Picture this: You’re tucked into a plush armchair, flipping through a book you’ve been waiting to get your hands on. Earlier in the day, you looked out over a lake as you enjoyed a steaming cup of spiced apple cider. Later, you’ll bundle up and wander along quaint downtown streets, popping into an art gallery that catches your eye.
Some of this may sound like it belongs in a movie (more on that later), and this was the week you were going to finally shop for holiday gifts, so there’s no way you could find time for these idyllic activities…
But what if we told you, you can experience all of these things in Franklin, Tennessee, while finding the perfectly paired present for everyone on your list? And because we wouldn’t dare leave you out in the cold, we’ve rounded up a handful of locally owned shops that offer more than just unique wares.
So, block off a day to explore, and grab your whiteout (or, if you’re not me, just use the backspace key), because you’re about to update who’s getting what this year.
High Brow Coffee + Tea, Owned by Dustin
Franklin Fog with house-made vanilla, Peppermint Hot Chocolate, and yes, Spiced Apple Cider all grace the menu at High Brow Coffee + Tea. But before we get to how you’ll spend your time in (and around) this cozy, wood-paneled coffee shop, we’ll focus on what you can buy for the most caffeinated person in your life. Branded mugs perch beside regionally sourced honey, just above wire baskets of rolled t-shirts. Across the room, a small slip of paper boasts a deal designed for a coffee-loving family, “buy any bag of coffee beans, get a free cup of drip.” Once you’ve selected a bag and have your drink in hand, walk across the road toward the neighborhood’s large, lit Christmas tree, and start your stroll around Westhaven Lake.
DeAnn Art Gallery, Owned by DeAnn
Doors thrown open to passersby, DeAnn Art on Main Street welcomes art enthusiasts (and those who have art enthusiasts to shop for) into its bright space, featuring soaring ceilings and enchanting works on every surface. Hand-Painted Mini canvases line the back wall, drawing those looking for a small statement piece over the cowhide rugs and deep into the gallery. Once inside, options abound—and you’ll want to spend some time taking a look around. If the recipient of your gift has run out of room on their walls, purchase them a pair of earrings designed in the painter’s signature layered style.
Landmark Booksellers, Owned by Joel and Carol
Time your visit to Landmark Booksellers carefully, because once you’ve stepped inside the oldest commercial building in Franklin and found yourself enveloped by the smell of books, lulled by the soft sound of Christmas music, and spellbound by your conversation with one of their booksellers, you may not want to leave. In fact, you may just want to bring the bibliophile in your life to the lamp-lit shop instead of trying to choose one of the new or rare books piled on and above shelves and surfaces. (You know they’re going to want them all, and a trip to a bookshop is the best gift you could ever give.) Oh, and you may be wondering what we meant by “this may sound like it belongs in a movie.” Well, when you’re surrounded by novels, statues, and globes galore, you’re standing among the inspiration for “The Bridge” by New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury, which later became a two-part Hallmark movie. How’s that for a shopping experience?
Mistletoe Farm Alpacas, Owned by Leanne and Tom
This time of year, the word fluffy probably brings to mind a warm blanket. And while I’m sure your friend who is not a fan of the cold (guilty!) would appreciate one, Mistletoe Farm has something even better to offer: alpacas. Yep, the self-described “close-knit family farm” offers private hangouts with their herd. And from the creature’s coats, they make and sell scarves, ear warmers, and Hand-Knitted Alpaca Beanies—that’s beanies for your coldest and coolest friends, not beanies for alpacas, as adorable as that sounds. Make an appointment to shop in person in their store, or swing by The Barn Door Co., which also carries their merchandise.
Narrow Gate Leather Goods, Owned by Bill and Stacy
If you know someone who’s passionate about supporting discipleship-focused nonprofits and loves hand-crafted accessories (sure, it’s a specific niche, but we bet you can think of a few), stop by Narrow Gate Leather Goods. Whether you’re looking for a journal, a wallet, or a Leather Coffee Mug—spoiler, I may have purchased this for someone—you’ll find it in the fragrant front room of its workshop. For a Franklin twist, head to the Visitor Center to find customized Franklin products from Narrow Gate.
Here, you’ll find Narrow Gate Passport Covers with our city’s name inscribed on the front. And that’s not all: From Blondie Mix by BrightStone to a Tennessee Backroads candle by Amber Vale Home, our shelves are stocked with locally made products. (And Christmas ornaments!) So, swing by to buy them for the last people on your list. Then grab a map and set out to see the best holiday lights in town before returning home to wrap your pile of presents.
P.S. Thank you for shopping local this holiday season! We’re sure the recipients of these gifts will cherish them even more knowing you were able to relax and explore Franklin while picking them out.