Ask a Southerner to describe their ideal home, and they’ll build a porch onto its façade without thinking twice. They’re practically a prerequisite in these parts. I mean, what better place to snap a photo of a family reunion than the steps leading up to grandma’s house?
Wander the streets around downtown Franklin, and you’ll have your pick of styles: grand and deep with formidable statues perched on their steps; or shallow and stuffed with comfortable spots to sit in the shade and sip lemonade. And when it comes to retail, even the smallest of storefronts have nestled a few tables against their walls—we are a pet-friendly city, after all.
As a self-proclaimed porch connoisseur, I was thrilled when I moved to town and realized how many al fresco options there are. And sure, I’ll sit outside pretty much anywhere, at any temperature. (My best friend once told me she wasn’t asking me where we should sit for our summer Bible study anymore because I’d “sit outside in hell.”) But don’t worry. The spots on this list are as comfortable as they come!
The Coffee House at Second and Bridge
We’ll start our swing from one porch to the next, where every good adventure begins: a coffee shop. Specifically: The Coffee House at Second and Bridge.
Make your way past its charming patio and across the thin, painted porch to order inside. Once you have your beverage of choice, peek out through the heart-shaped window to see if a spot is open. If you’re in luck, you can snag the red swing and sway along to alternative music as hanging ferns twirl in the breeze.
After you’ve crossed the street and taken a photo with the We Heart Franklin mural, stroll down to Biscuit Love for breakfast. Soon the line leading up to the restaurant’s historic home will die down, and you’ll find yourself behind the long curtains on its gray front porch. Here you can scan a QR code for the menu.
That way, you’ll know exactly which biscuit-centric plate to get when you settle at a wooden table on the covered, greenery-filled patio outback.
Breakfast or brunch? Historic or hip? These are the choices you’ll make as you choose where to spend your morning in Franklin. Or, you could do both.
Now that Biscuit Love has covered breakfast travel across downtown for brunch at Frothy Monkey. Hop up the steps to the host and ask for a seat on the breezy porch. Find yourself at a two-person table or a high-top bar along its metal fence. Gaze out through the foliage, over its lawn, to a fountain bubbling in the distance as you dine on fresh fare.
A visit to Carnton, one of Franklin’s most popular porches, is next on the list. This home gives visitors and locals alike the chance to learn about the area’s Civil War history. I chatted with Brad Kinnison, the production and design manager for The Battle of Franklin Trust (and my tour guide on a recent visit), to learn more about the home’s back porch—the first thing you see when you round the corner for your tour.
I had (probably way too many) porch-related questions for him. He kindly explained that the porches were not originally part of the home—they were added in the 1840s and 50s—and told me why he feels visitors gravitate toward them.
“The porches at Carnton are certainly an iconic feature of the property, just as they would have been in the antebellum era,” Kinnison said. “They are beautiful examples of Greek Revival architecture, and they provide guests a shady spot to sit before or after their tour.
We hope today that the porches at Carnton provide guests a place to pause and reflect on what life was like for the free and enslaved families who lived at Carnton, the horrors of the Battle of Franklin, and what a location like Carnton should represent today.”
Leiper’s Creek Gallery
Once you’ve finished your tour and sat for a spell among the quiet chatter of those waiting for theirs to begin, head back out to your car and drive to Leiper’s Fork. As you draw closer to this pastoral village, the roads begin to wind, and the scenery opens up, inviting you to relax. Leiper’s Creek Gallery’s wraparound porch is the perfect spot.
Here, fans whir overhead, a chalkboard sign boasts the date of the next Back Porch Show, and a fire pit sits just off its entrance, waiting for visitors to gather around it.
When you’re done people-watching, mosey over to Leiper’s Fork Distillery. Set in a field, down a long gravel road, this rustic hangout has everything you need for a fun-filled afternoon: cornhole, a checkerboard artfully burned onto a table, oh, and small-batch whiskey. You’ll want to grab one of the many wooden seats on its long porch and stay for a while.
If you’re not feeling whiskey, how about some wine? Franklin has two great spots to enjoy vino outside. One boasts a porch as the main feature; the other is included because it has more than five acres of outdoor area to lounge on—and that’s good enough for me! We’ll start with the latter.
Arrington Vineyards is a sprawling space where you can sip a seasonal frosé or a flight at a picnic table or on a blanket on the hillside. JJ’s Wine Bar is a funky standout in downtown Franklin, featuring ornate fencing and cozy, candlelit seating on its porch, plus wine-dispensing machines inside.
Now that you’re back downtown, you’ll want to eat dinner at Americana Taphouse. Once you’ve been seated on its patio between overflowing flower boxes, dogs lounging on the cool cement, and waiters carrying burgers, beers, and long-stemmed cocktail glasses, take a look around.
Fireflies flicker, the moon shines through a crack between the trees and the rooftop, and the glow of patio lights illuminate your surroundings. This is what our myriad of porches and patios are here for—to spotlight Franklin for you.