Like New York and Los Angeles, Nashville is known for an abundance of superstars, and while its celebrities are generally the steel-toed, Stetson-topped type, the city boasts far fewer gun-racks and jacked-up Chevrolets than these two New York-based Californians would expect. With an unrivaled music, food, and whiskey scene, Nashville leaves nothing to be desired. But as exciting and celeb-studded as country music’s capital may be, the true star of the show is situated twenty-two miles southwest of the city’s center.
Franklin is a small-but-growing community that many non-natives know as the home of the Pilgrimage Festival, a merely three-year-old event at which five stages simultaneously host musical acts ranging from blues to singer-songwriter, and alt-country to whatever it’s called that Justin Timberlake does with his brass band, swoon-inducing dance moves, and occasional #dadjokes. The festival was slated for September 23-24 this year, so naturally we made the quick trek from New York to Franklin last weekend to shake our moneymakers to the tunes of Eddie Vedder, The Avett Brothers, Trombone Shorty, and the aforementioned Mr. Timberlake (with surprise cameo by Chris Stapleton) to name a few. The venue is The Park at Harlinsdale Farm, a spectacular 230-acre former Tennessee Walking Horse breeding farm that was converted to a city park in ’07, and that – when not playing host to sold-out festival crowds – includes equestrian trails, foot and bike paths, a dog park, fishing pond, and hundreds of acres of rolling green fields for the town’s residents and guests to enjoy.
Of course our main mission in Franklin was to cut a rug at the festival, but we also ventured downtown to Yarrow Acres where we scored several vintage shirts by Back Porch Flannels (recycle, reduce, reuse, folks!), as well as to Avec Moi where we went a bit gaga over some commemorative cork cages, antique-inspired glass lockets, and a satirical book or two (Bless Your Heart, Tramp, etc.). We were completely sold (literally) on Franklin’s agri-chic vibe. Throw in the bucolic hay fields and horse country surrounding the town’s center (home to both J.T. and Mr. Stapleton) plus a bit of true southern hospitality, and we decided that – festival or not – Franklin is a destination well worth a visit.
Not all of our exes live in Texas (though some do), but we’re still considering hanging our hats in Tennessee.
photos: Terry Wyatt, Back Porch Flannels