The small town of Bell Buckle is just an hour south of Nashville. It's home to vast antique shopping, Tennessee history, and home to the famously annual RC & Moon Pie Festival. The event attracts thousands each June with live entertainment, arts and crafts, RC & MoonPie Games, and the cutting of the world's largest moon pie.
While the town ignites with excitement for this one weekend, its charm can be enjoyed 365 days a year.All images courtesy of Camels & Chocolate.
EAT & STROLL
Bell Buckle might as well have invented the meat-and-three, and you'll have your range of choices at the Bell Buckle Café—green beans, carrot soufflé, sweet taters, grits, okra, chili cheese dogs, onion rings, fried biscuits, barbecue, pork chops, chicken and dumplings and much, much more. Don't leave without ordering the Moon Pie Sundae—which comes in a variety of flavors—and a slice of the oatmeal cake. The café is known for more than just its battered and fried side: It once was a notable studio, Bell Buckle Records, where many country music greats jumpstarted their careers. Musical bric-a-brac wallpapers the interior and every Friday and Saturday night, bands and songwriters from all over take the stage. The owners of the café also opened the Southern Charm Tea Room just last year for those looking for a lavish spread accompanied by a spot of tea.
Down the way from the café, the Bell Buckle Coffee Shop will fulfill all your caffeine needs with specialty drinks like a gingerbread latte and a bevy of baked goods (plus, free Wi-Fi). Around the corner at Bluebird Antiques & Ice Cream Parlor, you can try the house-made fudge or old-fashioned malt straight from the soda fountain as you poke around the vintage goods, including mismatched china and plenty of Kentucky Derby-worthy hats.
Bell Buckle has built quite a reputation for being a hub for pickers. Along the retail strip, you'll find the newly-expanded and well-curated Hilltop Antiques has some of the best prices in town. If you're looking for a wider selection, Livery Stable and Bell Buckle Antique Mall are across the street from one another just off the main drag, and each contains a medley of odds and ends.
If you prefer new to old, Froggie Went a Shoppin stocks a great selection of home wares, while Southern Charm and Doodlebug both sell an eclectic assortment of women's accessories from purses to jewelry sets.
LAY YOUR HEAD
Just 53 miles from Nashville, Bell Buckle is an easy afternoon trip, but if you wish to stay over, book a room at the stunning old 1890s home, Walker Inn Bed & Breakfast (formerly Arrowlet), that's a short walk from the downtown square and all its festivities.