Looking to live large the next time you’re in our small town? We’ve got you covered.
And by that, we mean we’ve got your to-do list covered. You’re picking up the check, right?
In the past, we’ve featured 15 Free Things to Do in Franklin, helping you spend (or rather, not spend during) a low-cost day in Franklin. Now we’re laying out a list of luxurious locations—some vintage finds, others shiny and new—that you’ll want to pay a visit to.
When you think of an upscale dinner, you probably think of a glass of red and a thick cut of steak. So yeah, it might be a bit on the nose to point you to Cork & Cow in downtown Franklin, but we’re going to do it anyway.
From its mezzanine dining area that’s at eye-level with sparkling chandeliers to the long, emerald-green booth running along one wall to the swirled pats of butter atop bread rolls and the swoops of chocolate on plates holding artful cakes, this white-tablecloth establishment brings elegance—as well as European wines and locally sourced meats—to Main Street.
In a towering historic building down the way, you’ll find Onyx + Alabaster, a coffee lounge, home market, and design studio. The stark black and white theme from the building’s exterior carries through its open doors and past shelves of neutral pillows, stacks of jade-colored plates, and a set of tortoise glassware. Lo-fi music and the dark scent of what could be a date-night worthy perfume (but is actually just Onyx + Alabaster’s signature room spray) float with you as you pad up the staircase and emerge beside a wall of paintings and head into a large, sunlit room.
Featuring piles of coffee table books, a stylish bedroom set, a station inviting you to customize your own pillows, and a flop-worthy couch (I witnessed a flop while exploring the shop with one of my best friends, and she definitely approved), you’ll have more than enough incentive to shop until you too flop…er…drop.
But since you have a full day ahead of you, and because we’re still in the eating section of this article, you’ll want to go back down to the coffee lounge and slide onto its suede couch instead. Inside this half of Onyx + Alabaster, you’ll see the monochrome color palette continues. Stand under Gatsby-esque hanging lights to order a seasonal latte and a cup of iced water (served in a wine glass!) or pluck a rose lemonade from the rows of eye-catching pink and red juices at the counter. You’ll be tempted to add a sweet to your order when you get a glimpse of the Triple Chocolate Tarts stacked on one of the lounge’s gold and glass cake stands. And why not?
While we’re on the subject of treating yourself (yes, technically, this whole article is about that, but stay with me here), consider booking Arrington Vineyard’s Premier Experience. Set in the Oak Room, surrounded by barrels and floor-to-ceiling windows, this wine tasting is paired with teachings about the property and the winery’s process, plus seasonal plates. If your bar cart is missing a nice wine glass, you’ll be happy to learn that you’ll leave the tasting with one of the vineyard’s branded Riedel glasses.
Deluxe Things to Do
If you prefer to take part in the action beyond listening intently and lifting stemware to your lips, one of Saint Goose‘s unique classes might be for you. Create with your travel companions during Sip Craft—which, as its moniker implies, sets you up with a crafting project and walks you through a curated tasting. Or let your travel bug take over with a Country Crash Course (you choose the region you want to learn about) or a Wine Around the World course (you choose the grape you want to learn about).
And be sure to keep an eye on the wine and whiskey shop’s event schedule to find themed mini classes, like its Treats Not Tricks Wine and Candy Pairing or its Taylor Swift “Midnights” Listening Party, which will feature a lyric-inspired tasting. Who says you can’t pair fun with fancy? Whether springing for a course or attending a gratis event, you’ll be glad you hung around—and you’ll feel just as posh as the shop’s monocle-wearing mascot.
Relaxing may be more of what you had in mind when you thought of indulging during a day in Franklin. Thankfully, our area has myriad high-quality spas ready to massage your worries (or soak or scrub them away). Book yourself an 80-minute treatment at The NOW Massage with as many enhancements as you want—from peppermint Calm Balm to rose-quartz Gua Sha. And top things off from hands to toes with a manicure and pedicure at The Spa at Leiper’s Fork.
Then rev things up by renting a bright-green Lamborghini or an old-school Mustang from Dream Toy Garage and taking it for a spin along the Natchez Trace Parkway. As you make your way from the northernmost point of the parkway down south, you’ll surely be in awe of the lavish interior of your vehicle. But you’ll be even more taken by the scenic countryside rolling by outside.
Do you see adventure as the ultimate vacation purchase? (As someone who’s been easily convinced to bungee jump, rock rappel, and buy a plane ticket to go and climb some 14ers on a whim, I can relate.) If so, you’ll be happy to hear about the hot air balloon rides available through Middle Tennessee Hot Air Adventures. With “get what you pay for” and “longest hot air balloon rides in Tennessee” posted at the top of their site, they had to make this list. Reserve a Private Adventure and soar to 2,000-plus feet before landing and popping open a bottle of champagne.
You’ve been living in the lap of luxury, and now it’s time to retire to bed. But where can you go that lives up to the day’s standards? How about the Presidential Suite at The Harpeth Hotel? You’ll have no problem decompressing here with an elegant living room, king-size bed, and two bathrooms (one of which has a walk-in shower and a soaking tub). But your suite’s views of the hotel’s courtyard, which is lantern-lit, filled with high-backed, cushioned chairs, and bordered by a grand staircase, may just draw you down for a bit more socializing.
If you wouldn’t dream of booking anything, but one of the rentals found on Airbnb’s Unique Stays section, you’ll be thrilled with our area’s options. Whether you’re in the mood for artful wallpaper, gold-framed mirrors, leather chairs, and a bed piled with velvet pillows, or feeling wood-paneling, wall-to-wall windows, a massive, angular, cement-blocked fireplace, and multi-colored throw blankets, there’s a space for you. What will it be: the Historic Flat on Main or the sprawling SNOW property?
And, of course, there’s no better draw than Southall Farm & Inn. The expansive estate will soon house an array of rooms and suites in its inn (check out the Tennessee Suite for an in-room fireplace and a baby grand piano), plus private cottages with deep bathtubs and swing beds on wraparound decks. As my boyfriend would say, put your wallet on ice for a couple of days post-trip—because we’re leaving you with some serious incentive to visit us again the next time you’re looking for a high-end getaway.