Thousands of dragons glitter and glimmer within the Dragon Dreams Museum. So many, in fact, that the museum owner is working on her entry in the Guinness Word Records book for—you guessed it—the biggest collection of dragons on earth. One-of-a-kind antiques and handcrafted figurines made from silver, jade, and ivory highlight the expansive collection. The on-site gift shop can help you start your own collection as well as purchase other items such as jewelry, magnets, ornaments, and posters.
At The Book Gallery's two Nashville-area locations, savvy staff members point readers toward fiction, comics, and nonfiction titles available in hardcover and paperback at discounted prices. Thousands of kids' and young-adult fiction selections provide more educational entertainment for moppets than playing video games or rearranging PB&J sandwiches into alphabetical order.
Giving gifts is its own reward, but at The Gifted Ferret, get-well cards, trinkets and candles accompany a robust collection of boutique wines so gift-givers can reward themselves as well. The shop's wine racks brim with vino crafted by vintners who treat winemaking not just as a business but also as a passion as well as the best way to teach grapes a lesson. During onsite wine classes, industry experts regale attendees with information while pouring samples from among the shop's dozens of varietals. For those seeking an intoxicant-free fix, the staff brews Newman's Own coffee and Green Mountain Naturals apple cider. In the gift area, patrons peruse handmade cards and Arthur Court pewter home-decor items alongside gift bags and an expanded array of gourmet food items.
Customers choose their own adventures as they peruse the aisles of Book Browser, a literary goldmine where books by classic and contemporary authors open up new pathways for the imagination to wander. The shop’s mission to maintain a quality collection of used books results in a conspicuous lack of torn covers and dog-eared pages among the fiction and nonfiction offerings. Books by local authors highlight the selection of fresh-off-the-presses books, which share their shelves with handcrafted necklaces, Hot Shades reading glasses, and children put to sleep while flipping through the pages of Goodnight Moon.
Since 1964, Guitar Center has paired musicians with guitars, keyboards, drums, Pro Audio gear, and necessary accessories, including DJ and recording equipment to capture newly made melodies. An iPad music-stand adaptor ($39.99) connects an iPad to a music stand, allowing musicians to access online programs and music apps on-stage, or to publicly dedicate a song to their online Scrabble partner. A clip-on tuner ($29.99) keeps notes pitch-perfect, and Guitar Center’s array of sheet music produces a wider variety of sounds than singing from a thesaurus, with options that include the C-surfing The Real Blues Book ($31.49). Stitch tighter harmonies by threading notes onto Slinky guitar strings ($3.79), or use the value of today's Groupon toward a larger purchase, such as the Epiphone Les Paul Special II guitar ($169–$179.99). Guitar Center rounds out its collection of gear with Pro Audio and DJ equipment, keyboards, and drums, allowing every band member or solo cymbal player to stock up on their chosen form of expression.
Southerland Station has always nurtured budding creativity. Founded in 1958 as a blueprint- and drafting-supply store, the shop has since grown in size and scope, gearing its inventory of imagination fuel—which now numbers 40,000 different items—toward a younger audience. Oil paints and canvases offer outlets for artistic talents, which can also be honed in one of the shop’s art classes. Lego sets and model trains appeal to both the imaginative and the literal-minded, replicating reality through brightly colored bricks or 1:220 scale trains that are accurate down to their Union Pacific livery. And, though it now represents a smaller portion of the business, the drafting-supplies section is still there, giving mechanically inclined kids materials for blueprinting their next treehouse or battery of anti-cooties missiles.