Don't let Hillsboro Village fool you. A profusion of fabulous shops thrives in this once-doomed district in Nashville, just a guitar pick's throw from Music Row. The heart of the shopping lies along or just off two blocks of 21st Avenue South, nestled against Vanderbilt Medical Center. It will take you more than a day to explore it all, so start planning your follow-up visit now.
Stroll the Sidewalks
First stop: BookMan/BookWoman Books. More than 150,000 used volumes fill almost every square inch of space in the mazelike store. The owners also offer a search service to help you locate hard-to-find titles.
Next door at Davis Cookware, you'll find $1 pot scrapers, home espresso machines for up to $1,000, and everything in between.
Move on up the avenue, and stop in Cotten Music Center. You'll feel right at Nashville-home in this shop where guitars hang from the ceiling like chandeliers. The word on the street is that Jimi Hendrix bought his first Stratocaster here.
Nashville Lights will illuminate your creative side. Owner Matt Dennis can turn almost anything into a lamp, including the gas tank from a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Hundreds of lamps fill this breathtaking place.
The sign at A Thousand Faces promises "a plethora of neat stuff." Owner Linda Turner loads the store with great merchandise from local artists.
For international flavors, check out the Mexican decor of Pangaea, which caters to the teen crowd with fun gifts, cards, books, accessories, and jewelry. Fire Finch sells gorgeous silk and wool scarves ($41) from India that make perfect winter wraps. Visit Global Soup on the western leg of Belcourt Avenue, where you'll find unique international gifts such as cinnamon stick coasters ($19.95 for a set of four) from Bali. When you place hot mugs on them, the heat releases a cinnamon scent.
Stop to Re-energize
Whew. You'll be hungry now. Fido is the perfect spot for relaxing with a cup of herbal tea, coffee, or chai, and $2.25 will get you a Kitchen Sink cookie bursting with chocolate chips, dried cranberries, pecans, oats, and coconut.
Provence offers several choices for lunch, from sandwiches ($3.85 to $5.95) to a salad sampler ($8.75). Pretty-as-a-picture pastries complete the meal.
Visit the Sunset Grill after 10 p.m. to glimpse some celebrities. Dwight Yoakam and LeAnn Rimes frequent the restaurant's late-night scene. Smaller portions of popular menu items will make the stars in your eyes shine.
One of the great features of Hillsboro is the free parking on the street (except during rush hours) and behind businesses, including another popular eatery, Pancake Pantry. You may have to wait until your next visit to savor the sweet potato pancakes drenched in cinnamon syrup ($7.10). Would tomorrow be too soon?
For More Information
Hillsboro Village: 21st Avenue South (between Acklen and Wedgewood Avenues), Nashville, TN 37212; www.hillsborovillage.org.
BookMan/BookWoman Books: (615) 383-6555 or www.bookmanbookwoman.com.
Davis Cookware: (615) 298-4728.
Cotten Music Center: (615) 383-8947 or www.cottenmusic.com.
Nashville Lights: (615) 383-5385.
A Thousand Faces: (615) 298-3304 or www.athousandfaces.com.
Pangaea: (615) 269-9665 or www.pangaeanashville.com.
Fire Finch: (615) 385-5090 or www.firefinch.net.
Global Soup: (615) 463-0079.
Fido: (615) 777-3436 or www.bongojava.com.
Provence: (615) 386-0363.
Sunset Grill: (615) 386-3663.
Pancake Pantry: (615) 383-9333.
This article is from the January 2005 issue of Southern Living. Because prices, dates, and other specifics are subject to change, please check all information to make sure it's still current before making your travel plans.