Williamson County is made up of rolling hills, lazy rivers, and is divided down the middle by Highway 31, the gateway to most major cities in the county.
Highway 31 runs parallel to the faster route, Interstate 65.
The highway may be the gateway, but the thriving retail, restaurant and corporate business community is the heartbeat. Franklin, the seat of county government, is host to one of America’s most beautiful Main Streets. A creative artistic culture can be felt throughout the town whether you are shopping for art at Gallery 202 or antique shopping at Winchester Antique Mall.
The 20-year revitalization of beautiful Main Street has seen the growth of its business acumen in restaurant fare. Tourists and residents alike can find the finest in biscuits, steak, wine, grits, catfish and seafood. And the craze of creative cocktails buzzes in every restaurant.
If you start at Five Points at Fifth Avenue and Main, you can grab a tea or coffee at the hippest coffee house in town, Frothy Monkey. Consider trying the architect omelet or the grilled cheese breakfast sandwich. This funky but beautiful restaurant is host to many creatives in the area.
If you are more into country breakfasts, or just like variety, one block down on Fourth Avenue is Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant. Puckett’s can have a line out the door on weekends but it moves fast and it’s worth the wait. Try their country breakfast and if you like your bacon crispy – just say so! Puckett’s is open for lunch and dinner too. If you head there for dinner, check out the live music events.
New York Times bestselling author Robert Hicks, who lives just down the road in Leiper’s Fork, helped put one of Franklin’s most beautiful treasures on the map. Carnton Plantation was the setting for his book Widow of the South. After breakfast, head on over to Carnton and take a tour of the historic home and stroll through the beautiful formal gardens. If you have a bit more time, walk the trails at the Eastern Flank Battlefield Park, a 30-acre preserve with ADA compliant trails.
Beyond battle sites and historic homes, shopping might be your preferred way to spend your day. Franklin has that in spades and will thrill any shopper who likes unique clothing and gifts. Right next to Puckett’s, you can start your shopping expedition at Gin-O Boutique where you can find the cutest selection of dresses that can go from work to night out.
Around the corner at Finnley’s Good Findings, there are some eclectic, contemporary chic items that will brighten your wardrobe. Check out their jewelry and accessory selection and their mannequins out front are always sporting something edgy enough to catch your eye. From boots to gifts, Finnley’s is always good for finding something fun. (pun intended)
It’s about lunch time (or dinner if you are from the deep South), and you might want to head over to 55 South. Consider trying the red beans and rice with the catfish on top, the jambalaya or the gumbo. Their souvenir t-shirts are pretty fun with a take on “day drinking.”
After lunch, step down the block to Tin Cottage where the owners believe in supporting their local creative community. They carry a variety of locally made gifts whether for the tourist or the local. The Tennessee-themed items are unique and you can grab a copy of Franklin’s latest coffee table book, Franklin’s History by city Alderman Brandy Blanton.
The ladies will like their variety of stationary, tea towels, mugs, soaps, books, food items, t-shirts, glassware and accessories. Browse the bath bomb bar because you might need a soak after all this shopping, eating and drinking.
Across the street, stop by and say howdy at White’s Mercantile. The shop has that general store feel, but owner and singer/songwriter Holly Williams has curated the inventory with all of her favorites for the modern-day tastemaker. There is so much to see, you will want to take your time and check out the Franklin-centric items. The maps of the area are a great keepsake or gift for those who love Franklin.
If you want some high-end seasonal grub for dinner, craft cocktails and some live music, Gray’s on Main might be more your style. Arrive before your reservation and have a cocktail at the bar upstairs. The mixologists are fun to watch and they make some mean drinks out of their signature brandy. Order shareables while you experiment with the cocktails. The fried pimiento cheese balls and bacon-wrapped figs are to die for.
Once seated, take a look at the Burrata and Honey Roasted Delicata Squash – unbelievable. Know that the menu is seasonal and fresh, but one amazing signature dish on the menu is the Heritage Fried Chicken. But for those you love gumbo – check out the Shrimp, Scallop and Crab Gumbo over Smoked Gouda Grits.
If you are looking for a burger and you are into bourbon, right next door at O Be Joyful you will be in heaven. With a selection of over 200 bourbons, you can try a few while you eat one of the best burgers in town.