20 Reasons to Love Fall in Franklin

The quote by F. Scott Fitzgerald that says, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall,” certainly rings true amidst the streets of downtown Franklin.

Every year as the hot, muggy days of summer begin to fade into cooler, shorter days, the new energy of Autumn is palpable.

We are fortunate to enjoy all four seasons in middle Tennessee, and none are more welcomed by the locals than the gorgeous Autumn that we experience, even if it only lasts for a short time!

Of course, part of that fresh energy is because we are no longer melting in the late summer heat, but it’s also true because Franklin makes the most of the Fall, as you will discover from this list.

Fall Finds White Mercantile

I mention White’s Mercantile quite often, but it’s simply everything lovely about a Franklin-themed gift shop in the fall.

As you walk through the grand white doors, you’ll be greeted with the most eclectic table display for Halloween and then Thanksgiving as October fades to November.

The aroma of leather and whiskey permeates the shop, and any modern, southern woman (or man) will appreciate the real leather goods, as well as the plethora of high-quality, fall candles. 

Sticky Bun from Merridee’s 

Don’t get me wrong, I love a decadent pastry year-round. However, don’t you just feel like we should all get a free pass when it comes to a warm sticky bun with a hot cup of coffee on a crisp, fall day?

Look no further, than Merridee’s Breadbasket for your fall pastry fix, the homemade sticky buns, cinnamon rolls, and bear claws are calling your name! 

Historic Homes around downtown Franklin adorned with Fall Decor

Strolling through the residential streets of historic downtown Franklin is always a sight to behold, but folks around here go all out when it comes to fall decor.

Magazine worthy front porch displays are decked out with gorgeous varieties of pumpkins and fall foliage to compliment the already breathtaking, historic homes. 

Autumn Window Displays down Main Street

The window displays during the fall months down Main Street will have you doing more than window shopping.

Local store owners, pull out all the stops as they switch from the summer vibes to all things warm and cozy. As much as my husband would prefer that I simply “window-shop,” the cozy sweaters, fall-themed table trimmings, and holiday hostess gift ideas through the glass get me every time.

Take a Drive Down the Natchez Trace Parkway 

One of the best ways to take in the beauty of the Tennessee fall foliage is a scenic drive through the Natchez Trace Parkway which runs through Franklin and Leiper’s Fork.

The Natchez Trace Parkway is a recreational road and National Park that spans three states, and roughly follows the “Old Natchez Trace” a historic travel corridor used by American Indians, “Kaintucks,” European settlers, slave traders, soldiers, and future presidents. 

Be sure to drive over the double arch bridge, for truly spectacular views of the countryside, particularly in mid-October through mid-November.

Hike through Fall Foliage at Timberland Park

If you are ready to stretch your legs a bit after a scenic drive on the Natchez Trace Parkway, stop off for a hike at Timberland Park.

For generations, the wooded property comprising Timberland Park was logged by hand, loaded into wagons, and pulled by horses and mules.

Most of the lumber was used for the buildings you now see around Franklin. These days, visitors can hike the old logging roads which are now hiking trails at this public park.

PBS Latte from Frothy Monkey 

I’ve written about this drink before, but it bears repeating, the PBS Latte from Frothy Monkey is without a doubt my absolute favorite cool weather coffee drink.

Only available seasonally, this creamy latte is made with maple, chocolate, and Georgia Grinders Peanut Butter. It’s decadent and rich without being too sweet, and the perfect addition to your stroll down Main Street.

Leiper’s Fork Fire Pits

Getaway from all of the distractions of life in the quaint village of Leiper’s Fork where you’ll find bonfires around several of the shops to gather, warm your hands, and soak in the ambiance.

Leiper’s Fork is a dream of a small town, especially during the fall when pumpkins and fall foliage surround the refurbished shops and restaurants. 

Hot Breakfast at the Original Puckett’s Grocery 

Cooler weather and comfort food just go hand in hand, don’t you agree? A crisp, fall morning seems like the perfect time to sit outside the original Puckett’s Grocery in Leiper’s Fork for a hot, southern-style breakfast.

Enjoy the outdoor seating with your cup of joe and plate of buttermilk biscuits with peppered milk gravy before hitting the shops and galleries in the village of Leiper’s Fork. 

Warm Donuts from Ellie’s Old Fashioned Donuts at the Farmers Market

A paper bag filled with hot right-out-of-the-fryer donuts is one of the definitions of happiness in my book.

You can find Ellie’s Old Fashioned Doughnuts every Saturday morning at the Franklin Farmers Market and other various locations throughout the week posted on their Facebook page and Instagram account.

Their delicious flavors rotate each week with staples like the Cinnamon Sugar and Maple Glazed available year-round, as well as seasonal delights such as Blueberry Pancake and Chocolate Covered Pumpkin for the fall. 

Fall Cocktails from Gray’s 

Gray’s On Main is a staple any time of year when visiting Franklin, however, each fall Gray’s on Main releases their seasonal fall cocktails.

The genius bartenders always incorporate the warm spice and rich flavors we all love during this season in their unique and original cocktails.

The Anthem Spirit, which is available year-round at Gray’s on Main, is a particularly lovely cocktail in the fall, made with house-made chai bitters, James D Pepper 1776 Rye, and Apricot Brandy. 

Harpeth Hotel Fireplace

Grab a latte from McGavock’s Coffee Shop and Provisions or a bourbon forward cocktail from 1799 Kitchen and Cocktails, and tour the stunning Harpeth Hotel in downtown Franklin.

Everything about this luxury hotel screams Franklin from the southern, yet modern design, to the Williamson County, themed artwork throughout and cozy fireplaces. 

All things pumpkin at Triple Crown Bakery

Look no further for your pumpkin baked good craving than Triple Crown Bakery. When I say they have it all in the fall goodies department, I’m talking Mini Pumpkin Loaves, Pumpkin Pie Bars, Pumpkin Scones, Pumpkin Muffin, Pumpkin Decorated Cookies, and more!

This French-inspired bakery is a local treasure and doesn’t worry if pumpkin is not your thing, try the Sticky Honey Raisin Bran Slice, it’s truly a little slice of heaven!

Gentry’s Farm

Gentry’s Farm has become a fall tradition for many families around here, and for good reason! This absolutely stunning seventh-generation farm is only a few minutes from downtown, and each fall they open for family farm fun as well as a pick your own pumpkin patch.

This year, they will be offering a modified activity area and pumpkin sales with pre-purchased tickets. A trip to Gentry’s is a fantastic opportunity to relish in the beauty of the Tennessee countryside at a working family farm.

Fall Themed Tiny Little Donuts 

For a portable tasty treat, stop by Tiny Little Donuts food truck to snag a box of their seasonal flavors like the pumpkin pie spice or maple with smokey bits of bacon.

Walk on over to Bicentennial Park with your box of goodies, to enjoy the scenery with your indulgent snack by the Harpeth River.

Pumpkins and Mums at Reed’s Produce and Garden Center

Reed’s Produce holds a special place in my heart. I visited this lovely outdoor shop the day I went into labor with my firstborn in mid-September to purchase some of their beautiful pumpkins and mums as summer was turning into fall.

It has now become a little tradition around my son’s birthday to check out their fantastic variety of pumpkins in all shapes and sizes as well as their gorgeous, colorful mums.

This family-owned, open-air market never disappoints with their locally grown fall produce.

The most Darling Fall Tablescapes at Hester and Cook

Even though celebrating the holidays might look a little different this year, the seasonal tablescape designs at Hester and Cook will provide inspiration for even the most intimate celebrations.

From beautifully illustrated pumpkin or turkey paper placemats, decorative table runners, and festive place cards, your holiday table will be one to remember no matter how big or small.

Lucky Ladd Daylight Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch

If you’re looking for a family-friendly activity, Lucky Ladd Farms is a must-visit, especially during the months of September and October. Journey through the winding paths of the Corn Maze, which is truly a work of art!

Be sure to also check out the Pumpkin Patch, which was featured as one of the “Top 15 Best Pumpkin Patches in the US” by the Travel Channel. Families will also get to enjoy the petting zoo and farm fun park with more than 60 acres of farm activities including playgrounds, mega slides, and wagon rides. 

Franklin on Foot Haunted Franklin Tour

For a one of kind way to experience downtown Franklin, join Franklin on Foot for a haunted Ghost tour of downtown. You’ll discover this town’s spirited past as told by some of Franklin’s most talented storytellers.

Check availability and book your tour at Franklin on Foot, and don’t forget to bring your camera, you never know what you might see!

The Heirloom Shoppe

This charming little gift shop on Main Street is one of the oldest in downtown Franklin, and I’m always drawn there as the weather begins to turn cooler.

This shop has the best variety of Christmas collectible items and classic ornaments, and as the holidays move closer, wandering around The Heirloom Shop always gives me a hint of the Christmas spirit.

In a recent segment on The TODAY Show, Trisha Yearwood took host Jenna Bush Hagar here to select the perfect Christmas ornament!