The Michigan Day Trip Tour, No. 4: Much Ado About Nashville
*The Michigan Day Trip Tour is a series of posts all about the Great Lakes State and the many natural and physical wonders it contains. Most destinations included in the series are located within a two-hour drive of Grand Rapids, though some, like St. Ignace and the Soo Locks, are a little further. Hopefully, these posts will encourage you to go out and do some exploring of your own — or at least prove to be mildly entertaining. Enjoy!
Perpetually out shined by a certain southern city of the same name, Nashville, Michigan, has probably never been on your radar. Like a number of other Michigan communities named after much more recognizable places (e.g. Athens, Holland, Moscow, Paris), the village, which is located in the eastern portion of Barry County, is a tiny, tiny community. But that doesn’t make it any less interesting.
Incorporated in 1869, the village recently wrapped up a weekend of celebrations marking its sesquicentennial anniversary. Over the course of two years, organizers meticulously planned three days worth of festivities, which were finally realized during the weekend of Aug. 2-4. From the crowning of the sesquicentennial queen on Friday night to the old-fashioned pie auction on Sunday afternoon, Nashville was hopping all weekend long, but Saturday was the real showcase.
On that day, the schedule was filled to the brim with events, beginning with a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. and finishing with a fireworks show a little after 10 p.m. In between was a color walk/run, a vintage marketplace, games for the kids, a parade and antique flyover, and even an attempt to break the record for the world’s longest kick line (how that turned out, I’m not exactly sure). Though it wasn’t necessarily the main event, Saturday also saw the 4th annual Barry County Brewfest come to town.
Setting up shop at Riverside Park, the brewfest, which has been hosted by a different community in Barry County each year since its inception in 2016, saw breweries, wineries, and cideries from all over Michigan descend on downtown Nashville for an afternoon filled with food, music, and plenty of adult beverages. There were 22 businesses providing tastings in all, among them Three Blondes Brewing out of South Haven; Witch’s Hat Brewing Co. from South Lyon; Grand Haven-based Odd Side Ales; and North Pier Brewing from Benton Harbor.
With plenty of brews to choose from, live music from Meridian and Nathan Douglas, food trucks serving up typical street fare (i.e. hot dogs, fries, tacos), and a pair of corn hole boards standing by, the brewfest was one helluva good time, and definitely something I would suggest you check out in the future.
As for the village of Nashville itself, there are a handful of spots worth checking out no matter what time of year it is. These would include the local pub, Two J’s, and 66 Unique Antiques next to that; either of the two cafes on Main Street, to include Shirley’s Chuckwagon Cafe and Country Kettle Cafe; and the Quaker Brook Bridge just to the south of the Dollar General store. Nature enthusiasts and fans of quiet, country living would no doubt love the village, too — as well as the rest of Barry County, for that matter. Find other things to do in the area by following this link.