I decided that it was time for a little getaway. My wife was telling me that I needed to take a little trip to “Go away” for a little while. I think I was just geting on her nerves since it’s been 5 years since I’ve taken any sort of vacation. So I hop in the old 540 and take a trip. Honestly I didn’t know where I was going to go. I was planning on driving to the keys(key west) but then I did the actual math on how long it would take for me to get there and it just wasn’t in my cards. Seriously, i’m not going to drive that long.
So since I was headed south I got the idea to go to the BMW Manufacturing Plant in Greer SC. I’ve never been to a manufacturing plant and I decided to call and see if you needed to make an appoinment to get the tour. I’m glad I called because there was only 1 opening and it was the next day. So i continued on my travel plans and pointed my GPS toward Spartanburg.
When I came into Spartanburg I was pleasantly suprised with the southern hospitality. I don’t like to stay in regular hotels since I find that they are boring, and leave you with a feeling like you’re in Prison. I found a most wonderful Bed and Breakfast right in Spartanburg. The Inn on Main is a historic landmark in spartanburg. It has been completely remodeled and reminded me of certain castles I visited during my tour overseas with the Air Force. They were so kind and it really reminded me of the time when I would go over to my grandmothers house and she would spoil me. I was asked what I wanted for breakfast and where I was from and was made to feel so at home. Upon my arrival I was greeted by two other gentleman that were there on business from Louisanna. I was introduced and went about my own exploration of Spartanburg. It’s a quiet little town and the mood is just relaxing. Maybe it’s just the fact that I didn’t have a business to run for a day, i’m not quite sure.
That evening it rained and I was in the mood for a fantastic meal. I usually don’t eat out but when I do, I hate fast food so it’s not an option. I used Urbanspoon on my iPhone (it found the perfect resturant in VT on my honeymoon) and found a fantastic Italian joint that served “authentic” Italian food. Now I’ve been to italy and the italian food you get at olive garden and these other “Italian Resturants” is nowhere near authentic. It’s a joke, especially when you’ve been there and eaten that.
I came upon La Taverna and I asked the bartender what was the best food, ie., what does the chef love to make? (I found asking this question yields the best entree’s because the chef puts that extra effort into a dish he loves to make.) He said that the chef’s specialty is fish and that they had a special on the Grouper. Now I’m not a big fan of fish and the last time I saw a grouper was when I was at the national aquarium and I remember saying “Wow, that’s a really big fish!” Needless to say I’ve never had grouper and was nervous and excited at the same time. I remembered my philosophy and stuck to it. Im glad I did. The meal was fantastic and come to find out the owner was the chef, he was a chef in italy, he moved to New York, cooked for some really big names, and decided for a slower pace, and moved to spartanburg on a promise of a partnership that apparently fell through and he just never left. So now he lives there and enjoys life. His wife owns the BMW and He’s partial to Porsche. I tried to convince him otherwise but he wasn’t having it.
Well, long story short I went to the Plant the next day. You enter through the “Zentrum” (German for center) and inform the desk that you’re there for whatever time your slotted for. It’s $7.00 and they give you a ticket stub. While I waited I took a tour of their museum. They had some interesting displays of the old engines, a boxer engine, the new diesel, and my personal favorite, the 4 cylinder turbocharged formula 1 engine.
The time came to take the tour and it was far from boring. You literally get to see the X5′s and X6′s being built by hand. An interesting fact that I learned is that they export 70% of the BMW’s made there to the rest of the world thru the port of Charlston.(don’t quote me on Charleston, I think thats what they said.) It was funny seeing an X5, right hand drive.
Since no photography is allowed in the plant I don’t have any pictures to show you. You’ll just have to see for yourself. It’s a 9 hour drive, but well worth it. On the drive home, take 77 North. The scenery is breathtaking and take your BMW, the mountain roads demand it.