Fall and Franklin go together like peanut butter and jelly. Separately, they’re wonderful—but together, they’re a harmonious duo that bring joy to all. From the golden patchwork of foliage along the Natchez Trace to the ripening apples at Morning Glory Orchard, there are myriad fall activities across Williamson County to delight visitors and locals of all ages. And, just like fall and Franklin, there are some fun pairings that can’t be missed during Tennessee’s best celebration of autumn. Here are some of our favorite dynamic duos:
A ghost tour with Franklin on Foot + Coffee from Second & Bridge
Franklin’s history runs deep, and one of the best ways to experience it (not to mention celebrate Halloween) is to lace up your sneakers for a ghost tour (Haunted Franklin Tour) with Franklin on Foot. Their storytellers have been regaling guests with haunted tales for 20 years, and the experience is amplified by a cup of joe from The Coffee House at Second and Bridge. In addition to their robust crepe menu, this popular coffee shop brews beans from local roasters and offers autumnal drink specials (like a Pumpkin Pie Latte!) to warm your chills while you learn about Franklin’s dearly departed.
A cocktail from Skylight Bar + live music at Kimbro’s
Enter the newly built Grand Hall in The Factory at Franklin and you’ll be welcomed in by the Skylight Bar, a beautiful new space offering guests exquisite cocktails—especially radiant as late-afternoon light streams in from the upper windows. The bar serves up seasonal sips and Happy Hour on Monday through Friday, 4-6 p.m. Once you’ve enjoyed a cozy fall cocktail, mosey on over to the legendary Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor, one of Franklin’s storied live music joints, to experience world-class musicians in an intimate setting. There’s something going on every night at Kimbro’s that always plays well with their Kickin’ Chicken Nachos.
PumpkinFest + a caramel apple from Kilwin’s
One of Franklin’s best—and largest—fall events happens in late October: Pumpkinfest, presented by the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County. The free festival stretches down Main Street and draws in over 100,000 people to celebrate the best of autumn with food, drinks, costume contests, and lively pumpkin-themed fun. Pair this family-friendly festival with a luxurious caramel apple from Kilwin’s on Main unlike any you’ve had before—a crisp Granny Smith hand-dipped in caramel made right there in copper kettles at the store. Kilwin’s rolls their perfect caramel apples in everything from pecans to white chocolate.
The Gentry Farm + roasting marshmallows in Leiper’s Fork
Fall in Franklin isn’t complete without a visit to The Gentry Farm off of Highway 96, a seventh-generation working farm that welcomes guests into the quintessential Tennessee experience each fall. With mazes, pumpkins, animals, putt putt, wagon rides and more, an idyllic day spent at The Gentry Farm can only be matched with an evening visit to nearby Leiper’s Fork. Finish off your day by roasting marshmallows around the campfire in front of Leiper’s Creek Gallery (and maybe a little live music at Fox & Locke).
A hike at Bowie Nature Park + BBQ from Whiskey Fire
You could spend hours soaking up the beauty of fall’s paint brush at Bowie Nature Park in Fairview, which features over 700 acres of forest, 17 miles of trails, and an accessible playground. Visitors can bike, ride horses, walk, hike, picnic, and even fish in the five placid lakes around the property. After a jaunt around the Perimeter Trail (the park’s longest, at just under five miles), hop over to Fairview’s best food truck, Whiskey Fire, for a delicious and filling meal of expertly-smoked BBQ. Don’t miss out on their flavorful Brisket Bombs: deep-fried tortillas stuffed with brisket, cheese, corn, beans, peppers, and jalapeños.
A visit with alpacas + apple cider donuts
Is there a more perfect pairing than cuddly alpacas and the comfort of cinnamon-sugar-crusted donuts? Take a trip southeast of Franklin and start at Mistletoe Farm, where the Butchkos raise alpacas on 15 acres of Tennessee farmland. You can plan a visit for 30 minutes up to five guests or an hour up to 10 guests to experience these gentle creatures first-hand. Then, take a quick drive over to Nolensville to Morning Glory Orchard, a small apple orchard owned and operated by generations of the Wideman family. Walks through the orchard are only allowed on select dates, but you’ll never regret a visit to their retail store which sells homemade apple products galore. Pick up apple butter, cider slushies, apple cake, apple pie, caramel apple cheesecake, and even apple cider donuts, which fly off the shelves and are only available on Saturdays.
Abbi is an adopted Tennessean who has fallen in love with the South—especially its people, warmth, and incomparable food. When she’s not telling stories or experimenting with family recipes, Abbi loves to explore new places with her husband Zach and dog Groot.