Why Didn't I Think Of That Dept.: Kelly McGonigal pulled up a twee blue pushcart, a sun umbrella and a metal table with two chairs at the corner of 21st and Acklen--and instantly became the talk of Hillsboro Village. Ask the nearby merchants if you can come in and shop while you eat your snowball, and they'll say "Yes" if they know what's good for them. The frosty, fruity cups have a way of slowing things down and making you want to sit a spell or stroll the brick sidewalks, popping in and out of the quirky boutiques.
A teacher at a nearby preschool, McGonigal checks in and out during the day, leaving the stand in the capable hands of a friendly team who shape and drizzle cones in flavors such as S'mores, chocolate cherry and margarita. Clearly in touch with her inner child--or at least her tiny students--McGonigal even has a roster of flavors named for the likes of Batman (blue raspberry) and Dora the Explorer (strawberry, piña colada and banana). Show up on your birthday with a valid ID, and you'll get a free birthday cake-flavored snowball with a candle. Of the perfect score from the health department affixed to her ice machine, McGonical says, "I'm so proud of that A-plus!" Spoken like a true educator.
A menu-cum-bulletin board packed with announcements, articles and a paper camera (take your photo, and the Snowball girls will post your mug on their Facebook page) brings an endearing sense of community to her corner of the Shell station parking lot. McGonigal imported the idea for a snowball stand from her home state of Maryland, where the icy treat is a popular tradition. Her ice-shaving machine grinds cubes instead of mammoth blocks of ice, and the result is a slightly more coarse and less snowy texture than some others. So here's a helpful hint: Look for recipes that include "snocreme." The thick blend of vanilla and condensed milk--found in banana split, Neopolitan and Dreamsicle--makes for a thicker, more substantial treat, perfect for window shopping or a summer stroll during a sunny lunch break.
Located at 21st Avenue and Acklen (TheSnowballStandNashville@gmail.com), the Snowball Stand is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays except Wednesday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.