From our recent post for the West Elm Blog:
David and Becca Harman are the owners of Native Maps, a printmaking studio known for its meticulously designed neighborhood maps of American cities. “All too often, maps generalize a city,” the duo says on their official website. “We didn’t want to leave any neighborhood out. Neighborhoods are personal.” Given the studio’s hyper-local approach to research and design, it felt only fitting to ask them to be our official tour guides for their own home turf—Knoxville Tennessee. Recently transplanted to the city by way of Dallas for graduate studies, the couple has fallen head-over-heels for this Appalachian city and it’s laid-back lifestyle. Now self-proclaimed Knoxville Natives, David and Becca are sharing their must-see spots for the perfect Saturday in town.
Wild Love Bakehouse
1625 N Central St.
Our first stop of the day means fueling up on cappuccinos and baked goods at the brand new Wild Love Bakehouse, owned by longtime Knoxville locals. With mouth-watering biscuits, scones, cakes, and top notch espresso right at the end of our street, let’s just say we had to adjust our coffee budget when this place opened up, but we’re not complaining. Follow the deliciousness @wildlovebakehouse.
As we cruise down Central Ave, the neighborhood thoroughfare, we have to stop for a savory fried pie because, well, Saturday. Your can track her down at @dalesfriedpies!
Gay Street is marked by newly thriving downtown culture. Walking through downtown today, you would never guess that economic downturn and outsourced manufacturing brought this town to it’s knees a few decades ago. But that Smoky Mountain ingenuity and passion reemerged as a vibrant culture with a great deal of loyalty towards local businesses and entrepreneurs.
Buying local may be trendy elsewhere, but here its a way of life. Our next stop is the Market Square Farmer’s Market. Knoxville rests in the heartland of agricultural life. It’s easy to know where all of your food comes from in Knoxville. We pick up a few things for the week and talk about dinner plans as we walk. Find out more @marketsquarefarmersmarket.
112 w. Jackson Ave
Located in the Historic Old City, we stop at our favorite shop supporting local artists, although we might be a little biased. Talk about well-curated, you can always find something good at Rala (@shoprala).
Ijams Nature Center
2915 Island Home Avenue
What would a Saturday be without a stroll through the woods at our local nature center. Marble Quarry turned wooded oasis, Ijams offers ample ground to get lost and get back to your roots. We let this little one lead the way.
Vintage Shops at Central and Broadway
On our way back, we duck into a few of the vintage shops that line Central Ave. at Broadway.
Striped Light Letterpress Studio
107 Bearden Place
These aren’t just printers, they are community instigators. If they aren’t manning the presses, you can find Striped Light opening their doors for a gallery show, weekend workshop, or an open house. We drop in to grab a few of their signature “harsh cards,” because even if you’re harsh, you can always be classy. They will always tell it to you straight @striped_light.
Our last stop of the evening takes us across the street to the newly minted Central Collective. They truly embody the community-driven, do-it-yourself attitude that makes Knoxville so lovable. Part studio, part collective kitchen and mixed-use space, you can find anything from a guest chef pop-up dinner to weekday yoga or medicinal herb workshops at the Central Collective. Tonight we drop in to see one of our favorite local artists, Victoria Buck. Find out what's next @central_collective.
There you have it, our favorite people and places in town. Now that you’re practically a local, drop by sometime. You won’t be disappointed!