Nashville, IN

“It has seemed to me that the greatest of all arts is the art of living.” – T.C. Steele

Indiana’s Contender Is Pretty Interesting, Too

Nashville, IN – We recently wrote about a little place called Bardstown, KY, and there were really some nice things to see and do in that Kentucky small town. And today we’ve got another very special small town for you; one that’s relatively close to Bardstown, and all you have to do to get to it is cross into Indiana, and head north for a while until you reach the beautiful artistic colony of Nashville, IN. Okay, okay – it’s probably a lot farther than we led you to believe, but it’s certainly worth the visit, take our word for it!

Art Is Etched In Its Very Roots

With a population of just over 1,000, Nashville, IN certainly feels right at home in our “Most Beautiful Small Towns in America” category, and seeing how it’s located in one of the most breathtaking natural areas of the state, which is to say Brown County, it’s clear why Nashville is viewed as a tourist haven and an artistic colony at the same time. That being said, the town is the official center of the Brown County Art Colony and is the county’s only incorporated town.

Initially named Jacksonburg, Nashville, IN, was founded by county agent Banner C. Brummett in 1836. The town’s first jail and courthouse were built a year later, in 1837, whereas the town was officially incorporated in 1872. Interestingly, the town was plagued by dramatic erosion problems by the turn of the century, as heavy logging in the area had caused significant deforestation throughout the county. A number of artists settled in the area in the early twentieth century, one of which was the American Impressionist painter T.C. Steele. The aforementioned Brown County Art Colony derived from these artists, and is today known as the Brown County Art Guild.

No Matter Which Way You Come In…

The Nashville, IN, that exists today is an exuberant, charming small town that boasts a thriving tourist industry cemented upon the original works of resident artists, as well as the breathtaking natural beauty of the area. For example, Brown County State Park is located nearby and downtown Nashville features numerous antique, art and specialty shops, as well as entertainment venues, restaurants and galleries. Additionally, visitors are able to enjoy a fine selection of bed and breakfast establishments, rented cottages and countless inns.

If you happen to be on your way to Nashville from Greenwood, Martinsville, Indy and so on, (which is to say, the North), make a note to stop by the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame & Museum, as well as the Farmhouse Café. Located in Bean Blossom, the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame & Museum is where you’ll be able to pay tribute to the bluegrass legend and trailblazer Bill Monroe, as well as learn about his music and life, and take a look at his personal collection of memorabilia. On the other hand, the cozy and unique Farmhouse Café & Tea Room is situated in an old historic 1800s brick farmhouse, and is the perfect spot to check out during a break from all that travelling while you’re on the North side of the Village. One-of-a-kind cool drinks and freshly-made herbal teas at this joint go perfectly with soups, sandwiches and garden fresh seasonal salads.

…There’s Always Something Interesting To Experience In Nashville, IN

If you’re headed into Nashville from Columbus (East), Gnaw Bone is the perfect place to take a break, along with the Brown County Winery. In business for three decades, any of their locally-made award-winning fruit and grape wines will serve as a tasty refreshment for the palate (just make sure to let someone else drive afterwards. If wine is not your cup of tea (get it?), perhaps the Bear Wallow Distillery might have something else for you. One of the first craft distilleries in Indiana, this joint uses 100% locally-grown grains to make unique spirits in an old-fashioned copper pot still. Family-owned and operated since 1972, the Brown County Antique Mall is another option on the East side, complete with its 7,000+ square feet of interesting trinkets to explore, which, oddly enough, include even an art gallery!

And finally, if you’re coming in from the Bloomington direction (West), the T.C. Steele State Historic Site is a definite must-see. You’ll be able to explore how Brown County’s founding father of the arts once lived, hike nearby trails, admire paintings in the Large Studio, stroll the beautiful gardens and learn a whole lot more about this beautiful part of Indiana.

But, remember – even though art might sound like the most obvious reason to pay a visit to Nashville, IN, it’s certainly not the only one. The town also has some incredible things to offer to those who aren’t art-aficionados. How do we know? Well, you’ll just have to check out Nashville and find out on your own.

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