With two locations, a bike rental shop, and a cycling app, the Swamp Rabbit Inn is changing the way cyclists do Greenville. This is not your traditional BnB.
It’s hot in Greenville, S.C., today. My plan of riding 20 miles on the Swamp Rabbit Trail melting away as the mercury rises. Instead, I get to spend my afternoon indoors, meeting with Wendy Lynam, owner and founder of the Swamp Rabbit Inn. This Greenville-based Bed and Breakfast is unlike any BnB you’ve visited. Built along the Swamp Rabbit Trail—an immensely popular 20-mile greenway connecting Greenville and Travelers Rest, the Swamp Rabbit Inn caters to cyclists looking to explore the greater Greenville area while offering a relaxing and unique environment to call home during your travels.
Not Your Traditional Bed and Breakfast
Walking into the Swamp Rabbit Inn’s flagship location is like venturing into the life-size pages of an Ikea catalog. It’s clean, modern, funky, and beautiful. Every room is unique. Everything has its place. I feel at home here. The walls covered with the thank yous of former guests let you know how special the place is.
Each room is named and themed after a different animal, in French, which is painted on the wall near their doors. Varying in size and amenities, the rooms cater to a wide range of guest preferences. Visiting cyclists will appreciate the bike stands in each room, the tools in the shed, and a cleaning station for your ride. There are four bikes available in the house for guests to take when they want.
The second Tuesday of every month, the inn hosts Truck-In Tuesdays, where food trucks, local bands, and locals from the area celebrate in a block-party-style atmosphere.
The Honor System
Wendy Lynam is changing the game for how a modern-day BnB is operated. She’s running everything off of an honor system for guests of the inn. During your stay, if you’d like to pick up any extra swag, then take an envelope, write down the number of items, and leave your cash inside.
“You have everything you need here, but you don’t have an innkeeper in your face,” says Lynam. “There’s not a set breakfast time. It’s really kind of magical. Sometimes I’ll stop in to rent bikes to people, and I’ll see a bunch of guests sitting around the kitchen island getting to know each other.”
The Swamp Rabbit Inn is a very relaxed, loose management style, but they’re super attentive at the same time. It’s an interesting business model, but the guests prefer it.
The Bike Shed
Out back, there is a fleet of twelve bikes available for rent from the Bike Shed. During my visit, two visitors from Northern Alabama stopped by the inn to rent bikes. They’re about to head out for a ride on the Swamp Rabbit Trail for the afternoon. Wendy takes them out back, sets them up with some wheels, shares a list of places to visit, and sends them on their way. The hospitality here stretches far beyond the kitchen.
Rustic, Homey, Relaxed: The Swamp Rabbit Inn Travelers Rest
Opened in March of 2017 and located just 10 miles north of the Greenville location is the Swamp Rabbit Inn TR. With a more rustic, farmhouse styling, this old inn feels like home. Located across the street from the Swamp Rabbit Trail, cyclists have easy access to everything in the area. The Travelers Rest location features a swimming pool, large patio, and rental bikes for guests as well.
“It found me,” says Lynam of the TR location. “The lady who owned the property in Travelers Rest (formerly the Magnolia Inn), reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in another property. At the time, I didn’t feel I was ready to take on another property. I was still learning.”
Three years later, the property became the second Swamp Rabbit Inn location in TR.
While the locations may vary in styling and accommodations, they share one thing in common, the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
Every summer, the Travelers Rest location plays host to the Swamp Rabbit Music Festival, which features local bands, food trucks, and is in its third year running.
The Lodge and Lola
Also located on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, The Lodge is another of Lynam’s properties that is perfect for corporate retreats and group getaways. During the week, they rent by the room, like a hostel of sorts. The property also has a mile-long mountain bike loop built by Treehugger Customs with features like whoops and berms. Lynam also has the Swamp Rabbit Cottage, Furman Cottage, and three townhomes located near downtown.
Also built by Treehugger Customs, Lola, a 1969 camper, is the newest addition to the Swamp Rabbit Inn family.
The Swamp Rabbit Trail
Following the Reedy River along an old railroad, the Swamp Rabbit Trail is a 22-mile greenway system that runs between Greenville and Travelers Rest, South Carolina. Opened in 2009, this trail and its surrounding areas have grown exponentially, drawing visitors from all over the country and around the world.
Bike Inn, Bike Out
A rider herself, Lynam has been cycling for over six years, so she knows a thing or two about riding in the area. Her goal is to help them plan their entire cycling vacation from their new Bike inn, Bike Out app. From where to stay, eat, ride, and drink, the app will help riders plan their perfect cycling getaway. The app will focus on all genres of cycling, from road cycling to mountain biking.
Three years ago, she published the book Cycling Greenville, South Carolina. “We did not have a cycling guidebook,” says Lynam. “I was setting up rides for guests, and it got to be very labor intensive.” She reached out to the cycling community here and asked if they’d like to submit their favorite ride from the area. The book includes a great collection of 20 rides from a wide variety of riders.
From there, she wanted to expand on what they were doing, making it more bike friendly. Bringing a book on a ride and stopping to pull it out for directions can be a bit cumbersome. She always wanted to turn it into an app.
Bike Inn Bike Out is a way for cyclists to explore the Greater Greenville area, find new routes, things to do, and lodging. Turn-by-turn navigation keeps you on track from point point while you’re riding. They’ve uploaded all of the rides from the book and will continue to add rides to the app.
All said and done, this doesn’t feel like a traditional BnB. It’s something different—something better.