Although Franklin sparkles with its gems, I was impressed to see the way this town cares for the dirty and grungy (and I mean that in the best possible way!). You see, Franklin sits just 10 miles off the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail that hundreds hike through from Maine to Georgia each year. It was the first town designated as an A.T. Community, and hikers are treated with admiration and respect at the local shops, churches, and restaurants, and the town even offers a shuttle service from the trail into town.
The vibes that the A.T. adds to this town make it so unique. Downtown offers Rockin Rollie Pollie’s eatery and Lazy Hiker Brewery where stories are swapped with thru-hikers about what’s going on in ‘civilization’ and what’s going on along the trail. I enjoyed my own short hike intersecting with the A.T. at Wayah Bald Lookout Tower. I took the advice of others and went at sunset for a 360-degree view of pristine mountains and lakes from the top of a restored fire-tower that was originally built by the CCC in 1937.