Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tourist Franklin vs. My Franklin

Williamson County is the 16th richest county in the country, and was ranked the "10th Best Place to Get Ahead," so says a recent issue of Forbes magazine.

Now, don't get me wrong--I absolutely love it here. I'm not sure that I could live anywhere else in Tennessee. But I think they mean that it is easier to get ahead here if you are already rich.

If you take a closer look, you will notice that not everyone in Williamson County is wealthy or even middle class, despite what many of the citi-data.com comments imply. Franklin
IS Ms. Economic Development By Way of Tourism U.S.A. with the conservative values attached, and the powers-that-be would lead one to believe that we are a quaint little town, despite the rapid sprawl that is occurring. But with her antebellum mansions, homogenous tract homes, and overwhelmingly non-white "inner-city," all living in harmony with an aging historical downtown area where some residents have maintained their homes and neighborhoods through several generations, Franklin has something for all social classes, especially social climbers.

Is it possible to live in this county and still take a summer vacation outside of working in the garage? Yes, as long as you stay in the front yard.

If you are a tourist, you simply can't miss the historical downtown that Franklin has to offer. Several blocks of eclectic shops, bakeries, clothiers, and music venues will keep you occupied for a leisurely afternoon and evening. The Factory continues the milieu. This is no run-of-the-mill mall. Although the rent is high, this is where independent shopkeepers come to make a name for themselves. On Saturday morning, a farmer's market takes place in the parking lot, where you can find fresh local milk, honey, baked goods, meat and eggs, seasonal fruits and vegetables, handmade soap, and knit-with-size-20-needles scarves.

If you live here, or just moved here and have already visited downtown, your survival mode must now kick in. Sure, those shops with the cute little handmade sundresses that sell for $80 are fun to browse. But when you have a daughter who thinks it's funny to eat chocolate and then passively let the ensuing brown drool gush forth onto her shirt, secondhand doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

So, on that note, I am going to make this entry a "living blog," as opposed to the ones I've written that are completely impertinent at this point in my life, or that I am trying to ignore but don't have the heart to delete. This means that I will add restaurants and stores to the running list as I visit them. Since I am just starting this, I really don't have any detailed notes to share, but I promise to be more diligent in the future.

COZYMEL'S: I dined at this Mexican restaurant for my St. Patrick's Day birthday because the local Irish pubs were standing room only. Beware the question "Would you like some cheese with your nachos?". Seemingly friendly and harmless, responding positively to this inquiry will result in the addition of $4.00 onto your bill. The wait staff were courteous, considering that we changed tables 3 times due to my preference for a booth, then a view, then not having my back to the dining room. And I hadn't even started drinking yet. Hey, it was my birthday. Speaking of drinking, if you are undecided about which margarita to choose, they offer a sampler of 5 different flavors. It looks like a candelabra for booze, but having it in front of me made me feel sort-of important. It's the little things that matter, after all.

ALDI: There was initially a backlash to the recent construction of the new Aldi. Opponents felt that it would bring down the value of the houses in the area. My take on that is if you are spending less money for food, you have more money to put into beautifying your home, which ultimately increases the value of the neighborhood. Beware the ground beef roll, however, although I haven't sampled it in years. Perhaps they decided to remove those little hard things from the meat.

BIG LOTS: The diamond in the rough of many a fledgling strip mall. I found a roll of wallpaper to use as shelf paper on my kitchen cabinets for $3.00. Why am I mentioning this in a Franklin post? Well, simply to show you that cheap chain stores are to be had. Hey, we also have a KMart, Walmart, Target, and Dollar Tree, and several thrift stores that donate to charity.

Please, if any of my loyal readers (there may be 2, one of which is my husband whom I force to listen to me read the entries to him) have any tips for saving money in Franklin, or know of some good deals, feel free to post them in the comment section. I will put them on the front page if they are worthwhile (pun intended).


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