Eco-Friendly Things to Do in Greenville, N.C. — aka the Hub of "Eastern North Carolina"

Bianca Piazza - Author

Jan. 5 2024, Published 3:13 p.m. ET

Photo of a mural in the Greenville, N.C., Dickinson Avenue Arts Distract with two smaller images of a man kyaking the Tar River and of the Greenville Museum of Art
Source: iStock, visitgreenvillenc/Instagram, ncgmoa/Instagram

Greenville has been deemed "the hub of eastern North Carolina," according to the city's website. As noted by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Greenville — which was founded in 1771— the city is famous for its cotton and tobacco trade and Native American roots, specifically related to the Tuscarora people.

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Today, the Pitt County city is home to the East Carolina University, the beautiful Tar River, the annual PirateFest, and the Greenville Museum of Art.

Though there are plenty of things to do in Greenville, it's admittedly a pretty quiet city. However, Greenville has received more attention in recent years, especially considering it's the hometown of the King of YouTube, Jimmy "MrBeast" Donaldson.

Photo of Greenville, North Carolina, sign surrounded by greenery
Source: iStock
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In terms of how eco-friendly Greenville is, the Town Creek Culvert stormwater project, which started construction in 2018, is just one of the city's sustainable endeavors. The project makes use of constructed wetlands via "regenerative stormwater conveyance" and removes oxygen-depleting nutrients like phosphorous and nitrogen from the river.

Additionally, the two-decade GVL2040 Comprehensive Plan, which passed in Feb. 2021, prioritizes safeguarding "open space and the environment" as a way to "bolster quality of life and protect environmental assets."

For those looking to take an eco-friendly trip to the historic American city, follow our Green City Guide for Greenville, N.C.

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Photo of North Carolina and its cities on a map
Source: iStock

Where to stay in Greenville: This historic Victorian bed and breakfast doubles as a live music venue.

The Music House:

Located at 408 W. Fifth Street in Greenville’s Downtown District, the preserved Music House was built between 1901 and 1904 by Jesse Moye. It's currently owned by East Carolina University School of Music professor John O’Brien.

It holds a spot on the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality's green lodging list, which includes properties that have "met or exceeded the N.C. GreenTravel green standard for the lodging industry."

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Where to eat: Nutritious farmacy juice shots, local coffee, and tempeh hoagies? Sign us up!

Fresh Vibes:

The Fresh Vibes smoothie shop is "where local meets fresh." Located at 1725 W. Arlington Boulevard, Suite 100, the healthy eatery values the power of plants, offering smoothies, juices, salads, toasts and sandwiches, and "farmacy" shots infused with nutritious ingredients like açaí, milk thistle, wheatgrass, and more.

Aside from educating the public on the immune-boosting magic of a plant-based lifestyle, Fresh Vibes actively supports the farmers and small businesses of eastern North Carolina. It gets microgreens from Sawyer’s Micro Farm in Winterville, for instance.

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Mellow Mushroom:

Sitting at 2020 Charles Boulevard, the Mellow Mushroom pizza joint values "a Higher Order of Pizza." Since 1974, the chain has offered stone-baked pizza with a side of psychedelic design. Along with pizza, the totally zen eatery's menu features veggie calzones, salads, spinach artichoke dip, "magic mushroom" soup, local and craft beer, and more.

Mellow Mushroom also offers gluten-free pizza and an entire plant-based menu with both vegetarian and vegan options!

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The Scullery Coffee House and Creamery:

Though The Scullery's menu features a few plant-based bites, like the grilled veggie and fresh veggie sandwiches and the blackbean burger (which can all be made vegan), the eatery is on our list for supporting a slew of local businesses and growers.

Located at 431 Evans Street, The Scullery has menu items made with ingredients from local vendors like Lanoca Coffee Company in Farmville, Coastal Plains Produce in Ayden, and Mother Earth Brewery in Kinston. Supporting local businesses makes for a more fruitful community and cuts down on pollution and habitat loss caused by transportation.

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Where to shop: Buy secondhand and support local artists and farmers!

Funky Junk:

At 809-A Red Banks Road sits a vintage home decor, furniture, and jewelry shop that can only be described as, well, funky! Though it also features new items, Funky Junk sells an eclectic array of vintage and antique furniture and lighting, and provides free interior design consultations!

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Dickinson Avenue Farmers & Makers Market:

Located at 714 Dickinson Avenue is a year-round market that has taken over a century-old former Chero-Cola bottling facility, as per WITN. According to the website, the Farmers & Makers Market proudly "provides a retail outlet for a range of local products, produce, and art while serving as an incubator for entrepreneurs."

All products are from sellers who "reside and make or grow the items to be sold within a 50-mile radius of Pitt County."

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What to do: Immerse yourself in Greenville's rich art, culture, and nature.

Greenville Museum of Art:

The Greenville Museum of Art has given the city a place to revel in the beauty of art and culture since 1939. Today, the museum resides in the historic Flanagan House at 802 S. Evans Street and maintains a mission to "inspire, educate, and connect people through the visual arts by way of [its] collection, exhibitions, and programs."

Valuing inclusivity, engagement, collaboration, and accountability, the museum frequently hosts adult and family-friendly events and programming, offers educational tours and artist opportunities, and features exhibitions that inspire important conversation (like its "Growing Up Queer in the South" 2022 exhibition).

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Kayak the Tar River:

Frequented by deer, turtles, bald eagles, beavers, herrings, and osprey, as per Visit Greenville, NC, the Tar River is an almost 200-mile long river that starts at the North Carolina-Virginia border. Visitors can rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboat and schedule a guided tour of the biodiverse beauty.

Visit Greenville, NC suggests starting at the Town Common and ending at the Port Terminal Boat Access for a stunning 3.5-mile journey.

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Traverse the Greenville Greenway System:

Looking to get more outdoor exercise? Try hiking or biking along the expansive Greenville Greenways. Winding 8.6 miles throughout Greenville, these trails begin at the Greenville Town Common and end at the East Carolina University campus, according to the official Greenville website.

Check out the Greenville Greenways Map as well as the Pitt County Walking Trail Information guide.

In “Green City Guides,” a travel series from Green Matters, we break down what to do, where to stay, what to eat, and more in various cities around the world — while staying sustainable.

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