With the air turning crisp, the skies deepening to a technicolor blue, and millions of hardwood trees bursting into fiery color, autumn in Tennessee truly is a wonder to behold. I can’t think of a better place to celebrate the season than Leiper’s Fork.
Although this gem of a historic village is a quick drive from Franklin, you’ll feel like you’ve abandoned the hustle and bustle of city life for a warm and friendly place that time has truly forgotten. Spend an autumn day or even a weekend in Leiper’s Fork and savor all the feelings of fall.
CRUISE DOWN THE NATCHEZ TRACE PARKWAY
Fall is the best time to take in the natural beauty of the Natchez Trace Parkway. This 444-mile-long scenic drive runs from Nashville through Leiper’s Fork and right on to Natchez, Mississippi.
Whether you get on it for 15 minutes or five hours, you’ll be amazed by the display of fall colors. In fact, as far as locals are concerned, this parkway is easily the most popular fall color drive in Middle Tennessee.
Want to make your experience even more memorable? Rent electric bikes from Pedego in downtown Franklin and take a ride down the Natchez Trace Parkway. You can opt to ride bikes on your own or book a 3.5-hour guided tour that includes a stop at the Loveless Café. The bikes’ electric power only kicks in when you need it, and you’ll be grateful for it on the Parkway’s rolling hills!
SPEND THE DAY SHOPPING
In general, I’m not much of a shopper—unless I’m in Leiper’s Fork! The village’s small but exquisitely curated selection of shops is absolutely worth your time, and your surroundings will be especially beautiful on a lovely fall weekend. I suggest stopping in every boutique and gallery on Leiper’s Fork’s main drag because there’s not a bad one in the bunch.
My special favorites include David Arms’ Gallery for unforgettable works of art and whimsically masculine accouterments, Props Antiques for its Southern-inspired vintage treasures and locally made goods, and Creekside Trading Company, where you’ll find a wide selection of clothing, home goods, gifts, and more.
TASTE TENNESSEE’S BEST WINES AT WINES IN THE FORK
Wines in the Fork is a brand new tasting room in the heart of Leiper’s Fork, offering private tastings by reservation. You can also purchase flights of wine and enjoy them on the property, which overlooks Leiper’s Creek, or buy bottles of wine. Be sure to follow Wines in the Fork on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the pop-up outdoor dinners they’ve been hosting in collaboration with some of the area’s best chefs.
EAT UNDER THE STARS AT 1892
Locals love eating outdoors at 1892, a romantic Leiper’s Fork restaurant housed in a historic home that was constructed in, you guessed it: 1892. I’m not sure how this restaurant manages to feel upscale, romantic, and delightfully casual all at the same time, but the folks here have nailed that particular aesthetic.
The cocktails here are delicious, and the food is beautifully plated. Our favorite dish is the Bear Creek Burger topped with white cheddar and caramelized onion. It’s a showstopper! Other than that, the menu changes seasonally, so prepare to order some fall favorites for your big night out.
ENJOY A STAYCATION IN A POT N’ KETTLE COTTAGES
For a truly unforgettable fall staycation, you really can’t beat Leiper’s Fork’s Pot N’ Kettle Cottages. These exquisitely decorated cottages can hold anywhere from six to 10 guests and are the epitome of comfort and relaxed Tennessee charm.
My family and I stayed at the Leiper’s Fork Inn, the largest of the rentals, on a visit last summer, and honestly, I didn’t want to leave. The cottages are especially ideal for Tennessee’s beautiful autumn weather, with cozy porches and outdoor fire pits surrounded by Adirondack chairs.
HEAD TO FOX & LOCKE FOR A CONCERT
Listening to live music at Fox & Locke (formerly Puckett’s of Leiper’s Fork) is an ideal way to spend an autumn evening in Leiper’s Fork. The popular restaurant has stayed true to its OG small-town grocery store roots, offering fried bologna sandwiches, cold beer, and great local music, and you never know who might show up—Carrie Underwood and Wynona Judd were recent surprise guests!
SAVOR SMALL-BATCH WHISKEY AT LEIPER’S FORK DISTILLERY
Autumn and whiskey make a wonderful pair, don’t you think? It’s an opportune time to head to Leiper’s Fork Distillery, where you can tour the stillhouse and enjoy a tasting afterward.
Following Tennessee’s rich tradition of whiskey distilling, Leiper’s Fork Distillery has brought back the art of small-batch whiskey production using local ingredients and limestone-filtered water. The results are distinctive, and you’ll just have to taste for yourself to truly understand.