Sunday, April 22, 2012

Downtown Franklin Delivers

When the rare occasion arises that I have a free Saturday afternoon on the same weekend where my husband is free and in town, we almost always elect to escape to downtown Franklin for a couple of hours. Here, we can always count on a great lunch, a pleasure stroll and almost always—at least one amazing find for our home, garden or closet(s).

The friendly vibe is what I like most—with everything from free parking to pedestrian friendly sidewalks and gathering areas. The entire district is filled with attractive couples and families, who all seem to be having a grand time (which always boosts my spirits).
An eclectic display at Haven—jewelry, candles and gorgeous fabrics

I have a few favorite clothing stores in this historic locale—but there's nothing ancient about their selections. In fact, the shop owners here are often ahead of the curve. I find designers and selections that I rarely see in the city. Claudia Fowler at Haven not only has a gorgeous selection of designer duds, but the jewelry is displayed beautifully. I can get lost in this shop for quite awhile. Emmaline is my go-to source for the latest Hudson jean arrivals, basic tees and tanks—and often, dresses for special occasions.

Other fun stops include Hey Day Gifts (always great finds for a birthday gift) and Ivey Cake—for cupcakes, of course. There are also dozens of other inviting shops and antique dealers along Fourth and Main streets. The key is to stroll into every single one to see what's new.

 After a couple of must stops, we almost always forget whatever diet we're on to enjoy the barbecue at Puckett's Grocery. Standing in line doesn't even seem to matter when you know what's waiting at the end. Fab food and fast service is always standard.
Fantastic finds at the Iron Gate.
If you are seeking finds for the home, there is the crowded, but discount warehouse atmosphere of PD's—if you do not know about this haunt just off the square—stop and ask a local to direct you. Serious savings await. I love bargain hunting, but my preference is to browse the floor and shelves at The Iron Gate. I am a slave to their candles and every dish in my cabinet originated here. It's an intoxicating, elegant mix of casual elegance and Parisian flare.
With Harrison and (actor) John Schuck enjoying dessert at Boxwood Bistro
After a relaxing afternoon of browsing, we might meet up with friends at Boxwood Bistro in front of the Factory for a leisurely dinner. The warmer months encourage patio dining, but I also love the ambiance in the main dining room. That...and the strawberry shortcake!