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.

Photo by Meghan Aileen
Downtown Columbia Photo by Meghan Aileen

Variety Records

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…

Variety Record Shop Columbia Tn
Variety Record Shop – Photo by Meghan Aileen


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.

Square Market restaurant
Square Market Columbia Photo by Meghan Aileen

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.

Columbia Tn Restaurants
Food at Square Market Photos by Meghan Aileen


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.

old book shop columbia
Old Curiosity Book Shop Photo by Meghan Aileen


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

LEFT TO RIGHT: Former “The Wheel” owner AC Howell, building owner Mike Wolfe, current “Trek Bicycle Shop” owner Timothy Wakefield


Pie Sensations

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!

pie shop
Pie Sensations Columbia, Photo by Meghan Aileen

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


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28 thoughts on “Two Lane Travel: Columbia, TN”

  1. Heidi Love

    This was so great to read! Columbia is my town. You should stop by Carters Creek Station Antiques. It’s a fabulous place out in the country in Columbia’s north side. Thank you for the great blog Mike!

  2. Marty

    Enjoyed the blog very much. This is my hometown and enjoyed seeing through your eyes. When I get to come home I will check these places out. Have been to Puckett and the bookstore. Will have to try for a fresh pie

  3. Connie hardin

    Thank you for such a beautiful description of down town Columbia. Having lived here 46 years I am so happy the square is getting the face lift it deserves!

  4. sandra mullins

    This town looks very nice. I love an old looking small town. I also watch Antique Archaeology. I would like to plan a trip to this little town. I have some friends there. Thank you for the nice post.

  5. Sheila

    Need to come to doodads on Williamsport pike. Meet some great friends and family. Come on Friday afternoon and get some great catfish

  6. Melissa Elwell

    Love your show. I’ve lived middle TN all my life but never been to Columbia. You’ve made me want to go explore…. You need to come to Manchester to see our sites we have lots of little antique stores. Home of Bonnaroo… that you really have to experience.

  7. Chuck & Tammi Nelson

    Got a quick tour of the second floor at Puckett’s it Columbia on vacation in June and took some photos of the huge 1959 Cadillac canvas display. Then we saw that you used it as a backdrop with your clothing collection. Nice touch

  8. Joyce Slatner

    Columbia sounds like a cool place. My dream is to travel back to McMinn County,TN where my Grandfather was born in 1832 and also visit places like Columbia.I love Tennessee.

  9. Judy H.

    What a charming little town! The hubs and I both have a great time finding little towns, discovering all of their little secrets, treasuries and food. It’s a great weekend vacation that can be taken many times a year.

  10. Dave Maciejewski

    Hi Mike, been watching your show for years. Was at Nashville store in 2014 and stopped by LeClaire store on my way out west a few weeks ago, guess I missed you by a day. Have traveled to all 50 states, seen a lot on two lane roads.That’s why I had to buy your shirt. Great quality, love the soft, “broken in” feel. Attached a pic of me in your shirt on the backroads of Colorado. Love the small city Blog. Keep up the great work. Dave Maciejewski

  11. Becky Chaffin

    You are welcome to come and visit us in Mount Pleasant, just 11 miles south of Columbia, anytime. Come to the Chamber of Commerce office at 111 South Main Street and say hi. I love your show.

  12. Mark Ciecka

    MY LADY AND I were in Le Claire on a road trip in October talked to EMILY. DANNY D was at home and Frankie and Mike were Pickin on the road. NEED TO MAKE IT TO Nashville soon. CHECK OUT YOUR STORE GO TO A Predators game and the Opry.

  13. Vickie K

    Absolutely LOVE your show! We record them all and watch them over. You and Frank are a great match, you crack us up with your silliness on the road! Stopped in your store a few years ago on our way from TX to IN and of course had to purchase our TShirts! Still in great shape and yes we are still wearing them! We are in the process of building a cabin in the woods here in TX and I am filling it with vintage. My friends think I’m crazy when I bring home my “finds”, they just don’t “get it”, the feeling you get from up cycling an old item to make it useful again. Our daughter and her family just received word that his next duty station is at Ft. Campbell in TN, very close to Nashville! Yea!!!! New T Shirts in our future! We will be able to visit your store on a regular basis now!
    Also just read the Article on your family, you are so Blessed.

    Vickie K , Washington, TX

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