Would our weekend be bookended by inferior fowl?
On our final day we set out for the surrounds, driving along picturesque country roads, the gorgeous homes we passed likely decoys for the manses of Dolly, Reba, Tay-Tay and others tucked into the trees. Our destination: Franklin, “14 miles and 100 years from Nashville,” where Tony QC-ed the benches of this National Register of Historic Places extensively restored downtown while Anna Grace, Cletus and I wandered in and out of the so-dog-friendly shops that were it not for the lilting drawl of Southern-accented English greeting us I could have been convinced we were in Vienna.
I can only wonder when women in The South wear furs?
From Franklin we aimed for (historic) Leipers Fork for lunch. Alas, my travel planning wires got crossed and the famed establishment, Puckett’s, was closed on Mondays. Back to Franklin it was, where we settled on the porch of a modern Southern Taphouse for a lunch of thick-sliced country ham biscuits with fig jam and other goodies, forcing ourselves to eat light in advance of a most-anticipated dinner…Nashville Hot from the Mother Ship, Prince’s.
En route to the loft after lunch we touched on a couple of “postcard” items, like the Parthenon and some murals. One final wander around Broadway, as well, considerably quieter on this weekday evening but still people-watching worthy. We missed a few museums due to timing and timed-entry tickets being sold out; had to drive by a couple of wineries not open on Mondays; and would have liked more time to explore the food scene. But that’s how it goes.
FINALLY it was Hot Chicken Time.
Prince’s Nashville Hot is an institution. The story goes that Prince was a womanizer (hard to believe about a man married five times, right?); and as an act of revenge a girlfriend doused the fried chicken she prepared for him with hot sauce. But Prince had the last laugh. He liked the chicken so much that he and his brothers opened their first shack in 1945 near the Ryman Auditorium.
Prince’s and its outposts, remain managed by now the fourth-generation of the family. And unlike so many iconic eats, they have not let being awarded by the James Beard Foundation and their numerous travel cable-channel shout-outs ruin their success.
We collected three boxes, one each of “Hot,” “XHot,” and “XXHot” for our farewell-to-Nashville meal. The boxes were not labeled, so we had to rely on the flame level rising from each to rate the heat. 🤣 Our verdict? You know, it was damned good chicken.
And that was that. The following morning we reloaded the Thule and pointed the wagon east, capping what would likely become our final Tennessee road trip. The winds of change for us had begun to blow again…