I’m writing this from the square indowntown Columbia, Tennesseeon a park bench that says above it: “Welcome to our beautiful downtown. Sit down and enjoy yourself.” To me, those two sentences accurately capture the endearing, welcoming, connective nature of this town, one I’ve grown to increasingly love over the last three years we’ve lived nearby.
I first stepped foot in Columbia—population 38,000—in November 2015, on the day our family left Texas and rolled into Tennessee with all our earthly belongings, but without jobs or a place to live. In an act of complete faith, we had just sold our business in Dallas (a citywide organic produce co-op and urban farmstead), left our home of 9 years, loaded up our two young girls, and set forth to start our new life.
I had gone to college at Belmont in Nashville and lived there as a young single and knew the green rolling hills of middle Tennessee would call me back one day. On our list to check out that day were some neighborhoods and towns south of Nashville where we could actually afford to buy land to hopefully start our own farm.
As we pulled into the historic downtown, my eyes widened when I saw the iconic white courthouse on the square. The next thing I noticed were the golden mums overflowing from flower pots on the doorsteps of small businesses, the unique historical architecture, and the friendliness of the people.
当你新城里,the first place you go? To the local coffeeshop to talk to the baristas, of course. So we enteredMuletown咖啡和met a barista named Austin who gave us the “lay of the land” while he brewed us an Americano and an almond milk latté.
A year later, we did find the perfect land to startKindred Farmin the little unincorporated rural community of Santa Fe just 15 minutes down the road from the heart of Columbia. Since Santa Fe doesn’t really have a downtown (yet!), we consider Columbia our place to go out to eat, for ice cream, for a stroll around the square, or for a weekend date night. And we’re loving being a part of this community.
Muletown USA : “The Dimple of the Universe”
Columbia’s charming downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places for its Federal, Victorian, and mid-19th century Revival architecture. So basically, you should be walking around craning your neck so you don’t miss the details. It’s really lovely how these old buildings are being restored by locals like Mike Wolfe of the TV show美国拾荒者(who owns theTrek Bicycle Shopon the square) and—rumor has it—拉平Sheryl Crow的。
Another of Columbia’s oldest nicknames is “The Dimple of the Universe” as it was considered to be located in “the most beautiful and most healthful section of the South.” You should definitely take a pic in front of the huge mural near downtown and stamp yourself into Columbia’s history.
We personally have Muletown to thank for so much—not only did it lead us to the job that became Kindred Farm, but many of its residents now gather around the tables at our farm dinners and take home our produce and flowers on Saturday mornings. And in a full-circle kind of moment, that barista奥斯汀·泰勒·琼斯，谁是我们在哥伦比亚遇到的第一人，在2017年十月小夜曲我们的100与现场音乐在我们的第一场晚宴。
Must-See Places & Landmarks
哥伦比亚同时是一个时间退后一步，一个爽朗的大跳跃到未来。一位哥伦比亚大学的显著地标，你可以游The Polk Home, the ancestral home of the 11th President, James K. Polk. This is where Polk lived during his young adult life before his presidency. The historic home also regularly hosts fun pop-up markets and events.
前往哥伦比亚艺术区是必须的。在这里，古老的建筑和仓库正在恢复和振兴，率领谁已经打开了时髦和神话般的先驱Columbia Arts Building（出租车）。有一个关于CAB的网站报价，我的爱：“The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.”—Robert Henri
有关CAB使一切艺术必William Hill体育然在其历史多层建筑这是充满了各种来自各种工匠的艺术产品和邀请。有画廊和工作室像我们的超级天才的朋友和邻居的摄影师，Sarah B. Gilliam。您可以在陶器，陶瓷，绘画，纤艺，多类。
You can take kickboxing or yoga or a ton of other types of classes atCAB Movement和indulge in some seasonal, vegan and vegetarian treats atCAB咖啡厅。查看该Muletown集体for a vibrant co-working space, and grab yourself some fresh flowers atThe Bloomstall。你一定会离开这个地方的启发！
Another notable spot in the Arts District is Row & Co, home of陶器巢和soon-to-beKoko’s (plant-based) Ice Cream。Grab a pastry at风车面包店around the corner (lots of gluten-free options!) Their drive-thru window has saved me several times with cranky kids in the car—a few muffins in a cute paper box bought me at least 30-45 more minutes.
Favorite Places To Eat With Family & Friends
If you have food sensitivities or just really like wholesome, chef-driven, creative food, you必须go to虚线石灰。They’re the only 100% gluten-free restaurant in the entire state of Tennessee, and one of only a handful in the entire nation. One of my close friends has a daughter with a severe nut allergy, and the first time they went there, they were treated kindly and lavishly by owners/chefs Paul and Chrissy Jensen and all their teenage children who work in the restaurant. My friend’s daughter said, “You meaneverything这里是安全的？”
Don’t be fooled by the gluten-free label—The Dotted Lime makes gluten-free look好。When you go, ask for the secret menu, and definitely get something with their homemade chicken fingers. I recently got the Chopparino Salad with chicken fingers, honey mustard, garbanzo beans, cucumbers, pickled cauliflower, onions, mozzarella, and grilled wedges of Chrissy’s gluten-free bread on the side. I’ve been craving it ever since.
Favorite Date Spots
Vanh镝的is Columbia’s first Asian fusion restaurant, and we couldn’t be more excited about it! The food is authentic Lao, Thai, and Vietnamese and wholeheartedly approved by my Korean husband. We had such a memorable date night here recently—I got the Muletown Mule with local bourbon, ginger, and mint to start off. For dinner, I ordered the coconut milk based red curry with chicken and jasmine rice which was creamy, warming comfort in a bowl. Don’t miss the upstairs bar and rooftop patio overlooking the lights of Columbia—at night, it’s still peaceful but also buzzing with possibility.
Our other favorite is巴克和局，并不仅仅是因为我们可以订购沙拉与我们自己在里面的生菜！在最近的一个晚上约会，吃饭打在许多方面，精心挑选的葡萄酒配对，汤和沙拉当地食材，熟食板和自制的饼干和面包，芝士与鲜奶山羊奶酪和脆饼地壳面包片的地方。和伟大，贴心的服务，最糟糕的。
Favorite Things To Do With Kids
With my two daughters, 9 and 5 1/2, in tow, we often head to Columbia for girl dates. They love “walking around town” since we’re used to always walking on grass and dirt here on the farm—ha!
First, we usually take a lap around the square to throw some coins in the fountain and peek inside store windows. Then we’ll stop in哈蒂简氏克里默里。获得华夫饼锥，并尝试多种风味。“该Mulekick”与来自Muletown咖啡豆制成，并且他们总是有创意无奶的味道。上次，我无奶薰衣草巧克力片那么好。他们也有咖啡和茶饮料，一个抹茶拿铁去，拜托了！
我们总是停在鸭子河书籍，这里的业主通常坐在前台愉快本地书店（由书籍巨大堆栈的！）读一本书。他们有新的和用过的标题，一个小的孩子使用闪烁灯光的角落，一个地区在皮椅阅读，并在后面，甚至一个螺旋楼梯。它肯定有一个“古怪纽约书店”的感觉。我们在下跌的最后一次，我们选择了一个卵石街道表兄弟本书辛西娅·赖兰特我的老大，我5岁的选择小黄金书about ballerinas. I sipped my drink while browsing, and everyone was happy.
有时候，我们喜欢摆成Columbia Health Foods在拐角处，一个合法的家庭拥有的健康食品商店喜欢的。我长大了要与我在上世纪80年代的妈妈。他们有散装箱，补充，所有的脆脆的工具，在你的餐桌，精油，以及健康的品牌那名冷静，他们之前的主流增长自己的豆芽。他们也有准备的食物，冰沙酒吧和儿童在店门口的游乐区。
最后，我们肯定会做出我们喜爱的图书馆 - 参观Maury County Public Library- 只是关闭哥伦比亚广场。这一切小镇图书馆应该的。工作人员承认你，有很多表的阅读或工作，和最好的部分？孩子们的地板。整个地下室被改造成一个区域只为儿童，包括图画书和儿童文学（我最喜欢的类型之一) all in one place. They almost always have the exact book I’m looking for, including lots of rare and vintage titles.
- aMuse’um：Children’s museum off the square with fun exhibits, events, and real-life-role-play areas
- Sweet Bakes Donuts：这里的一切由业主，壳牌，和她的团队是从头开始制作和颓废。最近，我把我5岁的日期在这里，它是完美的。所有者，壳牌，是一个很好的面包和各类对她的甜甜圈和糕点创意口味的出现。这家商店是有趣和明亮。我们陷入僵局，一些舒适的椅子在一个角落里，挂出了一点，直到我女儿准备让我假装有些食物在木玩厨房。甜烤也有一点点复古绿松石野营出身的甜甜圈卡车，他们采取的事件。
- Maury County Park: There’s a huge playground, and it’s also home to the miniature trains of the中南部直播蒸锅，主机满足在园内谁，并给予免费乘车的市民。
Solo Time In Town
When I do have solo time to myself, it’s usually because I’m doing some writing, so I’ll seek out quiet, inspiring spots where I can also soak up the character of Columbia and feel like I’m in a completely different environment from the farm. I’d grab my journal, my computer, and a drink, and sit on the peaceful back patio atBuckhead Coffeehouse。
Then I might browse some of my favorite shops:针及谷物是一个可爱的、明亮的存储完整的策划商品that are meaningful and unique. It’s owned by a young couple, Susan and Bryson Leach, Columbia natives who deeply care about the growth of the town. They’ve contributed lots of murals and art to the area (like the “Dimple of the Universe” mural next to their shop) and are involved with all kinds of community-building activities.
褪色的农舍sells all the farmhouse-style home stuff you can imagine.
Enjoying A Morning or Afternoon Outdoors
Columbia’s location on the meandering Duck River (considered one of the most bio-diverse rivers in the U.S.) provides so many great options for outdoor-lovers. It’s not uncommon to see cars with kayaks strapped to their roofs, and thanks to two great outdoor-living stores in town—特德和Southern Exposure—you can grab some Chacos and join the folks canoeing and kayaking down the river starting atRiver Rat Canoe Rental。
或者把你的运动鞋，前往河滨公园沿鸭子河漫步。如果它是一个星期六的早上，停经哥伦比亚农贸市场to support some local farmers and artisans, pick up some fresh produce and homemade goodies. Then take a blanket and a picnic to Maury County Park and sprawl out under a giant maple tree.
This is honestly just scratching the surface of all the town has to offer, and there are so many places I haven’t been yet! One thing is for sure though—I love this place. Columbia, Tennessee is growing quickly. (Better get yourself down here soon so you can say you “knew it when.”)
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