Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee: Where The Preservation of Land and History Revive a Cultural Hub – Episode 146

Leiper’s Creek Gallery in Leiper's Fork TN.
Estimated Reading Time: 9 minutes

Leiper’s Fork is a must-visit for anyone visiting Franklin, Tennessee. A hidden gem for artists and cultural enthusiasts, sit back, unplug and let the village surprise you. With things to do in Leiper’s Fork, get ready to be transported to a place where time stands still and creativity and community come together.

With rolling hills, historic turn-of-the-century buildings, working farms, and front porches complete with rocking chairs, welcome to a little town home to approximately 650 residents and 1,100 acres of land. A well-known refuge for celebrities and musicians, welcome to Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee!

If you haven’t heard of this small unincorporated rural village before, you aren’t alone. I hadn’t either until recently. While planning my first trip to Tennessee, I mapped out a road trip to Clarksville and then Franklin. You can hear all about the historic Clarksville attractions that stuck with me in Episode 145 of The Thought Card Podcast.

Browsing through Visit Franklin’s website, I stumbled on a page that described a charming rural village, right outside Downtown Franklin, not too far from Nashville. 

Described as ‘stepping back in time,’ Leiper’s Fork promises a quiet escape from city life which was exactly what I was looking for in a day trip. A mix of agricultural, commercial, and residential, in this tight-knit community, everyone knows each other, there’s a vibrant business community, and creativity influences art and music.

In this podcast episode, you’ll get to hear from Aubrey Preston, who has been instrumental in the town’s revitalization over the last 30+ years. Plus, things to do in Leiper’s Fork, one of Tennessee’s best-kept, not-so secret destinations. 

Listen to the podcast episode here.

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This episode is made in partnership with Visit Franklin. Discover things to do, places to eat, and where to stay throughout Williamson County, which is made up of eight communities, each with its own unique personality and experiences for visitors.

Danielle Desir Corbett: With rolling hills, historic turn-of-the-century buildings, working farms, and front porches complete with rocking chairs, welcome to a little town, home to approximately 650 residents and 1,100 acres of land. A well-known refuge for celebrities and musicians, welcome to Leiper's Fork in Williamson County, Tennessee, If you haven't heard of this small, unincorporated rural village before, you aren't alone. I hadn't either until recently. While planning my first trip to Tennessee, I mapped out a road trip to Clarksville and then Franklin. You can hear all about the historic Clarksville, Tennessee attractions that stuck with me in episode 145. Browsing through Visit Franklin's website, I stumbled on a page that described a charming rural village right outside downtown Franklin and not too far from Nashville. Described as stepping back in time, Leiper's Fork promises a quiet escape from city life, which honestly was exactly what I was looking for in a day trip. A mix of agricultural, commercial, and residential, in this tight-knit community, everyone knows each other. There's a vibrant business community, and creativity influences art and music. Once indigenous land, Leiper's Fork was first inhabited by Native tribes such as the Cherokee and Chickasaw tribes. It was later settled by pioneering families from North Carolina and Virginia in the late 1700s. Land grants of 320 acres or more were given by North Carolina to revolutionary soldiers for their military service. And by 1818, a post office was granted to the village due to its growth and its location on the national road from Nashville to Natchez. It is believed that the leaper's Forked name was taken from the creek passing through the village, but local historians debate which leaper the creek honors. Its natural resources gave way to farming and livestock production, and later to the harvesting of timber and mining of minerals. With the development of railroads and roads, these resources became accessible to larger markets, allowing Leiper's Fork to become a center of trade in western Williamson County. Today, Leiper's Fork is a picturesque village with many historic buildings which have been saved and restored. These preserved structures are home to restaurants, art galleries, and independently owned shops. In this episode, you'll get to hear from Aubrey Preston, who has been instrumental in the town's revitalization over the last 30-plus years. Plus, things to do in Leiper's Fork, one of Tennessee's best-kept, not-so-secret destinations. But before we get started, this episode is made in partnership with Visit Franklin. Head on over to visitfranklin.com to discover things to do, places to eat, and where to stay throughout Williamson County, which is made up of eight communities, each with its own unique personality and experiences for visitors. To read the full write-up of this episode and see all of the accompanying photos and videos, visit thoughtcard.com slash leapers Fork. Again, that's thoughtcard.com slash leapers Fork. Welcome to the Thought Card, a podcast about traveling money, where planning, saving and creativity leads to affording travel, building wealth and paying off debt. We are the financially savvy travelers. With Tennessee flags flying high everywhere, Franklin is a walkable city just south of Nashville, full of restored Victorian buildings, restaurants, shops, bars, and coffee shops. A dog-friendly city, you'll notice dog bowls and pet-friendly signage in front of a lot of establishments right along a main street. With scenic parks, Civil War history, African American history, live music, and located approximately 30 minutes driving distance from Nashville, Franklin is named after Benjamin Franklin, a founding father of the United States who helped draft the Declaration of Independence. Staying at the stylish Harpeth Franklin Downtown Hotel, Franklin's first hotel in the downtown core in decades, meant I was centrally located in the heart of the 16-block historic district, close to everything. From downtown Franklin, plan to either drive or take the Franklin Hop Trolley to Leiper's Fork. If you decide to take the trolley, there's a narration pointing out 50 points of interest from downtown Franklin to the Fork. For those who don't have a car or just prefer scheduled transit, hop on or off at five stops around Franklin, Leiper's Fork Distillery, and the village of Leiper's Fork. Wanting more flexibility to explore at my own pace though, I decided to drive. Only a short 15-minute drive from historic downtown Franklin, Leiper's Fork feels off the beaten path, worlds away from Franklin's 16-block, picture-perfect historic district, designated a Great American Main Street. On a narrow two-lane winding road which opens up to rolling green hills, you'll pass by country farms, horses and cows, and sprawling luxurious countryside estates. Greeted by a vintage cop car marked Sheriff of Leiper's Fork, you've arrived. Driving a little further on Old Hillsborough Road, all of the main attractions are located on a compact block. Here you can find about a dozen small businesses, including art galleries, antique shops, gift shops, clothing stores, a wine tasting room, a spa, inns, and restaurants. Intentionally frozen in time, some of the architecture dates back to the early 1800s, like the Wines in the Fork farmhouse, which dates to 1807. But as picturesque as Leiper's Fork is today, it did not look like this 30 years ago. Falling on hard times, the village was run down. An important figure in the preservation and restoration of Leper's Fork, let me introduce you to Aubrey Preston, a Tennessean, lifelong student of music history, and preservationist passionate about preserving important elements of America's heritage and landscapes. Born in the Appalachian foothills of East Tennessee, Aubrey left the region in his 20s and ended up in Colorado, where he became a very successful real estate magnate. Like so many other Southern Natives, eventually the pull to come home became strong and he returned to Tennessee in 1991 where he purchased a turn-of-the-century farmhouse 30 miles south of Nashville in a small community of Leiper's Fork.

Aubrey Preston: I guess I kind of got that same gear that Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz got. At a certain point, there's no place like home, going back to Tennessee. And so coming back to Tennessee, it was natural for me to be attracted to Nashville, because there's a lot of guitars here. And I like guitars, and I always liked music, and I'm attracted to anything creative. I bought a little farmhouse south of Franklin, about five or six miles in and around an unincorporated area that was called Leiper's Fork. And we were actually several miles to the east of it, and usually drove straight back and forth to Franklin. And then one day I took a country road and said, I wonder where that goes to. And I ended up finding this little kind of forgotten little village that was run down called Leiper's Fork. And it was a little area of Merch, where you could see it had been a commerce city. There's a school and a handful of buildings here, a little grocery store and a little diner. And a lot of boarded up buildings. And it looked a lot like a little mining town that had been abandoned out in Colorado or something, probably like Telluride or one of those places that at one point were broken down and had been restored. So I just thought, well, man, this is really beautiful. This is cute. I love culture. And started meeting a few people out here around music. And as I got to know some of the people, They brought up the idea that there was an interstate being planned. A giant interstate was the biggest project in Tennessee state history that would be funded by the state of Tennessee, something called Interstate 840. And it was being planned, and there was going to be an exit. And there was a lot of fear that that was going to disrupt their life. And so they were all wondering, what do we do? And I had a little bit of background in understanding real estate and they got me fired up. And one day I went to work and got together with some of them and just pulled together the creative people that we had and put our heads together and started this preservation movement that was built on preserving land, farmland. And that was kind of the first movement like it in Tennessee at the time in the mid-90s. Nobody had really thought a whole lot about preservation of land. There was talk of preserving historic downtowns had been emerging, but preserving land, this was kind of the first of that.

Danielle Desir Corbett: Driving back and forth to Franklin, one day he took a country road, wondering where it goes. He stumbled on a forgotten little commerce village with a school, a grocery store and diner, and a lot of boarded up buildings. Upwards of 80% of the village's businesses were either boarded up or vacant at the time. As he got to know some of the locals, they expressed worry with the construction of State Route 840. where there would be an interstate exit that would disrupt their economy and way of life. Seeing potential in the community, Aubrey committed to helping revive the village. The community banded together to launch a preservation movement built on preserving land. In the 1990s, although preserving downtowns was an emerging initiative, the idea of preserving land was the first of its kind in Tennessee. By taking an inventory of what the community had going for it, which was beautiful natural landscape and a bunch of broken down buildings, the vision was to get Leiper's Fork viable again. Libra SFork wasn't just a suburb of Nashville, but a cultural hub for art, music, food, and the country lifestyle. Motivated by his love for the land and a concern for its potential destruction, Aubrey gathered like-minded individuals and embarked on a mission to buy farms and preserve them. They worked tirelessly to get their town on the National Historic Register, recognizing the significance of the area's history and architecture. Their efforts extended beyond just preserving the land. They also sought to revitalize the community by recruiting others to open businesses and restore broken down buildings. Through their collective efforts, they successfully bootstrapped their community into what it is today. Through land trusts, hundreds of acres in Leiper's Fork will remain undeveloped, leaving the preserved land a place for future generations to enjoy and cherish.

Aubrey Preston: None of that works if you put subdivisions on all the farms. So. I loved it. I loved that way of life. And it was kind of something that I saw that I could do when I was in my mid-thirties. It was kind of like, well, it looks like I'm going to do okay. I've got a couple of kids. I'm kind of getting to a point where, well, maybe I need to think about as an adult, maybe what can I do to help the community? They were worried about the farms getting torn down, you know, developed. And so it was like, OK, well, I guess I'll jump in here and see what I can do. So, you know, our vision was protect the land, preserve the land buildings and the way of life.

Danielle Desir Corbett: They wanted to create an environment where their traditions could thrive, where the community's history and way of life could be celebrated and shared with others. They also wanted to invite enough visitors to support the local businesses and keep the historic buildings open. So they worked closely with their county's tourism agency and state tourism office to balance the number of visitors that visit annually. Fortunately, it's been just right because their buildings are still open and the community is thriving today. Leiper's Fork has even attracted celebrities and musicians like Justin Timberlake, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, and more, who all call this laid-back village home.

Aubrey Preston: The definition that we really embrace is kind of this perfectly imperfect place that kind of figures out a way to, in a vibrant way, stand still. Yeah, so we're a rural area and we have this little village that basically operates as a working artist colony, really. That's real similar to, you know, movements there were in New York or LA and the big cities where you had these music movements. It was concentrations of creative people that got together at different periods of time. We just happened to be going. We're in one of those moments in history, who knows how far that ball will roll. But right now we're continuing to gain steam. with people playing music, people writing music, people making records, people doing the art that's part of it. It's infiltrated into our schools. Of course, we do do a lot to kind of provide the infrastructure, you know, at our little place, Fox and Locke, where we do have an open mic to give up-and-comers a chance to cut their teeth. That's kind of our version of the Apollo Theater. It was kind of a little kinder and gentler Apollo Theater. I think they got kind of mean with people. They didn't do a good job up there. Down here, if they don't play good, we might say, oh, bless your heart. That'd be about the worst you're going to get. But mostly, we encourage it, and we try to raise young talent and sometimes raise old talent. We'll have people that'll be 75 years old, and they'll decide they're going to play guitar. And they learn a few songs, and they get to come do open mic, and we give them great applause for effort. So yeah, it is a very, very disproportionate part of our life here.

Danielle Desir Corbett: With an appreciation for nature and natural things, one of my big takeaways from chatting with Aubrey Preston is his deep love for Tennessee culture and appreciation for music. He says, music in Tennessee almost comes out of the ground like spring water. It seems like everybody either plays or is related to someone that plays or came because they either play or love music. So many people are attracted to come to Leiper's Fork because of the music, which has become a part of this community's identity. Land preservation is not solely about protecting the physical landscape. It is also about safeguarding the intangible aspects that make a community unique. The abundance of family gardens, storytelling, and music that accompanies rural life are all integral parts of the cultural heritage that would be lost if farms were replaced by subdivisions. In many ways, connecting to the past is an investment in the future, ensuring future generations can experience and appreciate the beauty and significance of this small rural community. In an ever-evolving cultural landscape, the people who call Leiper's Fork home take pride in the idea that Leiper's Fork will be defined by what they do not do with development, which is different than a lot of places. That feeling that time stands still here is a big attraction and why so many people, myself included, want to visit. One of the things I think a lot of people lose sight of when planning a trip to Leiper's Fork is that it's probably not the place you'll want to pack your schedule with things to do from dawn to dusk. Visiting Leiper's Fork is about connecting with the local community through food, music, art, local produce and products, and one-on-one conversations. I picked up on this right away. While wandering around town, I spent the majority of my time hanging out, sipping whiskey at the distillery, browsing the art galleries, and later unwinding by the creek. Taking it easy, I had nowhere to be, which meant I could simply live in the moment. So when you visit Leiper's Fork, chill out. Ditch the checklist and power down your cell phone. After you've taken photos of all the quirky finds around town, of course. As for things to do in Leiper's Fork, here are a few of my favorites. A quick note though, visiting on a Tuesday, while there wasn't a large crowd of tourists, restaurants were closed, so I cannot speak to the Southern Fair dining experience. I did, however, enjoy the vegan hot dogs from a food truck. Okay, so first up is Leiper's Fork Distillery, which is a small-batch, family-owned whiskey distillery. Bringing the history and art of Scottish and Irish whiskey-making back to Williamson County, the founder of Leiper's Fork Distillery, Lee L. Kennedy, played a big role in revising legislation which allowed distilleries to open across the state decades after the Prohibition. Many of the early settlers in this county were of Scots-Irish descent, who came with stilts on their backs, bringing with them the time-honored tradition of creating handcrafted small-batch whiskey. Using these techniques, local ingredients, and limestone filtered water, tour their production facility and see the behind-the-scenes whiskey and bourbon making process, from grain selection to mashing, fermentation, distillation, barrel aging, and bottling. Sitting in the 200-year-old historic log home, the tasting table dated back to the Civil War, and there was even a charred section from a fire. Sampling their line of spirits, the Tennessee Whiskey is undoubtedly my favorite. Visiting the gift shop, I brought back home a bottle of Leiper's Fork Tennessee Whiskey for my husband and a whiskey-dipped cigar for my father-in-law. Other souvenirs available include t-shirts, candles, and honey. Overall, Leiper's Fork Distillery offers a timeless ambience and is a great place to hang out. You can easily spend a few hours here, grab a drink, listen to live music, smoke a cigar, or enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Next up is Leper's Creek Gallery. Named after the creek that runs through town, Leper's Creek Gallery, founded by Lisa Fox, an abstract painter and gallerist, showcases paintings and sculptures by regional artists and makers. A fun fact, Aubrey Preston, who you heard from earlier in this episode, commissioned Lisa to paint a floor-to-ceiling mural inside his mother's leaper's Fork, Turn the Century Home. He witnessed her can-do attitude and skills and asked her to establish an art gallery in the village. Once a gulf-filling station, Leiper's Creek Gallery welcomes all, families, and even dogs to enjoy the aesthetics of the historic building and the beauty of the artwork. Don't miss the Lawn Chair Theater, a rustic stage in the backyard, which hosts live music, open mics, and other community events like movie nights throughout the year. Don't forget, though, bring your lawn chairs. Right next door, visit Copper Fox Gallery, where browsing is encouraged. This fine arts gallery features mixed media and crafts from 90 regional artists. Here you'll find glasswork, photography, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, and more. I notice a strong wildlife and nature theme. Wines in the Fork is a wine shop and tasting room overlooking Harpeth River. A truly unique and unforgettable experience where you can literally sit right in the middle of the creek with water flowing by your feet all while sipping wine. This offered a glimpse to what locals probably do in their own backyards. So to wrap things up, Leiper's Fork offers visitors an easygoing, chill getaway where life slows down and the connections to nature, Southern culture, and rustic charm rise to the forefront. As I mentioned before, my advice when planning a trip to Leiper's Fork is to ditch the itinerary. This sentiment was echoed by Aubrey Preston who says,

Aubrey Preston: Sometimes people might miss the idea that probably the main thing here is that our little village is configured basically like a living room. There's seating all the way around the town. That's very intentional on our part to kind of create this place where everybody's welcome. And I think if somebody's going to miss the essence of Leiper's Fork, if they came through here with a checklist and thought they were going to check off, go see this, go do this, go do the other, well, we've been described as perfectly imperfect, which we like that. We wouldn't hold out that we're perfect. We're not the answer to everything. We're not the Eiffel Tower. We're not the Statue of Liberty. But if you come here, it is a beautiful landscape. The people are really nice. It's nice to be around artists and the collaboration of that. And in the fall and the spring, it's just coming and kind of, I know it sounds crazy, but just kind of coming and sitting in the village, turning your cell phone off or leaving it in your car and just come sit there and see what happens. And it might surprise you how much fun that is. Probably if I had to say one thing, it would be a sense of belonging. and being part of something bigger than themselves. And that can happen pretty fast here. It's like the general code here is if you're nice, you're in, and if you're not nice, you're out. So people show up, and if they're nice, I think they'll get a good feeling. And they'll get a good feeling of being connected in a world where loneliness is this giant epidemic that's fed by all kinds of different things. going to a little town and kind of sitting in the living room and connecting with perfect strangers and having a good time, again, can be a pretty memorable experience.

Danielle Desir Corbett: So, sure, read up on things you may want to do while you're in town, but my suggestion is to not overwhelm yourself by preparing so much ahead that you lose sight of the essence of your visit to Leiper's Fork. Whether you choose to spend an afternoon, plan your entire vacation around the village, or decide to move here like so many others have, enjoy all that awaits you at Leiper's Fork, a welcoming town with a strong cultural identity, connection to the past, and sense of place. I want to say thank you to our special guest, Aubrey Preston, and Visit Franklin, again, for partnering with me on this episode. I really appreciated the warm welcome and introduction to Williamson County. And honestly, I can't wait for my next visit. And with that, until the next adventure, Financially Savvy Travelers,

Discover the Beauty and Community of Leiper’s Fork

Leiper’s Fork TN Backstory

Once indigenous land, Leiper’s Fork was first inhabited by native tribes such as the Cherokee and Chickasaw tribes. It was later settled by pioneering families from North Carolina and Virginia in the late 1700’s. 

Land grants of 320 acres were given by North Carolina to Revolutionary Soldiers for their military service. By 1818, a post office was granted to the Village due to its growth and its location on the National Road from Nashville to Natchez. 

It is believed that the ‘Leiper’s Fork’ name was taken from the creek passing through the Village, but local historians debate which Leiper the creek honors. 

Its natural resources gave way to farming and livestock production, and later to the harvesting of timber and mining of minerals. With the development of railroads and roads, these resources became accessible to larger markets, allowing Leiper’s Fork to become a center of trade in western Williamson County. 

Today Leiper’s Fork is a picturesque village with many historic buildings which have been saved and restored. These preserved structures are home to restaurants, art galleries, and independently owned shops. 

Getting To Leiper’s Fork From Franklin

Leiper’s Fork is a must visit for anyone going to Franklin. To get the most out of your Tennessee getaway, I recommend staying in Franklin and planning a day trip to the Fork.

With Tennessee flags flying high everywhere, Franklin is a walkable city, just south of Nashville, full of restored Victorian buildings, restaurants, shops, bars, and coffee shops. A dog friendly city, you’ll notice dog bowls and pet-friendly signage in front of a lot of establishments along Main Street. 

Downtown Franklin Tennessee - things to do in Franklin, TN.

With scenic parks, Civil War history, African-American history, live music, and located approximately 30 minutes driving distance from Nashville, Franklin is named after Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father of the United States who helped draft the Declaration of Independence.  

Staying at the stylish Harpeth Franklin Downtown Hotel, Franklin’s first hotel in the downtown core in decades, meant I was centrally located in the heart of the 16-block Historic District, close to everything. 

Search for and book a Franklin, TN hotel below.

Where is Leiper’s Fork, TN?

From Downtown Franklin, plan to either drive or take the Franklin Hop Trolley to Leiper’s Fork. If you decide to take the trolley there’s narration pointing out 50 points of interest from Downtown Franklin to the Fork. For those who don’t have a car or prefer public transit, hop on or off at several stops around Franklin and the Village of Leiper’s Fork. 

Wanting more flexibility to explore at my own pace, I opted to drive. Only a short 15 minute drive from Historic Downtown Franklin, Leiper’s Fork feels off-the-beaten path, worlds away from Franklin’s 16-block picture perfect historic district designated a Great American Main Street. 

On a narrow two lane winding road, which opens up to rolling green hills, pass by country farms, horses and cows, and sprawling luxurious countryside estates.

Greeted by a vintage cop car marked ‘Sheriff of Leiper’s Fork’, you’ve arrived. 

Driving a little further on Old Hillsboro Road, all of the main attractions are located on a compact block. There aren’t established pedestrian sidewalks, so be careful of oncoming traffic and parked vehicles. 

Here you can find about a dozen small businesses, including art galleries, antique shops, gift shops, clothing stores, a wine tasting room, a spa, inns, and restaurants.

But as picturesque as it is today, Leiper’s Fork did not look like this 30 years ago.

Listen to this podcast episode on YouTube.

The Importance of Land Preservation

An important figure in the preservation and restoration of Leiper’s Fork, Aubrey Preston is a Tennessean, lifelong student of music history, and preservationist passionate about preserving important elements of America’s heritage and landscapes. Born in the Appalachian foothills of East Tennessee, Aubrey left the region in his 20’s and ended up in Colorado where he became a very successful real estate magnate. 

Like so many other southern natives, eventually the pull to come home became strong and he returned to Tennessee in 1991 where he purchased a turn-of-the-century farmhouse 30 miles south of Nashville in the small community of Leiper’s Fork.

Driving back and forth to Franklin, one day he took a country road wondering where it goes. He stumbled on a forgotten little commerce village with a lot of boarded up buildings. Upwards of 80% of the village’s businesses were boarded up or vacant at that time. 

As he got to know some of the locals, they expressed worry that with the construction of State Route 840 there would be an interstate exit that would disrupt their economy and way of life. 

Seeing potential in the community, Aubrey committed to helping revive the village. The community banded together to launch a preservation movement built on preserving land. In the 1990s, although preserving Downtowns was an emerging initiative, the idea of preserving land was the first of its kind in Tennessee. 

By taking an inventory of what the community had going for it, which was beautiful natural landscape, and a bunch of broken down buildings, the vision was to get Leiper’s Fork viable again. Leiper’s Fork wasn’t just a suburb of Nashville, but a cultural hub for art, music, food, and the country lifestyle. 

Motivated by his love for the land and a concern for its potential destruction, Aubrey gathered like-minded individuals and embarked on a mission to buy farms and preserve them. They worked tirelessly to get their town on the National Historic Register, recognizing the significance of the area’s history and architecture. 

Their efforts extended beyond just preserving the land; they also sought to revitalize the community by recruiting others to open businesses and restore broken-down buildings. Through their collective efforts, they successfully bootstrapped their community into what it is today.

Listen to this podcast episode on Spotify.

Through land trusts, hundreds of acres in Leiper’s Fork will remain undeveloped, leaving the preserved land a place for future generations to enjoy and cherish. Protected land surround the village on all sides, so not only can it not grow in size, but the beautiful countryside views will never change. But land preservation is not solely about protecting the physical landscape; it is also about safeguarding the intangible aspects that make a community unique. The abundance of family gardens, storytelling, and music that accompanies rural life are all integral parts of the cultural heritage that would be lost if farms were replaced by subdivisions. The feeling that time stands still here, is a big attraction, and why so many people, myself included, want to visit. 

Things To Do in Leiper’s Fork Tennessee

Leiper's Fork Restaurants.

One of the things some people lose sight of when planning a trip to Leiper’s Fork is that it’s probably not the place you’ll want to pack your schedule with things to do from dawn to dusk. Visiting Leiper’s Fork is about connecting with the local community through food, music, art, local produce and products, and one-on-one conversations with locals. When you visit Leiper’s Fork, chill out, ditch the checklist, and power down your cell phone. As for things to do in Leiper’s Fork, here are a few of my favorites. 

1. Leiper’s Fork Distillery

If you’re interested in visiting distilleries in Tennessee, don’t miss Leiper’s Fork Distillery.

Leiper’s Fork Distillery is a small batch family-owned whiskey distillery owned by Lee L. Kennedy, who began making whiskey at the age of 16. 

Bringing the history and art of Scottish and Irish whiskey making back to Williamson County, this Tennessee distillery celebrates the time-honored tradition of creating hand crafted small batch whiskey. Using local ingredients and limestone filtered water, tour the production facility and see the behind the scenes whiskey and bourbon making process, from grain selection to mashing, fermentation, distillation, barrel aging, and bottling. Sitting in the 200 year old historic log home, the tasting room table dated back to the Civil  War, and there was even a charred section from a fire. 

Sampling their line of spirits, the Tennessee whiskey is undoubtedly my favorite. Visiting the gift shop, I brought back home a bottle of Leiper’s Fork Tennessee Whiskey for my husband and a whiskey dipped cigar for my father-in-law. Other souvenirs available for purchase include t-shirts, candles, and honey. 

Leiper's Fork Whiskey - What to do in Leiper's Fork Tennessee.

Overall, Leiper’s Fork Distillery offers a timeless ambiance and is a great place to hang out. You can easily spend a few hours here: grab a drink, listen to live music, smoke a cigar, or enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Admission: $24 for an hour tour and tasting. 

2. Leiper’s Creek Gallery

Leiper’s Creek Gallery in Leiper's Fork TN.

Named after the creek that runs through town, Leiper’s Creek Gallery founded by Lisa Fox, an abstract painter and gallerist, showcases paintings and sculptors by regional artists and makers. Leiper’s Creek Gallery welcomes all, families, and even dogs to enjoy the aesthetics of the historic building and the art work. 

Lawn Chair Theater Leiper's Fork, TN.

Don’t miss the “Leipers Fork Lawn Chair Theater’ a rustic stage in the backyard which hosts live music, open mics, and other community events, like movie nights throughout the year. 

Don’t forget – bring your lawn chairs!

3. Copper Fox Gallery

Right next door, visit Copper Fox Gallery where browsing is encouraged. 

This fine arts gallery features mixed media and crafts from 90 regional artists. Here you’ll find glass work, photography, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, and more. 

I noticed a strong wildlife and nature theme. 

4. Wines in the Fork

Wines in the Fork Franklin TN.

Wines in the Fork is a wine shop and tasting room overlooking Harpeth River. 

A truly unique and unforgettable experience where you can (literally) sit right in the middle of the creek, with water flowing by your feet, all while sipping wine. 

Unique things to do in Leiper's Fork TN.

This offered a glimpse to what locals probably do in their own backyards. 

To wrap things up: Leiper’s Fork offers visitors an easygoing getaway, where life slows down — and the connections to nature, Southern culture, and rustic charm rise to the forefront. 

As I mentioned before, my advice when planning a trip to Leiper’s Fork is to ditch the itinerary. So, sure, read up on what to in Leiper’s Fork, but don’t overwhelm yourself by preparing so much ahead that you lose the essence of your visit.

Chad Gallivanter put together a great video recapping what to see and do which I highly recommend watching.

Whether you choose to spend an afternoon, plan your entire vacation around the village, or decide to move here, like so many others have, enjoy all that awaits you at Leiper’s Fork, a welcoming town with a strong cultural identity, connection to the past, and sense of place. 

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