Greenville is committed to promoting a healthy lifestyle through a variety of outdoor recreation options along with high-quality health care providers.
When Bobby Julich moved to Greenville in 2016, the former professional cyclist says he was “probably the least fit I’d been in my life.” After a 20-year competitive career that included a third-place finish in the 1998 Tour de France, Julich retired from racing in 2008 and began concentrating more on coaching than riding.
But shortly after arriving in Greenville with his wife and two daughters, Julich signed up for the Gran Fondo Hincapie, a long-distance cycling ride through the Blue Ridge Mountains – that was when Julich realized he had found an active community that embraces cycling and other forms of physical fitness.
“I was blown away by the sheer number of riders in this area,” Julich says. “It was a phenomenal experience that made me want to start riding my bike more. I have been constantly impressed by this town over the last five years.”
That’s partly because of Greenville’s commitment to promoting a healthy lifestyle through a variety of outdoor recreation options along with high-quality health care providers. It is a combination that helps keep the area’s residents pedaling along in top gear.
Getting back to nature does not require getting out of Greenville. Instead, nature comes directly into the city in the form of the Reedy River. Residents can navigate the river in kayaks and canoes, or enjoy it from the well-maintained shoreline at downtown Falls Park.
Water recreation can also be experienced at Lake Keowee (especially around picturesque Keowee-Toxaway State Park) as well as the Green River Gorge, which offers whitewater rafting and zip-line courses, along with relaxing tubing for the less adventurous.
Meanwhile, the green in Greenville is evident at the various parks and trails throughout the region, many of which are located along the Reedy River. These range from the popular Swamp Rabbit Trail (a 22-mile greenway that is in the process of being extended by 4.5 miles) to the new Unity Park (a 60-acre, $61-million recreation area scheduled to open in 2022).
“Having those parks and trails in a community like this is so important,” Julich says. “They provide a nice, safe way to stay fit.”
“I was blown away by the sheer number of riders in this area. It was a phenomenal experience that made me want to start riding my bike more. I have been constantly impressed by this town over the last five years.”
As for cycling, Julich says he was surprised when he first arrived at how hilly the roads and trails can be in the Greenville area.
“I envisioned it being very flat, but it’s constant up-and-down,” Julich says. “There are some phenomenal roads with a constant flow of undulation, which actually makes the ride more challenging.
“I’ve gotten into gravel riding the last few years on some of the dirt roads around here, and the mountain biking is world class. There’s just an amazing range of terrain you can enjoy on two wheels.”
While Greenville makes it easier for residents to stay healthy, medical issues inevitably occur. The region has that aspect of wellness covered, as well, highlighted by two major health systems – Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Hospital and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System – that offer high-level medical care, the latest treatments and technology, and a host of wellness initiatives.
Prisma specializes in children’s health care through Children’s Hospital-Upstate and a Children’s Emergency Center.
The Family Birthplace at Prisma Health Patewood delivers more than 6,000 babies each year and is supported by the Bryan Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Prisma also offers services for stroke patients, cancer care and heart care, among others.
Bon Secours provides a wide array of services through two Greenville hospitals. The system also has eight urgent care centers throughout the area and is building medical offices with a freestanding emergency room in the suburb of Simpsonville.
“We continue to expand and create more access in the Greenville community,” says Dr. Marcus Blackstone, chief clinical officer for Bon Secours St. Francis. “Not just access for medical care, but making procedures and other things convenient for patients.”
“Having access to quality health care should be a big part of anybody’s decision on where to live,” Blackstone says. “With all the different health care facilities in this area, there are very few things that you would need to leave the Upstate for in order to be treated.”