Featured Image: Southall Farm & Inn, courtesy of Heather Durham Photography.
It’s time for a list. (A shocker this time of year, we know.)
No, it’s not another list of presents to buy, cards to send, or sweets to bake. It’s a list of the things you’re going to want to do in the new year. Twenty-three things, in fact.
And because we know how busy you are, we’ve compiled it for you. So put down the pen—unless you’re super analog and want to carry this article around as a checklist, which would be an honor—and start scrolling. Let’s map out your most fun year in Franklin to date.
Oh, and if you happen to be reading this article in, say, July of 2023 (hello from the past!), don’t worry. We’ve structured this list by season, but most of these must-dos can be mixed and matched year-round.
❏ 1. Take a Fly Bounce class at Free Flow Yoga.
January and resolutions go together like Franklin and small-town charm. So, we’ll give you one extra thing to complete during the year’s first month. And what do you know? Booking a class at Free Flow falls into the “Healthier You” category of your goals, so there’s no excuse not to give it a try.
This bright and friendly studio is known for its yoga classes. Still, it also features unique fitness options, like 11:11 (palindrome yoga set to hip-hop music) and Fly Bounce (cardio routines on and around mini trampolines). Get ready to get sweaty—and have some fun.
❏ 2. Gather your friends for Team Trivia at Curio Brewing Company.
If hanging out with your favorite people is also high on your list of resolutions, put together a group text right now, and invite them all to spend a wintery Wednesday night playing Team Trivia with you at Curio Brewing Company. Together, you’ll crush coffees, beers, and your competition.
❏ 3. Go on a romantic getaway at Southall Farm & Inn.
With its in-room fireplaces, patio dining under the stars, couples’ spa treatments, and on-site experiences, such as beekeeping workshops and falconry, Southall Farm & Inn will captivate and excite you and your partner from the moment you set foot on the property.
Make this Saint Patrick’s Day one you’ll never forget by seeing a lively show branded “Celtic—for this decade” at the historic Franklin Theatre. After the tap dancing and folk music have subsided, cross the street to McCreary’s Irish Pub & Eatery for Dublin Style Fish and Chips and a beer.
❏ 5. Complete the passport for the Historic Homes of Hincheyville tour.
You’ve spent many a chilly night warm on your couch watching HGTV. Now that spring has arrived, leave the confines of your abode and set out to see some of the area’s most historic houses on a walking tour. Download our free Historic Homes of Hincheyville digital passport to marvel at Queen Anne-, Greek Revival-, and Victorian-style structures and learn who once inhabited them.
❏ 6. Eat at the waterfront Coal Town Public House.
Brunch is better when it’s spent in the spacious, industrial Coal Town Public House in Westhaven. Dig into a plate of Chicken and Waffles or order sharable plates to pass around the table. Be sure to also stop by at night to lounge on the pub’s covered patio and indulge in a slice of cheesecake from the chef’s rotation, then take a leisurely walk along the lake you dined beside.
Ask us to describe Middle Tennessee in two words, and you’ll get “music” and “limestone.” While one is a bit more noticeable, floating from every open window, the other is still ever-present beneath your feet. However, there’s one venue where both share equal prominence: FirstBank Amphitheater in Thompson’s Station. Catch a concert at this stunning site and soak in your surroundings as you soak up the sounds of the band and the crowd.
❏ 8. Get a haircut (and a stiff drink) at Scissors & Scotch.
These days, McEwen Northside is the place to be, featuring everything one might need, from ice cream to Pilates to Italian fare to a place to watch the game. And with the arrival of the barbershop Scissors & Scotch, there’s really no reason ever to leave. Customers can get a haircut (not of the shot variety) and then take part in happy hour from the comfort of a leather sofa.
❏ 9. Hike through Bowie Nature Park.
It’s time to see those May flowers everyone’s always talking about. Lace up your hiking boots and hit the 17 miles of trails at Bowie Nature Park in Fairview. The 700-acre forest also welcomes nature lovers who want to fish in the park’s five lakes, ride horses and mountain bikes, and picnic in its wooden shelters nestled among the trees.
❏ 10. Satisfy your sugar cravings at the new Sweethaven.
Now that the temperatures are starting to climb, you’ll want to slip through the soft-pink door of the recently opened Sweethaven in downtown Franklin and order a scoop of ice cream or farm-fresh frozen yogurt. Funky sodas are also on the menu, including butter pecan cream soda and old-time root beer.
❏ 11. Escape the heat inside the renovated Factory at Franklin.
A local favorite even before its 2022 renovation began, the sprawling Factory at Franklin is well on its way to cementing itself as the place to spend a summer day out of the sun. At the time of this writing, a nightlife area is being constructed where communal seating once was—but still, the shuffled-around stores are bustling. Go join the throngs of people holding iced coffees, shopping bags, and 100-layer donuts.
❏ 12. Experience Bluegrass Along the Harpeth.
Every year on the fourth weekend in July (not to be confused with July Fourth), Bluegrass Along the Harpeth takes over Franklin’s town square, featuring fiddles, banjos, old-time singing, freestyle dance, and more. It’s a festival tailormade for the Americana Music Triangle, and in 2023, it’ll take place July 21–22.
❏ 13. Ride The Franklin Hop trolley tour.
Assuming you’re continuing your quest to cool off during the steamy summer months, we present to you our town’s newest trolley tour, The Franklin Hop. One ticket will give you access to up to eight hours of live narration and five stops. You can hop on and off Gray Line’s vintage trolley in both Franklin and Leiper’s Fork. It’s the perfect way to cover a lot of ground without working up (too much of) a sweat.
❏ 14. Sip a fancy cocktail at Happenchance Social Lounge.
Once August rolls around, life starts to speed back up. But that’s all the more reason to carve out time for an intimate evening spent with your partner or a close friend, relaxing and drinking a craft cocktail at this Nolensville establishment. Its self-serve wine wall and charcuterie boards are additional draws. We’ll see you in the neon glow.
Nope, you didn’t time travel back to the early 2000s when the clock struck midnight—we’re bringing geocaching back. (And by “we’re bringing back,” I mean “Madison is attempting to bring back.”) But really, let’s be honest: It never left. There are plenty of active geocaching locations around town, and Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary is home to a full course of them, perfect for those of us who love a good treasure hunt.
❏ 16. Stargaze at the Dyer Observatory.
Now that you’ve spent some time searching the ground, look heavenward. Pay a visit to the Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory in Brentwood during one of its events to use a telescope, attend an astronomer lecture, or even listen to live music on the mountain.
❏ 17. Try an Australian-style coffee at Elroy Coffee Co.
A newcomer to the Franklin java scene, Elroy Coffee Co. serves Australian-style coffee (here’s a cheat sheet from The Land Down Under explaining what that means for the uninitiated) as well as seasonal sweet breads, pies, and even Vegan Sausage Rolls. Those who don’t need to hit the drive-thru in a rush can grab a seat in one of its curated nooks or set up shop at one of the tables lining the windowed wall.
❏ 18. Feel a tingle down your spine during one of the Lotz House Ghost Tours.
At this point in the article, the best month of the year, October, has arrived again. (Sorry to those who disagree, but I refuse to retract this opinion.) And that means all things eerie are back on the docket. Thankfully, Franklin is rife with the paranormal, and that includes the Lotz House. Buy a ticket to one of its 90-minute ghost tours, and let us know in the comments if you experience anything unexplainable.
❏ 19. Learn a new (old) skill at Music City Archery.
How will you fend off the hordes of zombies, vampires, and werewolves that come out every October if you don’t know how to handle a bow and arrow? Okay, so that’s probably not the soundest reason to take an archery lesson, but we still think you should check out Music City Archery. Take an individual lesson to learn this cool skill, or get together a group and play Archery Tag (don’t fret, it’s not as dangerous as it sounds).
❏ 20. Grab a slice at Viking Pizza Company.
As you might recall from the most recent holiday season, fall equals food. And it’s typically food you’ve had to cook yourself. So why not take a break from your oven and let Viking Pizza Company in Spring Hill feed you for a night? After all, it’s got an oven of its own—a wood-fired one, no less—and a menu that includes specialty pizzas like the Ragnarok, which has a pimento cheese base.
❏ 21. Listen to music by the creek at Wines in the Fork.
Extend your escape from the hustle and bustle by going to Leiper’s Fork and settling yourself along the creek running through the backyard of Wines in the Fork. With ample events on the vino shop’s calendar in the past, you’re sure to hear some live music over the bubbling of the water as you enjoy a warming glass of red.
❏ 22. Shop at Mercantile 1858 in Arrington.
While we’re on the topic of wine: If you’ve ever driven out to Arrington Vineyards (a must), you’ve probably passed Mercantile 1858. This time, instead of passing the charming homeware store, stop inside to pick up gifts ranging from handmade throws to candles in vintage tins.
❏ 23. Warm up in an unconventional way with one of Expression City’s circus classes.
You started the year with an uncommon activity, and we think you should end it the same way. This list is intended to get you to try new things, right? That’s where Expression City’s Brentwood classes come into play. Aerial silks, Lyra, a youth trapeze class—no matter what you sign yourself or the kids in your life up for, you’ll close 2023 with a bang. Metaphorically, of course, considering the mats.
We hope this article gave you plenty of inspiration and got you ready to bounce into 2023 more excited for what Williamson County has in store than ever before.
Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram @visitfranklintn as you check off each of the items on this list—and if you decide to print it out, well, that just means you get bonus points (in Madison’s heart).