Stuck in the Middle

Boutique shopping on Bristol’s State Street.

State Street shopping district in Bristol.

Photo by Ben Collins

The border between Virginia and Tennessee may run right through downtown Bristol, but the only difference visitors will notice in this charming pedestrian-friendly district is the eclectic mix of shops lining both sides. For an afternoon of browsing or buying after a visit to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum or the Paramount Center for the Arts, here are a few of our favorite retail stops.

Willow Creek Antiques, which recently expanded into a second floor, houses furniture and collectibles from more than 80 area dealers—things like a lightly-worn but vivid red vintage tack trunk once used to store riding gear repurposed as a coffee table. 

At women’s boutique Serendipity, owner Sarah Jane Hull stocks hand-beaded necklaces by Summer Renee—each one that comes to the store is unique—in addition to casual wear from brands such as Tyler Böe and Jude Connally.

In-house tailors at Blakley-Mitchell, formed by a merger of clothiers Smith-Blakley and Mitchell Smith in the early 1930s, can fit men with custom-made suits or shirts paired with American-made accessories. 

Cranberry Lane features locally-made goods, gourmet food items and an in-house florist that fashions custom arrangements, wreaths and garland. The country store is connected to fudge shop Southern Churn, which also specializes in old-fashioned, hand-cranked ice cream. 

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