Mother’s Day Staycation at Harpeth Hotel
For Mother’s Day, my husband gifted me with a stay at the new Harpeth Hotel in Historic Downtown Franklin, Tennessee. This luxury property is part of the Hilton Collection and is located on the banks of the Harpeth River at 130 N. 2nd Avenue. We live only two miles down the road, but the charming exterior of this establishment has been beckoning me since it opened in 2019.
Why would I want to stay at a hotel that is within walking distance of my front door? The Harpeth Hotel is the first hotel to be built in the historic downtown. I am quite proud and protective of my hometown, and I admit I was skeptical when I heard Franklin was building a hotel. How could it be quaint yet swanky, and offer all the modern amenities while still paying homage to the rich history and tradition?
My first impression of the exterior was positive. The red brick and starkly contrasting white pillars in front were softened by gas lanterns that flanked the main entrance. The lobby feels much like the first floor of a grand home, with a library and a fireplace, and several seating areas with large couches and floor lamps.
The hotel is boutique-style, offering 119 uniquely designed guest rooms and suites that face 2nd Avenue, Main Street, 1st Avenue or an internal courtyard. The courtyard has a grand staircase and plenty of seating, making it a perfect venue for a small wedding or private event. During our visit, Misty Westebbe Photography was offering complimentary prom photos for high school students whose prom was canceled because of COVID-19.
Several indoor event spaces are also available, including a ballroom, private dining room and a lounge. Award-winning chefs and dedicated planning staff are pleased to cater weddings, reunions and galas to create memorable experiences.
The Harpeth has one fine dining restaurant called 1799 Kitchen and Cocktails, named after the year Abram Maury founded the town of Franklin. The restaurant boasts “mouthwatering food, craft cocktails and a whiskey and bourbon list longer than your arm.”
McGavock’s Coffee Bar & Provisions, a European-style coffee shop, offers freshly ground coffee from Honest Coffee Roasters as well as salads, sandwiches and locally baked pastries.
Mark and I arrived at the hotel at 4:00 p.m. for check-in. We found free street parking in front of The Coffee House at Second and Bridge, located next to the hotel. There is also paid parking in an adjacent garage, but Franklin has several complimentary parking garages nearby.
Each room at The Harpeth offers themed décor that is reminiscent of the antebellum South. Even the colors of the linens and upholstery whisper of the past. Gray sofas with brass nailheads and navy chaise lounges offer subtle reminders that this building was once the site of the Battle of Franklin.
We reserved a standard room, but the front desk offered us a courtyard view. Our room was spacious and comfortable, with an oversized bathroom and shower. I liked the clever use of space in the room, like the desk that pulled down from a half wall, and the chair that hung on the wall for optional use. The only feature we did not prefer was the television was not very visible from the bed. Our disappointment was short-lived, as we found our television was not a smart TV, and the cable stations offered few options for entertainment.
During the pandemic, 1799 was temporarily closed but had recently reopened before our stay. The management ensured that all tables were at least six feet apart, and all staff wore masks. The menu was limited, but we both ordered cocktails and shared the Grilled Pork Loin. This meaty, on-the-bone pork chop was perfectly charred and accompanied by apple compote, braised onions and warm Brussels salad.
With an appetizer, the portion was generous enough to satisfy us. The savory pork loin was perfectly complemented by the spiced cinnamon apples, the sweetness of the braised onions. Brussels sprouts are our favorite vegetable, so we savored every mouthful!
Franklin at night is really lovely, with the square illuminated. We walked Main Street and enjoyed the colorful displays in each shop window while we waited for our pizza. Mellow Mushroom and Kilwin’s were very efficient. We wore our masks into both establishments, and all employees were kind and helpful.
Our House Special pizza was ready when we arrived (The Mellow Mushroom’s version of supreme pizza), and we were even able to purchase individual bags of gourmet potato chips. If you order a late-night pizza like we did, make sure to ask for plates, napkins and forks. We completely forgot to request these, so we were using the lid of the pizza box as our plate! It was a perfect throwback to our old college days at Ball State University when we’d devour a large $5 pepperoni pizza from Domino’s.
After eating all those carbs, we felt so tired and we crawled into the plush king bed. Even with all the cable channels available, there wasn’t much on TV so we just went to sleep. The bed was extremely comfortable, and we both slept very well.
The next morning, we opted to eat breakfast at The Coffee House at Second and Bridge. I ordered a peach yarrow kombucha that was locally brewed, and we shared the avocado toast with a side of fresh fruit. This coffee shop is newer in Franklin, and it is located in a renovated historic home. Each room has unique decor, and I definitely suggest you check it out.
We ate in the sunroom, and there was a large picture window that let in lots of natural light. After our breakfast, it was time to head home and see the kids. They said everything went well while we were gone and we should go away again soon. We think we’ll take them up on it, and we’re starting to plan our next getaway.