productive throughout the day.
  5. Improve vision. Research has shown that LED, fluorescent, and incandescent light bulbs operate on different wavelengths than what is considered ideal for human eye health. Extra natural light in your home could be a sight for sore eyes.
  6. Fight depression. Sunlight has the power to release the neurotransmitter serotonin. According to studies by the NIH, sunlight can increase cognition in depressed persons. However, you don't need a government study to know that sunshine on your shoulder makes you happy.  Allowing more natural light into your living space can boost your mood and fight off those seasonal blues.
  7. Enjoy the view. More light means more opportunities to see the landscaping, trees, mountains, lakes, or other natural features of the area. When you invest in a home, you are investing in the surroundings too. Get the most out of your view with more glass.




Every Buyer Can Benefit from Natural Lightning

Wherever you are in your home-buying experience, natural light is worth factoring into your buying decision. Where are you in your journey?First Time: If you are a first-time home-buyer, you are eager to find the right house at the right price. You may be tempted to sacrifice a little light to keep your mortgage payments down. While staying within budget is essential, so is the future value of your home.Upgrading: When you are at the stage in life where you are ready to move to a larger house (or downsize), it is the perfect time to find a home with natural lighting. You may find yourself more productive, sleeping better, and happier.


Second Home: Your second home or vacation retreat is a place for you to get away and relax. The right balance of natural lighting is vital to make it the sanctuary that you desire with plenty of outdoor views.Rental: If you are considering investing in rental property, natural lighting is just as important to a quality renter as it is to a homebuyer. Seek for the light, and you may find a better tenant.

How to Increase Natural Light in Your House


If you have found the perfect home or are preparing to sell your house, here are some helpful tips to bring more of the outside light indoors (or brighten up a darker house).Remodel: The most obvious way to increase the natural light in a house is to include more transparent openings. Installing new windows or a skylight, including a transom or sidelight window near the door, or adding exterior sliding glass or French doors can increase the ambiance in any home. While these options may incur costs, a more affordable option is to switch out the exterior doors with those with more glass.



Re-treat: The curtains and other window treatments in your home can have a powerful effect on the light in a room. Remove light-blocking curtains and replace them with something airy and sheer.  If you want to brighten up your space dramatically, remove all curtains and drapery to bring in the full spectrum. Another option is to meet in the middle and install a half curtains that provide peek-a-boo light with a little privacy. Shutters and blinds are another practical option, allowing you to control how much light you let into your space at any given time.Reflect: According to interior designer Ashley Whittaker, “Adding a mirror is like adding a window to a room. It brings in light and creates more depth.” Not only does it expand space and increase light, but it also improves the overall aesthetic interest in a room, she says. Reflection is a creative and affordable tool to enhance the luminescence in any space that you want to brighten up.



Re-create: If there is no other way to bring the sun into your home, but you are desperate for some of the benefits, you can install a full spectrum fixture or bulb in any room. Though the frequency will not be identical to the light from outdoors, it will be close, allowing you to enjoy a bit of brighter side. Words of Caution on Lighting Natural lighting does come with a few disadvantages. Here are a few words of warning to balance the benefits. First, natural light can impinge on your privacy. If you can see out, others may be able to peer inside your home. Make sure that you factor safety into your decision-making process.


Second, direct sunlight through your windows can discolor and compromise your furniture, rugs, carpets, and clothing over time. Light colored carpets and upholstery can hold up to the task better than bright or dark colors. Check the orientation of the house in relationship to the sun, and view the house at different times during the day to see where the light shines in.Third, if you don't like the view outside your house, natural light may exacerbate the problem. The Cunningham Team believes that your home is an extension of your environment. Buying the right home is not just about the house, it's also about your surroundings. We want you to enjoy every part of your new residence inside and out.If you are looking for a home in the Greenville, South Carolina, area, we will do everything to help you find the perfect one, natural lighting and all.

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Jan. 2, 2019

Greer SC Current Growth and History

A Quick History
Everyone has heard of Greenville and the vibrancy of the downtown area, but Greer is the little sister right next door that is growing fast and putting together an attractive downtown area of its own. Greer Station, as the downtown area is now called, covers an area of about 12 blocks and got its name from the railway station that came along with the creation of the city in 1876. There was one railway coming through town and that put Greer on the map, however a second railway line appeared in 1914 and the town became an agricultural hub that spawned into a major textile community.
Greer, South Carolina 12-acre downtown park
Several textile mills sprung up in the early 1900’s as the upstate solidified itself as a textile mecca. Apalachee Mill, Franklin Mill, Greer Mill and Victor Cotton Mill were the main mills and had a tremendous economic impact on the area. In addition to textiles, the railroads shipped off-products such as cotton seed oil and fertilizer, as well a prolific peach industry that became known nationwide.
The mill infrastructure was like a small town, and offered workers a place to live, recreate and socialize. Inter-mill baseball team tournaments were a common pastime. Around the workplace itself were mill village housing that typically consisted of small one-story homes on small lots within walking distance of work. The mill village structure became important with redevelopment.
During the heyday of the mills, the downtown area changed character becoming all brick. Commercial buildings were built along the main streets, which still stand today. In 1946 Highway 29 bi-passed the main downtown area of Greer on its route to Greenville, diverting much of the traffic from Greer Station.  With the decline of the textile industry in the latter part of the century, the mills closed down, with Victor Mill shuttering their doors in 1989. 
In the late 1999 the Partnership for Tomorrow (PFT) was created. A community master plan was launched to revitalize the downtown area. Ten years later businesses were flourishing, and new restaurants were attracting diners from the local area as well as others who looked for something other than Greenville. The Greer City Park was added and features a 12-acre park with an amphitheater that can seat 800 for popular events. Picnic shelters and the gazebo have a great view overlooking the pond and fountain – this park is very popular and has become a central hub for those relaxing in the city.
Fast forward another 10 years and past the slowdown of the Great Recession, and you will immediately see that the City has been diligent in making progress. Restaurants have come and gone but there has been a steady improvement of the older buildings and new businesses coming in to set up shop. Currently, the city hub is undergoing a face-lift that will convert it into a pleasing pedestrian-friendly commercial zone.  The design is reflective of old town Montreal with a European plaza look and open to traffic. On the main Trade Street corridor, pavers will replace the existing surfaces and the curbs are being eliminated for easy walking.  Landscaping with arbor bollards will soften the look of downtown Greer. This project started in the spring of 2018 and should be finished in 2019.
A new Hilton brand hotel is being constructed at the site of the Tire Exchange on North Main street, with demolition starting in January of 2019. The development will also include commercial and retail space and ushers in a new era of hotels to the Greer downtown area. The City of Greer has agreed to $1.8 million of infrastructure reimbursements to the developer. The City has also agreed to build a parking garage that will remain public ownership.
Victor Mill
The mill was closed it sat empty until it burned in 2006. An issue of ground contamination has inhibited further development at the site. In this case, as with many other mills from that era, it was contaminated with heavy metals and PCBs from the milling process, and cleanup was expensive. However, the 24.2-acre site got a $200,000 grant from the an EPA, called the Brownfields Program, designed to clean up sites where redevelopment is complicated by hazardous substances. Not to be confused with a Superfund site that has a higher concentration of hazardous waste, a brownfield site is more manageable in nature. Victor mill cleaned up in 2009 -2010 and has sat empty for a decade. 
Post cleanup testing revealed that most of the contaminants had been reduced to acceptable levels.  However, there are a few restrictions on the land use. Ground water use will not be permitted on the property. A ground cover must be installed over the soil in residential and recreational areas, which must be managed by a property manager. Access to Victor Creek needs to be minimized by using landscaping. Traditional single-family housing is also prohibited.
Now the site is under contract by developer Chris Hill who intends to put in some affordable, high density housing. Chris Hill has done a similar project at Judson Mill near downtown Greenville and thinks this Victor Mill will be a viable project as well. Of course, there are hurdles to overcome, like getting annexed and rezoned by the City of Greer, as well as any additional cleanup that might be needed at the site. But it seems like a slam dunk proposal to revitalize a portion of the city so close to the downtown area, just a few minutes’ walk to the park and downtown.
New Development
The City of Greer has grown more than twice as fast as the nearby Greenville-Spartanburg area, adding 22,000 people in the last 18 years, with a population of 79,000 in 2015.  The city expects to have more than 100,000 residents by 2030. The main areas grow is occurring include the downtown area of Greer, Wade Hampton Blvd (Hwy 29) corridor, rural areas north by Lake Robinson, south along Hwy 101 and along the Hwy 14 corridor that runs up to and past I-85.
The latter two of these areas southward toward I-85 house two big employers that are having a huge effect on the local economy – BMW and the SC Port Authority’s Inland Port. BMW employs more than 10,000 and produces more than 1,400 vehicles per day. The company has committed to investing $600 million at the plant through 2021, which will add another 1000 jobs at the plant. Plus, BMW has generated another 70,000 related jobs in the state with about 87% of their vehicles being exported through the Port of Charleston. That makes BMW the “nation’s leader of export sales of completed passenger vehicles”, according to Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt. With the Inland Port nearby and future expansions of BMW likely, Greer has a fantastic base to continue their growth.
Lee’s Real Estate Lens
So where are all these employees living and which areas are ripe for housing? 
The City of Greer as well as Greenville and the surrounding cities of Simpsonville, Mauldin, Duncan, and Spartanburg have all done their share for housing. Much of the land southwest and near to Greer has filled in with residential housing around the coveted Riverside High School district, but there is some land still be developed. 
The Greenville – Spartanburg International Airport (GSP) is located very close to the BMW plant, so residential growth there will be limited in the short term. But you can expect to see an explosion of development of new subdivisions in the “Golden Box” area south of I-85, where rural land is available and new housing developments are starting to take shape. Housing prices and manufacturing costs have risen in the past couple of years, so you can expect starting prices in this area to be around $225,000. 
The central area of downtown Greer is on the precipice of revitalization. Most of the properties are older and often related to the mill villages. But Greenville prices have risen, and Greer is starting to be popular for fixer up buyers who want proximity to a downtown area, BMW, and a reasonable distance to Greenville (20-30 min). Old mill village homes in need of major updating can be found for $60-80,000; ones that are fixed up are selling $100-130,000. In other non-mill village areas of the downtown area, you will find more older homes, but larger and with larger lots with an average sales price of $158,000. I expect those values to go up as more of these homes get remodeled and downtown Greer begins to take off with increased popularity.
Look for more infill and new subdivisions north of Hwy 29. This area is more rural in nature and have great mountain views looking into the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, which are only about 15 miles from downtown Greer. Lake Robinson, one of the few lakes in the area is here, and offers great scenery, fishing, and a quiet setting, but has a limited amount of homes on the lake itself. Typical subdivisions in this northern area have lots a little over an acre and have septic systems. Larger parcels not associated with a subdivision are also available but may take longer to find. 
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Sources: Greenville News,, and GSA Business
Dec. 7, 2018

Blog Move

Greenville Real Estate Blog Is On The Move


Greenville Bike race


The Cunningham Team's Blog on Greenville, South Carolina Real Estate will look different now. We have moved the hosting of the Blog to a new location. If you come to the blog directly the URL will have changed as well so please update your bookmark in your browser. It's still the same great information and news. 

Posted in News
Aug. 22, 2018

Have ewe noticed a new addition to the Furman Solar Farm?

Off highway 25 between Cherrydale and Travelers Rest, Furman University put a solar farm together spanning a six acre plot of land. That's old news as it has been there since last year.  However, a new addition is once again calling attention to the side of the road. Twelve sheep (4 ewes and 8 lambs) moved in this summer!  With just 6 solar panels shy of 3,000, it is no small job to keep the grass from over crowding the panels. By adding a 4-legged crew of our grass munching friends to the solar farm they hope maintaining the grass, especially under the panels will be more manageable. It is a time consuming necessity which currently has to be maintained by hand. Having lawn mowers around the solar panels also poses a risk of damage and the sheep can alleviate that potential problem as well. Hopefully it will be a win-win for all involved!
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Aug. 9, 2018

Restaurant Week Greenville

Greenville Foodies unite, Kicking off tomorrow August 9th and running until August 19th Restaurant Week is back! Casual and fine dining restaurants alike will offer great discounts for 11 days, allowing time for the local foodies to try out as many as possible. Participating in this event are almost 60 restaurants from Travelers Rest to Downtown Greenville SC. Tables fill up quickly during this time and reservations are encouraged so you don’t miss out on “that one place” you’ve been wanting to try out! For a complete list of restaurants go to
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May 17, 2018

Swamp Rabbit Trail Events Beginning Tonight

May is bike month and there are loads of events going on the Swamp Rabbit Trail this month and a few off the   trail. A compilation of events and Swamp Rabbit Trail extension updates and information is listed below starting with tonight’s Cycle over for Salsa and the launch party at Lever Gear!
Already at 72% of the goal! Bike Walk Greenville, a non-profit, is raising money to build the Lakeview Link to the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail. The forestry along the corridor near Duke Energy’s substation has been flagged and mowed. You can help reach the goal before the July 1st deadline by donating any amount at the Cycle over for Salsa event tonight.
May 17th @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Cycle Over for Salsa
Swamp Rabbit Café and Grocery 205 Cedar Lane Rd, Greenville SC 29611 Tacos and Salsa dancing for all ages is this month’s dance party. May 17th @ 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Lever Gear Launch Party
Lever Gear at Wade Hampton 1320 Hampton Ave, Unit 4A, Greenville SC 29601 Their second Kickstarter Campaign begins tonight with the unveiling of a new product, live music, activities for kids, drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Open to the public, this is a casual event.
May 19th @ 10:30 – 11:30 am Tribute to Veterans Swamp Rabbit Station at Berea 109 Sulphur Springs Road, Greenville, SC 29617 This trailside event is dedicated to the Veterans Memorial at Swamp Rabbit Station.
May 19th @10:00 am – 12:00 pm First Cycle™ Pleasant Ridge Park 4232 Hwy 11, Marietta, SC 29661 Rain or shine, this free event introduces amputee and mobility challenged children and adults to adaptive cycling. A program of the OPAF, Orthotic & Prosthetic Activities Foundation, the goal is to demonstrate cycling as part of their daily rehabilitation and recreation.
May 19th @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm Bike Day Swamp Rabbit Café & Grocery 205 Cedar Lane Rd, Greenville SC 29611 Safe Kids Upstate will be there to fit children with bike helmets, REI will be teaching basic bike maintenance and Palmetto Coalition will demonstrate bicycle safety.
Saturdays @ 8:30 am – 12:00 pm May through Sept Traveler Rest Farmers Market Trailblazer Park On the Swamp Rabbit Trail in TR Bike in to Trailblazer Park and spend the morning listening to live music, checking out over 70 regular farmers, vendors, special events and varying programs for adults and kids alike.
May 26th Bike to Scotland Downtown Greenville SC to Furman University From Downtown Greenville to Travelers Rest you can Bike to Scotland, park your bike and get a free t-shirt at the Pedal Chic tent that will be at the main entrance to the Greenville Scottish Games being held that weekend.
May 30th @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm NICA Info Session Benchmark Bicycle Supply Co 207 Randall St, Greer, SC 29651 Student athletes and a guardian are required to attend to participate in this national middle and high school bike development program. The session will cover the NICA vision, Upstate Composite Team philosophy, Athlete/Coach/Volunteer outline, 2018 practice and race schedule, 2018 costs/fees and scholarships plus fundraising and a Q&A session. This is the final session available for interested student athletes this year!
June 12th @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm Truck Inn Tuesdays Swamp Rabbit Inn 1 Logan St, Greenville, SC 29601 Every second Tuesday of the month from May through October in the parking lot of the Swamp Rabbit Inn. Live music, a food truck, local food makers and local craft makers too. A family evening ready made to make good memories.
May 31st @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Trail Expansion Meeting Activity & Senior Center 310 W. Curtis St, Simpsonville, SC The National Park Service and other trail supporters are holding a meeting to talk about the Swamp Rabbit Trail network and natural surface trails connecting to Simpsonville. Expansion to CU-ICR To further expand into the Golden Strip area in Greenville County, eight property owners are giving their land freely! Connecting San Souci During HOG day, a crew of fifteen planned and developed a gravel path to the Green Line section of the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
May 1, 2018

Farmers Markets Opening!

Grab your friends and fmaily! Many local farmers market are opening soon, some this weekend!
Travelers Restt Farmers Market Saturdays in May through September 8:30 to 12:00 pm Trailblazer Park 235 Trailblazer Dr, Travelers Rest, SC 29690 Over 70 vendors!
Greer's Farmers Market Saturdays from May 5th through November 17th 8:30 am to 12:00 pm Greer City Park 301 E Poinsett St, Greer, SC 29651 Over 60 vendors! Opening Day kicks off at Spinning Jenny 107 Cannon St. Greer, SC 29651 Meet the vendors Friday May 4th from 6:00 pm to 10:00pm on Trade Street.
Downtown Greenville's TD Saturday Market Saturdays from May 5th through October 27th 8:30 am to 12:00 pm Main Street at McBee Avenue Downtown Greenville SC
Simpsonville Farmers Market Saturdays from May 12th to October 8:00 am to 12:00 pm Simpsonville City Park, 405 East Curtis St., Simpsonville, SC 29681 Nearly 40 vendors!
Mauldin Farmers Market Tuesdays from June 5th through August 28th 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm Mauldin Outdoor Amphitheater 101 E Butler Rd, Mauldin SC 29662 Over 30 vendors and free parking!
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If you would like to see what homes for sale in Greenville SC are close to the farmers markets call us.