Note: This article was originally published here. I was part of their brand ambassador program that has since been discontinued.
My favorite part of Nashville isn’t even in Nashville. It’s 25 miles south of the city. It’s a tiny little two-laned slice of pastoral paradise nestled in Williamson County. It’s Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee.
This town is a quintessential escape from the neon lights and reverb of the “big city.” It’s quiet, tasteful, natural… humming to a rhythm that’s persisted almost 4,000 years. The tribes we know as Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, and Shawnee rooted themselves in this area because of its thriving land, fresh water supply, and other natural resources. Just as The Fork gave abundant life to Native Americans all that time ago, it feeds and sustains us today in a different way.
Something about the town feels magical, as trite as that descriptor sounds. It’s the perfect setting for experiencing art in all its forms. Strings of lights dangle above me, contrasting with the luminous stars a bit further above. A fire crackles in one of the half-dozen or so handmade firepits for sale in the driveway outside of Copper Fox Gallery. Wooden adirondack chairs encircle the fire, occupied by locals, Nashvillians, and out-of-towners alike, most clutching a glass of wine or a koozied beer. The plucking of stringed instruments resonates in the crisp air… a little more audibly whenever the door to Puckett’s Grocery opens.
Dozens of shiny motorcycles are lined up in front of the now-obsolete gas pumps outside of Puckett’s, refracting light and spitting sputters into the clean air. The lunch line at Puckett’s is still expectedly long, filled with patrons hungry for a meat-and-three plate and some live music. This time I’m among those who get impatient and resort to the equally delicious Joe’s Natural Farm Store and Cafe a couple shops down. Bandana napkins, pomegranate tea, and good vibes are included. Bring your own wine.
And no trip to Leiper’s Fork is complete without some retail therapy. A heavy and smooth aroma of leather overwhelms you as soon as you open the door to West & Company, a new Trask outfitter, the owner proudly told me. The tightly-packed displays of turquoise jewels, colorful textures, studded boots, and giant flavored candles could take an afternoon to navigate. The store appeals to every sense, just as Leiper’s Fork does.
I savor and cling to the absence of crass development here. It’s reminiscent of my four years in Lexington, Virginia. Mom-and-pop shops and eateries dot the one main street. Most have been there for decades, some years, and one’s new — an outpost of a popular restaurant in Nashville’s Green Hills. But everything blends in perfectly no matter its age. It’s for this reason that Trask fits so perfectly into the Leiper’s Fork scheme. My Trask shoes and bags feel instantly classic, no matter how new they are. I feel their comfort and personality before they even make their way from the thick cardboard box to my eager feet. Before they even begin to tell their story. They only gain character with time and mileage, not sacrificing the importance of quality and heritage along the way. My Trask products fit into my life just as all of these things–inanimate and breathing–fit into the landscape of Leiper’s Fork. Locals say that The Fork is “strangely perfect, and perfectly strange.” It’s a bounty of beauty and excitement no matter how many trips I make. I’m thankful that my Trask boots keep taking me back.