Gloomy days of winter have finally ended and bright tulips, purple blooms on redbud trees, and 70 degree days all mark the beginning of spring time in East Tennessee. There are plenty of great opportunities to get outside again this spring. Here are a few ideas to get you in the spring spirit:
- Enjoy an outdoor farmers’ market:
East Tennessee offers a variety of fantastic markets from spring to fall. Local vendors sell fresh cut flowers, farm fresh eggs, produce, baked goods, and hand made jewelry. My personal favorite is the Market Square Farmers’ Market every Saturday and Wednesday beginning in May. This market offers rows of local vendors, food trucks, and gourmet ice pop carts, and sits between Market Square’s shops and restaurants, perfect for a Saturday morning out. Other notable markets in the area include the Dixie Lee Market, Oak Ridge Market, Ebenezer Road Market, and Lakeshore Park Market.
2. Paddle, Bike, or Hike at Ijams Nature Center:Ijams center is a nature oasis in the middle of urban Knoxville, Tennessee. A nature lover’s dream, the nature center is home to beautiful rock quarries, nature trails, and a river boardwalk. Ijams offers inexpensive rentals for kayaks, paddle boards, and canoes to take out on the water and enjoy a beautiful spring day. Get there early if you plan to rent sporting gear, as they run out of rentals quickly when the weather is nice. Keep an eye out for fresh water jellyfish that like to make an appearance in Mead’s Quarry Lake. If water activities are not for you, Ijams offers 12 miles of natural surface trails perfect for all levels of hikers and 9 miles of bike trails for beginner to intermediate levels. The nature center is open daily from 7 am – 9 pm.
3. Attend the Rhythm N’ Blooms music festival:
With headliners like Young the Giant, Gogol Bordello, and Dave Barnes, the Rhythm N’ Blooms festival offers plenty of live music during its three day festival April 7-9th. The historic Old City district in Knoxville offers a great location for music and food trucks. The festival offers both weekend and day passes so this event is a perfect way to kick off the spring season.
4. Enjoy food and drinks on the outdoor patio of Balter Beerworks:
Balter Beerworks, located in the Old City district, is the perfect place to grab a refreshing drink and meal while enjoying beautiful spring temperatures. The restaurant offers a patio and beer garden with plenty of pet-friendly patio seating. Happy hour is every Monday – Friday 3-6:30 pm and includes $3 draft beers and $1.50 tacos and sliders. Balter also offers weekend brunch and Friday night live music in the beer garden. The atmosphere is great, the staff is friendly, and the food is excellent. Large portions and fresh regionally sourced ingredients make the dishes great. My recommendation would be the Mediterranean salad with grilled chicken or the potato chip nachos – both are packed with flavor!