Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Visitor's Guide to Franklin

I've lived in Franklin, Tennessee for over three years now, and it's a wonderful place to be!  If you're a Gilmore Girls fan, imagine Stars Hollow dropped into Tennessee, complete with town square festivals.  Franklin has a rich history, including a significant Civil War battle site, and its population (and property values) has absolutely exploded in the last 30 years.  It's a great place to live that consistently wins "Best Southern Town" and other magazine contests.  It's located about 15-20 minutes south of Nashville, and it's well worth a visit if you're in the area!

Downtown Franklin:  The heart of Franklin is its downtown, which is constantly changing and bustling.  You can eat at local restaurants, shop small boutiques, and walk around its historic blocks.  There are also a bunch of festivals that take place downtown, from bluegrass to craft beer to seasonal events.  My favorites are Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas.  Be prepared to park and walk, because tourists descend for these events and traffic is truly gridlock!

Pumpkinfest and Dickens of a Christmas

I'd also recommend that you check out The Factory and two nearby parks: Park at Harlinsdale Farm and Pinkerton Park.  The Factory has unique shops, and it is also where our farmers market is every Saturday (along with my favorite Ellie's Old Fashioned Doughnuts!)  The parks are nice just to walk around and get a little exercise.

Food: For Southern food, hit up Puckett's or its Boathouse, with the Boathouse offering more seafood and fish options.  For more upscale (but still jeans-friendly) Southern, Saffire in the Factory is really great too, with a fabulous bourbon selection. (Sadly, Saffire closed in 2017!)  For a high end, seasonal menu experience, Red Pony Restaurant (where I had my wedding dinner!) is fab.  For coffee, visit The Frothy Monkey, set in an old house.  For drinks, Gray's on Main and Cork & Cow have unique cocktails, while JJ's Wine Bar offers wine by the taste to sample across a broad range.

History:  If you're a history buff like my Dad, you've got to check out the trio of Civil War sites in town, especially since they have a discounted combo ticket:  Carnton Plantation,  Carter House, and Lotz House.  Carnton is my favorite, but Carter House has a fascinating story too.  If you want to venture even further on the history path, Stones River Battlefield in Murfreesboro or James K. Polk Home in Columbia are both within 40 minutes of Franklin.

And if you're in town at the right time, you might catch the Tour of Homes, when you can explore both old and new homes that aren't usually open to the public.  Many are private residences, and the locations change every year!

Just outside...  Not far from Franklin are two more drivable and beautiful spots:  Arrington Vineyards and Leipers Fork.  Arrington is our largest (to my knowledge) local winery, with Kix Brooks sometimes pouring tastings behind the counter as a part owner.

Leipers Fork is an adorable village near Franklin, which is basically only about 2-3 blocks long but full of charm!  There are tons of shops with antiques, one-of-a-kind pieces, and other country and crafted items.  There are also a few restaurants, including the original location of Puckett's Grocery, though it's a little different from the rest.

Doesn't this list make you want to come visit Franklin right away?  I love it here, and you will too!

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