I've become quite obsessed with the historic Bluff View Art District. Any time there is mention of a weekend walk, my first request is to venture over to this magical place. It may only be a sliver, not even two city blocks to be exact, of the Chattanooga pie but it packs huge flavor. The neighborhood is filled with restaurants, one of the best coffee houses in town, an art gallery, beautiful gardens, and plenty of quirky sculptures to ponder. The art district will have your senses yearning for another visit.
For sight starters, this secret garden sits on top of a cliff giving it the most dramatic downtown and Tennessee River views. From the highest point of the bluff, it would seem the river flows to the end of the earth. The mortar-speckled dwellings are covered with dark green ivy and provide an enchanting setting for alley strolls. At night, the city sparkles with lights as if it were decorated for the holidays year round.
The smells that permeate the Bluff View Art District will leave one full before ever sitting down for a morning pastry or a savory meal. Rembrandt's Coffee House is a European-style cafe nestled behind grand foliage on the main street. They provide an abundant selection of fresh coffee beans, rich chocolates, sweet danishes, hot pressed paninis and cold salads for the lunch crowd. Right around the corner located in a Victorian mansion is a casual but superb Italian eatery known as Tony's Pasta Shop and Trattoria. The aroma of warm pastas and homemade sauces tossed together with fresh herbs and meatballs would have anyone drooling. Just a short walk down the block and you'll stumble upon the Back Inn Cafe's menu of upscale dishes and a wine list that will make the head spin in delight. Between the quaint library, the bright sun room, and the outdoor terrace, this restaurant allows you to pick your own setting while enjoying dinner with friends and family. I'm a real sucker for fresh-baked bread so naturally my favorite stop is into the Bluff View Bakery. This artisan bakery specializes in rustic breads and infuses only the best ingredients into their hand-molded loaves. If my husband and I get into a disagreement, I always tell him to forego the bouquet of "I'm sorry" flowers and instead bring home a roasted garlic ciabatta or rosemary focaccia loaf as a peace offering. It works like a charm every time. Whether it be a create your own pasta dish or an after dinner dessert, the taste of the Bluff View Art District will leave your buds completely satisfied.
For such a tiny area, the sounds of the art district come in a variety pack. While lounging on one of the benches in the garden, the natural flow of the river combined with the chirping baby birds provide a calming and rejuvenating sound for the ears. The background noise is a mixture of friends sharing laughs while catching up over a steamy cup of joe, servers politely asking their guests if another bottle of wine should be opened, and flattering oohs and awes of tourists. This district area has a unique bustle all of its own.
As for the sense of touch, the "do not" signs discourage it but with all the beautiful flowers and artsy pieces, how could you not? If you find yourself in Chattanooga for any reason, it's definitely worth a visit and I'll be more than happy to meet up for dinner with a view.