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One Day History Itinerary

Only have one day to experience Franklin’s rich history and culture? No problem! Our curated one day history itinerary covers many historic Franklin highlights such as Carnton, Carter House, Fort Granger, Winstead Hill, Main Street, and more. Each of the stops listed below allow you to explore Franklin history from the town’s founding in 1799, discover the impact of the 1864 Battle of Franklin, and see how this once small rural town developed into a thriving city.

8 a.m. – Breakfast in downtown Franklin

Start out your day with a hearty Southern breakfast in downtown Franklin at one of our local favorites, such as Biscuit Love or Merridee’s Breadbasket! For an extra dose of history with your breakfast, Biscuit Love is located in the Corn House, a historic home dating from the late 1800s and purchased in 1920 by the well-loved owner of Lillie Mills, Charlie H. Corn.

9 a.m. – Visitor Center

Head over to the Visitor Center to say hi and purchase a combination ticket for guided tours for Carnton and Carter House, two incredible houses caught in the middle of the Battle of Franklin. Both historic guided tours explore the homes, the moving stories of the families and soldiers, and provide insight into life in the South before, during and after the Civil War. While you’re in the Visitor Center, shop Franklin souvenirs and apparel to take back home!

9:30 a.m. – Carnton

Drive to Carton (two miles from downtown Franklin) and sign up for a daily guided tour to learn more about the McGavock family and experience the Battle of Franklin through their eyes. Be sure to explore the beautiful grounds before or after your tour to see the cemetery, outbuildings, spring house, and gardens.

11:30 a.m. – Winstead Hill

Winstead Hill is a 61-acre historic battle site from which Confederate General John Bell Hood observed his advancing troops in the Battle of Franklin. View his vantage point atop Winstead Hill and explore the park, which features a beautiful 3/4-mile walking trail.

Noon- Lunch

After exploring Carnton, you’ll be ready for lunch! Stop by Ground for fantastic local burgers and fries before you continue on to nearby Carter House.

1 p.m. – Carter House

Make your way to the Carter House and sign up for an hour-long guided tour. While you wait for your tour, check out the Civil War exhibits and familiarize yourself with key players in the Battle of Franklin. Take a few minutes to explore the grounds before or after your tour and imagine what it would be like if your backyard became a major battlefield. Don’t leave until you see the farm office riddled with bullets from that fateful day.

2:30 p.m. – Historic Masonic Hall or Main Street

If you’re in town on Thursday or Friday, the Historic Masonic Hall guided tour is an excellent overview of events and life in Franklin over the past 200 years. This incredible building has played a role in Tennessee history as one of the earliest public buildings in Franklin,  Visitors get a behind the scenes tour and will see fingerprints left by enslaved workers in the bricks, graffiti from Civil War soldiers, and more. Or, if you’d rather see Franklin for yourself, stop by the downtown Franklin Visitor Center to pick up a free self-guided walking tour brochure to explore the historic district and see beautiful homes, churches and landmarks significant to the town’s history.

4 p.m. – Fort Granger

Get outside and explore Fort Granger, a Civil War era fort created by Federal troops in order to fortify Franklin. Located along the beautiful Harpeth River, Fort Granger is open to the public to walk, hike and read historic markers to learn more about its use during the Civil War.

5 p.m. – Dinner at Gray’s on Main

Enjoy dinner at Gray’s on Main, one of the most iconic and historic buildings in downtown Franklin! Formerly a landmark pharmacy in town, the building itself was built in 1876 and was a pharmacy for nearly a century. Try one of their signature cocktails and sample Southern inspired cuisine in a truly unique setting. Ask the staff to tell you more about the history of this amazing building!