Today’s post is by guest blogger Laura Lyn Donahue.  You can find out more about Laura Lyn on her blog lauralyndonahue.blogspot.com/:

Laura Lyn, Don, Cara (12), Eliza (10), Brennan (12), Baker (15)

My parents still live in my childhood home, the home they designed and built 35+ years ago, in Green Hills. It’s the epitome of “home” for me.  Fourteen years ago, though, my husband and I decided to move south…only 14 miles south, though…to the charming, historic town of Franklin, TN.  When I look around Franklin these days, I hear myself say, “It’s beginning to look a lot like home.”  Franklin is my home now and I love it.

Downtown Franklin, TN

A sign at Scarlet Scales, in Franklin

Historic Downtown Franklin and its quintessential quaintness has become an integral part of who I am. Each time I circle the square (smile), drive down streets lined with historic homes, or take a stroll down Main, I’m flooded with pride for my town and am eager to brag about what it has to offer.

Christmas and the holiday season provide a perfect backdrop for showcasing Franklin. Don’t miss the chance to experience what’s just outside your door. Trust me, the trip will be worth it.

Liza recently met me downtown to explore Main Street–despite both our crammed schedules. Hopefully, you and a friend will make time to go too. I guarantee that if you’re not in the Christmas spirit yet, Downtown Franklin is just what you need to tip the scales!

Parking is plentiful. Restaurants are tucked everywhere. Gifts are behind every door, and you can walk to EVERYTHING.

A few of my favorite things…

Philanthropy Boutique

Inside Philanthropy

PHILANTHROPY: FASHION WITH COMPASSION

My draw to Philanthropy is not just for its fashion forward clothes and unique gifts, it’s also because everything in the store has a “give” associated with it (10% of all sales go to support a charitable cause). It’s hip, fashionable and built on compassion. Philanthropy carries a limited supply of its designs; so you’re sure to come away with something unique and know that you helped someone at the same time!

Main Street Toy Company appeals to all ages.

MAIN STREET TOY COMPANY

Before you open the doors of Main Street Toy Co., be sure to look in the storefront window. You’ll quickly be transported to another era…a slower, less techie one. The toys here spur creativity and trump the screen. Plenty of toys are displayed for a hands-on experience, and my kids can’t get enough of the giant wooden bead roller coaster. Main Street Toy Co. will take you back in time. It’s a perfect fit for the Downtown Franklin experience.

Inside Gino Boutique. The stairs lead up into Merridee’s for amazing food and treats.

Merridee’s

GIN-O BOUTIQUE

Every time I stop by Gin-O, I leave with something. The owner Ginger Simpson is a great buyer and her price point is great. I love to pop into Gin-O’s for a pair of jeans, a hip top or a cute dress…even at the last minute, there’s always something. Gino-O is just off Main on 4th nestled between Merridee’s (my favorite local bakery & a great place for tasty gifts!) and the now famous, Puckett’s Grocery. It’s easy to grab a bite of lunch (or a glass of wine at Gin-O) and shop. Plus, the parking garage is conveniently located just across the street.

An outfit found inside this SOHO-like boutique, Emmaline.

Emmaline

EMMALINE

If you’re looking for something special and unique, Emmaline is a wonderful boutique filled with clothing from top designers like Nanette Lapore, J Brand, Velvet, Citizens of Humanity, and plenty more (including PLENTY!). Emmaline carries my favorite jeans, Joe’s Jeans (GREAT jeggings!) and some beautiful jewelry.  Emmaline is just around the corner from Ben & Jerry’s on 4th Avenue (even though it has a Main St. address).

The Shoppes on Main

Inside the Shoppes on Main

THE SHOPPES ON MAIN

The Shoppes on Main is a one-stop shopping experience. It’s one large store comprised of adorable boutiques. Right now there are loads of Christmas décor items. You can also find jewelry, local art, baby gifts, fine linens, clothing, Franklin memorabilia and TONS more.

White Christmas decor at Haven.  Haven always has the best displays!

Love these tanks available at Haven. They have bottoms to use as P.J.’s but they are super cute with a sweater as well!

HAVEN: SANCTUARY OF STYLE

I saved the fashion feast for last…no one knows how to create a more visually appealing smorgasbord of fashion, accessories and gifts than Claudia Fowler. Every time I walk into this store, I’m struck by what she can do. “OMG” is the extent of my vocabulary when I walk through this store. Claudia, and the great gals in the shop, including her daughter Michael Anne, is always ready to help put an outfit together (even on a budget). Believe me, these girls will make you hipper than you knew you could be! You’ll leave feeling like one of the celebrities they cater to on a regular basis. Hurry, though, because Haven’s merchandise flies out the door as fast as it comes in.
While Franklin hasn’t moved physically, its growth has created an emotional shift bringing it closer to Nashville than ever before.  However, it remains worlds apart in its distinction from the larger city that Nashville is. It’s one of the few small towns in America that has been able to reclaim its nostalgic charm and vibrancy despite close proximity to mega shopping, like Cool Springs.
Liza and Elizabeth, thanks for allowing me to tout my hometown of Franklin. Hopefully, I’ve enticed you and yours to make your way south for the winter (or at least for the day). You’re sure to feel at home while you’re here and leave with a little Franklin in your heart!
-Laura Lyn