A Taste of the Tour
THE NEIGHBORHOOD: The name says it all: Travelers Rest, South Carolina, is a blink- and-you’ll-miss-it hamlet in the Blue Ridge foothills. Hotel Domestique is on the outskirts of town, where a handful of new shops and restaurants are reviving the main drag.
THE VIBE: Imagine biking through the Tuscan countryside and staying at a stylish auberge, where the pasta is homemade and the wine cave is deep—only in Upstate South Carolina.
THE DIGS: Drawn to this region for its rolling hills, former pro-cyclist George Hincapie has made his home in nearby Greenville, inspiring a strong cycling culture and this Euro-style inn. A mountain retreat may seem Old World, but these digs are anything but: The service is laid back and the interior, très chic (think exposed stone walls, rustic wood, and artisan ironwork set off by playful colors and textiles). Many guests bring their own bikes, but the hotel’s rental fleet is made up of top-of-the-line Canyon models that are downright dreamy to ride.
Guests are greeted with a flute of bubbles, but don’t let that stop you from sauntering over to Bar 17 for a Toronto, a riff on an old fashioned made with Fernet and maple syrup, to sip as your settle in. While making the twenty-mile trek to Greenville to dine at Husk or another one of its new hotspots—or even across the North Carolina border to Asheville—may be tempting, plan at least one night to enjoy the hotel’s Restaurant 17. With the panoramic mountain view as a backdrop, the vibe is inviting and relaxed. Besides, after cycling twenty-plus miles, you’ll want a bowl of chef Nick Graves’ house-made pasta in whatever form it’s taking that evening (recently, an ethereal pappardelle with truffles). There are other constants on the menu, including a dry-aged rib eye with charred brussels sprouts and pickled beet chimichurri. (A server once saw a petite female guest polish off a 32-ouncer after a particularly long ride.) But Graves changes most of his dishes based on what’s seasonal and available at neighboring farms. This time of year, for instance, strawberries figure prominently, from topping the yogurt parfait at breakfast to dinner’s crispy duck confit in a strawberry emulsion with spinach and strawberry farrotto.