Have a Dickens of a Good Time This Christmas in Franklin
Feeling seasonally challenged this year? Got the stressmas blues? I’m betting you’ll discover a Christmas spirit (or three) during Franklin’s Dickens of a Christmas street festival being held December 14-15.
Characters from author Charles Dickens’ unforgettable stories stroll along Main Street as events get underway on Saturday morning. Even Franklin’s police get into the spirit of Christmas past by dressing in uniforms like those worn by British “bobbies” during the Victorian era.
Get in costume and join in or get in the spirit with horse-drawn carriage rides for $2 per person, Victorian food and treats, dancers in period costumes, violinists, hand bell choirs, harpists and carolers.
If shopping is on your list there’s an arts and crafts show featuring heritage crafts and specialty items. You’ll find Main Street and Second and Third Avenues lined with historic buildings and homes, antique and gift shops, art galleries, historic sites and several coffee shops, bakeries and restaurants like Puckett’s, Meridee’s Breadbasket, the Red Pony, Gray’s on Main, Bunganut Pig and the decidedly un-trendy landmark meat-and-three, Dotson’s.
One of my wife’s favorite shops is Gallery 202, located in a historic home on Second Avenue South that’s been beautifully restored. The light-filled interior displays the creations of more than 45 artists ranging from internationally recognized to local and regional.
We are avid gardeners so one of our perennial favorites is Sheri Gramer’s Yarrow Acres on Main Street. Inside you’ll find seeds and gardening gloves, sundials, tools, plant markers, soaps, lotions, terrariums, living plants and bulbs for forcing winter blooms. You may recognize Sheri from her segments on Nashville Public Television’s Volunteer Gardener.
A few doors down Bathos offers natural soaps, lotions, shampoos and scrubs but our hands down favorites are the bubbly balls that fizz and whirl around like giant Alka-Seltzers as they dissolve in the tub for a relaxing soak.
Every available space in Main Street Toys is covered with toys, books, puzzles and games. Steps away are Walton’s Antique and Estate Jewelry, Rare Prints Gallery and Landmark Books with 20,000 books including new bestsellers and more than 2,500 rare, signed first editions.
Civil War History in Franklin
This history-loving town has many Civil War sites within a couple of miles of downtown to visit and learn about the Battle of Franklin. Many of its historic homes have evidence of being hit by cannon balls and shadows of the blood stains that resulted from serving injured and dying soldiers.
November 30, 1864 was an Indian summer afternoon that was shattered when Union and Confederate forces clashed as the afternoon light began to fade. At the Carter House, the family and their neighbors, the Lotz family, took refuge in the basement as the battle raged. Following the withdrawal of the Union army during the night, the Carter’s son, Tod, a Confederate aide, was found mortally wounded on the battlefield and carried home where he died two days later.
Directly across the street, The Lotz House is now a museum well worth visiting.
Carnton Plantation was used as a field hospital for Confederate soldiers. On the morning of December 1, 1864 the bodies of four Confederate generals, Patrick R. Cleburne, Hiram B. Granbury, John Adams and Otho F. Strahl, lay on Carnton’s back porch. In addition to a tour of the house and grounds including the largest privately owned military cemetery in the nation, a two-mile walk follows the eastern flank of the battlefield.
At the south end of town Winstead Hill provides a bird’s eye view of the battlefield and Franklin at a 61 acre site with a 3/4-mile walking trail, parking area, Civil War monument and restroom facilities.
For more information about Dickens of a Christmas, visit Historic Franklin’s website or call 591-8500.