Travel Guide

Travel Guide: Franklin, Tennessee

18 miles outside of Nashville, Tennessee you will find a community with rolling hills, gorgeous mansions, and small town charm. Franklin, TN is an old town and a key site of the American Civil War. It’s main street is lined with quaint galleries, antique shops, and restored Victorian buildings.

Covid has certainly put a damper on any travel plans for the remainder of the year. But this socially-distanced trip through the winding roads of Tennessee helped curb my wanderlust itch for the time being.

Franklin, TN

I lived in Nashville, TN for two years and the city of Franklin was one of my favorite places to take visitors. Just a short drive from the bustling city of Nashville, you can take a break from the loud honky tonk’s and enjoy great food, beautiful scenery, & friendly people.

The Factory at Franklin is just steps away from Historic Downtown Franklin. Once a former stove factory, this historic property is now a top destination for shopping artisan goods, trying culinary delights, and watching great live entertainment. 

Five Daughters Bakery has a location in The Factory as well as 3 other locations in TN at 12th South,  East Nashville, & West Nashville. Plus two locations in Atlanta, GA. 

The bakery is a family business, owned and operted by Isaac & Stephanie Meek along with their five daughters in Franklin, TN. The pastry they are most famous for is their 100 layer doughnut. It is the Five Daughters Bakery version of the cronut. This delicious hybrid of a croissant and a doughnut takes up to three days to craft into the most delicious item you’ve ever tasted.  Once cooked, the 100 layer doughnut is rolled in sugar, filled with cream, and topped with a heavenly glaze. 

Among their 100 layer doughnut assortment, they also offer other pastries, vegan donuts, & yeast doughnuts.

Main Street runs through downtown Franklin in a 16-block historic district of award-winning antique shops, brick-and-mortar gift and book stores, fashion-forward boutiques, privately owned art galleries, and lovingly restored homes.

There is something for everyone here. Some of my favorite spots include: Grays on Main, Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant, Landmark Booksellers, White’s Mercantile.

Arrington, TN

About 12 miles East of downtown Franklin sits 25 acres of lush vineyards & gorgeous views. Welcome to Arrington Vineyards, a must-see if you need a break from the city.

Arrington Vineyards opened its doors in 2007. Since then, they have been providing a “wine country experience” of award winning wines set among the picturesque rolling hills of middle Tennessee.  Owned by country music artist Kix Brooks, master vintner Kip Summers, and Nashville businessman John Russell, Arrington Vineyards has truly become “Nashville’s Wine Country”.

Arrington Vineyards is taking all the precautions during the pandemic. They have opened hillside picnic areas with social distancing guidelines in place and have over 5 acres of outdoor picnic areas for groups of 10 or less. (Don’t forget your mask.)

They offer wine by the bottle, wine flights, frosé , cigars, cheese + crackers, and picnics are welcome. We chose to use the meal service on site (Simply Living Life) and ordered an amazing picnic for two to pair with our wine.

The Antebellum Red was one of my favorites. It has cherry cola, wild blackberries, & a hint of TN whiskey in its flavor profile.

If you stop by the vineyard, check out these spots near by: Breakout Games, Mill Creek Brewing Co, & Lucky Ladd Farms

Leiper's Fork, TN

Leiper’s Fork is a literal hidden gem & is low-key one of my favorite places in the state. The serene views, southern charm, and quaint town will draw you in.

The village of Leiper’s Fork has a population of 650 and most of the town shares a zip code with Franklin. (It’s only 18 acres.)

It is also a getaway to many celebrities in the area. Including Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Judd (who I ran into there), Justin Timberlake, & many others.

The village is located on the Natchez Trace Parkway and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district.

Don’t sleep on Leiper’s Fork! It may be small but it draws visitors from all around the world. It is home to many local artist galleries, antique shops, award winning restaurants, a distillery, and a local music joint. 

1892 Leiper’s Fork is a unique dining experience in the heart of the town. Located inside a home built in 1892- this restaurant features dishes with a Country French twist.  Each dish features locally sourced and locally grown ingredients, the menu changes daily.

Every dish was amazing and the hospitably was next level.  I highly recommend the Halibut with pureed corn + whipped potatoes (signature dish) & try some of their famous Hoe Cakes with whipped Pimento Cheese.

They are taking the necessary precautions and sat us in a private room. They also have moved a lot of seating outdoors. Reservations are required.

If you visit Leiper’s Fork don’t forget to check out: Finds in the Fork, Leiper’s Fork Distillery, & Serenite Maison (featured in Garden & Gun).

We chose to stay at an Airbnb cut off from cell service, 8 miles past Leiper’s Fork village. GratiDude Lodge was our home during our stay and was a perfect getaway for our bigger family. 

The Lodge adjoins another property, GratiDude Ranch that is home to the owners of the property.  They offer a mini-farm experience with a petting zoo that we could visit. They also hold farm-t0-table dinners and Hillbilly Clue Murder Mystery dinners benefiting foster children of Middle Tennessee.

We had such a great time visiting the ranch and being treated to dinner and a show. They set up the dinner outside in their open air barn’s & everyone was masked up. 

We couldn’t help ourselves and felt the need to dress the part for our Hillbilly Clue Murder Mystery dinner. Costumes were not required.

Overall, this trip to Franklin, TN was the perfect little getaway to help us feel like there wasn’t a huge pandemic still going on around us.  We still practiced social distancing and wore masks if we went anywhere, but it felt nice to have a change of scenery where we didn’t have to risk flying on a plane.

We highly recommend snagging up a cabin or secluded rental home with your close family and getting a way for a while. (Even if it’s in your hometown.)

-M.

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