Sightseeing at Furman
What to do when you're at Furman...
Planning an entertaining and low cost day away from home? Think about visiting the Furman University campus this summer -- you might be surprised to discover all there is to do and see.
It is possible, for instance, to visit Southern Living
's first "green" Showcase Home, experience a former Buddhist temple that sits high above a peaceful Asia Garden or see a replica of the cabin that Henry David Thoreau lived in while writing Walden
. There are also walking and biking trails, and a summer concert series that takes place every Thursday evening by the lake. You can even get in 18 holes of golf if you like.
The Shi Center at Furman
The Shi Center was built in 2008 as Southern Living
magazine's first "green" Showcase Home. Located near the Bell Tower on the Furman lake, the house is a model of environmentally responsible design, sustainable building techniques and materials, and energy-saving systems. From the bamboo flooring to the solar panels in the roof, the 3,400 square-foot showcase home has all the the latest technological innovations in sustainable living. Surrounding the home are formal gardens and the Furman Farm, a 1/4 acre organic practice garden. The Shi Center is now the home of the David E. Shi Center for Sustainability
The Place of Peace
The Place of Peace is a former Buddhist temple that now sits in a quiet, wooded area of the Furman campus. Overlooking the Asia Garden, it is the former family temple of the Tsuzuki family of Greenville. The structure was disassembled into 2,400 pieces in Nagoya, Japan, shipped in four containers across the Pacific Ocean, and reassembled by Japanese artisans on the Furman campus in 2008. The Place of Peace serves as an educational tool for the university's Asian Studies Department and is a focal point of the university's commitment to sustainability. While the outside of the temple is always available for viewing, trained docents will be on hand Saturdays and Sundays (1-3 p.m.) to open the temple to the public.
Furman's original Japanese garden has been dramatically renovated and is now known as the Asia Garden. This serene garden pleasantly winds around a large pond with a water fall at one end and a meandering stream at the other. Japanese irises and an assortment of bog plants line the edges of the stream and pond, enhancing water quality. The major features of the garden include many rare bamboos, several different species of Japanese pines, camellias, oriental cherry trees, plus other unique and well-known plants. The next phase of the Asia Garden will include a forest of unique bamboos and other plantings.
Replica of Thoreau Cabin
As part of a May Experience class in 2009, Furman students built a replica of the cabin that Henry David Thoreau lived in while writing Walden
. Like Thoreau's cabin, the structure is 15 feet by 10 feet with two windows, a door, a chimney and a loft. Students also helped build the furniture inside the house, including chairs and a writing desk, but decided to leave out the bed so there would be more space inside the cabin. The structure is located in a grove of trees on the far side of the lake, about the same distance that Thoreau's cabin sat from Walden Pond.
Furman has plenty of places to walk or jog. There is a two-mile trail that meanders through the woods behind the lake, as well as a 1.25 mile trail that runs around the perimeter of the lake. There is also a 5K jogging course that begins and ends at the Lay Physical Activities Center. The Swamp Rabbit Trail, an 11-mile trail that stretches from downtown Greenville to Travelers Rest, also runs through the campus and is perfect for biking, running or walking.
Furman Golf Club
The university has its own 18-hole golf course, which was just recently named one of the "30 Best Courses You Can Play in South Carolina." The semi-private, par-72 golf course underwent a major renovation in 2008. All 18 greens were redesigned and sprigged with Champion Bermuda grass, and the course features a dozen new fairway bunkers. The course has four sets of tee markers: 6,993 yards (purple), 6,500 yards (black), 6,009 yards (white) and 5,281 yards (lavender). The course serves as the home of the men's and women's golf programs at Furman, which has produced such well-known golfers as Betsy King, Beth Daniel, Dottie Pepper, and Brad Faxon.
Summer Lakeside Concert Series
Furman's Music by the Lake Summer Concert Series is one of Greenville's favorite summer traditions. The free concerts take place each Thursday night throughout the summer, and begin at 7:30 p.m. in the university's amphitheater by the lake. The series is directed by Furman music professor Les Hicken and offers a wide variety of musical genres, including big band, jazz, international, contemporary, marches and orchestral favorites.