Franklin, Tennessee

Jean Oshima
5 min readMay 4, 2018
Tulip at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

At the risk of bringing more attention to a lovely small(ish) city in the United States (just named one of 30 Top USA Cities To Visit in 2018: thus causing the locals to become even more protective of their somewhat yet-to-be-discovered gem, I’m going to echo Trip Advisor’s endorsement of Franklin, Tennessee.

Sky and water tower at Franklin Factory

There aren’t too many cities I would necessarily give a 5 Heart Rating to. I’ve been to more than 2/3 of the cities on the TA list and although I would definitely suggest they all be visited at some point, some I would not place on a top 30 list. Franklin is an exception. It belongs there. Near the top.

Trip Advisor describes Franklin this way: “A short drive south of Nashville is Franklin, a more sedate city with a small-town feel and a charming Main Street lined with top-notch dining spots.”

I agree 100% with this description but I would go further to mention its great location close enough and far enough away from the “big city” atmosphere of Nashville and surrounded by some of the most lush green hills I have ever seen with 4 distinct and mild seasons. Mild being relative of course. This girl originally comes from the brutal below zero temps of Illinois and has lived in 100-degree 100% humidity of Orlando, Florida and hot, humid summers of Tokyo, Japan! (I give credit to these facts for not being too sensitive when it comes to weather extremes.) And yes, it snows. See photo.

More beautiful Franklin sky

When I arrived in Franklin for the first time I remember thinking the only other place I’d been that was so green was Belgium. Why is this you might ask? The answer is clearly: rain. It rains more in the area annually than Seattle! Yes that’s right more than Seattle. When I read this little tidbit at first I couldn’t believe it but it makes sense. Because it does. Rain that is. It rains and rains some more. Then the sun comes out and everything is beautiful and the air is fresh and clean. And then it rains again. And the cycle continues thus creating the beautiful green landscape, watering the tulips at Cheekwood Botanical Gardens:, bringing much-needed sustenance to the many parks and trails in the area, not to mention providing the rain water for the numerous rivers, creeks, and waterfalls in and around Franklin!

Dancer’s pose in the snow

Trip Advisor talks about art crawls, live music (see Kimbros Legendary Pickin’ Parlor:, and brewery tours which is all great too. But in addition to all that, it’s the natural, expansive, open feeling of this city that puts Franklin in the category of a 5 Heart Rating. People are friendly too which is pretty typical of the south but I find the people of Franklin to be some of the friendliest I have encountered in my travels across the United States.

If you ever visit Nashville I highly recommend at least one day in Franklin. (Personally I would stay in Franklin and drive up to Nashville for a day and/or evening). And if you do, be sure to contact me. I know more about Franklin than many of its long-time locals!

Here are just a couple very specific suggestions I have for you when you visit Franklin: 1) Go to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens especially if tulips are in bloom in April, or if you’re there at Christmastime to stroll the gardens at night, sip a hot toddy and see the beautiful display of Christmas lights, or take a picnic lunch and sit by the Japanese gardens near the pond, and 2) if you are around on a Tuesday, go to Kimbros. Tuesday, in my ever-so-humble opinion is a great night to be there because local artists just show up and play for a few minutes and then it’s onto the next performer ending with a great jam sesh. Though I was raised more on big band music since my father was in a family band during the big band era, it reminds me of the many times in Orlando, Florida on Mondays when local musicians, some of the best in the world due to Disney’s presence, would show up and jam for some cause usually involving a fellow musician. Ah… good times.

I’m not going to say more about places like Kimbros (5 Heart Rating coming soon) because I think you should just show up there like I did not knowing what to expect. But I will tell you the last time I was there Kenny G’s bass player performed by himself, later joined by an amazing trumpet player. I have heard a lot of bass in my life by a variety of musicians from many genres and I have to say I did not realize a bass could produce such sounds. The place was packed. And people sat and listened. They knew as I did that they were experiencing something they likely would never experience again. To say Kimbros is a unique venue would be an understatement. Don’t take my word for it. Just go.

Artisan cocktail by Zane Tripett at Honeysuckle

Again, I have tons of ideas of things to do in and around Franklin. Just message me if you want to know more. You could easily spend a week just in the Franklin area. Oh yeah, and be sure to go to the farmers market on Saturday. And to Leipers Fork and… Okay I’ll stop.

Fresh from Franklin Farmers Market



Jean Oshima

See my blog, 5 Heart Rating at I am a Wellness & Wine and Special Events Producer