Because of my affinity for travel, I have decided to start a new series on my blog, which I will call, "Well-spent Weekends." Here I will document my weekend getaways, from the must-see tourist stops to the hole-in-the-wall coffee shops.
My third year interior design studio took road trip to down south to explore the manufacturing plants of iconic flooring companies. You have not lived until you have seen the machines that weave carpet tiles in action.
Our roadtrip consisted of four stops, all of which were new to me. Each city had its own distinct charm, while all maintaining that unifying small town, feel good southern hospitality.
There's nothing I Iove more than exploring a new place, and this weekend did not disappoint. From the hustle and bustle of downtown Nashville, to the relaxed simplicity of the Florence town square, these cities embody the easygoing atmosphere that only the South can offer.
Must see: The Shoals Flea Market
Best coffee: Rivertown Coffee
Where to eat: Champy's Chicken (deep-fried everything)
Florence, AL is the definition of quaint. The town square can't look much different than it did 50+ years ago - there were a number of stores that had been open since the 1930's. An unexpected discovery in Florence was the upscale boutique, Alabama Chanin, that produces organic clothing, jewelry, and home decor, "sourced sustainable from seed to fabric." The store is pretty pricey, but the quality is stunning and the thought behind it all is amazing.
Check out their website for more information.
Must see: Civil War Tours
Best coffee: Jittery Joe's Coffee
Where to eat: The Filling Station (buffet-style comfort food)
Say what you want about this tiny town, but Dalton had some of the best comfort food I've ever had. If you're a history buff, there are a number of civil war stopping points and tours, as well as historic original homes built before the 1800s. Dalton is no place for a bachelorette weekend, but the people are kind and the food competes with your grandmother's.
Must see: Honky Tonk Central
Best coffee: Barista Parlor
Where to eat: Arnold's Country Kitchen (soul food)
Now THIS is the place for a bachelorette party. As rich in history as it is in booze, Nashville is a one-stop shop. Coming from Illinois, every other city typically pales in comparison to Chicago for me, but Nashville changed my mind. The best part about Nashville is that everything (literally everything, even the bathrooms) is themed. Bust out your cowboy boots and do your best Garth Brooks karaoke in The City of Music.
Must see: Lookout Mountain
Best coffee: Rembrandt's Coffee House
Where to eat: Urban Stack Burger Lounge (gourmet burgers)
Although it is one of the largest cities in Tennessee, Chattanooga is a completely different setting than Nashville. Charming, quiet streets and an abundance of landscaping make this major city on the river look like a picturesque storybook. Good food, good shopping, and great hiking make for a fun day in Chattanooga.
And now, I go back to reality. This weekend was filled with design inspiration and career motivation; every day of my undergraduate studies I am further affirmed that I am where I'm supposed to be. Whether I end up at a cool industrial office in downtown Nashville, or a manufacturing plant in the middle of nowhere, how lucky am I to be in a position to one day profit from my creativity? I have no way of knowing where I will end up, but half the fun is getting there.
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