We knew it was a great idea from the very first discussion. We all knew it would bring more people outdoors. We knew they would use it and businesses would thrive along it. We knew it would become a popular recreation hotspot in the upstate. The Hincapie Sportswear crew has been using it for months on lunch rides and on the weekends. The “IT” that I’m referring to is the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail.
In just a few short months, the swamp rabbit trail has become a popular destination for thousands of people in the Upstate. When we first started hearing conversations about converting the old CSX rail line into a multi-use trail, we knew it was a great idea. Well, at least the people looking at the economic and demographic numbers knew this. Every study you read about rail/trail conversions ends with greater community involvement, higher property values along the trail and increased business development in areas accessible to the trail. I’ve seen some business development on the trail and I stopped to patronize one of them this week.
Alley Kat’s Waterin’ Hole is a hand painted lemonade stand (that sells more than just lemonade) located about half way between Sulphur Springs Rd. and Watkins Bridge Rd. on the Eastern side of the trail. The stand is the first business I’ve seen built right on the side of the actual trail. It wasn’t there when it was a rail line and it is there now that the same corridor hosts swarms of recreational enthusiasts every week. It started out as a plain wooden lean-to and it’s now been improved into a full on watering hole…ok, not sure what an official watering hole looks like, but this is as good as any.
Sam and I stopped on the way home from a long bike ride to find out the story behind Alley Kat’s. Turns out Alley Kat’s is the brainchild of a very ambitious 6-year old girl named Madeline and her family. Madeline’s grandmother was pouring drinks when we stopped. All proceeds from the drink sales go to the Shriners Hospitals for Children-Greenville, where she’s a patient. We dropped $5 in the jar and hung out wetting our whistles with some genuine, old-fashioned lemonade. No kidding, this isn’t the powdered stuff. This is real lemonade made with real lemons. I recommend that you stop by for a visit and drink your fill. At $1/glass, this stuff is the best bargain on the trail.
We wish Madeline, Alley Kat’s and the entire family well in their adventure. Even if you aren’t thirsty, stop by to say hi. Even though I missed her, it’s not unusual for the entrepreneur herself to be at the Waterin’ Hole on the weekends. It will be the best tasting $1 you spent this week.