Chain Reaction

Many female icons of style—Audrey Hepburn, Blake Lively—have borrowed from gentlemen’s wardrobe and accessories, but this time, you don’t have to. Through repurposing classic bespoke gentlemen’s pocket watch chain and fob, Dudley van Dyke has created a line of jewelry featuring necklaces made from Kristopher double Albert pocket watch chains. It is exactly as it would have been worn by a man in the Victorian era, of course today, it makes a perfect necklace for a modern woman. An even more modern touch is that proceeds from purchases support the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. DSWT’s endeavors include the Orphans’ Project, which has achieved world-wide acclaim through its hugely successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. Elephants are the designer’s “spirit animal” as she says, and DSWT is a perfect beneficiary. For more, visit and


Equipment Tira silk dress from Twill; 14k Kristopher double-Albert chain and 14k elephant fob on sponge coral ball from Dudley VanDyke
Photograph by Paul Mehaffey


Maven peplum linen tank from Twill; 14k Kristopher double-Albert chain and 14k magnolia clear quartz crystal fob from Dudley VanDyke

Photograph by Paul Mehaffey

Dudley VanDyke, 334 E Bay St. #154, Charleston; Special thanks to model Daniella Passwaters / Millie Lewis Greenville; hair & make-up by Isabelle Schreier / Belle Maquillage

Gear Head

That’s Shocking

(left to right) The Rocky Mountain Instinct ($2,800+) is a versatile trail bike available in carbon and alloy models; Face Æffect Cinch 30T-steel cranks and chains for quick shifting; 29-inch wheels allow for better contact and stability, while mid-travel front suspension grants a playful feel; long-stroke shock provides 140mm of rear travel suspension, and RIDE-9 adjustment lets riders fine-tune geometry and suspension to tailor bike to the terrain with Allen keys. Nine configurations available.  Find it at Piney Mountain Bike Lounge, 20 Piney Mountain Rd, Greenville. (864) 603-2453,

Sizzle Factor

Are we tired of tacos yet? The trend has been holding strong for years now, a craze so unflagging it’s become a classic. You can enjoy a tasty taco at any number of places around town these days—crispy fish tacos, fusion tacos like Korean BBQ or tuna tartare, ancient family recipe tacos. Corn tortillas. Flour tortillas. Taco Tuesday. Tacos so stuffed that half the pleasure is shoveling up the delicious bits that fall out. We knew peak taco had arrived when tacos themselves became a theme for toddler birthday parties.

And yet. I am no more tired of the taco than I am of the omelet, a burger, or dreamy mac and cheese. Iconic dishes like these earn a place in our repertoire (and our hearts) for their perfect balance of flavor and simplicity. They look easy, but the best results come from a little expertise. Men often make it their mission to master such a classic and proudly claim it as their own, but the taco is an equal-opportunity feast.

Spice-rubbed steak tacos are the perfect way to demonstrate your command of tacoland. Charred tortillas make a base for smoky flank steak, avocado, cilantro, sliced radish, and fresh pico de gallo. Simplicity is key here, so each traditional element can shine through. Light your grill, grab your tongs, gather a few friends. No one can turn down good tacos.

Photography by Jivan Davé

Spice-Rubbed Steak Tacos

Serves 4


1 ½ lbs. flank steak
1 tsp. chile powder
½ tsp. smoked paprika
1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cumin
Olive oil

For Serving:
Flour or corn tortillas, warmed
Sliced radishes
Sliced avocado
Pico de gallo
Sliced limes


1. Stir chile powder, smoked paprika, salt, and cumin together in a small bowl. Pat steak very dry on both sides with a paper towel. Sprinkle spice blend over steak generously, rubbing it on both sides. Let spice-rubbed steak come to room temperature.

2. Meanwhile, prepare a grill for medium-high heat or get a large cast-iron skillet very hot. Oil grill grates or swirl about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the hot skillet until it shimmers. Sear flank steak without disturbing it for 3–4 minutes on each side. Meat should be medium rare. (If you are searing your steak in a skillet, you may need to cut your flank steak in half and cook in two batches.)

3. Remove steak to a cutting board and let rest for 10 minutes while you warm the tortillas and set out the rest of the toppings. Slice steak against the grain and serve on platters for easy assembly.

Looking for Love

When I was twenty years old, I met an amazing woman. She was funny, playful, confident, and had the kind of alabaster skin, blonde hair, and deep blue eyes that only Swedish genes can manifest. I was immediately smitten. On a warm June day eighteen months later, I stood inside a church and promised her, in front of our families and friends, that I would love her until the day I died. Not long after making that promise, I found myself praying for a quick and painless death.

Love has always been a mystery to me. I’ve often likened it to a rainbow, clear and exquisite at a distance but increasingly abstract and intangible once you start looking for its source. Despite that attitude I’ve chased after love ever since eighth grade when Susie Holbrook French kissed me behind a tree in her backyard. Once my head stopped spinning, I asked her to be my girlfriend, and since that day, with the exception of a week or two here and there, I have always been in a romantic relationship. Some of those relationships lasted for years, others for what now seem like a long weekend, and I’m ashamed to admit a couple of them overlapped. But the one thing they all have in common is that every one of them ended.

“Look at your history,” a wise man who has become my own personal Yoda recently told me. “Your past is nothing but a series of failed relationships.” Now, I must say it’s rather unsettling to listen to someone you are paying several hundred dollars a month tell you that you’re an emotional failure, especially when you have friends, and a mother, who will do the same thing for free. “Stop putting romantic relationships on a pedestal,” he went on. “Stop attaching yourself to something external. Love is internal, it is inside you. You don’t need anyone to make you whole. You are already whole because you are love.”

Despite my skepticism, I occasionally wonder if this Yoda character might be on to something. Maybe love isn’t an illusion that evaporates once the honeymoon is over. Maybe I don’t need anyone to “complete me.” Maybe the pot of gold I’ve been searching for has been inside of me the whole time. Maybe my pursuit of love is like those mornings I stand at the kitchen counter for fifteen minutes waiting for the kettle to boil only to realize that it’s not plugged in.

But the reality is I am a hopeless romantic, influenced more by the musings of Byron and Shelley than the teachings of a hundred-dollar-an-hour guru. So while Yoda may be content living in a fortress of solitude with nothing but the Force to keep him company, I, at least for the foreseeable future, will carry a torch for the illusion of a romantic ideal. I’ll continue to wear my heart on my sleeve, take ridiculous chances, and make solemn but terrible promises that I just can’t seem to keep.

Illustration by Timothy Banks

Kindred Spirits

At Six & Twenty Distillery in Piedmont, owner David Raad has always embraced the philosophy of using local heirloom grains in his spirits. So it was no surprise that landscape architect and farmer Nat Bradford sought Raad out four years ago to discuss making brandy from the intensely sweet variety of watermelon Bradford’s ancestors first cultivated on their family farm in Sumter, South Carolina, in the 1830s.

Raad eagerly accepted the challenge, and after some experimentation, turned out the first run of Bradford Family Watermelon Brandy in 2015. To make it, the staff processes 250–300 Bradford watermelons (one melon yields one bottle of brandy) in a day, pressing out the seeds and paring the sweet red flesh away from the rind. Then the pulp is fermented with yeast, becoming watermelon wine before it is distilled into brandy.

Photography by Paul Mehaffey

When Raad deems the brew ready to taste, he summons Nat Bradford to sample it. Since the spirit bears the Bradford name, Nat determines at what point to bottle the brandy. “It’s a great collaboration,” says Raad. “Nat has an infectious enthusiasm for his watermelons, and it’s wonderful to work with someone who is as passionate about his products as we are about ours.”

On the shelf now is the unaged 2016 brandy, a clear spirit that’s a direct expression of watermelon, an 80-proof embodiment of the essence of summer. Raad expects his 2017 release will be available later this year. Its amber color and caramel overtones will reflect the year or so it spends in American oak barrels. When asked what his watermelon brandy pairs with, Raad muses before responding:
“It goes best with good company.”

Six & Twenty Bradford Family Watermelon Brandy, $100. 3109 SC-153, Piedmont, SC.(864) 263-8312,


Makes one cocktail


¼ cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 Tbs. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
3–5 mint leaves, to taste
1.5 ounces Bradford Family Watermelon Brandy


In a tall glass, muddle cucumber, lemon juice, and mint leaves. Add brandy and ice. Top with sparkling water and garnish with a cucumber wheel, sprig of mint, and lemon wheel.

Ink Twice

Photography by Eli Warren

It’s something straight out of Charles Dickens, maybe even Sherlock Holmes. Tweed jacket. Tie. Wing-tipped lace-ups. His legs are crossed, and a hand rests affectionately between the ears of a loyal canine companion. Except it’s not the face of an English gentleman, like Bob Cratchit or Dr. Watson. It’s octopus-esque, subterranean.

“It’s Cthulhu,” a cosmic character from 1930s fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft’s The Call of Cthulhu, Jennifer Allen explains to me. Allen, the master illustrator behind Bone & Ink, pens these uniquely juxtaposed black-and-white depictions with expert flair—like Fancy Paddy, furbished in Victorian female fashion, brooch and lacy collar included. But rather than a distinguished lady, Paddy is a terrier. Or Gentleman Buck, a deer skull dressed in suspenders, bow tie, and bowler hat.

“I’ve always drawn or painted,” the Greenville native says. “Da Vinci’s etchings are amazing, and that inspired me. But I also grew up watching a lot of X-Files, a lot of science fiction. So that’s where this comes in.” Allen points to a penguin skull. “I really liked the way the shadows fell on the bones.”

During high school, Allen attended Eastside and the Fine Arts Center, where her artistic talent thrived. And while she dabbled in paint, her true passion was pen illustration, utilizing cross-hatching to explore value and depth. After studying graphic design for a time in college, Allen felt she was pursuing the wrong path. That’s when Bone & Ink blossomed.

Photography by Eli Warren

Through this avenue, Allen has drafted dozens of vintage characters with chimerical twists. There’s Medusa, the Grecian myth depicted as a sideshow performer, snake skeletons woven into her hair. A Victorian woodland princess, Alice’s Daughter, placed fourth in Metropolitan Arts Council’s Flat Out Under Pressure in 2015. Her latest series, displayed during Warehouse Theatre’s The Flick, is a layered tribute to classic films (Allen is an old-movie buff)—Rhett Butler’s profile peers out between two halves of a Scarlett O’Hara portrait, drawn in dip pen.

“It’s a little more illustrative, more organic feeling,” Allen says. “You have to be very mindful of not going too dark and being careful with each line. I like that meticulousness.”


It’s this penchant for detail, and her ability to transform accidental lines into purposeful placement, that transfers well to her latest endeavor, tattoo artistry. “I’ve wanted to translate my drawings into tattoos from the very start,” Allen says. “I do a lot of art shows, and I at least have three people every show ask if I tattoo.”

Allen is now apprenticing at Anderson-based parlor Just Another Hole in the Wall, where she observes other artists while they ink and practices on rubber hands until she completes the 1,000 hours needed for certification. Though she’ll continue her paper illustrations on the side, Allen is thrilled to be expressing her peony florals and comical fox skulls on a new canvas.

As she reflects on this new adventure, Glinda the Good Witch from the The Wizard of Oz comes to mind. “The quote ‘You’ve always had the power, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself’ really resonated with me,” Allen says. “This is just the start of my dream, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.”

To view Jennifer Allen’s work, visit or follow her on Instagram, @boneandink.

Come Together

(L-R) Lawyer Howard Roy, John Lennon, lawyer Harold Seider, Yoko Ono and lawyer James Bergen eating dinner at Sloppy Louie's, NYC. January 30, 1976. © Bob Gruen / Please contact Bob Gruen's studio to purchase a print or license this photo. email:

More than five decades after the British invaded American music, interest in The Beatles still speeds down a long and winding road. A new landmark on that journey opens at the Peace Center this month, with John Lennon, The Mobster, & The Lawyer. “It’s a terrific story. It’s John’s story. It’s never been told. There have been articles written here and there, but nobody’s gotten it right, because nobody had the contact that I did with him,” says Jay Bergen, the lawyer—the only one of the three still alive—and does he have a story to tell.

Photography by Paul Mehaffey

February 1975 / Midtown Manhattan

Long Island native Jay Bergen was gaining stature at Marshall, Bratter, Greene, Allison & Tucker. The Fordham University grad had been at the firm several years, after practicing law both in New York and St. Croix. All in all, his career was going well, especially for someone who’d entered law school not knowing much about the profession beyond what he’d seen on Perry Mason. “I was a history major,” he reveals with a chuckle. “It was my senior year of college and it dawned on me, I wasn’t qualified to do anything! I’d taken an aptitude test that said I could be a good writer or lawyer. So, I said, ‘That sounds like a good idea.’”

Jay’s firm was representing John Lennon in a personal-injury lawsuit, involving an audience member who’d fallen off a ladder during a TV show. While pushing paper for that case, the litigator learned of another brewing and asked to get involved. Lennon had found himself off-beat with Morris Levy, a notorious powerhouse in the music publishing industry with mob connections. Levy owned the rights to a Chuck Berry song Lennon admittedly used as inspiration for the opening in “Come Together” (“Here come ol’ flattop, he come groovin’ up slowly”). To repay Levy, Lennon verbally agreed to record three songs. But what happened (and didn’t happen) after that promise turned into a federal case with a potential $42 million judgment against the former Beatle.

Senior partners tapped Jay to work the lawsuit, even countersue. Bergen found himself in a meeting with record company executives when Lennon entered the room, and they met for the first time. “He made the decision early—he was not going to settle this,” Jay recalls. “He really wanted to get rid of Morris, because he thought Morris was going to be an albatross around his neck, and he was a crook. He was wired into the mafia. He was a bad, bad guy.” The artist and attorney were just two years apart in age. On the way down in the elevator, a bond formed that lasted until the day Lennon died.

(L-R) Lawyer Howard Roy, John Lennon, lawyer Harold Seider, Yoko Ono and lawyer James Bergen eating dinner at Sloppy Louie’s, NYC. January 30, 1976. Bob Gruen,

Merging Myth & Man

Jay spent the next year preparing his client for the case. He and Lennon—who, despite performing before millions, was quite shy—shared walks in Central Park, limo rides, and sit-downs at the Dakotas. “He was smart. He was witty. He was very, very bright and had a great sense of humor,” Jay recollects. “We were always cracking jokes. I remember him saying one day, his son Julian was into some band called Queen. And he asked, ‘Does anyone know anything about a band called Queen?’” Jay remembers the day he was invited up to the apartment to meet Lennon’s wife. “Yoko was very interesting. She wore black a lot, long flowy stuff,” he says. “She was more business-oriented than John. Like any artist, singer/songwriter, he wasn’t that interested in business, but he was a terrific witness.

The case was not a sure thing, but Lennon lifted Jay’s confidence. “He really listened when I prepared him to testify in deposition or trial. He had a very good memory, and he understood the problem, and was really offended that Morris was doing this. His testimony about how The Beatles learned to make records was just fascinating.” Multiple rulings later, Levy ended up owing Lennon thousands of dollars.

March 2017 / Saluda, North Carolina

Banker’s boxes filled with 5,000 pages of transcripts and notes from the case stood stacked in the back of Jay’s garage in Saluda. They’d survived multiple moves and marriages. Just over a year ago, the retired litigator lifted the lids, with thoughts of writing a book. Conversations led to a collaboration with director Catherine Gillet and a multimedia, one-man show that sold out three nights at the Tryon Fine Arts Center last March. “It’s John’s story. People don’t know who they [John and Yoko] really are. It’s partially my story about the case and my relationship with John. Who John was during that period of time from early 1975–77.”

Lennon really wanted to get rid of Morris, because he thought Morris was going to be an albatross around his neck, and he was a crook. He was wired into the mafia. He was a bad, bad guy.—Jay Bergen


The show ends with Lennon’s murder, outside the iconic building where Jay used to visit his friend. The attorney’s eyes brim with tears as he shares, “When he was killed, it was a real blow. Double Fantasy? I have the album, but you know, I’ve never listened to it.” Jay admits he gets emotional during the intimate storytelling on stage. “He was cut off in the prime of his life. Who knows what he could have accomplished, not only in terms of music, but because he was such a peaceful person. He was so interested in peace. All you have to do is listen to “Imagine” and you know what he was all about.”

Memories flood back—seeing The Beatles in concert for the first time in ’64 at Forest Hills, laughter-filled-lunches at Sloppy Louie’s by the Seaport, meetings with Yoko after John’s death. The widow recently sent Jay a message through a friend, wishing him luck with the show. “You know, I never asked him about The Beatles. I never mentioned that. I treated him like any other client, with openness, kindness, and respect. We just talked, and we laughed,” he says. Audiences are now able to laugh, and cry, hearing how Lennon and his lawyer beat a mafia man in court, and became close friends in the process.

Jay Bergen will share his story at John Lennon, the Mobster & the Lawyer at the Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre on Thursday, August 2, at 7 p.m. 

Home Work

The Greenville Center for Creative Arts steadfastly maintains a tight hold on its mantra to educate and illuminate via the visual arts. The center’s Annual Member Show serves as an all-encompassing opportunity for the supporting members of the GCCA to showcase their own inventive, artistic aptitude. Founded by a devoted group of artists, teachers, and community leaders, the Greenville Center for Creative Arts is a central hub that enriches the cultural fabric of our city. The member show is an annual exhibition that includes all media from current GCCA members, including this acrylic work, Endless Summer, by Jane Doyle. The community is invited to experience this enriching showcase of art created right here at home. Nicole Grumbos     

Jane Doyle, Endless Summer. Acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 in.

The 2018 Annual Member Show will be on display at the Greenville Center for Creative Arts, 101 Abney St, Greenville, from August 3–September 26, 2018. The center is open 9am–5pm, Monday–Friday, and 11am–3pm on Saturday. For more information, visit

Family Table

Fluffy pillows of Parisian-style gnocchi, made from a classic pâte à choux dough, surprise you with their color. Nestled amid sautéed ribbons of heirloom Bradford collards, spring peas, and silky sweet-corn cream, the gnocchi take on a golden hue, owing to the local corn flour component from Colonial Milling. As delicious as it is lovely, this dish exemplifies the contemporary spins on time-honored Southern recipes that can be expected from Chef de Cuisine Jamie Cribb at The Kennedy in Spartanburg.

The newest venture by chef and restaurateur William Cribb (of Cribbs Kitchen) and his business partner, Raj Patel, The Kennedy cuts an Art Deco figure worthy of a spot on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach. Inside the handsome 66-seat space (once occupied by Renato’s restaurant), hand-antiqued glass panels and a black-and-white color scheme dream up a casual-chic vibe. Horizontal bands and rounded lines recall the Streamline Moderne style of the 1930s that took its inspiration from the trains, planes, and ocean liners of that era.

The youngest of four Cribb siblings, all of whom are in the restaurant business, Jamie launched his career washing dishes at the Spring Street location of Cribb’s Kitchen in 2008. After working his way up the line, he left for Columbia, where he was beguiled by the farm-to-table concept. Family summoned him back to Spartanburg to help open Willy Taco, another of William’s projects. But tacos proved unsatisfying for the fledgling chef, and he eventually flew off to Charleston to do a stage with Jacques Larson at Wild Olive.

Jamie thrived at Wild Olive, where the staff was required to execute everything at a high level constantly. “I loved the pressure, I loved the heat, I loved how everybody meshed as a team,” he recalls. William called him home again after two years, excited about a new project he and Patel were hatching. Enticed by the prospect of having creative freedom to design small plates from farm-fresh ingredients, Jamie signed on, and The Kennedy opened in May.

The young chef pays homage to his family’s traditional Southern food roots by crafting what he calls “New American cuisine with some crazy twists.” Case in point is his charred octopus, plated with stewed butterbeans, tomatoes, and okra reminiscent of the butterbean stew he ate at home as a boy. To bring his version up to date, Jamie adds celery root purée and crispy sunchoke chips.

He is also perfecting a peach cobbler panna cotta that kindles memories of the cobbler his mom made when he was young. He steeps the cream with vanilla and cinnamon and serves it with oven-roasted peaches, peach syrup, and a crumble like the one his mom made to top her cobbler.

Jamie relishes the opportunity to help open up the food scene in his hometown. He loves forging relationships with local farmers and is proud of the fact that more than 90 percent of his summer menu ingredients are locally sourced.

“It’s cool to see how much love and support we’ve received from the community,” the chef reports. “Diners leave with smiles on their faces.”
It’s cuisine that Spartanburg is hungry for.

The Kennedy, 221 E Kennedy St, Spartanburg; (864) 586-5554,

Battle of the Sexes

Standard Toilet Icon

I admit to befuddlement the first time I heard the word mansplaining. Was the term intended to offer a picture of the characteristic way guys sit with legs akimbo? Or perhaps the term described some kind of personal grooming practice of men. When I referred to my trusty collegiate dictionary, the word was not there, so I just had to figure it out on my own and wait for the term to be added to a reputable source.

I am delighted to report that I am ignorant no more. Mansplain was included among the 1,000 words added to the Oxford English Dictionary and one of 850 new words added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary this year. Here is the Merriam-Webster definition: “of a man: to explain something to a woman in a condescending way that assumes she has no knowledge about the topic.” Oxford English adds “patronizing” as a descriptor.

As I awaited an authoritative meaning of mansplaining to be revealed, I did some research via the Internet. Quickly I figured out the topic of mansplaining brings out a lot of us-versus-them feelings between genders. The terms feminist and chauvinist are commonplace when examples of mansplaining are shared, dependent upon the gender of the person offering the example.

When it comes to having something explained to me that “I ought to know already,” I have been on the receiving end from both women and men. Neither feels good. Both make me bristle.


I am not a fan of broad generalizations, particularly when it comes to gender issues. Not all men are alike—if they were, cherished Southern author Flannery O’Connor would never have written A Good Man Is Hard to Find. Nor are all women similar—to conclude such would be ludicrous. Thus, not all bossy men are pigs, nor all self-assured women feminists; they are just bossy and/or self-assured.

A primary reason noted to illuminate why women detest having something mansplained to them is that, apparently, when men explain, they assume they know what women should think, know, and believe. Truth be told, when it comes to having something explained to me that “I ought to know already,” I have been on the receiving end of condescending remarks from both women and men. Neither feels good. Both make me bristle.

My instinctive response to condescension is generally condescension in return. But I am not always pleased with myself after, as I can still hear my mother commenting, “You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” So now I strive to offer my disdain with a dose of humor and a bit of charm. My response to mansplaining may sound something like this (and please infer a smile as the words are spoken): “I had no idea you knew so much about what women think! You must be highly successful in your relationships with women with this kind of knowledge. What’s that you say? Divorced twice and no girlfriend at the moment? Well, that is certainly hard to understand. Perhaps you can mansplain that to me.”

Bottom line, we all suffer when we presume to understand or believe we know someone else’s mind on a subject. A little patience and understanding and enhanced listening skills are of ultimate value when it comes to our relationships.

I’m here if you need me. Until then, y’all behave.

Queen’s Court

The Ivey’s Hotel was once a grand department store. Built in 1900, the J.B. Ivey & Company was just a block off the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets in Charlotte. Today, the hotel sits in the heart of Uptown, known as the Old Fourth Ward, and its 42 rooms and nine balconied suites lavishly riff on Parisian Art Nouveau.     

The boutique hotel inhabits 45,000 square feet on the first and second floors of the pre-war building; above it, three stories of residences offer the feel of downtown living (in luxe digs). Its prime location affords guests barely a stroll to dozens of restaurants, bars, and notable stops, including the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center just across the street.

The Ivey’s has an undeniably playful aesthetic. Brett Krueger of MRK Hotel Collection worked in tandem with Miami designer Nick Alain to incorporate antiquarian elements collected by Krueger to add a traveler’s whimsy to the property. Four-hundred-year-old French oak is underfoot, along with cheeky vintage ads framed from 1920s magazines, lots of mirrored surfaces, and beautiful fixtures. More than 10,000 clocks and clock faces are displayed throughout the hotel in the forms of coffee tables, mantle pieces, and other enameled elements in halls, suites, and alcoves.

A soft palate of cream and leather with hints of aubergine and teal creates an air of high design. Every detail feels thought through, from drapery with three layers of light-filtering ability, to caddies of bath bombs perched atop deep-soaking tubs, to Frette Italian linens enticing guests to sleep a stay away.

When you do leave your room, you may not travel far. The Ivey’s is home to two notable Fourth Ward eateries: 5Church has been a mainstay of the district with Top Chef alum Jamie Lynch at its helm, while Sophia’s Lounge is a cocktail bar fit for a queen. Named for Queen Sophia Charlotte, King George III’s wife, the forward-leaning cocktails from award-winning beverage director Patricia Smith are masterfully paired with inventive bites: the house-smoked salmon crostini come beside a cocktail of reposada tequila, grapefruit, jalapeño, and strawberry; roasted shrimp, coriander mascarpone, and chipotle crackers join a rather perfect Sazerac dotted with lemon oil.

Groups of deep velveted chairs, oversized couches, and intimate tables pepper Sophia’s, whose servers and bar staff shine in their apt service and suggestions. But after an evening here, it’s perhaps equally as satisfying to hop the elevator back to your tricked-out room to tuck in.

The Ivey’s Hotel, 127 N Tryon St, Charlotte, NC. (704) 228-1111,; rates start at $190.

Crash Course

Revda, Russia - July 31, 2016: man mountainbiker rides on a sports bicycle on a forest trail. in forest mist, mysterious view during Regional competitions on cross-country bike

Feel the burn as the body absorbs jolt after jolt, traversing the rough terrain. Skill and endurance partner with balance and strength to conquer every twist and turn of the trail. Waterfalls, creeks, and cliffs create the playing field. The opponent? Yourself. It’s mind over matter to keep pedaling uphill. Downhill is a gut-check: how fast will you go, risking limb (maybe life)?


Self-reliance is paramount in mountain biking. Nothing’s worse than walking out of the woods after blowing a tire because you couldn’t fix it. When purchasing gear and accessories, keep safety and comfort in mind. Padding at all points of contact is recommended. 

Need to Have

// Helmet  Sounds like a no-brainer, but protect your noggin. Helmets should meet, or exceed, CPSC standards. The best cover the entire head and come down the back of the skull.

// Protective Eyewear  A $15 pair of glasses can prevent riders from literally poking an eye out.

// Hydration System  Plan on consuming one bottle of water per hour. Bottles that affix to a cage on the bike frame are the cheapest option. For 2-hour-plus rides, consider purchasing a hydration pack.

// Emergency Kit  Never hit a trail without a spare tube, pump, and a small tool kit to tighten bike parts that may come loose.


Nice to Have

// Riding Shorts Mountain bike shorts are baggier than traditional cycling shorts and have padding in the seat to prevent saddle sores.

// Gloves It only takes one wipeout to prove their value. Full-fingered gloves are recommended, with palm padding that cuts down on hand fatigue.

// Shoes Flats, or shoes with clips? Riders are split fifty-fifty, depending on if they’re short-track racers or downhill stormers. Either way, make sure they’re comfortable and compatible with the bike’s pedals.


California and Colorado each make claims as the birthplace of mountain biking. Yet there is no doubt that the Carolinas offer the best quality and quantity of trails on the East Coast. Whether saddling up as a rookie or expert, be sure to check out the following rides:


Lake Conestee Nature Park (Greenville): First stop for beginners with double tracks and boardwalks on the southern end of the Swamp Rabbit Trail. 844 ft. elevation

Pleasant Ridge County Park (Slater-Marietta): Five-mile loop of hard-packed dirt on the JFA Trail. Half climb, half flow. 1,390 ft. elevation

Issaqueena Lake (Clemson): Forty miles of trails. Flat, smooth, and fast. 921 ft. elevation


Paris Mountain State Park (Greenville): Eleven miles of single-track trails. Rocky up top, smoother down below.1,469 ft. elevation

Dupont State Forest (Brevard, NC): Expansive area with 80 miles of single and double tracks offering a little bit of everything. 2,322 ft. elevation


Pisgah National Forest (Pisgah Forest, NC): Known as the Wild West of biking in our region, with a vast network of more than 100 trails. Very steep, very rocky, very technical. Various elevations


Every biker needs the right beer, er, gear. Pre- and post-ride, stop by any of the following for big tales of mud-diving and gravity checks.

Piney Mountain Bike Lounge

Just beyond the trail at Paris Mountain, this establishment is a primary gathering spot for riders and spectators alike, with its full-service bike shop and craft beer taproom. Enjoy local and regional brews and food truck grub while watching riders attack the pump track off the deck. 20 Piney Mountain Rd, Greenville.

Oskar Blues Brewery

The eastern edition of a Colorado standard, Oskar Blues has found a home in the hills of Brevard, a 10-minute ride from Pisgah. A food truck, regional bands, and locally brewed ales make this a favorite pit stop for all. 342 Mountain Industrial Dr, Brevard, NC.

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Nothing tastes better after a hot ride than cold brew. Sierra Nevada offers 23 beers on tap, many produced just a few feet away. Grab a bite from their extensive menu at the Taproom or stretch sore legs in the Beer Garden. 100 Sierra Nevada Way, Mills River, NC


Benchmark Bicycle Supply Co.
Two-year-old shop in the middle of downtown Greer, with an emphasis on craftsmanship, companionship, and community education. 207 Randall St, Greer. 

Sunshine Cycle Shop
A Greenville institution since 1976, featuring premium brands like Giant, Santa Cruz, Liv, and Felt. 1826 N Pleasantburg Dr. 


Freehub Bicycles
Family-owned business operating on Greenville’s eastside, with a 3,500-square-foot shop filled with bikes and accessories, and a highly skilled service department. 1616 Woodruff Rd, 

Sunrift Adventures
Stop en route to the trails at this Travelers Rest mainstay, selling top-brand bikes and quality gear. If you can’t find what you need, ask their friendly staff. 1 Center St, Travelers Rest. 

Editor's Letter

Man to Man

Neil Ferrier is persistent. After weeks of email exchanges, moved meetings, and delayed dates, we finally connected...

State Line

July is summertime’s cradle. It’s that sweet spot between the end of school and start, when the...

Ground Up

Summer hangs in the air like a heady magnolia, and we’re ready to break for cold beer,...

Editor's Picks

Discommon Man

Neil Ferrier creates what's in his mind's eye—the more disruptive, distinguished, and discommon—the better

Letters of War

A century ago, Upstate-based Army camp Sevier transformed the tides of World War I when its 30th Infantry Division took the Hindenburg Line. Through a collection of letters and photographs, local historians honor Camp Sevier and the sacrifice of its brave boys.

Look Sharp

Dan Eastland of Dogwood Custom Knives crafts handsome blades and handles

Family Table

Spartanburg’s Cribb brothers launch casual-chic Southern food concept The Kennedy

Crash Course

Take to our trails on two wheels with this guide to mountain biking