“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us . . . “
Jared and I made plans to escape for a quick overnight to Knoxville this past weekend and we were delighted to find a charming city so close to home. The only other time we had been to Knoxville was over 7 years ago when we briefly stayed the night on our move to Texas. This time was different, of course. We headed out on our journey (a quick 2.5 hour drive) on a rainy afternoon, immediately after I got out of work in hopes of seeing a glimpse of the fall foliage and taking a quick pause on city living. I had been craving a nice hot cup of Starbucks coffee to go with my RX bar on our drive, but forgot to tell Jared I wanted that until we had passed the last Starbucks on our route. A little heads up if you are traveling from Nashville to Knoxville the last Starbucks to enjoy on your drive is in Cookeville. It’s okay though, Jared found a Dunkin’ Donuts express and we stopped there instead.
Jared made reservations at Emilia located in the historic market square in Knoxville. We arrived after dark in the misty rain and walked hand-in-hand along the brick sidewalks. We were met with warm lights that decorated the entrances of all of the shops and restaurants of the market square which made for a romantic stroll to dinner.
The food at Emilia was fresh and comforting on a rainy night. We started with the warm homemade focaccia that arrived thickly sliced with a perfectly crunchy exterior and a soft middle. It was accompanied with a small dipping bowl of whipped ricotta and olive oil topped with sea salt and pepper. For dinner, I had the pan roasted salmon and Jared had beef short rib ‘francobolli’ which was a ravioli filled with braised beef, cheese and root vegetables. The whole meal was divine.
Jared had been up since 2am that morning to do his early morning show so we decided to head back to our hotel for the night. We had been hoping to drive out to Gatlinburg the next morning for a hike, but since it had rained over 2″ there in 2 days, Jared made the judgement call to stay in Knoxville the next day. We will definitely make plans to for a trip to Gatlinburg in the near future.
Jared had been looking for places to go bowling just in case the weather prevented us from hiking (good thing he knows a couple things about planning for the weather). I think it had been about 3 years since we had been bowling together and we love to bowl. Fun fact: It was actually the activity Jared picked for our third date.
He found a place called Maple Hall— which turned out to be a captivating 11-lane boutique bowling alley located at the center of downtown Knoxville. It is quaintly tucked away in the basement of the old J.C Penney building. The environment is completely cozy with plush soft-leather couches and oversized pillows located at each bowling lane. The interior exposed brick walls in the bowling alley add to the feel of being in a historic building. We had a blast. Jared won both games, but don’t get me started on that. I ordered a chardonnay and I quickly forgot about the loss(es). After our bowling time expired, we ended up heading over to a lounge area in the back of the venue that had several comfy couches and coffee tables to order lunch and watch the other bowlers.
We had so much fun that we are going to plan another trip very soon!