The Sampler Spends a Day at
The whole experience of a day’s visit—the sights, the sounds, the smells, and, yes, the tastes of Brown County—is best taken in at ground level, at the speed of a relaxed stroll interspersed with long periods of sitting, observing, and thinking about almost nothing at all. You’re here to relax. You’re here to vacate. Who needs traffic?
This fall, spend a day in Nashville without ever touching your steering wheel. Take in a show, shop, have a cocktail, or splurge for dessert. Enjoy the whole Nashville experience and never start the car or walk more than a few hundred feet. The secret? A choice little spot down off south Van Buren and Washington Streets in Nashville known as Coachlight Square—five core attractions arranged around a lovely little landscaped courtyard area.
We set off in the early afternoon, leaving ourselves plenty of time to shop, catch a Happy Hour visit to the winery tasting room, and then enjoy dinner and a show.
JoAnn’s Home Elegance is chock full of creative, unusual decorator items like giant keys, objects d’art, potpourri, interesting decorator paintings, furnishings, little tables, mirrors, lamps, accent items—all of it distinctive and tasteful. Mrs. Sampler was instantly enthralled and, after considerable wandering around poking and studying of various gee-gaws pronounced the store “an unexpected treat….You get the feeling that you’re seeing things you just haven’t seen before anywhere else.”
Our favorite items included carrying cases for individual and pairs of wine bottles and a tall, insulated, spill-proof car coffee mug with a watch attached to the side so you can see just how late you’re going to be to work. In one corner, women were literally flocking around a collection of cool expandable “scrunchy” blouses that never wrinkle because they contract to a small bundle that easily fits into a purse. And, they have Spanx! You men don’t know, but the ladies know what I’m talking about.
Then we explored Peg Ann’s Boutique, stuffed to the rafters with the elegant, the offbeat, and the “classically whimsical.” There are dresses, tops, hats, shoes, bags, and other fashion oriented items “tastefully selected for your every whim.”
“Peg Ann’s is an institution in Nashville,” said Mrs. Sampler, “It’s been around forever. Everybody knows about their women’s fashions.”
The “square” of Coachlight Square is a little grassy area with benches—a nice way to spend some time on a beautiful day in Nashville while your better half engages her decorating and fashion senses at the two signature shops.
The Holy Cow Steakhouse and Grill offers shaded, roofed patio seating and a full bar, an excellent place to perch and spend an afternoon watching the world go by.
After a shopping, we repaired to one of our favorite places, the Chateau Thomas Winery, a wine bar offering tastings from an extensive cellar of over 50 vintages, ranging from a modest eleven-dollar bottle of Cabernet to the sixty-dollar-a-bottle Black and Gold. You can have a glass of any wine on the list. I admit, I like a reasonably-priced wine, but every now and then you should treat yourself to a glass of really good wine. The atmosphere is friendly and social, with tasters gathering around a wooden bar and a side room with tables and chairs, good art, and regular music from local talents like Jeff Foster, Robbie Bowden, and Frank Jones.
We dined at Holy Cow The full menu features steaks, chicken, BBQ ribs, and seafood but also offers salads, sandwiches, a kids menu, and frosty libations from the bar. Our attentive and thoughtful server took great care of us, but allowed us to enjoy our cocktails and an appetizer at a leisurely pace before ordering dinner. I had the “onion straws”