Cowan  is a very small town in Tennessee. It has roughly 1,700 residents, and is located at the foot of the Cumberland Plateau between Chattanooga and Nashville. Cowan is oriented around the junction of Tennessee Highway 41 and the CSX railroad heading toward Decherd.
The only way into Cowan is to drive Tennessee Highway 41, which is named Cumberland St. in town.
Cowan is a small town, and it can easily be covered by foot or bike. However, a car is essential for entering or leaving town.
Downtown Cowan is largely unchanged from its condition 100 years ago, which gives it a quaint and quiet atmosphere. This lack of big-city bustle is the town's main attraction, but there are a handful of local attractions to interest visitors.
- Railroad Museum, 108 Front St S, 931-967-3078. Located in the former depot near the railroad tracks in the town center. Staffed by volunteers, so calling ahead is very strongly advised. Contains all manner of railroad memorabilia and resources; a must for railroad buffs.
- Mountain Goat Trail. Avid mountain-bikers and off-roaders should ask about the Mountain Goat Trail, which runs up the Plateau toward St. Andrew's and Sewanee. The trail follows the route of the legendary "Mountain Goat", the steam locomotive that allowed for the development of towns on top of the steep-sided mountains. The trail narrows after crossing Highway 56, making it too narrow for automobiles, but four-wheelers can navigate it as well as many side roads. Locals can point you to its precise location outside Cowan.
Otherwise, Cowan is not the kind of town you visit to "do" anything. Enjoy the quiet, lazy atomosphere of a traditional small Southern town.
There are a handful of shops near the center of town, most of which sell antiques and other miscellaneous items. You can easily park your car and reach most of them on foot.
- T's Antiques, 202 Cumberland St E, 931-967-5170. Antique shop.
- Trisha's Treasures, 107 Cumberland St E, 931-967-4467. Antique shop.
- Mitchell's Florist and Gifts, 513 Cumberland St W, 931-962-1040.
- Linda's Market, 303 Cumberland St E, 931-967-7960. Grocery store.
- Corner House, 401 E. Cumberland St., 931-967-3910. Located in a gorgeous Victorian home, and offers a decent seasonal menu. Tu - Sa, 11AM - 8:30PM.
- Sernicola's, 108 S. Tennessee Ave., 931-962-3380. Mix of Italian and Southern entrees. Tu - Sa, lunch until 9:00PM.
- Monterey Cafe & Welcome Center, 101 E. Cumberland St., 931-968-9877. Combination tourist bureau/diner located in the town center. A good place to stop and eat if you are also looking for information about the area.
- Pancho's Mexican Restaurant, 212 E. Cumberland St., 931-967-1415. Good, cheap Mexican food in a hip atmosphere.
- Jazz and Jambalaya, 111 E. Cumberland St., 931-967-4467. Cajun restaurant, with everything made from scratch. Open F-Sa only.
- Buck's Market, 415 W. Cumberland St., 931-967-6241. Enjoy traditional homemade barbecue.
- Cumberland Street Bakery, 209 E Cumberland St., 931-962-1788.
- Platters, 508 W Cumberland St., 931-967-9158.
- City Limit Roadhouse, 504 W Cumberland St., 931-962-4499.
There aren't many places to drink in town; try Sernicola's for wine and Pancho's for beer.
- Brown's Poolroom, 203 Sycamore St N, 931-967-7634. Local bar and billiards.
- 41A Liquors, 504 Cumberland St W, 931-967-7824.
- The Franklin-Pearson House , 108 Cumberland St E, 931-962-3223. The only real option if you want to stay in town overnight. A gorgeous, 150-year-old bed-and-breakfast that once served railroad visitors in the center of town. An excellent choice if you don't mind paying a steep (upwards of $100/night) price.
For other options, check nearby towns such as Monteagle, Sewanee and Decherd.
As is the case with coming into town, automobile is the only realistic way out.
Going east on Highway 41 will bring you to Sewanee; going west will take you to Winchester.
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