How To Perform The Perfect Staycation in Franklin
Let’s be honest, vacations are wonderful, and you won’t find someone who likes planning vacations more than myself. BUT, we don’t always have the time and resources to go where we want. I know this because I have planned many vacations, stayed up late choosing hotels, excursions, reading blogs about THE best place to eat and “where the locals go” and the kicker is, I do it even when I know I won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. I love the research, the hunt, and imagining the fun times we’ll have doing XYZ. After all, my 5th-grade yearbook might say I wanted to be a Travel Agent when I grow up.
However, living in Franklin for eight years now, my husband and I love our “Staycations” and not just because they’re cheaper. Sure, we save money not staying in a hotel, but we can also begin our vacation as soon as our weekend starts. No extensive travel time and we can head to our favorite places in minutes. Not to mention, we just love where we live, and there is so much to do here in Williamson County, visitor or local. We love continuing to discover all the great things our town has to offer.
It also helps that Nana & Poppi live two blocks away and welcome the kiddos for the weekend. I especially look forward to sleeping in our own beds without human alarm clocks going off at 6:00 am on a Saturday.
Food, shopping, people watching, hiking, music….repeat. Just a few things I think that make up the perfect weekend!
Friday Night: Enjoy Art Scene
If you happen to plan your staycation the first Friday of the month, you hit the jackpot! Regardless if it’s a staycation weekend for us, one of our usual date nights each month is attending Downtown Franklin’s Art Scene. Monthly, local shops and business host local artists whether it’s paintings, photographs, crafting, etc., and they set up pop-up shops all around town, some serving apps and wine while you stroll around. Plus, since we live here, it’s an opportunity to run into friends and maybe by the end of the night our group has grown.
We typically end up at 55 South for a late night snack and drinks (sit on the barstools in the window for that great people watching) or enjoying an Anthem Spirit at Gray’s on Main (you have to get the pimento cheese balls, don’t ask, just do it.)
Tip: Make sure in your strolling you make it over to 2nd and Margin. There, you’ll be able to check out Gallery 202 which is responsible for starting it all!
Other Things to Do
If it’s not an Art Scene weekend, don’t worry. You have many choices. We’re never disappointed by going to Puckett’s. When we don’t want to think about where to go, that’s our go-to place. Guaranteed good southern food, local hometown feel where there is live music every night and someone is sure to call you “hunny” or “dear.” Be sure to finish your meal with the Maple Pecan Pie. I don’t even like pecan pie, and it’s my favorite. A la mode…
If you’re celebrating or want an upscale date night choice, make reservations at Cork & Cow. If you’re planning on the fly, you can typically find a seat at the bar that is in the center of the restaurant and no less of an elegant dining experience. The bartenders there are top notch and always creating something new. Be sure to ask them what they’re working on, and you won’t be disappointed! There’s not a bad seat in the house, but I especially love the emerald green tuffeted backboard along the wall right up against the rustic wood. My husband is big on ambiance, and the food matches the vibe tenfold.
After dinner, you can either call it a night or stroll on over to JJ’s wine bar for late night pinot noir and sit on the patio for more of that people watching.
Option One: Get Outdoors
Start the morning with the great outdoors hiking in Leiper’s Fork. (Head on over to our Visitor Center in Downtown Franklin, and they can show you some options! Be sure to grab a #FranklinTN shirt and hashtag us all weekend!) After your hike fuel up in downtown Leiper’s Fork for great food and shopping.
Option Two: Eat (and Shop) Your ❤️ Out
Or, our typical Saturday routine, is to go to the Franklin Farmers Market at The Factory. What’s more local than that? We start with a donut from Ellie’s Old Fashioned Doughnuts. Flavors like Strawberry Shortcut, Maple Glazed, Double Chocolate and Cinnamon Sugar are just a few of their regulars made fresh onsite. While you’re drinking your fresh squeezed basil lemonade and buying local honey, you’re going to stock up on your snacks for your afternoon plans.
After your nap or shopping in Downtown Franklin, head to Arrington Vineyards for Music in the Vines. This vineyard was just getting on its feet when we first moved here. In fact, it’s quite nostalgic for me each time I visit. My husband and I made the journey from California to Franklin in 2009, and no it wasn’t for a job. We were in transition and evaluating what was important to us now and in the future and wanted to move somewhere that caused us to slow down and encompassed how we wanted to raise our kids. For us, that was Franklin!
My husband and, then three-year-old, daughter flew over earlier that week while I took a four-day road trip with a friend bringing the last of our belongings and our car. On day four, about an hour before I arrived my husband calls me and INSISTS I come straight to the Vineyard. You can imagine my response, sounded amazing but I’ve been in the car for four days and last time I checked the cute messy bun wasn’t as cute as they are on Pinterest these days. But after much coaxing, I skipped pulling into our new home driveway and pulled up the long gravel driveway to Arrington Vineyards. I sat at the top of the hill; it was sunset, wine in my hand watching my daughter run through the vineyards laughing with a new friend she met. Fireflies all around (which I had never seen before) and I knew we were home. And, believe it or not, we pretty much spent every weekend there for the first few months because we knew no one in town and yet we’d always meet someone who ended up sharing their blanket with us.
So stock up on those Farmer’s Market munchies, grab a blanket and sit back and relax! (Stag’s White is my favorite on a hot summer day.)
One of our favorite breakfast spots is First Watch. I’m not a big heavy breakfast type person, although they do have those options as well. I like to start the day off fresh and not regretting what I’ve eaten all day. First Watch has so many delicious healthy/hearty options; my favorite is their coconut milk chia seed pudding topped with fresh bananas, berries, blackberry preserves and housemade granola. It’s also served with whole grain artisan toast topped with almond butter and Maldon sea salt. I especially love that they have a community table which seats 8-10 so there is always someone to sit with if you’re ever alone or don’t want to wait for a table.
If you’re still asking yourself, “What is coconut chia pudding?” you can pop on over to Granite City or 55th South which have amazing brunch options as well.
This is typically about the time we start letting our weekend wind down. I have been known to stop at Silver Steer & Company because I absolutely love everything in their store or sit on the patio at King’s Bowl where they have oversized Jenga, Checkers, and Connect Four games while enjoying a pint before we grab the kiddos and prepare for Monday again.Regardless of how a staycation could get spent, there is no shortage of things to do each weekend in Williamson County.
In fact, we put out an excellent snapshot of what is going on each week on Monday called The Local Scene, and you can subscribe to it by filling out the form below!