Light years from Music City, even Franklin and Brentwood, Leiper’s Fork is an eclectic rural community in southwest Williamson County. Spread over 1,000 acres, the population stands at just over 700.
It’s home to farmers, teachers, executives, workers, cattle ranchers, artisans, fine artists and even country music stars. The unincorporated Village, aka the epicenter of the Fork, has not even one stoplight.
There’s a single stop sign and one pedestrian crossing painted in yellow over the blacktop two lane that runs through its center.
The Village is a study in contrasts, simultaneously downhome and uptown.
The original Puckett’s Grocery turned eatery is housed in a tan concrete block building. Its old yellow and red Bi-Rite Grocery marquee draws folks daily for fab cheeseburgers (Jimmy Buffet would love it here) and decidedly southern meat and three. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Dine inside, where a stage is home to live music many evenings or al fresco on the parking lot/patio. The food is terrific as its owner, Rob Robinson. He and his staff are as welcoming as spring rain, both to regulars and visiting city slickers alike.
Puckett’s rubs shoulders with fine art galleries on either side. Emphasis on fine. To its right are The Copper Fox and David Arms galleries. To its left, Leiper’s Creek Gallery.
The Copper Fox celebrates handcrafted art from 91 artisans, local and from across the country. Housed in a meticulously restored 1860’s home, the gallery offers pottery, art, jewelry, handmade furniture, textiles and sculptures.
Artist David Arms’ rustic gallery exterior is the ying to the rich dark interior’s yang. Filled with his original art, prints, men’s ties, pipes, books and antiquities, it’s a bit like stepping into an English library. His art and his gallery embody his faith and his credo of “living life intentionally”.
And then there’s Leiper’s Creek Gallery, a welcoming light-filled gallery where the fine art reflects the talent and warmth of artist/owner Lisa Fox. It may be out in the country, but its environs are big city sophisticated. As is the carefully juried original art by nationally and internationally acclaimed artists that grace its walls. It’s a go in, “sit-a-spell” on comfy furnishings while you savor the quiet cacophony of original paintings.
There is a zero snooty policy here.
Next door is a gem of fine dining ,1892, named for the origin of the house that contains it. Like the village itself, it’s a come on in the back door, sit and enjoy. The nugget’s historic furnishings compete with the menu. But the battle is lost when the artistic plates of fine cuisine are set before diners. Open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, this place competes nicely with the foodie terrain of Music City.
Lunch includes soups, salads, starters, sandwiches and small plates. The bread is made in house in this farm to table concept. For lunch, try pork belly lettuce wraps, grilled cheese with brie and white cheddar, generous salads and bowls of hearty soup. At dinner enjoy neighboring Bear Creek Farm’s fine beef and pork in the likes of a filet or braised short ribs. Sustainably sourced seafood incudes scallops and salmon.
And it’s a BYOB (bring your own bottle kind of place). Diners tote their own fine wines to accompany their fine meals.
Across the road is Country Boy, long a cornerstone of the Fork. Serving up meat and three and robust breakfasts, it’s as lively as its food is good. Amidst the neighboring shops are a trading company retailer with two floors of clothing, jewelry, scarves … you name it.
And then there’s Serenite Maison, an intriguing and delightful collection of objects d’ art, sparkling French crystal chandeliers dripping from its ceiling, handcrafted jewelry, collectibles, one of a kind pieces from near and far, table linens, antiques and simply incredible finds by proprietor Alexandra Cirimelli (Alex) who searches the planet for its offerings.
Down the road a bit is Pick-It-Fence where a welcoming wicker filled front porch attracts shoppers and loafers alike.
The Fork has a smattering of other shops in its two-story “high-rise” frame complex. There’s even a coffee shop “in town”.
While this village surrounded by rolling pastures and forests is great for a day trip for shopping, especially here at the holidays, it offers an extraordinary and aptly named overnight getaway.
Upscale, eclectic accommodations include Pot n’ Kettle Cottages, four separate restored historic dwellings steps from the heart of the Village, to Moonshine Hill, a luxurious rustic cabin atop a hill surrounded by 21 privately owned acres.
It’s not all shops, galleries and eating here. Leiper’s Fork Distillery just down the road offers samples and tours of its grain to glass small batch whiskey operation.
And for the piece de la resistance this holiday season, put Saturday, Dec. 8 on your calendar for the wild, wonderful and wacky Leiper’s Fork Parade. Like the Village itself, it is one-of-a-kind.
Santa is almost superfluous to the terrific floats, pickup trucks, antique cars, riding mowers, tractors, horses, sheep, alpaca, a pig and even a cow or two. Beginning at 2 p.m. (get there at least an hour early to find your spot on the side of the road) the parade is a spectacular slice of Americana. Kudos to parade organizer and director, Laura Musgrave, and to a slew of volunteers.
Vicki Stout serves as SEM’s Travel and Food Editor. She is also a freelance writer and marketing and public relations consultant.