Hello there – I’m Abigail! I’ve lived in the Franklin area for the past 12 years. During the time I’ve lived here, Downtown Franklin has gone from a sleepy square to a vibrant small town with plenty to do. (It was even voted Garden and Gun’s best small town by a 69% majority in 2014!)
What I love most about Franklin is that it never loses its character. The warm sense of home envelops you the second you drive onto the square. No matter how long you’ve been gone or how far away you’re from, Franklin is always welcoming.
Here are a few of my favorite spots both old and new…
Sips, Snacks and Sustenance
Franklin is foodie heaven. From classic southern fare to plated meals you’d find in a major city, there’s something for everyone. Make sure you come hungry from your adventures.
Merridees Breadbasket is where the locals eat breakfast and lunch; it’s a 35 year old classic bakery and homestyle deli. Don’t miss the cinnamon rolls or the London Fog drink; and the pies are delectable. I love getting eggs, bacon and fruit here in the morning.
Frothy Monkey is a Nashville institution. The DT Franklin location is housed in the old rectory next to the Presbyterian church; it features warm wooden floors, delicious food, local artwork and tasty drinks. You can’t go wrong with their tea, barista coffee, mulled wine, sandwiches or baked goods. They have a variety of health and allergy conscious meals; but don’t worry, you can find something sinful here too.
Gray’s on Main: This is a fairly new restaurant built into the old drugstore. With delicious upscale Southern fare, custom cocktails and live music most nights, you’ll enjoy the entire experience. Don’t miss any of their home-style veggies!
McCreary’s Irish Pub: Stop here for the best loaded potato of your life, enjoyed in an authentic Irish style pub. The space is cozy and relaxing; perfect for a long conversation and people watching over a nourishing meal.
Shopping + Fun
Franklin has delightful shopping. Their antiques are curated, the clothing is unique and the specialty shops are unique; you’re sure to dig up a few treasures.
The antiques district in Franklin is incredible. Within a two-block radius, you’ll find over 10 shops. My favorite is Scarlett Scales, which offers beautiful pieces sorted according to color, type and texture; so peaceful and satisfying to look at!
Drive just five minutes to find the Factory at Franklin; you’ll definitely want to make an afternoon of it. From an incredible antiques shop to restaurants to pottery painting to garden shops, it’s full of unique surprises. A favorite is Artisan Guitars, a shop that carries an astounding collection of string instruments; everyone from the hobbyist to the serious professional will enjoy strumming their selection.
After you have shopped, stay for dinner at Saffire, an upscale dining establishment with delicious fried avocado. (It sounds weird but it’s delicious!) Finally, catch a late-night show at the Boiler Plate Theatre, a small town acting company with incredible talent.
Adventures + History
Tennessee has beautiful countryside that reminds me of North Ireland complete with a rich history. If you love history, you’ll go wild; if you just love good stories, those are here for the taking too. Make sure you take time to drive out on 840 on your way to visit Arrington Vineyards for the best views.
Franklin on Foot is your go-to spot for tours; from Ghost tours (Franklin is quite haunted!) to Civil War tours to foodie tours to bicycle rides, they offer it all. You can do any tour on foot or on a classic bicycle complete with a perfectly tuned bell.
Make sure you catch a show at the Franklin Theatre; from live music to comedy to classic films, this restored auditorium offers a unique experience. Audiences are encouraged to laugh, clap and boo the screen during films. Anytime I see a film here, I leave feeling filled up by a sense of community.
There are three don’t-miss houses you’ll want to tour in Franklin; Carnton Plantation, The Carter House and the Lotz House. Each guided tour provides an in-depth and unique perspective of the Battle of Franklin, one of the definitive and most bloody frays of the Civil War. You can place your finger in the bullet holes and view indelible blood stains on the floor. Many visitors report feeling a shiver up their spine when they walk through the houses…
For a wine country experience, make the scenic drive to Arrington Vineyards, which features picnic tables overlooking sweeping vineyards. Bring a basket dinner with you and purchase a bottle of wine for a romantic dinner; the top staff recommendation is the Stag’s White.
Stay and Relax
At the end of your busy days spent exploring, you’ll want to go somewhere relaxing. Butterfly Meadows Inn is a luxurious B & B tucked away on a mountain just 20 minutes from downtown Franklin. They offer full service breakfast, king sized beds, stunning views, 3 miles of moderate hiking trails, a huge library and a rocking chair porch.
Franklin is rich with things to see and do… even narrowing down activities for a mini-moon was no easy feat. If you’ve already decided to extend your stay and want to explore more that the area has to offer, click over to visit franklin.com. You can also visit my blog site, www.southfacinglight.com, for a closer look at the area.