If you are looking for a fabulous small town to visit, Martin, Tennessee, delivers. As the largest city in Weakley County, Martin welcomes visitors with a vibrant spirit and loads of small-town charm. This small town truly has something for everyone: Fabulous food, stylish boutique shops, and many nearby outdoor activities. Of course, we can’t overlook that Martin, Tennessee, is also home to the University of Tennessee at Martin, which brings numerous cultural, fine arts, and academic opportunities to the area.
My visit to the city was part of a Northwest Tennessee road trip. This little community stole my heart. With that in mind, let me introduce you to the fantastic experiences in charming Martin, Tennessee!
During a recent press trip, I had the opportunity to visit Northwest Tennessee. Since I was a guest of the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and the City of Martin, my trip was fully sponsored. As always, all opinions are my own.
1. Restaurants In Martin
Blake’s At Southern Milling
When most people think of Tennessee, they think of Memphis-style barbecue, but what if I told you that there is an incredible place in Martin, Tennessee, serving up Texas-style barbecue? It’s true, and it is hands down some of the best-smoked meat I have ever tasted. What started as a food truck has transformed into a successful and incredible restaurant.
Inside, diners find an old mill that has been preserved but transformed into a fabulous dining space. The exposed brick and original touches only add to the fantastic food served at Blake’s. The menu features melt-in-your-mouth smoked meats, including ribs, brisket, turkey, and pork, in addition to some incredible sides. While everything I ate was excellent, I will tell you that you must try the brisket and the pimento cheese; trust me!
Please visit Blake’s Southern Milling website for information on current hours and menu choices.
Pro Tip: If you visit on the weekend, you can enjoy brunch at Blake’s, including bottomless mimosas with your choice of juice.
The Grind Mac And Cheese Burger Bar
Pack your stretchy pants for Martin and wear them when you’re headed to eat! The Grind! It’s unlike any restaurant I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. The Grind serves up over-the-top, super imaginative burgers, milkshakes, mac and cheese, and french fries in a fun and funky environment. There are hidden, subliminal messages all around you in the restaurant decor, and if you notice them and bring them to the attention of the wait staff, the place comes alive. For example, I pointed out a quote on the chalkboard beside me, and the next thing I knew, all of the staff started lip singing and dancing to “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. It was indeed quite a show.
Of course, you are probably waiting to hear about the food. Well, The Grind serves up cheeseburgers and milkshakes from another world. I couldn’t help but be intrigued by a burger named the Luther, named after Luther Vandross. This incredible concoction is a burger patty between two hot, fresh donuts! Now, you must admit, you can’t turn down a burger like that!
Don’t get too full on the food, though, because you must try a milkshake from The Grind. Take your pick of the incredible flavors, and be ready for a surprise, as this is no ordinary milkshake. The milkshakes are piled high with candy bars, ice cream sandwiches, cereal, sprinkles, whipped cream, and more. I think that anything goes when creating these milkshake masterpieces. They must have Willy Wonka or Cinderella’s fairy godmother in the back making these things!
When you combine the incredible food with the enthusiasm of the service team, you have the makings for a truly memorable dining experience, thanks to The Grind!
Pro Tip: Ask your server for recommendations. Our server, Johnnie, suggested that we eat the milkshakes from the top down, otherwise, you can make quite a mess!
2. Boutique Shops
Downtown Martin is the perfect place to get in a bit of shopping while on your Tennessee vacation. The area is lined with boutique clothing and home accessory shops, so finding the perfect outfit or item for your home is easy.
Sugar & Spice Clothing
Sugar & Spice Clothing is the perfect place to find a trendy outfit or a great pair of shoes. This 5,000-square-foot establishment is full of fashionable clothes, shoes, and accessories. In addition to their clothes, Sugar & Spice also offers a nice variety of accessories for your home, including dishes, linens, glassware, and other fun kitchen items.
The man in your life will appreciate that Martin also offers a boutique clothing store catering to him. Head to Five Seasons to find a wide variety of modern men’s clothes. Five Seasons carries everything from casual tee shirts to dress pants and sports jackets, ensuring that you will find something perfect for the man in your life.
Claire & Schuster Interiors
For a wide variety of home accessories, visit Claire & Schuster Interiors. While Claire & Schuester is an interior design shop, they also offer a variety of beautiful home accents. You might find the perfect accent pillow or piece of art to add to your home during your visit.
3. White Squirrel Winery
Although technically located just outside of Martin in the town of Kenton, Tennessee, I just couldn’t write this piece and not include a visit to the White Squirrel Winery and Vineyard. The White Squirrel Winery is a family-owned vineyard and winery built in 2014. The winery’s name originated from the large population of white squirrels that call this area of Tennessee home and the wine-yielding white squirrel used on their logo reinforces their roots.
The family property is over 100 acres, with 20 acres dedicated to the vineyards. According to the owner, Bill Sanderson, the vineyard at the White Squirrel Winery produces over 180,000 pounds of wine grapes annually, making the White Squirrel the largest producer of wine grapes in Tennessee. In addition to the grapes, the farm is also home to over 100 fruit trees and bushes that produce peaches, blackberries, and blueberries, all of which are also used in wine production.
The on-site tasting room allows visitors to feel like they are outside when they are inside thanks to the large barn-style doors surrounding the building, and this feeling is exactly what Mr. Sanderson was aiming for when he designed the tasting room. The wines produced at the White Squirrel range from sweet to semi-dry, all of which are easy to drink, ensuring that there is a wine for everyone. Try their blackberry, peach, or red muscadine wine if you prefer sweet wines. If you prefer a glass of dry wine, you don’t want to miss the syrah, aged 2 years in a Tennessee whiskey barrel, or the cabernet sauvignon.
Pro Tip: Spend a night at the bed and breakfast at White Squirrel Winery for a special treat. The room is located above the winery’s tasting room!
4. Tennessee Soybean Festival
First Week Of September
As one of the area’s most influential crops, it is only natural that the people of Martin celebrate the soybean. The Tennessee Soybean Festival has been going strong for over three decades, helping the people of Tennessee to celebrate one of its largest cash crops in Weakley County. During the first week of September, the town of Martin is transformed as the festival comes to life. The festival includes live music performances and numerous vendors. Of course, you will also find soybean products for sale.
Pro Tip: If planning to attend the Soybean Festival, book your accommodations early, as this annual event draws thousands of visitors to Weakley County.
For more information on visiting Tennessee, check out these articles: