This charming town is an idyllic spot to spend a weekend, no matter the season.

By Rachel Mulcahy
March 10, 2020
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Matthew Maxey (Visit Franklin)

A short drive away from the heart of Music City lies Franklin, Tennessee, a charming suburb tucked into the state’s countryside. In Franklin, time slows down and locals greet visitors like they’re neighbors. Nashville's city lights are replaced by the glow of the Franklin Theatre’s marquee. Throughout downtown, historic brick buildings house local businesses, from boutiques to general stores. Carnton and Carter House is a haven for history buffs, and The Factory at Franklin is a local favorite. Just a 20-minute drive from Nashville, Franklin offers a charming retreat from the city life, filled with neighborly Southern hospitality, historic character, and small-town allure.

Art Meripol

Historic Main Street

Endearingly called America’s favorite Main Street, Franklin’s charming downtown is stitched together with cute boutiques, Southern fare, antique shops, and historic landmarks. Park your car on the outskirts and take a stroll on the cobblestone sidewalks of Main Street. From name brands like Anthropologie to brick and mortar shops like White’s Mercantile, Franklin has something to offer for every shopper. If you want true Southern food, dine at Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant and GRAY’S on Main. For light fare, check out Franklin Mercantile or pop into Frothy Monkey for a fresh cup of joe. Stop by Cards of Care, an outpost near town square, and write kind words for strangers. While the streets are lined with quaint boutiques, two landmarks stand tall—a monument in the middle of the public square honoring soldiers who died in the civil war and the notable, revived Franklin Theatre.

Matthew Maxey (Visit Franklin)

Carnton and Carter House

Near Franklin’s downtown, you’ll find two historic homes that played a pivotal role in the Civil War. Carnton and Carter House served as a home base for the soldiers in the Battle of Franklin. After the battle was over, the homes quickly transformed into make-shift hospitals for the wounded soldiers. History enthusiasts are able to tour the Carnton and Carter House daily and can even visit the Franklin battlefield.

Matthew Maxey (Visit Franklin)

The Factory at Franklin 

On the outskirts of Franklin’s Main Street stands a former stove factory turned bustling shopping destination. The original, industrial framework has been transformed into a hip hub with artisanal shops, such as City Farmhouse, Amelia’s Flowers, and Luna Record Shop, and local eats like Franklin Juice Co., Five Daughters Bakery, and Honest Coffee Roasters. On Saturday mornings, locals visit Franklin Farmer’s Market (located right outside The Factory), and stock up on fresh produce and baked goods for the week.

Matthew Maxey (Visit Franklin)

Natchez Trace Parkway

Known for its rolling hills and picturesque countryside, Natchez Trace Parkway offers a front row show to the enchanting Tennessee landscape. Take a scenic drive along Natchez Trace Parkway and pull off to admire Birdsong Hollow and Double Arch Bridge. Locals and visitors alike walk along the Double Arch Bridge to catch the setting sun. Stretch your legs and explore Timberland Park, a 72-acre park that hikers and birdwatchers love. Although the views are stunning all year, fall is peak season. Natchez Trace Parkway is the best spot to get a glimpse of the vibrant foliage.

WATCH: 2020 South's Best Small Towns

Matthew Maxey (Visit Franklin)

Leiper’s Fork

Just outside Franklin lies Leiper’s Fork, a town known for its unique antique shop (Serenite Maison), popular art galleries (Leiper’s Creek Gallery, Copper Fox Gallery), and authentic Southern fare. A trip to Leiper’s Fork is not complete without a stop at The Original Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant. Come for the delicious meat-and-three, but stay for the lively music scene. Keep your eyes peeled—famous artists are known to drop in from time to time to strum a tune.

This charming town is an idyllic spot to spend a weekend, no matter the season.