Leiper’s Fork Day Trip
Earlier this month I was explored St. Louis, but this week I decided to explore a little closer to Nashville. Leiper’s Fork is a quaint town filled with local art and lovely shops; it was also the perfect day trip on a sunny seventy-degree day. Between popping into each boutique, antique shop and gallery, eating barbecue and listening to live music at Puckett’s and talking to the locals, I got to experience the small-town vibes that I have been missing in Nashville.
Like many things in life, this day trip was not just about the destination. I decided to take the scenic route to town, driving down the Natchez Trace Parkway through fields and trees. The classic folk and country songs you love to sing along to, they were all written about these roads. Driving through the woods, basking in the sunshine and swerving to avoid bikers allow you to truly appreciate days like this. Dusted with historical sites and monuments, the Natchez Trace is part of the National Parks Service (shout out to our Interior Department!). Each spot offers a chance to hike and explore while presenting the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs. Get up and prevent any cramps or the static leg tingles from the prolonged time spent sitting.
We stopped off at Jackson Falls, just over an hour outside of Nashville. I can barely consider it a hike, but it is most definitely a strenuous workout. A quarter-mile of steep concrete stairs lead you down to the waterfall, but the challenge comes on the walk back to the car. When you leave, it feels as though you’ve walked an hour on the elliptical.
I believe the 404 error on your computer was modeled after this stop at the 404-mile marker. Mile 404, wilderness trail not found. The path is paved, so there are no dirt paths through the woods to explore further. Fortunately, this was the only disappointment at the site, but I would have loved to hike down to Duck River after viewing it from the overlook at the top of the hill. There is one other path, another half mile uphill to another overlook where you can view miles of uninterrupted farmland and fields below and think back to a simpler time when this site was first created. Except after your reminder of the past, you can turn around to enjoy the benefits of the present, like indoor plumbing in the bathrooms, the picnic area set with tables and the air conditioner in your car.
Once we backtracked down the parkway we landed in Leiper’s Fork. At first, I couldn’t tell if it was real or just the left-over set from a movie filmed there years earlier and forgotten. The town is almost too perfect, a beautiful mix of a classic southern country town, tourism, and boujee boutiques just outside this college girl’s price range. Don’t let that steer you away, there is still plenty to explore on a budget.
Despite a population of 650, this bustling town has tons to see and do. Our first stop was Puckett’s, an unassuming restaurant and grocery store with some of the best barbecue. Rumored to be the home of Keith Urban and Justin Timberlake and filled with painters working to fill the local galleries, this is an artist’s haven. The highlight of our meal was listening to live music played by a local band. It takes a lot to convince me not to eat outside on a gorgeous day, but this group was so good I had to stay in and listen. The stage is small and stationed right by the entrance, one of the first things you notice upon entering. A large, rustic and faded American flag hangs behind the musicians and continues to remind me of an updated saloon.
If you read my post about great date spots in Nashville, then you know I love window shopping. After our meal, we scooted across the street to browse the unique collections of antiques in each store. Most of the shops are converted homes, so in the same way IKEA entices you by positioning their products to remind you of what your house can look like, it was so easy to imagine taking each item home. It was far too easy and I ended up with some small, but random knick-knacks that I had no business buying. On first glance, the shops appeared to contain similar collectibles, however, after walking through each store it was obvious that they all contained completely different items with differing aesthetics.
My favorite shop was Serenite Maison, filled with treasures you never knew you needed. I am convinced the store is owned by a witch (the good kind!). Clustered in one section are all the items perfect for a spell: crystals, candles, books, matches in cute jars, astrology themes.
Instruments and rustic Nashville cowboy memorabilia sit next to a leather couch in the front of the store. If you’re lucky, you may catch a fellow shopper playing one of the many guitars they sell or writing a song, reclined on the sofa. In the back is a room filled with jams, jellies, recipes, and other kitchen necessities even the preppiest Draper James customer would love. It has a little something for everyone.
Driving out of town, we noticed two interesting cars parked on the side of the road and had to stop to check them out. The first was General Lee, the iconic orange car from the Dukes of Hazzard. While the second was Barney Fife’s police car from The Andy Griffith show. They are the perfect greeting when you enter the town and the perfect memory to send you on your way when you leave.
I had so much fun taking these pictures. I love the way that the sunset made the cars shine.