Hi! My name is Erin (@erinalaine) and I’m more than nearly a Nashvillian, I’m celebrating 7 years in the Music City by way of Southern California. As Nashville continues to grow, many of us are looking beyond the increasingly populated city limits. Just 14 miles south of Nashville, there is a sanctuary of Southern hospitality. That sanctuary, my friends, is called Franklin, TN. Most known for its antique shops and Civil War history, Franklin also has countless dining, live music, and entertainment opportunities. Don’t believe me? Join me as we explore live like natives for 48 hours in Franklin.
The turn-of-the-century pharmacy turned world-class historic restaurant, Gray’s on Main, boasts a modern take on traditional southern food as well as handcrafted cocktails that celebrate the culture of the late 19th century. With dishes such as Bacon Wrapped Figs, Fried Pimento Cheeseballs with moonshine jelly, and Country Ham Pizza, your taste buds will be overtaken by delicious Southern flavors that are sure to make you say “Well butter my buns and call me a biscuit!”
Take a step back to the Prohibition Era with one of Gray’s signature cocktails. As one of the few brandy-based bars in the country, the bartenders at Grays are true artisans behind the bar. While the cocktail menu changes with the season, they’ll always feature a few classics that have stood the test of time. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, sip on the Burnt Brandy & Peach (which is set on fire before being served), or try the the Anthem Spirit, Gray’s take on the classic Old Fashioned.
The second floor bar also plays host to great live music shows on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. The genres range from blues to folk to singer-songwriter to jazz and everywhere in between. Be sure to arrive before 7:30 pm or make a reservation on show nights to avoid a long wait times.
Other venues to catch live music:
Located in the parking lot of The Factory, the Franklin Farmers Market is home to a plethora of fresh local produce, dairy, meat, baked goods, and handmade items. This year-round market is open every Saturday from 8am to 1pm in the summer, and has wide variety of items from local farms, small businesses, and artisans.
While you’re there, be sure to pick up a couple (or 5!) of Ellie’s Old Fashioned Doughnuts. These cake-like concoctions are freshly made on location and will melt in your mouth. For being cake-based doughnuts, they are extremely light and pair nicely with Ellie’s organic coffee blend (regular or cold brewed). The flavors change weekly, but their original cinnamon and sugar doughnut is always an option and I’d highly recommend it!
If you prefer something a little more on the healthy side, waltz over to Franklin Juice Co. for a refreshing cold-pressed juice or tasty acai bowl. At The Factory, there’s so much to see, taste, and feel that you may not want to leave until you’ve experienced it all. The variety of the vendors change each week at the market through the season, so each visit to the Farmer’s Market is different than the last.
Once you’ve seen and eaten your fill at the Farmer’s Market, head on over to Mantra Artisan Ales for a detoxifying free yoga session and FREE pint of beer. Nashvillians have high standards when it come to craft brewed spirits, and Mantra certainly continues to keep that bar high. Offering over 20 varieties of beer, Mantra hosts a donation based yoga class every Saturday at 10:30 am, followed by a free pint of beer of your choice. Beer options range from Ales to Saisons to Stouts. There are even some more light fruit-based flavors for those just dipping their toe into craft brews. The taproom is open 7 days a week, but hours vary, so check their website before planning your visit.
After you’ve had your fill of food and beer, you’ll probably want to work it off with some physical activity. Perusing through the boutique shops and antique stores in Downtown Franklin is always a good way to work off some calories, but here are some other options that might wet your whistle.
Assuming you’ve worked up your appetite after all of that activity, local neighborhood Mexican restaurant, Pueblo Real, has got the goods to dull your hunger pains. Hidden in a roadside stripmall, Pueblo Real is a family owned business with large portions and half-priced beer happy hour specials. This place can get pretty busy during the dinner rush, but the casual atmosphere and authentic mexican food is worth the wait. They also offer online ordering and takeout options which are perfect if you’d like to have a picnic at nearby Jim Warren Park. Additionally, you can head around the corner to Paletas Tocumbo to prep your palate with a freshly made popsicle while you wait. If you are familiar with Las Paletas in 12th South, Paletas Tocumbo is Franklin’s equivalent and has a wide assortment of freshly made popsicles that will keep you coming back again and again.
Before your foray into Franklin-life comes to an end, head just a outside of Franklin-proper to The Loveless Cafe. Loveless is most well known for its made-from-scratch biscuits, however THIS nearly native is a big fan of the home made preserves that are served alongside them. Pile on the peach, strawberry, or blackberry preserves and get ready to fill up on biscuits before your meal even hits the table.
Loveless serves a full breakfast all day, every day, and to avoid long wait times, I’d recommend getting to the restaurant within about a half an hour after they open. You’ll be seated right away with no wait! However, if getting up early on a weekend isn’t your thing, you can mosey through the on-premise shopping while you wait for your table.
If you’d rather go to a coffee shop on your Sunday morning, Franklin has some a great selection of coffee shops to try. There is a Frothy Monkey downtown and a number of Starbucks littered throughout. If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, here are a few more ideas. You should try them all. No really, you should.
Tired yet? Franklin has even more to offer beyond this short glimpse into it’s welcoming charm. If you’ve not paid a visit to this historic and happening city, it might be time to carve out a weekend to give 48 hours in Franklin a try!