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Hop Through History

Inside Franklin's New Guided Tour

Article by Kellie Walton Benz

Photography by Provided by Visit Franklin

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

Long-time residents and newcomers alike now have a new way to see Franklin: climb aboard the brand-new Franklin Hop for a journey through the city’s history. 

In a partnership between Grayline and Visit Franklin, the Franklin Hop debuts as a 90-minute guided tour with the option to hop on and off at each stop. The entire tour is packed with trivia, information and backstories uncovering decades of history, all narrated by a professional guide. 

The adventure begins at the Franklin Visitor Center located near Main Street and Fourth Avenue, where the adorable blue trolley waits to welcome its passengers. On a nice day, grab a seat toward the back for an open-air experience, though the front is weatherproof if preferred. 

After departing, the trolley routes through the iconic Franklin square and toward the Factory – the first opportunity to hop off and explore. Wave goodbye to Rusty – the giant metal man that stands watch over the former stove plant – as the trolley whisks its passengers down some of Franklin’s most charming side streets. 

As each historic mansion fades into view, so too does its complicated past and modern preservation efforts. Passengers have the opportunity to deboard at both the Carnton Mansion and Carter House for an expanded look at Franklin’s Civil War history. 

The trolley then cruises out west toward Leiper’s Fork, passing rolling hills of farmland, storied streets and the picturesque Leiper’s Fork Distillery. The next stop is Leiper’s Fork Village, a great opportunity to grab a bite, browse antiques or even catch live music. Did you know? The Village is home to one of Tennessee’s most iconic music venues that recently returned to its original name: Fox & Locke. 

During its journey back to downtown Franklin, absorb a few remaining bits of history found along Highway 96, from the touching backstory behind the Gentry Farm to the inspiring legacy of McLemore House. 

If electing to hop off at any spot along the route, passengers have two hours to explore before the trolley’s return. No matter how you choose to experience it, the Franklin Hop is sure to make you laugh, learn and fall in love with Franklin in a whole new way.

The trolley currently runs Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Tickets are available at GraylineTN.com.

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