AAA Travel Tips / Off the Beaten Path in Nashville

Off the Beaten Path in Nashville

flickr / CC BY / Jim Bowen
By AAA Travel Editor Laurie Sterbens
December 12, 2019
With live music, sports events, great restaurants and shopping, you’ll never run out of fun things to do during a Nashville vacation. But if you’re ready to escape the downtown crowd, take a day trip to historic Franklin, where you’ll find fascinating history, beautiful scenery and plenty of great places to eat.
Exterior of The Carter House in Franklin Tennessee
Wikimedia Commons / Hal Jespersen

The Carter House

1140 Columbia Ave.
(615) 791-1861
More than 1,000 bullet holes pepper the walls of the farm office at the Carter House. One of the most damaged Civil War buildings still in existence, it stands as a memorial to the 1864 Battle of Franklin. The 1830 brick farmhouse is filled with original and period furniture, and the museum features Civil War artifacts and a video about the battle. More in-depth experiences are available through specialty tours of the battlefield, extended house tours and “Slavery and the Enslaved” tours.
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AAA/Inspector 597

Gray's on Main

332 Main St.
(615) 435-3603
A restored 1876 Victorian building that once housed the Gray Drug Co. is now Gray’s on Main, a AAA Three Diamond restaurant serving Southern fare with an emphasis on local and regional ingredients. Handcrafted cocktails highlight the brandy culture of the late 19th century, and you can enjoy Nashville artists performing live in an upstairs music hall. The seasonally changing menu features sandwiches, salads, desserts and a kids’ menu for lunch, with gluten-free and vegan options. The dinner menu includes dishes like heritage fried chicken and shrimp, scallop and crab gumbo over smoked gouda grits, with a variety of Southern-style sides available.
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Exterior of the Historic Carnton Plantation in Franklin Tennessee
flickr / CC BY / Jim Bowen

Historic Carnton Plantation and McGavock Confederate Cemetery

1345 Eastern Flank Cir.
(615) 794-0903
The history of the 1864 Battle of Franklin also can be revisited at[LS1] Carnton Plantation, which served as a field hospital during the bloody 5-hour skirmish. The owners of the estate, John and Carrie McGavock, provided land to create a 1,500-grave cemetery adjacent to the house. Take a guided tour through the two-story, 1826 Federal-style house, then explore the grounds, which include outbuildings, a family cemetery and a restored garden that is believed to contain the largest historic daffodil collection in the South. [LS1]Or some other word.
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Exterior of the Lotz House, a Civil War Museum
Wikimedia Commons / CC BY SA / Skye Marthaler

The Lotz House, A Civil War House Museum

1111 Columbia Ave.
(615) 790-7190
German immigrant and master craftsman Johann Albert Lotz built this home near the Carter House in 1855 as a showcase for his woodworking talents. Filled with the Lotz family’s fine antiques and artwork, its beauty belies the horrors of the Civil War battle that raged around it. Though Lotz repaired damage to the house, scars such as cannonball holes are still visible. Guided tours take you through each stunning room of the home, which also contains displays of Civil War artifacts. Battlefield tours also are available.
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Couple at an outdoor music concert

Main Street Festival

East Main Street and 1st Avenue North
(615) 591-8500
If your Tennessee vacation falls near the last weekend of April, a day trip to Franklin can include the Main Street Festival, which includes live music on four stages. With more than 200 artisans displaying handmade works, it’s the perfect place to shop for souvenirs of your trip. Carnival rides and its Kids Street offer lots of fun things to do with kids.
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Fried green tomato with a bit taken out of it

Puckett's Grocery & Restaurant

120 4th Ave. S.
(615) 794-5527
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, you’ll find Southern favorites in a country store atmosphere at Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant. Fuel up for a day of sightseeing with Bubba’s Eggs Benedict, a split biscuit with bacon or sausage, fried eggs and gravy on a bed of home fries. At lunchtime, choose from meat-and-three offerings, salads with house-made dressings or sandwiches such as the Music City Hot Chicken Sandwich. For dinner, start off with fried green tomatoes before digging into slow-cooked barbecue or chicken fried chicken with white pepper gravy, then stick around and enjoy live music.
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