The Strawberry Patch

How this barn sale got its start in Middle Tennessee

Barn sales have been catching on in other parts of the country, but it wasn’t until Christy Stone created The Strawberry Patch in Hartsville that there was one in Tennessee.

The Strawberry Patch Barn Sale is a staple of the Middle Tennessee barn sale aficionado. It is big, well curated and situated in a beautiful rural spot in the countryside of Trousdale County, an hour east of Nashville. It was listed as one of Country Living Magazine’s seven barn sales to visit in 2015 (that’s countrywide), and in February of this year, it was a Reader’s Choice pick in Flea Market Style Magazine.

Not only does The Strawberry Patch continue to be among the best, but it was quite literally the first of its kind in Tennessee.

“I started having them in my backyard in 2010,” Stone says. “I think I had three at my house in Lafayette. In 2011, we moved the sale to the farm, and that’s when it started to get bigger, quick. I think the first preview party I had in the backyard we had like 50 attendees. Now, we get between 2,000 and 2,500 per event. One year, we had about 3,500 shoppers, but we haven’t come close to that again. We have 40 to 60 vendors.”

This year’s Strawberry Patch spring market will be May 4 to 6 at 1272 Starlite Road in Hartsville. It will run Thursday 5 to 9 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Stone was inspired by some similar events that were becoming popular out in the Oregon and Washington areas. She met a woman named Gina Bishop who was selling at the Country Living Fair in 2009, and the Bishop inspired her with her aesthetic and her “you can do it” attitude.

“She had the cutest booth set up there, and I just wanted to meet her. She and I got to talking, and she was telling me that she had a barn in her backyard and would sometimes sell her own stuff there,” Stone recalls. “And she basically encouraged me. She didn’t know me from Adam, but she said, ‘What are you waiting on? Just do it!’”

In the first year of operating her own sale, Stone also took a scouting and inspiration trip to Washington to see the mother of all sales, called Barn House Boys, which she still says is the best she’s ever seen.

“Never have I seen anything remotely close to theirs,” Stone says. “Everything just flowed — everybody had the same look. I liked it because it was easy on the eye, though I realize people sometimes prefer some variety.”

Trendsetting in Hartsville

Most of Stone’s shoppers don’t come from the county this sale is held in. They come from Nashville, Hendersonville, Lebanon and other places. Vendors tend to return year after year, having been carefully vetted by Stone’s discerning eye. Still, she likes to have 10 or 15 new vendors every year.

“I know that shoppers want to see something different,” Stone says. “Although many want to come back and buy from those they know, people don’t want it to be the same show every time. It’s not easy on new vendors, because shoppers tend to buy from people they’re familiar with it seems like.

“When I’m considering a new vendor, I’ll look at how original it is — is it something new? You know, everybody wants to make signs, on pallets.”

However, she says she’s still surprised sometimes at what’s popular and sells.

“Some people really just love to buy a T-shirt that they’ve seen a dozen other women wearing. The average person is OK with wearing something that everybody else wears,” Stone says. “I have to remember that just because I wouldn’t wear something others are wearing doesn’t mean other people are that way.”

Fruit Tea Chicks

In addition to keeping up The Strawberry Patch, Stone’s new endeavor has her packing up and taking on the role of a vendor at other sales.

Fruit Tea Chicks is a simple booth with a simple concept: fruit tea from a secret recipe, served over ice with beautiful seasonal garnishes. People love it. Like with The Strawberry Patch, Stone seems to have found success just by packaging and presenting something that she herself was in love with.

“I just found an old diary entry from 2009,” she says, “where I was describing the barn sale and what I wanted to do, and I wrote that I wanted to sell my fruit tea there.”

There used to be a little restaurant and shop in Hendersonville where she would go and sit and read, enjoying their sandwiches and fruit tea. This was a big part of her life back when the sale was in the early stages. Many of the artisans she recruited to her first events were contacts she made at the little restaurant and shop, which was run by friends of hers.

But in the past few years, when she decided to make fruit tea into a business, she brought her own recipe into her home kitchen and started working on it until she felt she had something unique and inimitable, something truly her own. She planned for the Fruit Tea Chicks to be a little business that her teenage kids (Chloe, 14, Kailen, 13, and Stone, 11) could get involved in.

So far, it’s been a success. She recently sold 150 gallons of fruit tea in a weekend — one cup at a time.

Having done a year’s worth of events as a vendor, she’s now taking the Fruit Tea Chicks to another level: She bought a camper and is going to put the whole operation in there. As of now, she says setup can take about four hours — bringing in heavy coolers, carting gallons of premade tea and ice and setting up a tent. Once the camper is set up and everything installed, not only will she be able to set up and tear down quickly and make sales directly from the camper window, she’ll be able to make the tea onsite: a huge time saver.

It seems clear Christy is the kind of dreamer we’d all like to be. She can manage both ends of the creative process: picture something fabulous and actually get it done.

There’s no telling what that kind of a spirit will accomplish in the future.

For more information on The Strawberry Patch, check out their Facebook and Instagram pages, or visit Thestrawberrypatchtn.com.

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Wish 86

Van Loo’s Traveling Boutique morphs into a brick and mortar shop to remember

 

Story and photos by Tilly Dillehay

Lindsay Boze

Lindsay Boze is one of those people that other people want to imitate. One of the first things you notice about her is her California good looks, coupled with an innate sense of style and an attitude of sweet and gracious hospitality.

She was also the first person in the middle Tennessee area to successfully get into the truck boutique business.

Food on wheels has long been a business concept that we can all recognize. Whether it was the ice-cream man in our neighborhood or a gourmet grilled cheese food truck on Music Row, we’ve been used to seeing people peddle those kinds of wares out of the side of a moving vehicle. But boutique clothing? Well, that’s something that we only saw for the first time in 2012 around these parts. Suddenly, in Smith County, Trousdale, Macon, Wilson, and Sumner, we occasionally encountered a pink traveling boutique called Van Loo’s. Parked in the parking lot of a hospital, a restaurant, or a grocery store, a young lady named Lindsay Boze was selling cute clothing and caring for her first baby.

Now, four years later, that truck has spilled over into a charming brick-and-mortar shop in Carthage called Wish 86. She’s selling the same cute clothing items, along with housewares, jewelry, and some furniture. Her business partner in the new storefront, Lindsey Underwood, is selling adult pieces with a slightly more preppy feel, as well as infant and children’s clothing, some home items, and a whole lot of adorable monogramming.

One wonders exactly how a small town girl from Hartsville progresses through the steps that lead to retail. Before the truck, Lindsay was a 4th grade school teacher who loved her job and had worked since the age of 16.

“I loved it,” she says. “I loved every day of work. But then I had [my son] Van Dallas and I didn’t want to go back to work every day. So I was just laying bed trying to think of what I could do that I loved, to not go back work every day. So it just hit me: ‘I could sell clothes’.

“Because that’s all I collect, my husband makes fun of me; I have no hobbies. But I love to go shopping, try things on, all that.”

She did a little research and found out that Apparel Mart—one of the boutique clothing retailers’ biggest events, in Atlanta—was about to take place two weeks later. So she packed up, along with her mother and infant, and headed to Atlanta. She bought just a few racks’ worth of clothing. It was the style she liked for herself—boho chic, vintage inspired stuff.

Boze started setting up at local schools, in teachers’ lounges. She started doing home parties. Eventually she started setting up at fundraisers and other events.

“So my vehicle was full of floor racks and all these clothes… we knew we needed to do something else, so my husband said, ‘Why don’t we just get a big truck and I’ll help you fix it up, and we’ll fix the inside like a big closet’. And I thought ‘I can do that’. So he actually surprised me with the truck, and went and got it in Alabama. It was an old FedEx truck.”

Her husband, who is in the family business of farming, had a background in auto body repair (his own shop just opened this year, also in Carthage: Hwy 25 Tire). That background, and the buddies he knew from the auto body business, helped him to fix the interior and exterior of the Fed-Ex truck. Soon it looked the way it still looks today—the whole outside a wash of baby pink, with black lettering announcing the name: “Van Loo’s Traveling Boutique.”

When her husband first brought the truck home, ready to use, she sat in the front seat and realized she had no idea how to drive a FedEx truck.

“I sat in it and was like ‘I can’t drive this thing’, so he said ‘Well, you have to! It’s ready!’ So I drove it just down the road as a practice run, and then my first show in it, in Gallatin, was that same day. So Daniel followed me to my first show, scared to death.”

Lindsay had three good years before there were any similar trucks doing what she did. In that time, she built up a following in the all of the towns where she set up shop on regular days. She also started at just the right time to do very well at a burgeoning expo and barn sale scene throughout middle Tennessee.

She might never have made the transition to a storefront, if it weren’t for the fact that, early last year, her work started coming home with her.

“I was actually just looking for an office space to work out of– to go do orders, and social media, and all that. So then I found this building, and I fell in love with it.”

She encountered the building’s owner one day as he was headed into the building himself. Marvin Baker, a Nashville business man (Baker-Gillis Productions), had fallen in love with Carthage himself while scouting music video locations. He’d purchased the store on Carthage square, which had formerly been a well-known furniture store.

Boze begged him to let her come in and look around, although he had no intention of either selling or renting the space. He showed her the bottom floor, which was empty, and the top, which he’d turned into an apartment where friends of his in music would come to get away from the city. The lower level was still much as it had always been, with original tin ceilings and original wood floors. He’d built two partition walls in the main space, and chipped away some of the wall plaster to expose the original bricks. Besides that, the place was just waiting for something to come and fill it.

Eventually, he became convinced to let her rent the space, because he believed that she could create a successful store out of it. With his wife suffering from ALS, he knew he wouldn’t be doing anything else with it in the immediate future.

Lindsey Underwood

All Boze and Underwood had to do was purchase the inventory to fill the new space, add some décor and racks, and then open their doors. The atmosphere was already there.

Now, Boze still takes the truck out on occasion, for special shows. She still loves it. But she also loves running her store, and shares shifts with Lindsey Underwood and one other employee.

“I love to be here,” she says. “I just love to come to work every day.”

Wish 86 is open on Carthage square Tuesday-Friday, 10-6, and Saturday 10-3. Check them out on Facebook or Instagram to see what’s new.

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Lately Blooming

For artist and designer Melanie Cryar, middle age was just the perfect time to get started

 

 

By Tilly Dillehay

Photos by Morgan Cryar

 

Melanie Cryar was 51 the year she painted her first painting.

After all, four years ago, she’d never picked up a brush.

Several of her children had been interested in visual art, with some of them ending up in creative fields like music or writing. But Melanie herself, though she’s been a lifelong visitor of galleries and fawner over impressionist art exhibits, had never had the gall to imagine herself artistic.

“I’ve always felt drawn to it,” she says. “When I was in college, my favorite classes were interior design and architecture classes where we were exposed to those ideas. The way a house looked, and shapes and colors. I took textile courses, and we worked with fabric. What I don’t understand is why it never occurred to me as a young person to pursue that or explore it. And I think it’s because I had no mentors. I never had a conversation about what I might do or be. Without that, as a young person, you don’t necessarily think ‘Oh, this is possible for me.’

“My art education kind of started back then, and it was just me going to museums. And I wanted my kids to pursue that, because I thought ‘Maybe they can do this. I’m too old; I can’t, but maybe they can.’”

So she never stood in front of a blank canvas herself… until three years ago.

Melanie draws with granddaughter, Norah

I just had that kind of panic,” she says. “Over a period of seven months, we had three daughters get married and a son enter the navy. Honestly, my heart was just broken. I was in a really dark place. I felt lost and fearful. My children have been my life. ‘What am I gonna do?’ What could I do? So I decided to take an oil class at Cheekwood. I went out and got some paints, and some brushes, and that was what started it.

“It was fun; it was a bunch of mostly older women like me, so I felt really comfortable. The first thing we did was a pumpkin I think. Nothing really memorable. It was just about, ‘Here, figure out where the light is hitting this.’ And he taught us how to mix color, which is really big. That began the study of color for me, which is so important. The big thing was the teacher just really encouraged me—that I could do it. He encouraged me to keep painting, and even offered for me to come paint with him. And that was really the beginning.”

She continued to paint, eventually joining the Chestnut Group, a Nashville ‘plein air’ painting community. Plein air is the outdoor painting of landscapes. The Chestnut Group paints together, puts on art shows that benefit local charities, and provides workshops and support. Melanie spent more time painting outside, and also put together a space in her own home for painting.

But in the midst of all the still life painting she was doing indoors, she credits the outdoor work as being a gateway into abstract art.

“[Plein air] is a lot more fluid, and it’s a lot more subjective,” she says. “It’s really a looser subject for painting. I started learning color and learning light.”

From there, she started to feel freer to experiment, after a few years of painting a lot of flowers, dishes, and vegetables. She started to notice and admire some of the abstract work other people were doing.

“I thought, ‘I need to try that,” she says. “I need to explore every form and style, and see what sticks.’”

The first piece she did was specifically for her living room. It was a huge piece, about 50 inches by 60 inches, done on a canvas soundproofing panel that her husband had made and used in his recording studio. It has a seam running across it where the canvas sheets were sewn together.

“It ate up paint like crazy,” says Melanie, “because it wasn’t finished the way a normal canvas is.”

She’d wanted to do the piece using a specific yellow and aqua color palette that was in her living room pillows. From there, she ended up using a little bit of multimedia, including small shards of broken glass.

The finished piece was so striking that she kept getting comments and requests about it. Could you do that again? Could you do something like that for my master bedroom?

So she started down a new road—the road of abstract art.

Melanie at the Petite Palais in Paris

Then, last year, her children banded together to send her on a trip to Paris with a friend. It was a life-long dream fulfilled, and Melanie says it was also a seminal moment for her art journey. Not only did she do some fundraising to prepare for the trip by selling dozens of paintings online, but the trip itself was a foray into an art world she’d never seen before.

“It was a huge eye-opener in that way,” says Melanie. “I was so moved by the art that I saw and the realization that for this culture, art cannot be separated from their lives. It’s all woven together. The things they chose to paint—scenes of war, and love, and life. The way that history and life and art is all one thing in Paris. And just seeing the sheer genius of their talent and hard work. And how some of them were just completely self-taught.”

Around the time she returned from this trip, she began to dig deeper into her on-again-off-again work in interior design. Now she’s working with maybe two or three clients at a time, overseeing renovations and redecorating as needed, and often providing original art pieces or commissions as well.

She and her husband had purchased and renovated various homes through the years: “I realized during those projects that [design] makes a big difference in a buyer—people were really drawn to beautiful, well-appointed spaces. And I understand that. For me, being in a room that’s beautiful… it’s magic.”

“I want to keep learning and growing and to one day be able to inspire others; maybe teach some classes, and encourage my grandkids to pursue their passions early. At the end of the day, children and grandchildren are my calling and my biggest ‘why’ in life.”

 

 


To find out more about Melanie’s art, visit her website: www.thequietcanvas.com. To contact her about interior design needs, email her at melcryar@gmail.com.

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THE WINTER 2017 ISSUE OUT NOW!

…in this issue

 

IN EVERY ISSUE

6 WILSON LIVING LADIES… ON THE TOWN

46 ONE LAST THING

 

FEATURES

10 WISH 86

24 LATELY BLOOMING

34 THE NURSE FOODIE

38 SAVING GRACE

 

GOOD LIFE

16 INSPIRED TO LOSE

20 HEALTH FOOD LOVE

22 S.P.A.C.E. – COMING HOME

30 THE ART THAT FRAMES YOUR FACE

42 ELLIE AND KELLIE: ONE LITTLE GIRL’S GOOD LIFE

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The Roast

Free-trade coffee, live music, and cool vibes actually are available in Lebanon… and brought to you, unexpectedly, by the Salvation Army

 

By Tilly Dillehay

Photos by Jana Pastors

 

29743245795_874a2463da_zIt’s 11 pm on a Friday night. Do you know where your children are?

If they’re in their teens or twenties and from Wilson County (or among the local college crowd), there really aren’t that many options. In Lebanon after 10 pm, there’s really just Walmart, McDonalds, and the local bar scene.

Until the Salvation Army decided to do something about it.

In May of 2013, The Roast opened its doors. Located just off of Lebanon square, but on one of those little side streets you have to feel around for, The Roast is a coffee shop and music venue that is open just two nights a week, to fill a very specific time slot. Friday and Saturday, 7-12, they offer a “nighttime alternative” to partying or heading home early, says Wilson County Salvation Army Director Tom Freeman.

“Because we do a lot of mentoring and outreach in the community… I‘ve got young guys and young girls, and they’re telling me that other than the bars around here, there’s Walmart and there’s McDonalds. When we came here some of the other coffee houses in town closed at like 2 pm. There was no nightlife. So the idea is to provide a great alternative location for people to build friendships and make connections.

29451850450_f203c3854f_z“We’ve got a full espresso bar with other types of drinks, seasonal drinks… it’s really good stuff. 100% volunteer based. All our baristas are trained and trained well. We use locally roasted coffee out of Murfreesboro that’s fair-trade and organic. But the coffee is just an excuse to open the doors and see different groups of people interact and enjoy being here.”

Freeman says that there are a broad variety of patrons on a given night at The Roast. While many of them are young—college age, high school age even—there are a fair number of people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s who make The Roast their final stop for the night.

The coffee is actually “pay as you can.” The Roast has a recommended amount on their menu, but if you can pay a little more or less than that, it’s fine. “The majority of people, when you say ‘hey, this is what it costs us to provide this drink’, they’ll pay it,” said Freeman. “They love the idea.”

29631555842_4fb67fca48_zBaked good are free with your drinks, because they’re donated by the local Sweet Things Bakery. There’s even a “cup for the wall” tradition, where patrons pay for an extra drink and hang a cup on the wall. Then, when someone comes in who just doesn’t have money on them, they can claim a cup off the wall. A stranger has bought them a cup.

“And if someone comes in who really has nothing, maybe someone who’s homeless or something, they’ll get a free drip coffee at least; we don’t want anyone to be turned away,” says The Roast Events Coordinator Beracah MacDonald.

Donations to The Roast don’t fully cover the cost of keeping it open, but Freeman, who directs Salvation Army efforts throughout the county, says he makes it a priority to keep it supported.

“We have a faithful few [volunteers] who really commit to make this work,” says Freeman, “and it’s wonderful. When you pull back and look at all the things the Salvation Army has going in Wilson County, times when I look at a budget line and see The Roast and say ‘Man, I don’t know if we can keep this going’, it’ll inevitably be a great weekend that weekend, and I’ll just think ‘No, we have to find a way.’”

29743249675_8bf5ccbe4f_zMacDonald has tried out all kinds of creative events at The Roast. They book live music and hold popular open mic nights. Then there are the special events. They had a “Sip ‘n Shop,” with ten or twelve vendors setting up one weekend. They’ve had Canvas Nights in the past—an insanely popular event where patrons pay $5 and get a canvas to paint while they sip. On November 12, they’ll be holding a bake off—anyone can bring a baked good to enter, and then people donate $2-3 to sample, and there will be judges who pick winners in different categories.

On Dec. 3, the Kettle Kickoff (for the Salvation Army’s bell-ringing, Christmastime fundraiser you’re probably familiar with) for Wilson County will be hosted at The Roast. The kickoff is just a big Christmas party, basically, with Christmas music, more baked goods than usual, and an ugly sweater contest.

The Roast is located at 216 S Maple Street, Lebanon. For information about upcoming events and live music, visit their Facebook page.

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3 ways to wear a Nikibiki

Nikibiki is a brand that offers layering items. Camisoles, long sleeve liners, bandeaus, bralettes, and leggings… in a myriad of colors. Simple items like these always come in handy when it’s layering season, and you’ll find a selection of them in almost every boutique you enter in Lebanon and Mt. Juliet. So we asked three local boutiques to put together a full outfit utilizing the Nikibiki.

Like any good undergarment, you may not always be able to see it, but you need it just the same. Used in this shoot were the black Nikibiki bralette, and the nude Nikibiki crew neck top.

Credits

Model: Mattie Post

Hair By:  Erika Glaskox for Beauty Boutique Salon, Spa & Apparel and Kevin Murphy

Makeup By:  Necole Bell for Beauty Boutique Salon, Spa & Apparel

Photos: Lisa Rubel Photography, www.rubel-photography.com

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Outfit #1: Faux-suede miniskirt, crew neck Nikibiki in nude, safari jacket, suede choker, shoes, and knee socks by Dreams Boutique (extra necklaces by Southern Swank).

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Outift #2: Maroon minidress, black Nikibiki bralette, denim jacket with inset, hat, necklaces, and shoes by Southern Swank.

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Outfit #3: Blush tunic dress, jean leggings, and earrings by Aqua Bella. Choker and cuff by Beauty Boutique. Nikibiki bralette by Southern Swank.

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The Nov-Dec 2016 issue is here!

cover-pick-with-bike…in this issue

 

IN EVERY ISSUE

8 WILSON LIVING LADIES… ON THE TOWN

46 ONE LAST THING

 

FEATURES

12 GIFTS ON MAIN

16 THE ROAST

20 LIKE COMING HOME: THE BERT COBLE SINGERS

28 THE CHRONICLE OF MT. JULIET

30 A GRANVILLE CHRISTMAS

32 GOOD, CLEAN LAUGHS: BRIAN BATES

 

GOOD LIFE

10 PEPPERMINT MARTINI

14 OUR 2016 HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

24 SWEET BISCUIT CO.

34 3 WAYS TO WEAR A NIKIBIKI

38 YOUR BEST HOLIDAY TABLE

42 RICK BELL’S GOOD LIFE

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It’s the small things…..

By Angel Kane

 

Just the other morning I jumped into my car as usual.

As usual, I was running a little late.

In one hand I had some files and in the other, I had my over-sized coffee mug. As I was trying to set my coffee mug into the cup holder, without spilling the contents all over myself, I spilled the contents all over myself! Grrrr!!! It was going to be one of those days for sure!

Finally when I got myself situated, I turned my car on and was surprised to see the gas gauge was all the way to full.

It was definitely one of those clouds parting, sun shining, angels singing moments!

And just like that, the whole tone for my day changed. It’s the little things that can make or break us really.

Apparently, my husband had taken my car that morning to the gym, noticed I was running low on gas and filled the tank. It wasn’t a dozen roses or a surprise trip to New York, it was even better! A full tank of gas I didn’t have to pump myself, in the rain. Oh thank you sweet Jesus!

Just like a thank you note out of the blue from a client or doughnuts on the office kitchen counter for no reason, in this fast, large and loud world,  small, thoughtful displays of affection can make all the difference.

I love seeing the FB posts where someone takes to social media to exclaim that a stranger in line bought their Starbucks for the morning. You would have thought they won the lottery they are so excited.

It happened to me once. I was so shocked I literally didn’t know what to say. But it made my day, and my White Chocolate Mocha never tasted so good.

With my head is spinning lately with politics, terrorists, Zika and GMO’s, nothing seems easy anymore.

And then, I see a young man and his family waiting for a table at Outback. An older couple walk in, there are no seats left for them in which to wait and he and his Dad immediately get up from their seats and insist the couple take them.

And just like that I feel good again.

We can’t save all the world. We won’t fix all the country’s problems. But we can choose to make our small little piece of this earth just a tad better for those we live in it with.

The payoff is greater than the gesture. If you don’t believe me, try it and see.

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Rock Star

Wayne Barnes has spent fifteen years growing his Lebanon rock garden into over 150 unique pieces

 

By Laurie Everett

Photos by Tilly Dillehay

 

Sometimes the “masterpiece” sticks just 6 to 12 inches out of the ground. A rock.

It’s what’s hidden underground the little rock iceberg that blows the mind.

Wayne Barnes spent hours with a pick and shovel to dig it out of the hard dirt, somewhere on a no-name farm (he won’t divulge his treasure rock-trove spot) in Smithville, Tenn.

But that little poke out of the ground turned out to be a huge limestone rock that had the exact shape of an elephant. Yes, an elephant. Even a toddler could specify the shape.

Barnes (we’ll call him his nickname, ‘Barney’, from now on) couldn’t exactly plop it onto his Lebanon front yard. It took a lot of subsequent grunts and groans, pulleys, shear fortitude, and even a sled at one point to transport this “beauty” to centerpiece his now famous “rock garden,” that has dozens of people daily do a double, and triple take, and many backups to just gaze upon the limestone wonder he’s “cultivated” for the past 12 years.

As far as “Barney,” he got that name in high school. And for anyone who knows the lovable character Barney on retro fav show Andy Griffith, this retired TRW welder has that frenetic energy.

“Well, I guess you could say I’m a little high strung and hyper,” he divulged with a laugh.

You’d have to be high strung to be a rock hunter by day.

It all started when he went to a rock show (yes, there are such).

“All the rocks were so beautiful,” he recalled. “They are limestone.”

He went to a place in Carthage and spent about twelve hours digging up a rock, and was awed at “how pretty it looked after I cleaned it up.”

He put it in his yard. Some time later a man came by his house and introduced himself after he saw what appeared to be an emerging, (admittedly, at that time a rather crude) rock garden on Barney’s well-kept Lebanon subdivision lot.

“I went out to his farm in Smith County and really went crazy,” he said. “There was a lot of rock, and a lot of them looked like animals.”

He said a friend got him into limestone rocks that take on the resemblance of animals, if you cock your head to one side and use a little imagination. With an artist’s hand and paint, they are replicas of animals.

Barney for a few seconds tried to explain that years ago Smith County was an ocean, and limestone was made with holes through them from the water… then he gave up, and just said he’s fascinated. For many years he’s searched far and wide for rock for his popular garden. His wife, Judy, helped revive it; she repainted the rocks and renewed the garden by making even more of the rocks into animals.

“I have always loved working in the yard and I love flowers and there’s nothing more pretty than a neat yard,” she said.

 

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Judy noted when they first starting dating, “I didn’t care for all the rocks he had outside, but I starting looking more at the rocks and they sort of grow on you. If you start to look at them with a little imagination you see all kinds of things.”

Like… a seal, a cow, a horse and dinosaur head, a dog and baby bear. There’s even a Woodstock (as in, Snoopy’s Woodstock).

“They just needed a new coat of paint and I loved it so much I kept painting more of the animals. It’s fun to have people stop and ask to take pictures.”

One day, a woman visiting the area from Arizona told Barney and Judy there are a lot of rock gardens in her hometown.

“She said the rocks were different here in Lebanon and she just loved it,” Judy said.

However, the showstopper on the Barnes’ property is their magnificent geode mailbox. Geodes, are, in layman’s terms, a hollow rock with sparkling crystals inside. Many a southern kids find the somewhat unspectacular mud-colored, bumpy rocks near creeks and burst them open to reveal a hidden treasure of sparklieness.

“I found a farm in Woodberry, Tenn. full of geodes,” said Barney. “Most were in the ground and it took me seven months to collect them for the mailbox stand.”

“I busted them in half, and pressured washed them with oxalic acid,” he said. “It’s a spectacular sight to see them all piled up together. People stop by all the time and gawk.”

His largest ornamental rock weighs 800 pounds. He hauled it from another undisclosed place just 15 miles from his house.

Six of his more than 150 rocks are painted. Now 67 years old, Barney has slowed down a bit. He’s got pretty flowers planted next to his rock flowers and he’s spread black lava rock around.

“Mulch just would not cut it,” he laughed.

He maintains the showstopper rock garden and dabbles in a little golf. (The clubs he traded for rock are long gone.) He’s also into scrap metal. He’s a bit upset some “kids” are stealing his sparkly geodes from his mailbox stand. It hurts a bit because he spent months down in the Woodberry, Tenn. ravine retrieving those marvels of nature.

“The largest one we found was 181 pounds,” he remembered. “It was giant, oversized, we pulled it up slowly on a dolly.”

Growing his rock garden through the years has been fun, said this quirky rock artist.

“It’s put a smile on many faces,” he said.

If you want to witness Barney’s rock garden, it’s at 1013 Shirley Drive in Lebanon.

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Pass the Salt, Please

Third Coast Salt takes a halotherapeutic approach to the spa healing experience

 

By Laurie Everett

Photos by Shari Hart

 

You might detect a bit of a Louisiana twang in her accent. Though born in that grooving hot-melt state, Shari Arnold spent her growing years in “Hotlanta” and ended up in Tennessee 11 years ago.

No, she’s not a rebel, but an intensely independent woman who has brought a unique, European respite, healing aspect to the heart of Mt. Juliet. It’s not like anything found anywhere around.

It’s Third Coast Salt.

“Well, we know there’s an East Coast and a West Coast, and now Nashville is dubbed the ‘Third Coast,’” said Shari Arnold, who is a single businesswoman, and mom to Maggie, 10, and Jack Ryman (yes, after the auditorium), age 9.

She targeted ‘Third Coast Nashville’, and went a little east to Mt. Juliet to open a happening, emerging business that beckons those who want to be in the loop with an emerging therapy that is hot in Europe and on the cusp here in the states.

2016sharihartphotographer 42Just say she’s one of the first to offer this service here.  It’s the “best, hippest coast out here! Discover the benefits of salt therapy,” Arnold enthused.

The health-conscious embrace this latest trend in pampering; it’s a ‘salt spa,’ right here in Mt. Juliet.

The technique has been used thousands of years in Europe and the Middle East. Rather than ingesting salt, spa patrons relax in rooms made of it and breathe in misty, salty vapors to clear their lungs and purify their skin.

All come out of a sessions espousing the virtues of the treatment and how much better they feel; mentally and physically.

“It’s known as halotherapy, after the Greek word halo, meaning salt,” Arnold said

“Breathing in salt can help cure a lot of modern ailments that come from pollution and stress,” said Matt Walsh, co-owner of Salt Sanctuary in Johnson City, New York. “It is especially good for helping chronic respiratory illnesses like asthma, allergies and bronchitis.”

And for people not suffering from allergies, it’s simply relaxing and meditative, said Arnold.

She said visitors can experience the ultimate in mind, body, and soul cleansing, while relaxing in comfy leather lounge chairs.

“Escape the pervasive lure of everyday technology in our relaxing salt therapy room,” she said.  “Micro particles of salt are dispersed throughout the room, creating a rejuvenating negative-ion environment. Following the 40-minute session, you’ll breathe easier and leave feeling wonderfully relaxed.”

 

Arnold’s history; southern girl in California and back

 

The journey to a holistic salt therapy business in Mt. Juliet began when Shari spent almost a decade in Los Angeles in the film and television industry.

arnold3 11-2015“I would say I was trained in my craft, a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild,” she said. “I love comedy and was cast in anything I could get a role. I survived the major strike and then was told if I didn’t get into the Reality TV aspect I had no work. That true actors didn’t have a chance. That was predicted to last ten years.”

She eventually made her way to Nashville and got a job at Gaylord Entertainment (Opryland). Her job was in their training and development department. This was 11 years ago.  She’s since had her children.

“They are my everything, my whole focal point, they are incredible people,” she said.

Soon she got a job as Lifestyles Director at Del Webb in Mt. Juliet. She loved it. She left last summer. She started with 200 residents and ended with 2,000. She created programs, built relationships, and secured the brand.

“I knew I did what I was supposed to do,” she said. “I knew my work was done, I had perfected everything. It was my time to move on.”

Because health and nutrition were her calling, Arnold went back to school with a “hunger for knowledge.”

She joined a prestigious institute and attained a degree in Integrated Nutrition. She graduated in March 2016.

“I learned a lot,” she said. “It really was for selfish reasons, I wanted to learn about better health and nutrition from a very credible school.”

She resigned her job at Del Webb to pursue further education in the health field and ended up a certified health coach from a prestigious program, besides becoming a state board aesthetician.

It was the springboard to Third Coast Salt.

 

Mid life crises?

 

“No way,” said Arnold. “Many people could say that. I simply wanted to do what I wanted to do. I wanted to heal and care for people. And be on the cusp of the health industry.”

For years, Arnold wanted to have a day spa. But she didn’t think Mt. Juliet was ready for it. So she segued to a place where residents “could heal, relax and heal themselves.”

She rented several suites in the Smoothie King (former bank building on N. Mt. Juliet Road) to offer salt therapy for young and adults. She shares the suites with like-minded businesses, such as two aestheticians, a chiropractor and professional hair stylists.

 

She explains her Salt Therapy
2016sharihartphotographer 15“We are all familiar with salt therapy, whether it’s exfoliation scrubs, smelling salts and more,” she said. “They are good for our veins, we use saline salt in our eyes, we gargle salt, spoon it in our bath, we use Epsom salt. Salt is restorative. Rejuvenating.”

At Third Coast Salt, Arnold has two halogenerators that heat pharmaceutical grade salt, then grind it and disperse into the air. She has both youth and adult rooms for therapy.

The therapy helps the lungs and people with respiratory problems such as allergies, asthma, bronchitis, COPD and other illnesses. But, she stresses it’s meditative and helpful for healthy people eager to renew and restore and meditate.

“You know how you feel when you go to the beach,” she said. “You think it’s the sand and wind, but really it’s the salt from the sea in the air.”

Her “adult” room is 400 square feet with a huge “wow” wall of salt blocks in their natural shape. They set the mood and she can change the color when asked. There are ten leather recliners and plush blankets and reflective music for meditation. All electronics are off, people can read or meditate. It’s a 40-minute session.

2016sharihartphotographer 1There’s also a youth room where children can get therapy with a parent to supervise (free of charge).

“It’s a totally different atmosphere with upbeat music and a salt box for them to play,” Arnold said.

Whitney Simpson is an advocate for the therapy.  Her son Drew was struggling with allergies. He had a long undiagnosed nut allergy.

“This therapy helped with the pressure and pain,” Simpson said.

The grand opening was Aug. 7, when Arnold had an open house and tour, plus gave attendees free smoothies.

Arnold’s dream is for salt therapy to catch on and she hopes to open multiple salt facilities. She’ll soon have a retail element with salt lamps, scrubs and more.

“I’m excited to touch the lives of people,” she said. “I want to touch the heart and soul and make people feel better. This excites me. I’m so grateful and thankful to tell the community about salt therapy.”

Cost is $30 per session, or you can purchase a monthly membership. For the youth room it’s $30 per child and a parent escorts free. Mention Wilson Living during the month of September and purchase one session at full price to get 50% savings on your second visit!

For more information, go to www.thirdcoastsalt.com

1283 North Mt. Juliet Road 615.200.6365

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