Leiper’s Fork is the poster child for charming rural villages. Located near the top of the Natchez Trace Parkway, this two-lane town checks all of the boxes: historic buildings, gorgeous scenery, working farms, friendly neighbors, down-home restaurants. The whole village is on the National Register of Historic Places and is protected by The Land Trust for Tennessee, saving it from overdevelopment forever.
Situated just 28 miles south of Nashville, Leiper’s Fork sits just outside of Franklin, Tennessee. Packed with shopping and commerce and a cute downtown of its own, Franklin makes a great neighbor for those not quite ready to break up with city life. In fact, plenty of Music City visitors choose to stay in quaint VRBOs or AirBnB rentals in the village and day trip to Nashville’s attractions. With Nashville just up the road a piece, living in Leiper’s Fork means you can live “out in the country” and still have a Gucci store 18 miles away.
Being close to Music City has shaped this village into a well-known music celebrity refuge over the years; even Opry legends like Hank Williams Sr. found peace here in the village. These days, Hollywood is catching on, too. A quick Google search will tell you who’s settled here, but name dropping isn’t the Leiper’s Fork way. Stars can choose to live anywhere in the world; they relocate here because the community doesn’t make a fuss, and the locals are fierce about protecting celebs’ privacy. If you can make small talk with a world-famous actress while waiting in line for your Puckett’s burger without freaking out, you’ll do just fine here.
The anchor of the town is undisputedly Fox & Locke, an old-time joint where you can order a burger and a beer off the grill and catch live music almost every night. Grammy-winning performers and songwriters love playing in this intimate, quirky spot. You never know who will take the stage on an open-mic Thursday, where the vibe is more Saturday night party than mid-week happy hour. Leiper’s Fork even has live music in its shops, like the Pickin’ Corner at Serenite Maison, where beautiful vintage instruments hang on the wall for visitors to play.
Village Life is the Good Life
It’s been called “the most charming tiny town there ever was,” and for good reason. Classic country breakfast joint? Check. Country Boy Restaurant has you covered. Quirky gas station/ market/ restaurant/ hangout/ venue? You got it. Leiper’s Fork Market is your spot. Fancy coffee? Of course. Red Byrd serves the grounds you crave. Farm-to-table restaurant with local roots? Absolutely. 1892 serves up all sorts of foodie delights. Local artist gallery? Of course. Leiper’s Creek, Copper Fox, David Arms, and others show and sell an eclectic mix of fine art in a former gas station, restored 1860s home, and renovated barn, respectively. Southern antiques and curated vintage finds are plentiful at Serenitie Maison and Props. And every Friday night in the summer, the Lawnchair Theatre comes to life, showing free, family-friendly movies. Folks around here operate on “Leiper’s Fork Standard Time,” which is a lot like island time, if the surrounding ocean were rolling hills. And that’s just the way they like it.
Leiper’s Fork is tiny on purpose, a popular visitor destination, and a “famously secret” kind of haven. But those who live here know the one-in-a-million luck of finding such a close-knit, artists’ enclave, and they’re dedicated to keeping it that way. If you find property here, snatch it up quick!