Guest Blog: Indie City Guides: Nashville by Freshie & Zero #3

This is the 3rd installment of the Nashville Indie City Guide by Beth Lawrence of Freshie & Zero for the Indie Fixx Guest Blog. The 1st was posted on Tuesday and the 2nd on Wednesday.

Are you interested in writing an Indie City Guide or sharing what is indie happening about your city, then shoot me an email

by guest contributor Beth Lawrence

The center of the creative spirit of the indie movement of Nashville may well be found in the area known as East Nashville.  D.I.Y.’ers have been moving here for years – buying up crusty old houses and turning them into groovy dream homes, studios, galleries, and shops all to the delight of the neighborhood.

Head over to the Five Points Area for the center of all things East.  Here you will find the champion of the ‘hood, Meg MacFadyen, the friendly proprietress of the Art & Invention Gallery and the Garage Mahal (Nashville’s only drive-through gallery). Together with her husband Bret, who has a large studio in the back of the gallery where he builds custom furniture and theatrical sets, they were among the first pioneers to open a shop in the previously run-down east side and the city is better for it!  Not only do they carry wonderful art by local and regional artists, including moody & ethereal paintings by Duh Huynh, they also stock a wide selection of locally-made jewelry & gifts, including jewelry by Rowanne Designs, found art collages by Evie Coates and Julie Lee (who is also a local favorite singer/songwriter), baby clothes & kimonos by Tomo & Edie — in fact, 50% of their stock is locally made!  They also hold various crafty workshops in the gallery on a rotating basis.

Photo from marianlblack at flickr.

Meg and Bret also started the Tomato Art Fest in 2003 – a costume friendly, “off-beat festival” celebrating the mighty tomato through art, games, food, and more.  The gallery is completely transformed into an homage to the tomato through a mix of happy, beautiful, and some downright hilarious art and accessories.  Last year, the festival drew around 10,000 visitors and was voted “Best Festival” in the 2007 Nashville Scene Reader’s Poll.  It is a site to behold – nowhere else will you find adults dressed up as tomatoes and sipping beer and bloody mary’s – it is truly an event unique to Nashville!

Photo from osium at flickr.

Art & Invention Gallery
1106 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206

Next door to the MacFadyen’s Art Gallery is their hot dog stand, I Dream of Weenie  – “Nashville’s only full service weenerie”.  The name says it all, and Meg’s husband Bret literally dreamt about it one night and then put his plan into action, constructing everything from the housing for the VW Bus that serves as its kitchen to it’s kitschy signs and planters. Alisa Martin is the head chef and the hot dogs are certainly more gourmet than what you’ll find at any other hot dog stand in town (even the buns are by local artisan bakery Provence).

Photo from marianlblack at flickr.

I Dream of Weenie
1108 Woodland Street
Nashville, TN 37206

While you’re there, you MUST make a visit to the Pied Piper Creamery  – the only locally owned ice cream shop in town where owner Jenny Piper whips up her tasty creations sometimes based on what she finds at the local Farmer’s Market and the names (“Are you there, God?  It’s me, Margarita”) are as cute as the ice cream is delicious.  Be sure and try the “Some Like it Hot Chocolate” – a chocolate ice cream with a  kick of cayenne pepper and cinnamon!


Pied Piper Creamery
114 S 11th St
Nashville, TN 37206

More in East Nashville:

Alegria Gifts
307 North 16th Street
Nashville, TN 37206

Bongo Java East (one of their five local locations)
107 S 11th St
Nashville, TN 37206

The Hip Zipper –  a popular vintage clothier
1008 Forrest Ave
Nashville TN 37206

Wonders on Woodland – a trio of shops including antiques, handmade items, and an art gallery
1110 Woodland
Nashville TN 37206

There are truly too many wonderful shops in Nashville to name them all, but I hope this serves as a jumping-off point to any Nashville visitor who wishes to seek out the best in boutique shopping.  Hungry for more? A wonderful shopping excursion just 30 minutes from Nashville is Historic Downtown Franklin where you’ll find more great boutiques all within walking distance along Main Street. Happy shopping!

About the contributor: Beth Lawrence, a.k.a. “Freshie”, is the jewelry artist behind Freshie & Zero. Beth’s designs are available for sale on her website, in her Etsy shop and in boutiques around the US and online. You can also read more about Beth and Freshie & Zero on the Freshie & Zero blog.

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