Small Town Two Lane Travel: Columbia, Tennessee – Part Two
Welcome to Part Two of Mike’s favorite spots in Columbia, Tennessee. (Did you catch Part One?) Proceed to read with an empty belly and an open calendar because the following content contains a link to a pie shop with more than 60 types of pie and pure wanderlust for all ages.
After you pick up one of those yummy hardrisson mill lattes at Multetown, pop into Variety Records next door to get your vinyl fix. Since 1965, Variety has been a must for any music lover looking to add some new records to their collection and purchase some turntable accessories. New management in 2013 brought new life into the shop with live music every other weekend beneath the original Variety Record sign. Wonder if the band will take our Aerosmith requests…
Square Market Café
Now that you’ve grooved your way through the best of the 80s at Variety, you must be hungry. Within walking distance of the shop, in a tiny corner of Columbia’s town square, you’ll find a red and white stripe awning. Run, don’t walk, to it.
This is Square Market Café, where the friendliest staff, is serving up fresh, locally sourced meals for the last twelve years. Walk inside and the first thing you’ll see is a fully stocked truffle and dessert display case and the first thing you’ll smell is the homemade soup of the day the chef has cooking up.
Enjoy everything from classic soups and sandwiches to seafood and steak, while you glance at art for purchase on the walls of this country-style comfort café. Known for their homemade soups, the tomato artichoke soup is a must!
They are also revered for their amazing weekend dinners. With the menu changing weekly, follow Square Market Café on Facebook to get the most current menu to plan your visit accordingly. Seriously, do it for yourself.
The Old Curiosity Book Shop
With a full belly, you’ll certainly not want to be moving much. We highly recommend walking through the square to the most quaint book shop you’ve ever laid eyes on. Owners James and Heather Lund opened The Old Curiosity Book Shop in December 2012 and have an estimated 13,000 new and used books in their shop. When you walk inside, you are greeted by instrumental music, towering bookshelves, a spiral staircase, and front desk guaranteed to make any bookworm swoon.
Before you begin browsing, ask James and Heather about the books in the glass case next to the front desk. Inside are some first editions, a bootlegged copy of “Tropic of Cancer”, and a copy of “Death Valley and its Country” signed by Amelia Earhart’s husband. The children’s section of the book shop is pure magic, too. Beneath a canopy of twinkle lights, children can read the classics by Shel Silverstein, Lewis Carol, and Stewart Little. Cozy up in the reading area with any books of your choosing and drift away to a land of fiction, non-fiction… Or, go ahead and pick up “Where the Wild Things Are” if you want. Everyone deserves a good picture book now and them.
Trek Bicycle Shop
Sure it’s a bicycle shop now, but back in 1857, it was the place in town to purchase wagon wheels. (Check out the dated mural advertisement on the brick wall outside that proves this.) In 1973, while working at the local military academy, AC Howell bought the building and opened The Wheel, the first bike shop in Columbia. He ran it as a hobby and side business and over the last 45 years it’s become a community treasure. He retired and divided the place in two: Mike purchased the building and restored it and Tim bought kept the place a bicycle shop business under its new name Trek Bicycle Shop. (Combined, these three have more than 160 years in the bicycle business!) Walk inside and Tim will set you up with a Schwinn, order you a helmet, or do a quick repair on your own bike before you hit the trails over at the Chicasaw Trace County Park.
If you are ever going to cheat on your diet, this is the place to do it. Pie Sensations has been owned by Dan and Laura Stump and Mike and Kate Stump since 2013, (the original shop was opened in 2010,) and located next to the ever groovy, Variety Records. The skillful bakers come in around 8:00 AM to begin baking offerings of pies, cakes, cupcakes, toffee, caramels, whoopie pies, truffles, and cheesecakes. In total, there are more than 60 pies to choose from like traditional apple, chess, and meringue pies. However, there is one pie to rule them all, that even made Paula Deen a fan: Turtle Pie. This chocolate, caramel, pecan piece of heaven has also won four blue ribbons at various fairs.
Walk inside to décor that is a pink and green dream with traditional pink pastry boxes staked sky high waiting to be filled with all your takeout treats. It’s not difficult to leave this place with a smile and satisfied sweet tooth. Just be sure to check their limited hours!
Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant
Oh of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t recommend a Tennessee staple, Puckkett’s . They serve up all sorts of Southern classics like chocolate chess pie, fried green tomatoes, and meat and three. If you go on the weekends, you’ll surely catch some up and coming musicians pickin’ on the Puckett’s stage. Mike enjoys Puckett’s atmosphere so much, that he used the restaurant as the backdrop to shoot for his Two Lanes lifestyle collection. Look for the large neon “Puckett’s” sign in the heart of the town square to experience true Southern hospitality. Go!
Planning to linger a little longer in Columbia? We also recommend planning your trip around the famous Mule Day Celebration, and for the history buffs, check out James K. Polk’s home and museum, and Elm Springs.
Photos by Meghan Aileen
LIMITED EDITION! We pulled the inspiration for this tee directly off a sign that Mike Wolfe found while out pickin’ in on the Two Lane back roads. Be inspired to take the road less traveled in this 100% cotton, American-made tee. SHOP NOW!