Formally known as South Carolina Highway 11, this approximately 120-mile road is more popularly referred to as the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway. Nestled along the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains, this picturesque roadway runs from the Georgia border on the west to the North Carolina border on its east. Located in upstate South Carolina, or what is historically called the Upcountry, the road parallels Interstate 85, a mere 20 miles to its south. The area is dominated by the towns of Greenville and Spartanburg, both of which are the county seats and the largest cities in those counties. Both cities and their surrounding towns are not only in one of the fastest growing areas in the state but also offer some of the most alluring and charming places to live. The history and attractions of this region should be of interest to anyone looking to purchase Greer real estate.
The path carved by this scenic roadway was the ancestral home of the Cherokee Indian tribe and thus the namesake of the foothills and the highway. The road at one time was used by both English and French fur traders, but the area’s first white settler was an Irishman by the name of Richard Pearis. In the mid-eighteenth century, he began trading with the Cherokee in the region, fathered a son by a Cherokee woman, and opened the first trading post in a location that is now downtown Greenville. However, being a British Loyalist, Pearis found himself on the wrong side of the Revolutionary War and eventually ended his years far south in the Bahama Islands. The Paris Mountain State Park, just north of Greenville, is named after him, though the area is rife with towns and landmarks bearing Cherokee monikers.
One of the more decisive battles of the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Cowpens, was fought near Chesnee, South Carolina, where the roadway ends at its eastern boundary. The battle, which was popularized in the movie The Patriot, is known to have wrested control of South Carolina from the British Army in January of 1781. It was one of the worst defeats that the British were to sustain and would ultimately lead to their surrender at Yorktown later that year. Given the intent of many colonists to escape the Revolutionary War and seek more land, these settlers eventually moved into what is today the Upcountry along Highway 11. Following the war, various treaties were made with Native Americans in the region and thus encouraged colonial settlers of Scot, German, and Welsh descent to follow. So popular was the area that in 1770 the population of South Carolina was less than 50,000 and by 1790 it had reached 140,000!
Today, the northwest region of South Carolina known as the Upcountry is home to nearly a million and a half people and the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway is as popular as ever, as is the surrounding area. Most notably, this is due to the beauty and splendor of the countryside that pervades so much of the lifestyle here. For instance, running parallel to the highway are over 35 accessible waterfalls with some reaching heights of up to 700 feet! The roadway is also dotted with numerous state parks, not the least of which is Keowee-Toxaway State Park which serves as an entry to the Jocassee Gorges. This tract of land, with steep-sided gorges carrying numerous mountainous rivers and streams, contains over 43,000 acres of an ecosystem replete with fishery restoration projects and wildlife, as well as a botanical cornucopia of rare plants and vegetation. The Upcountry is truly a little slice of heaven with its very own highway! So if you enjoy nature but want a modicum of urban living, consider Greer real estate and begin your house-hunting today.
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