We spent a couple of days in and around Franklin as part of a larger overall Tennessee trip and, if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend making this bitty town one of your formal stops. It could be an entire long weekend or family trip unto itself, really. And it very conveniently sits right outside Nashville. So, on our way in and out of downtown, we stopped off for a few must-do things to do around Franklin, TN.
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Things To Do Around Franklin, TN? Start Bright & Early at H Clark Distillery.
I mean… it’s Global Debauchery, y’all. So, what better way to kick off a trip than with a whiskey, bourbon, and gin tasting at 10:30 in the morning? At H Clark Distillery. Which is also an actively practicing law office, by the way. The owner, Heath Clark, literally rewrote Tennessee law to legalize whiskey production in Tennessee. Now he produces his own small-batch whiskey in a former Civil War granary.
And the spirits are pretty tasty, too. So much so that the Adventure Partner For Life bought himself a bottle of small-batch bourbon. They make a small-batch bourbon, a black and tan, a rye, and two different gins. Stop in for a quick tester, talk to the nice folks there, and pet the sleepy distillery cats.
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Have A Traditional Whole Hog Barbecue Lunch at Martin’s BBQ in Nolensville
Yep—you read right: they cook the whole hog at once. Over 12 to 24 hours. And the pig is made two different ways, too—in both Tennessee- and Carolina-style barbecues. There are now several Martin’s BBQ locations, but the Nolensville one is the all-original.
I got one of the crowd favorites—the pulled pork nachos— and, while I was supposed to be watching what I ate as best I could, I didn’t regret my choice to go all in here. I myself like all kinds of barbecue styles, but was super surprised (pleasantly) with Martin’s sauce. By the looks of it, you’d think their sauce was vinegar-based, but it was sweet and spicy. Absolutely delish! A fun atmosphere and a great spot for a hearty meal when you’re out and about exploring all the fun things to do around Franklin, TN.
Do An Insta-Shoot at Kim Radford’s “This Girl Can” Mural
I was indeed that person. The person who did a mini photo shoot in front of a mural. In a drive-thru. Just for a moment, though. But c’mon, you know I love my murals and art stops.
“This Girl Can” was painted by Kim Radford as part of the Walls for Women project in celebration of the 19th Amendment. (The one where women got the right to vote. You know the one…) Apparently, Tennessee was the deciding vote to change the Constitution and they did this statewide mural painting project to celebrate one hundred years of women’s suffrage.
It’s literally right across the street from Martin’s BBQ. And it’s beautiful. So if you’re in the area, worth a look.
One Of My Top Things To Do Around Franklin, TN? Get Even Boozier At Arrington Vineyards.
So, you’ve had your morning intake of whiskey, bourbon, and/or gin and you’ve soaked it all up with some Tennessee barbecue. What are some other things to do around Franklin, TN that could make your day even more awesome? Go wine tasting at Arrington Vineyards, of course. Also part of the Master’s & Makers Trail.
Arrington Vineyards is actually owned by Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn, but who knew he helped produced award-winning wines, too? Parts of the winery were closed when we visited, but it does have a sprawling outdoor area with picnic tables where you can enjoy a flight of your choosing.
The only thing I found a little confusing—and I’m sure people thought I was drunk because it just. wasn’t. registering—was that it says you get four wine flights. But you don’t technically get to choose exactly which four you’d like. You pick red, white, or rosé and—from there—your four flights are pre-determined. You don’t get to pick an individual white, red, rosé… Make sense?
I did the whites, and am now a big fan of the Stag’s White. (Yum.) Jeff tested the reds, but he’s not much of a wine drinker in general, so… you can’t trust his opinion in… “matters of wine.”
Stop Off At The Picturesque Natchez Trace Bridge
I’m told that Natchez Trace Parkway is actually the eighth most visited national park in the United States. And it’s an extraordinarily beautiful area. All 444 miles of it. There look to be some great hikes out and about in the area, but we were spent and still had a big day ahead of us. So instead, we opted for a drive over the bridge itself and some fun drone pics in the general region. (No drones allowed in national parks, folks.)
Explore The Quirkiness That Is Leiper’s Fork
Leiper’s Fork is this little bitty village just outside Franklin, TN and it’s… just. awesome. There’s nothing else that can be said about it, really. It’s a cool spot for sure. A lot of celebrities live in Franklin and near Leiper’s Fork, so it’s said that you can just run into famous people whenever. Justin Timberlake lives there and, supposedly, just picked up a rare instrument at an antique shop and just started playing in the corner. …As one does.
Anyhow, we opted for an early lunch at Puckett’s, which is a grocery store, restaurant, and music venue all in one. It served traditional southern food buffet style and was fairly decent. The food wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t 1799. It’s really more the atmosphere, I think, that you get taken with. It was also a Friday and getting a little chaotic in there, so that added to my stress and confusion a little bit. (You know me and crowds are not besties. And me plus hunger, well…)
From there, we hopped along the main road and toured all the little Leiper’s Fork shops and galleries. I really loved Serenite Maison (the one with the rare instruments in the front corner). It was a super cool mix of antiques and handmade artisan-type stuff. We also hit up Leiper’s Creek Gallery and David Arms Gallery. Both were beautiful, but Leiper’s Creek Gallery may have been more my personal art style.
Just to add the the whole feel of the village was an old gallery dog that made her way from shop to shop asking for treats. Everyone knew who she was, and she had the same routine every day.
Toasting All The Fun Things To Do Around Franklin, TN At Leiper’s Fork Distillery
After all the amazing things to do around Franklin, TN, I feel like the most appropriate send-off for our tour was another stop on the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, amiright? So we finished our day at Leiper’s Fork Distillery. Much in the same way the village itself is cozy and quirky and quaint, so is the distillery there. There’s even a random stuffed raccoon with Cracker Jacks inside. They have a beautiful, grand still in a barn and offer their tastings in a quiet, private little room. Folks were super friendly there and it was an all-around pleasant stop.
Where To Stay: The Harpeth Franklin Downtown, Curio Collection by Hilton
I said it before, and I’ll say it again: We were fortunate enough to be able to stay the Harpeth Hotel, a Hilton Curio, right in the middle of downtown. I’d definitely recommend the Harpeth Hotel when you’re discovering all the cool things to do around Franklin, TN. Great rooms, great food, great location, great service, the Harpeth Hotel is the perfect way to end your day in Franklin.
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