HOW TO SPEND A WEEKEND IN FRANKLIN, TN WITH YOUR DOG

Okay, so I know it’s a little bit ironic for someone with a blog called Stay Home Style to be writing about traveling (aka, not staying home), BUT, I took a poll on Instagram after our most recent trip to Franklin, TN, and a lot of people seemed interested in a blog post on traveling to Franklin with your dog…

100% of people who voted to be exact. So… we’re doing the dang thing!

Keep reading for all the details on how we spent a weekend in Franklin, TN with our pup, including our essentials for traveling anywhere with your dog, my favorite home finds from our trip, and things on our Franklin bucket list for next time!


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MEET PIGLET

If you’re only here for the traveling part of this post, you can skip this part, but if you love a good adoption story, here is Piglet’s!

During quarantine 2020, my husband and I decided we wanted to foster a dog from our local humane society. We originally came in with the intention to foster a puppy…but then we met two year old Piglet! Piglet was the very first pup we saw when we got to the shelter. He was outside in a pen by himself, and he excitedly ran up to the gate first thing, wagging his tail and begging for our attention. We stayed with him for a few minutes, then walked away to meet some of the other dogs at the shelter. After meeting all the other dogs, however, we came back to Piggy. He was the only one that barked and cried when we walked away from his pen, and something about our interaction with him just felt right, so we brought him home to foster through quarantine (or until he was adopted). The next day, however, we received a call that he had a potential adopter. I’m not gonna lie, I was pretty disappointed when I got this call, because after just one night, we had fallen in love with this sweet pup. Nonetheless, we took him out to meet the potential adopter, because that was our duty as foster dog parents! By the end of the meet and greet, however, both us and the potential adopter agreed that Piglet had already found his forever humans…US! That very same day, we went back to the shelter, signed the paper work to officially adopt Piglet, and brought our sweet boy back to his forever home! He’s been the perfect addition to our family, and he goes with us pretty much anywhere we can take him.

So, without further ado, let’s talk about our most recent adventure with him in Franklin, TN!


OUR WEEKEND IN FRANKLIN

WHERE WE STAYED

On this trip, we stayed at Aloft Nashville Franklin, and we loved it! It’s in a great location, right in between downtown Franklin and downtown Nashville, and has been recently renovated and updated. It’s very modern and cozy inside, and there were always people hanging out in the lobby and at the bar at night.

As far as pets in hotels go, it doesn’t get much better than Aloft! Unlike most other hotels, there is no pet fee for dogs under 40 lbs, so Piglet was able to stay for free! From what I read online, if your dog is over 40 lbs, you will need to get prior approval, sign a waiver, and potentially pay an additional pet fee depending on the Aloft location. Since Piglet is only 15 lbs, we didn’t ask about their “over 40 lbs” policy, but I would always call and confirm the rules and policies with the hotel before you go, no matter how big or small your pet is.

Other things we loved about the hotel were the friendly staff, comfy beds, full length sliding mirror doors in the bathroom ( I love a good mirror), and the nice shower (with good water pressure)!

It’s also worth mentioning that they do have mini fridges in the rooms for you to use! This was important for us in particular, because Piglet eats fresh food from the Farmer’s Dog that has to stay cold. We traveled with his food in a cooler, and immediately moved it to the fridge after checking in.

As far as cost goes, Aloft is very affordable, especially if you don’t have to pay any pet fees! We actually stayed here totally for free, using a free night rewards certificate and Marriott Bonvoy points earned from being a Marriott credit card holder. In the world of Marriott points, Aloft in Franklin is very affordable too, coming it at just 20k points per night.

All in all, we had a great stay at Aloft, and we would absolutely stay here again!

WHAT WE DID

FRIDAY

We made it to Franklin around 3 PM on Friday of our weekend trip. We had purposefully not eaten lunch yet, so we could grab a late lunch whenever we got into town (because our motto on vacation is to never miss or waste a meal wherever we’re traveling to).

So, our first stop was lunch at McCreary’s Irish Pub!

McCreary’s was the perfect spot to kick off our weekend in Franklin. They had a small, pet friendly patio in the heart of downtown, an amazing menu with a mix of Irish and American fare, and super friendly staff that was very accommodating to us with Piglet. They even brought him his own water bowl full of fresh water and ice!

At the end of the trip, I asked John what his favorite thing we ate was, and he replied with McCreary’s without hesitation, so needless to say the food was great! I got the Dublin pot pie, and lets just say it puts Marie Callender’s to shame 😉 Probably one of the best pot pies I’ve ever had. John got the fish and chips and was raving about how the steak fries were so crispy on the outside, yet soft on the inside.

Something to note if you’re traveling with your pup, the patio is VERY small (I’m talking 2-3 tables max), so seating is limited in the pet friendly area. I would recommend getting there early, or eating during an off time like we did if you want to sit outside.

After lunch, we walked around downtown for a little while, and then headed back to the hotel to check in and get settled before our next adventure: a ghost tour!

Is there anything better than a ghosties bandana on a ghost tour?

As I was researching pet friendly things to do in Franklin, I came across Franklin Walking Tours, a locally owned tour company providing visitors with the history, charm, and ghostly encounters of Franklin! There are lots of different walking tours offered, from Franklin Charm to Tombstone Tales, but since our trip lined up with the start of spooky season (October 1st), we decided to book their grim and ghostly walking tour!

This 90 minute ghost tour took us all around the streets of downtown Franklin, stopping frequently to hear the stories of the city’s most haunted, historic buildings and the people that once inhabited them. Our tour host Alicia , the owner of Franklin Walking Tours, even made a special bonus stop at the end of the tour to take us to a house with a doggie ghost story for Piglet!

We had a great time hearing a little bit about the history, crime, and ghostly encounters of this little town, and it was the perfect, pet friendly activity for a night out in Franklin!

Not into ghost stories and true crime? Check out their website for more options! From Civil War history and picture perfect backdrops, to a private tour tailored to your unique interests, they have something for everyone.

Did you catch the little water bowl in bottom left corner? Everywhere is so pet friendly here!

Rewinding a bit to the start of the ghost tour, the meeting spot to begin the tour was right here in front of a locally owned, independent bookstore called Landmark Booksellers.

While there is free parking downtown, the night we went it was fairly crowded, so we decided to pay for parking at the bookstore. We planned to stay out downtown pretty late that first night, so we went ahead and paid for four hours of parking, coming in at $20. While $20 may sound like a lot for parking in a small town, the cool thing about parking here is that you can take your paid parking receipt inside and use the full amount towards anything in the store!

Y’all know I wasn’t going to let $20 go to waste, so after our walking tour, we made our way back here to shop around before the store closed! While dogs were not allowed inside, they were welcomed on the patio, and they even had treats behind the counter for your pup! So while John and Piglet sat outside and enjoyed the patio and treats, I went inside to shop around.

Even without the parking credit, Landmark Booksellers is an absolute must if you’re in Franklin and love books. The had so many books, new and old, with a huge selection of vintage books and special edition copies. It was honestly the coolest bookstore I’ve ever been to, and I ended up finding a home decor book (no surprise) to use my credit on.

Fun fact: Landmark Booksellers was the inspiration for Karen Kingsbury’s book (now a Hallmark Movie as well) The Bridge.

After the bookstore, we went out for a late night snack and wine at JJ’s Wine Bar! Open till 11 PM on Fridays, JJ’s is the perfect place to hangout with your pup and grab some food after a nighttime walking tour. They had a large patio with lots of seating, live music , and a super friendly and accommodating staff. They also brought Piglet his own water bowl, which he very much appreciated after two hours of walking!

We couldn’t decide how hungry we were after our late lunch at McCreary’s, so we started out with buffalo chicken dip, decided we were still hungry and ordered a turtle cheesecake (not pictured, because it was so delicious we ate it right away), and then decided we were STILL hungry, and ordered a cheese platter that we ended up not being able to finish 😂 10/10 from the humans and the dog (who definitely had some of our cheese board).

Daytime view of JJ’s Wine Bar

After we finished all of our late night snacks, we walked back to our car and headed back to the hotel for the night. All in all, it was a great first day in Franklin, and all three of us were worn out and ready for a good night’s sleep!

SATURDAY

Okay I know I said our motto on vacation was to not miss a meal, but we ended up sleeping through breakfast on Saturday after staying out so late on Friday, so we started off our day with lunch at Americana Taphouse.

Americana Taphouse was probably my favorite patio of all the ones we ate on! It was spacious, shady, and had a gorgeous view with a little stream that ran beside the building. A perfect spot for lunch or dinner with your pup!

The food and staff were great as well, and once again, they brought Piglet out his very own water bowl (Franklin restaurants are great at doing this)! My favorite thing we got was the Nashville hot popcorn chicken. We were both so impressed with how well the chicken was cooked: crispy on the outside, yet moist and juicy on the inside.

After lunch, we decided to explore downtown some more. So many shops downtown Franklin are pet friendly, so we were able to go in a lot of stores, including Anthropologie, Finnley’s, Hester and Cook, and Bink’s Outfitters to name a few!

The thing to look for while downtown is the “Pets Welcome” window cling with the green paw print, as seen on the left window of the main entrance to Bink’s Outfitters below.

Some businesses, namely those serving food, cannot allow pets inside, and will denote this with a similar style window cling with a red paw print.

Franklin was the pilot city for the Mars Petcare “Better Cities for Pets” program (see this article for more info), and they are continually utilizing this program and it’s resources to make the city better for pets! As part of this initiative, many downtown businesses began opening their doors to four-legged friends, and signaling their participation to pet owners by displaying these window clings near the entrance to their shops. Even those who can’t allow pets inside tend to participate in the program by having water bowls outside or treats behind the counter!

So, if you’re looking for places to shop with your pup, keep your eye out for the window clings. If in doubt about whether or not you can bring them in though, just ask!

Although the Starbucks shown above was one of the prettiest ones I’ve ever seen, we wanted to stick to local coffee shops and restaurants on this trip, so after shopping around on main street, we made our way over to a local spot called The Coffee House at Second & Bridge!

This little coffee shop is so cute, inside and out, and they have everything from coffee and pastries, to sandwiches and crepes! While dogs are not allowed inside, there is plenty of outdoor seating (including a cute little porch swing) for you and your pup to enjoy.

We ended up sitting in the porch swing for a while, because it started raining and we were quite a long walk from our car. It was honestly kind of nice to slow down, take a break from walking around, and just sit and enjoy coffee on the porch!

After the rain slowed down a bit, we decided to head out and make the walk back to the car before it picked back up again. On our walk back, however, we stopped at two antique shops: T.Nesbitt & Co and Winchester Antique Mall.

T.Nesbitt & Co was our first stop on the walk back. This little shop is right across the street from The Coffee House, and while they were not pet friendly, they did have a little table and chairs out front where John and Piglet could sit while I shopped around. It was a small, quaint shop with loads of antiques, vintage rugs, and small treasures. I would definitely recommend making a stop here after visiting The Coffee House!

After we left T.Nesbitt & Co, we continued our walk down 2nd Avenue to head back to our car. Not too long after, however, we came upon Winchester Antique Mall!

Unfortunately, Winchester was not pet friendly, but, like T.Nesbitt & Co, they did have a table and chairs on the side of the building where John and Piglet could wait. This antique mall was HUGE though, so they actually continued the walk back to the car while I went in and shopped around until they came back to pick me up.

This place had SO many gorgeous booths inside. I truly could have spent hours in here. They had everything: antique furniture, handmade rugs, collectibles, and, what stood out to me the most, SO MUCH vintage art. Sadly, I did not leave with any said art, but I’m still dreaming about all the gorgeous pieces I saw! If you love antique shopping and can convince your travel buddy and your pup to wait around on you, I would highly recommend Winchester as well!

By the time I finished shopping around in Winchester, John and Piglet had made it back to the car and driven back over to pick me up. It was perfect timing, because, unfortunately, it had just started raining again.

Our original plan for the rest of the day was to drive down Natchez Trace Parkway (apparently the scenery is gorgeous, especially in the fall!) and get off at Leiper’s Fork, a quaint little village just outside of Franklin. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development says “If Sunday morning had a hometown, the charming village of Leiper’s Fork might very well be it”, and if that doesn’t make you want to visit this little village, I don’t know what will! From what I’ve read, they have antique shops, art galleries, amazing farm-to-table restaurants, and their very own distillery! Since we were planning to visit this little village, I called the distillery ahead of time to ask about pets, and they said that pets were welcome on the grounds and at any of the outdoor tables, but they weren’t allowed inside (as with pretty much any food/beverage establishment). Unfortunately, because the rain didn’t look like it was going to let up, and we weren’t sure how many stores and other businesses would be pet friendly inside, we decided not to go to Leiper’s Fork. Instead, we headed back to the hotel to relax and regroup.

After relaxing at the hotel for a little while, John and Piglet decided they needed a full on nap, so I left the boys at the hotel and went back down town to do some more antique shopping.

The last place I visited Saturday afternoon was Franklin Antique Mall, and I’m so glad I decided to come here! This antique mall is HUGE, and full to the brim of gorgeous antiques and unique finds. You could probably spend all day in here and still not see everything. I actually walked around twice before checking out, because I felt like I missed things on my first walk around the store, and both times I got caught up looking at this rug:

I probably stood here for 30 minutes on my first walk around thinking about literally anywhere I could put this 9′ rug in my house, and then I’m pretty sure I turned around and walked back to look at it after moving on at least three times… Needless to say, I was truly infatuated with the rug, but I couldn’t justify the purchase at the time (especially not having anywhere 9′ long for it to go). So after one last walk by this rug, I moved on and left the store without it. Don’t worry though, there’s still one more day left in the weekend…

Although I didn’t leave with the most gorgeous and unique vintage rug I’ve ever seen that day… I did get a gorgeous vintage stool that I LOVE! It’s worn, solid wood, and a perfect dupe for the McGee and Co Adam Stool! It even has the four little visible mortise and tenon joints, which is one of my absolute favorite details. The McGee & Co stool retails for $210, and I got this vintage stool for just $79. That’s on par with Target prices (for example, the Threshold x Studio McGee Thatcher Wood Stool), and this one is vintage, so I’m calling it a steal!

By the time I walked around Franklin Antique Mall twice and checked out, the store was closing up and it was almost time for dinner, so I decided to head back to the hotel to see what John wanted to eat.

It was still raining, and didn’t seem to be letting up anytime soon, so we decided to order take out from Gray’s on Main and bring it back to the hotel for dinner.

The pet friendly lobby at Aloft would have been a great place to hang out and eat takeout. They had live music, tons of comfy seating, and a full service bar, but we ultimately decided to grab a bottle of wine from the bar and go back to our room to eat and watch the Auburn game (and we won that night, so it was a War Eagle decision!). If you ran into a rainy night like we did, however, food, games, and drinks in the hotel lobby would make a great backup plan!

The food from Gray’s was fantastic. We ordered the grilled beef tenderloin and an order of pimento cheddar biscuits, and I am still thinking about those biscuits. If you eat at Gray’s, they are a MUST! What we didn’t consider when we ordered steak to go, however, was that it would be nearly impossible to cut with a plastic fork and knife, and I couldn’t find any real silverware at the hotel… thankfully we brought our kitchen scissors with us that worked as a make shift knife 😂

Why did we have our kitchen scissors you ask? Well, Piglet’s food comes in plastic packages that can be difficult to open, so we brought them along to cut open his food. Don’t worry, we washed them in the bathroom sink before we used them on our food!

After dinner, John continued watching the Auburn game, while I got back to drooling over the rug I saw at Franklin Antique Mall. I couldn’t think of a single place to put a 9′ long runner in our house, so I started researching how to shorten a vintage rug instead… and wouldn’t you know it, I found a local company back home that specializes in vintage rug repair! I sent them an email, not expecting to hear anything back since it was a weekend, but to my surprise, they responded within an hour (after normal business hours I might add) with a super reasonable quote, and that was all the push I needed to make the decision to go back for the rug the next day.

After we finished watching the Auburn game, we decided to call it a night. We wanted to be sure we didn’t sleep through breakfast again on our last day in Franklin.

SUNDAY

On Sunday morning, we woke up early(ish) and drove downtown to get breakfast. Checkout at the hotel wasn’t until 12:00 PM, which worked out perfect, because it gave us plenty of time to eat and come back before heading to Franklin Antique Mall for the rug (which didn’t open until 1:00 PM).

We actually didn’t have a plan for breakfast when we got downtown, so we decided to just walk around until we saw somewhere that looked good and had outdoor seating. We stumbled upon Triple Crown Bakery about 10 minutes before they opened, and wow-o-wow, I am SO glad we decided to sit on this gorgeous front porch and wait. This little bakery was full of delicious pastries and baked good, and seemed to be a favorite among the locals (with good reason). The covered porch was perfect for this rainy fall morning, and we had a great time sitting on the porch sipping coffee, and chatting with some of the locals. They even had a water bowl on the porch for your pups to use!

I got a pumpkin muffin and iced coffee, and it was so delicious, that I went back inside before we left and got a few more goodies to take back home with us. If you don’t go anywhere else I’ve mentioned in this post, go to Triple Crown Bakery! You won’t regret it.

After breakfast, we headed back to the hotel to pack up and checkout. It was right around 12:00 PM by then, so we still had an hour to kill before we could go back to Franklin Antique Mall for the rug, which was fine by me, because that meant we could walk around and explore downtown some more!

After strolling through the streets of downtown and visiting a few more stores that we missed on Saturday, it was finally 1:00 PM, which meant Franklin Antique Mall was open! Like I mentioned earlier, most antique stores aren’t pet friendly inside, with good reason, because they’re generally full of delicate antiques and collectibles, packed closely together with lots of tight spaces to maneuver. So, while I went back to grab the rug, John and Piglet went on another walk around downtown.

When I got to the store, I went straight to the front desk to ask if someone could help me get down the rug. I was hoping I might could get the vendor to come down on the price a little, but unfortunately it was marked ND (no discount), so they wouldn’t even ask. At that point, however, I wasn’t going to let $30 stand in the way of me and this rug that I had been dreaming about and scheming over since I saw it, so I pulled out my wallet, paid the asking price (which was really already discounted quite a bit from the original price she had on the item), and left Franklin on a high note with my new vintage runner!

Our last stop of the day was going to be a restaurant called Tupelo Honey, which we were super excited about, because they have a doggie menu! Unfortunately, it had been raining on and off all day, and they had closed the patio, so we weren’t able to eat there. I actually have eaten there before though, once on the way home form Nashville, and it was very good! Definitely a place I want to hit again next time though!

Since we were already out of downtown and near the interstate, we decided to head home and grab something on the road, meaning our trip to Franklin was officially over.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON OUR TRIP, AND OUR FRANKLIN BUCKET LIST FOR NEXT TIME

All in all, we had a great trip, and I’m already itching to go back. I loved that the weekend was laid back, slow paced, and full of good food and good finds. Not to mention, the downtown area and Aloft hotel were SO pet friendly; it made traveling with our pup stress-free, and so enjoyable. The town may be small, but it’s full of life, history, and character, making it the perfect place for a fun, yet laid back weekend get away!

In my opinion, one weekend was not enough time to do and see all the things the city has to offer. Some places on our Franklin bucket list for next time are:

  1. Leiper’s Fork
  2. The Factory
  3. PD’s Franklin
  4. Tupelo Honey
  5. Red Pony Restaurant
  6. City Farmhouse
  7. Merridee’s Breadbasket
  8. Prop’s Antiques
  9. Arrington Vineyards
  10. Scout’s Pub

ESSENTIALS AND RESOURCES FOR TRAVELING WITH YOUR DOG

click to shop on LIKEtoKNOW.it

hands free leash // best friends by sheri calming bed // hands free waste carrier // travel backpack with travel bowls // travel water bottle // harness // collapsible water bowl // ghosties bandana (use code PIGLET10 for 10% off) // leather collar with ID tag // poop bag dispenser // pet seatbelt

These items shown above are our absolute must haves when traveling with Piglet, and a majority of these are things we use everyday. Of all these items though, I cannot recommend the kurgo hands free leash enough! Our dog trainer recommended it to us during one of our sessions, and it is life changing. Once you make the switch to hands free, you will never go back. 😆

In addition to all of these, we always travel with a copy a of his vaccination records, and make sure he’s wearing both his ID tag (with our phone number) and rabies tag at all times when we’re out and about.

My go to resource for where to eat and what to do when traveling with Piglet is BringFido.com. You can download the app to your phone, type in anywhere you want to go, and it will pull up a list of pet friendly activities, lodging, restaurants, and more. Although not every business that is pet friendly will be listed on bring fido, the ones that are will have reviews and pictures from other pet owners, which can be so helpful!

Looking for more resources specific to traveling to Franklin with your dog? Check out these blog posts from visitfranklin.com:


I hope this post helps you plan the perfect weekend getaway to Franklin, TN with your pup! I’d love to hear your favorite spots and things to do (pet friendly or not) in Franklin in the comments below.

Thanks for reading this out of the ordinary Stay Home Style blog post! 🙂

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