By Tim Kearns
I’ve never been asked to write. Not a book, article or even a greeting card… although greeting cards could be entertaining. So, here I go on a new adventure using a keyboard to record my thoughts and observations, not necessarily true or reliable!
In 1995, I moved my wife and two daughters to Franklin with the acquisition of Flower Power Garden Center, among other landscape industry distribution businesses across the state. The original goal was to move to Franklin, get the business up and running and move back to Atlanta. Within the first six months we knew this was the best place to raise a family! Fast forward to 2006, we sold the nursery business, bought into an insurance agency with my neighbor and buddy in Cool Springs, International Insurance Brokerage. I served for ten years on the Franklin Historic Zoning Commission, I was on the Board of Historic Carnton Plantation and now serve on the Board of the Battle of Franklin Trust. Both daughters grew up in Franklin, went to THE University of Tennessee and currently live and work in downtown Nashville. My wife Bess and I still are proud members of the Franklin community and couldn’t see us living anywhere else!
October for a Southern Gentleman is a great month with much to do. Football, tailgating, bourbon, putting seersucker away and pulling out the sweaters, over-seeding the lawn, digging up fried summer plants, planting fall annuals, festivals, etc… is there really time to enjoy it all? Pace yourself – it’s the key!
To me, a Southern Gentleman takes pride in himself, in his appearance, appearance of his home, yard, cars, and so on. So, after a hot dry summer, the first place to start is that yard. The spring flower beds, by now, need to be replaced by fresh fall annuals. Fescue yards need to be aerated and over seeded; both fescue and the warm season grasses just need to be fed a good fall fertilizer. I try to get mine completed by mid-September, because by mid-October I want the new sprigs of fescue dark green with the mowing lines striped looking like a golf green when football season starts. That’s when it’s time to pull the flat screen out on the deck, put a fire in the pit and invite friends over to watch football!
Football means entertaining! Tailgate or backyard, you need to put on a spread that rivals the best brunches in Nashville. For me, putting some kind of meat on the grill is a must. You want your guy friends to ask you “How you did it?” or “What do you put in it to get that flavor?” – which makes a grill master feel, well kinda proud! Being a Southern Gentleman, you also need to consider the ladies. They don’t want to grab a rib or pile on some pork and look like cavewomen… they graze. So, to accommodate, you need to also to consider fruit, salads and cheese assortments, something that the ladies would appreciate.
All this eating is going to make friends thirsty, so you also need fall craft beer, wine and of course, bourbon! Williamson County is blessed for many reasons, but blessings that I most enjoy are the wealth of breweries, distilleries and wineries we have. Recently, a Masters & Makers Trail was established to highlight a few of the local establishments in our community. The places on this list are all centrally located in Williamson County and I can personally vouch that the proprietors of all these establishments are absolutely Southern Gentlemen!
If you want to start on the south end of the list, Arrington Vineyards is beautiful this time of year, harvest has been completed and music is in the air. Kip and Chase really create some magic juice with those grapes! You also have H Clark Distillery which is the first legal distillery in more than 100 years in Williamson County! Heath Clark is the proprietor and a great guy. Tell him you want to try some of his Tennessee Black & Tan. Leiper’s Fork Distillery is educational in addition to a great destination point to take out of town guests. Try to get a tour with “Pops” – he’s really entertaining. They’ve moved and reassembled a beautiful cabin with a tasting room to enjoy their products after the tour. Mill Creek Brewing in Nolensville is a laid back 27,000 square foot brewery that Chris Going established and, pardon the pun, Chris has it “going on”! While there, try the Silo Farmhouse Ale which one of the standards and about this time of year they have a Coffee Oatmeal Stout called the Wishing Well. Last on the Trail is Mantra Artisan Ales; they have the largest selection of beers made by a single brewer I’ve seen. If you like unique beers, stop in and see Brew Master Chad or the “Big Cheese” Mark and tell them I sent you! My favorite there is the Battleground Farmhouse Ale. The logo on the bottle is the back porch of Carnton Plantation. Check out the Visit Franklin website for “Masters & Makers Trail.” If you’re visiting from out of town, it’s a great way to see some our beautiful countryside. If you’re Williamson County local, your out of town guests will really enjoy it!
I think we’ve covered most of my fall to do list. Please get out and enjoy this weather and beautiful county! We have many great hard working Southern Gentlemen who deserve to relax. And remember – pace yourself!