Make The Most of A Weekend In Martinby Regan Green - Travel Writer
Martin is a name probably best recognized because of its local university, UT Martin, but the town has much more to offer than just higher education. Between the charming downtown shops, the many parks and walking trails, the variety of food, and the state-famous coffee shops, Martin has something fun for everyone in the family whether you want to de-stress at a spa or try out axe-throwing therapy (yes, you read that correctly—it’s definitely a thing!).
Breakfast at Martin’s Coffee and Bakery
Start your trip off right by nestling into a huge leather couch and sipping the best liquid energy in town. There’s a reason Martin’s Coffee and Bakery was named in the top 6 best coffee shops by the Tennessee Department of Tourism, and it’s the muffins. Freshly baked. Blueberry. They’re unbeatable, folks.
Get a Little R&R at Styles on Broadway SalonSpa
Before you start exploring the streets, treat your family to a spa day at Styles on Broadway SalonSpa. There’s nothing like a hot stone massage and an aloe body wrap in the morning. Get all those pesky toxins out of your body at this Aveda concept salon and experience a sense of peace you haven’t felt all year. There’s even a Mommy & Me manicure and pedicure option for you and your kiddos.
Lunch at Yamato Japanese Sushi and Hibachi
For dinner, you can’t miss the beautiful plates of sashimi and steak at Yamato. Though it only opened its doors a year ago, this restaurant has quickly made its way into the hearts of locals with a fun interior design and unrivaled sushi rolls. For picky eaters, they have great noodles and a kids’ menu with meat, rice, and vegetables.
Baby chicks, fuzzy bunnies, and a great selection of classic children’s toys. Need I say more? This is an agriculture supply store, but kids love it, and it’s been a local family favorite for years. Get your cuteness fix in quick before the next item on the itinerary . . .
Work Up an Appetite at the Angry Axe
Just in case you didn’t get all your anxiety out at the spa, this rapidly growing axe-throwing company invites you to “unleash your inner lumberjack!” An axe coach is included with the fee and will teach you and your family how to throw and play fun (and safe) games together. You’ll be surprised how therapeutic it is, and you get to learn a new skill at the same time.
Dinner at Blue Oak Oyster Bar & Grill
First-order a round of oysters—garlic jalapeno and three-cheese are local favorites—and then dig into some crispy fried shrimp tacos. The kids’ menu comes with crayons and coloring sheets to keep the little ones entertained while you peruse the huge drink menu and enjoy some of the best seafood in town.
Breakfast at Higher Ground Coffee Co.
The fresh acai bowls are a delicious and healthy option, but you’re on vacation-time and breakfast food is an arbitrary category anyway, so live a little. Higher Ground Coffee Co. offers a beautiful array of pastries: biscotti, chocolate hazelnut croissants, warm raspberry scones, cinnamon rolls the size of a seven-year-old’s head, and, if you’re really in the mood to indulge, chocolate eruption cheesecake.
These are great shops for kids to enjoy. Buff City Soaps is becoming more and more famous every day for its gorgeous rainbow of soaps, bath bombs and truffles, shower fizzies, and more—all free of harsh chemicals, detergents, and preservatives. From mermaid soap to tobacco bay leaf soap to headache-be-gone soap, Buff City has something for all personalities to pamper themselves with, and kids love picking out their own scents and colors. But be warned: you just might end up spending the whole day smelling each and every one of the variety of soap scent pairings. Maybe more than once.
Vicki’s Designer Touch is a local florist shop with beautiful stuffed animals, flower arrangements, classic home décor, and bath bombs that melt to reveal a toy inside when you drop them into a hot bath. While you’re getting your shop on, this one’s a can’t-miss.
Lunch at Blake’s at Southern Milling
Grab some Texas-style BBQ & homemade dessert at this newly renovated mill turned renowned restaurant. Sink your teeth into sinfully delicious Southern food: oak-smoked brisket, jalapeno cornbread, pimento cheese, and cheesecake are just some of the best-sellers on the menu. Blake’s serves mouth watering brunch options on Saturdays that include pulled pork eggs benedict, decedent chicken & waffles, or even a brunch sampler board. This restaurant is one to remember and a locals favorite.
Take a Stroll Down the Brian Brown Memorial Greenway
Work off all that lunch with a walk down the greenway. This trail will eventually connect downtown Martin with the west side of the city, where the UT Martin campus is located. You could walk the whole 3.4-mile trail or enjoy just part of it, but either way, you’ll get to soak up Tennessee’s beautiful outdoors and work off a few calories at the same time.
You could spend a whole day shopping in Martin. Boutiques abound downtown. Claire & Schuster has creative and unique pieces that will add a pop of color to your wardrobe or to your home décor; Sugar & Spice is a trendy space with women’s clothing, shoes, and running apparel; Warner Pace Interiors has timeless interior design and decorating options; Lala’s Boutique has the latest seasonal trends and is stocked up for all your sweater-weather needs; and St. Charles has a huge inventory of plants, candles, flower arrangements, home decor, and baby gifts.
5 Seasons is a great store for men’s shopping. It’s stocked with all the Southern brands you know and love: dress shirts from Vineyard Vines, tees from Southern Marsh, leather shoes from Johnston & Murphy, and more.
The Shoe Shack is famous for its variety. They have shoes for all ages, all occasions, and all styles, from mary-janes to western boots to running shoes.
Dinner at La Cabana
Celebrate your successful afternoon of retail therapy with some chips and guac at La Cabana. They have great mixed drinks and a huge array of authentic Mexican food. Be sure to save room for a banana burrito (a banana wrapped in a fried tortilla and topped with cinnamon, honey, and whipped cream) or a chango (creamy cheesecake wrapped in a pastry tortilla and fried until flakey, dusted with cinnamon and sugar). They speak for themselves. If you sit in the bar area, you can end your trip by looking out at the charming holiday decorations on Lindell Street—the perfect punctuation to an awesome weekend getaway.