About Us - Our Story
July 25th, 2003 was our first day of ownership of our little slice of heaven named The Iris Garden. Our life together had taken us from Gatlinburg then Knoxville Tennessee and eventually to a fifteen year stint in Pensacola Florida where we had built a couple of art galleries and an Auntie Anne’s Soft Pretzel franchise in a very busy mall. Amy and I had decided in 2002, to explore any opportunities that might bring us near Amy’s family in Columbus Indiana. During a visit to her parents, we all decided to spend a day in beautiful Brown County and the Village of Nashville. While walking amongst the wonderful shops, we noticed a “for sale” sign in front of an Art Gallery that was right in the heart of the village. We went in and inquired as to what exactly was for sale and were surprised to find that it was actually the North end of the block in its entirety. It had an art gallery, overnight lodging and seven retail and food spaces filled with tenants. It seemed more than we were looking for, but we couldn’t help but think “what if”. We decided to roll the dice and go after the property. Well, long story short, we were able to pull it off and sold our business interests in Pensacola and headed north.
At first we operated the Iris Garden Fine Art Gallery and the original three units of the Iris Garden Cottages and we rented out the rest of the spaces to our tenants. Over the years, as our tenants would retire or move on, we reinvented the spaces into businesses of our own. The Copperhead Creek Gem Mine, The Brown County Rock and Fossil Shop and seven new lodging units were born. Today, our “Iris Garden Property” still has two of the original seven tenants. The Ice Cream Cottage and The Trolly BBQ are both great and our guests love them.
When we moved here, our kids, Josie and Tanner were only 7 and 5. As of this writing they are 23 and 21, and have grown roots deep into the rich soil of Brown County. I smile about this. It’s a good thing to have roots and a place to call home. But when that place in little Nashville Indiana in the heart of beautiful Brown County,……… well that’s just a blessing.
Amy and I live just north of Nashville in the quiet countryside of Bean Blossom, Indiana that we share with our kids and the deer and turkey. Brown County is a magically beautiful area and we count our lucky stars that life brought us together and landed us in Brown County.
It is a wonderful thing to love what you do for a living. The Iris Garden’s guests have given us what we think of as an extended family that returns over and over to stay with us and visit and laugh. Blessings surround us, and we thank God for them all.
Matt & Amy Gray