A Day in Franklin, TN
A quaint, historical vibe that will keep visitors busy from morning till night. (March 2015)
Written By: Erin B. Murray
Photographers: Ashley Hylbert, The Tennessean & Nick Rau
For those who don’t live there, a trip to downtown Franklin can feel like a real getaway. With its quaint, historical vibe, an easily walk-able layout, and antique shops on just about every corner, there is plenty to keep visitors busy from morning till night.
There are tons of opportunities to snack your way through Franklin, which is why it’s a good idea to start light. Head to the brand new Juice Bar, which sits just on the outskirts of town, for a cocoa banana smoothie—packed with cocoa powder, banana, peanut butter, and spinach (trust us, it’s great), it’ll give you enough fuel to get through the historic town’s many antique stores.
The key to scoring good finds is to sweep the perimeter. Walk a few blocks up Bridge Street toward City Farmhouse, where owners Kim and David Leggett show off a collection of urban-chic antiques, from farm tables and well-worn benches to silver sets and garden decor. For a more eclectic selection, head next door to the Winchester Antique Mall, where, with a bit of digging, you can uncover elegant china patterns, hand-painted lamps, and original artwork.
Edged by historical buildings, Main Street offers plenty of window-shopping and stops along the way. Start by swinging through The Iron Gate, where you can pick up fluffy throws, ornate iron candleholders, and other decorative accent pieces. Next, you’ll want to pop into
Savory Spice Shop if for no other reason than to inhale the intoxicating scents. Choose from the dozens of dried individual spices, herbs, flowers, and peppers (think Jamaican allspice berries and dehydrated orange peel) as well as the shop’s own blends. All those aromas are likely to get your taste buds dancing, so make a pit stop at nearby Gray’s on Main for a plate of Creole mac ’n’ cheese and a side of fried green tomatoes.
Walk off some of those calories by heading over to the other side of town. On the fringe of the business district, you’ll find another little hub of antique shops at the corner of South Margin and 2nd Avenue. The Franklin Antique Mall displays all kinds of furniture and bric-a-brac, while Scarlett Scales Antiques has a well-curated selection of rugs and reproduction hardware. If you’re looking for something more contemporary, head across the street to Tin Cottage, which stocks a fantastic assortment of stylish home goods, cookbooks, and kitchen accessories, like hammered copper cocktail mugs, tea towels with clever sayings, a pretty array of pie servers, and even a stylish bowl set for the pooch in your life. Afterward, unwind with a glass of wine at Puckett’s Boat House, which turned part of its space into a dedicated wine bar last year. Pull a chair up to the copper-topped bar and choose from the vast by-the-glass list—it’s all half price from 3 to 6 p.m.
If you’re after a little live music, stick around at Puckett’s, where small acts take the stage Wednesday through Sunday. If it’s a Wednesday, make your way north on Franklin Road to The Factory at Franklin, where Music City Roots, an Americana radio show, is performed live from 7 to 9 p.m. Once you’re ready to take in a full meal, grab a seat inside Saffire, a sister restaurant to The Southern in Nashville, which recently revamped its oyster program. The selection usually includes a mix of both East and West Coast oysters that are shucked by pros and served on the half shell. For something heartier, order a plate of the crispy fried “bam-bam” shrimp and follow it up with a peach-glazed pork chop. The maple Manhattan makes for a nice way to round out the meal—and a celebratory toast to a day of exploring well done.