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Ready to Ride: Art and Adventure

Conservationist Clint McNeal and wildlife artist Alexandra Nicole recently took a Ready to Ride trip to Greenwood. Their love of the outdoors found new expression in Greenwood’s variety.

Created by:
Discover Greenwood
October 22, 2020

Who Are Clint and Alexandra?

Ever wondered about that couple you see tooling along in an open-top car and enjoying the sites in the Ready to Ride video? That’s Clint McNeal and his wife, artist Alexandra Nicole. Clint and Alexandra have gained a sizable social media following for their outdoor and artistic adventures, around the studio, in their hometown of Athens, GA, or on the road exploring outdoor locales. 

Clint and Alexandra both translated their passion for the outdoors into careers in the sciences. 

After growing up on an island, Alexandra pursued a career as a biologist, earning degrees in wildlife biology and fisheries science. She worked with leatherback sea turtles on St. Kitts and Nevis, feral cats on Jekyll Island, GA, and shorebirds in the Caribbean. As she began to incorporate her love of wildlife into her art, this parallel business grew. Today, she is a full-time artist known throughout the South and beyond for her coastal-inspired artwork.

Raised in North Georgia, Clint spent his childhood in all kinds of outdoor endeavors, from athletics to fishing. He became an avid hunter, a competitive tournament bass fisherman, and, most importantly, a student of wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. After finishing a graduate degree in natural resources management, he entered a career as a private lands conservationist, helping landowners to permanently protect their properties from development. Along the way, he developed a passion for fly fishing. 


Traveling to Greenwood

In their first trip to Greenwood, to film the Ready to Ride video, the couple enjoyed the trails and woods when they visited Lake Greenwood State Park, fished for striper at Lake Greenwood and spent some time in Uptown’s shops, restaurants and the art museum.

“We did zero research on the town before the trip, so we honestly had no idea what to expect,” Clint says. “The state park and the lake in general were both beautiful places, and we really enjoyed our time there.

“As avid anglers, I would have to say that fishing was our favorite activity, and we would absolutely love to go back and fish Lake Greenwood again.”

Clint reels in a catch on Lake Greenwood and Alexandra proudly displays a large striper.

There wasn’t time for golf on this trip, but, Clint says, “I would love to get back over there and play some of the courses in the area, because I have heard good things. I think we both would have liked to just spend more time getting to know the area.”

It’s Uptown, Not Downtown

After a few friendly reminders that it’s Uptown and not downtown, Clint and Alexandra spent time in the shops and restaurants. As an artist, the Arts Center of Greenwood was a must for Alexandra. 

“We were blown away by how nice Uptown Greenwood is,” Clint says. “I have traveled extensively all over the Southeastern US and been through hundreds of small to mid-sized ‘downtown’ areas. Greenwood rivals any of the nicest ones I've been to. It's extremely refreshing to see a city take pride in their Uptown area in a time when so many have let sprawling development run rampant, and have turned their back on their historic towns. 

Clockwise from top left: Alexandra appreciates a painting at the Arts Center of Greenwood; Clint and Alexandra enjoy a small town feel at the Uptown market; Clint and Alexandra enjoy an afternoon exploring shops and beautiful landscapes; Alexandra shopping at David Clothier.

“The shops and restaurants were all fantastic, but I think the most striking thing upon entering the uptown area is by far the landscaping. All of the landscaping is impressive, but the topiaries scattered about the town really steal the show.”

 “We have told so many people about Uptown Greenwood since we visited. Any town that you can go to a roadside produce stand and pick up some boiled peanuts and fresh peaches right in town is a great town in our book.”

Friendly Locals

Another aspect of Greenwood that always makes an impression is the locals. 

“The town and the people were straight out of a Hallmark movie, and I mean that as a huge compliment,” Clint says of the people they met. “The people are so friendly and welcoming that I felt like I could move there and be a part of the community instantly.”

Clint shakes hands with their friendly fishing guide on Lake Greenwood.

While they don’t consider themselves influencers, Clint says, “We are fortunate that there are many like-minded individuals who also share passions for hunting, fishing, art, and conservation and have decided to follow along on our journey together.”

If you’re interested in following along on more of the McNeals adventures, check out artbyalexandra.com or follow them on social media. You’ll find great travel (and fishing) stories on Instagram @clint_mcneal, and travel and art inspiration @artbyalexandra


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