Why Middle Tennessee?
Middle Tennessee is a mecca of rural hidden gems and bustling, thriving cities all blending to bring you a unique, memorable trip wherever and whenever you visit. Being slapped in the center of the state creates the perfect meeting ground for people from all around the country. Easy backroads will lead you down a path from rolling greens to major skyscrapers (and traffic) all in the blink of an eye.
A traveler stumbling around middle Tennessee might think about wanting to hit up Downtown Broadway in Nashville or experience an authentic whiskey tasting in Lynchburg. However, there are various other stops along the way. A lot of the surrounding towns and cities throughout the center of the state offer quaint, timeless charm, an abundance of history and some killer food to beat. If you head down right down 65 south from downtown Nashville, in under an hour you can be in Columbia, Tennessee. Known for its vibrant history, various boutiques to browse through, endless restaurants to dine in and a growing modern art scene. Columbia continues to progress and welcomes a plethora of visitors daily, but make sure to still tip their hats to the rich foundation the city was founded on.
Top Four Reasons to Visit Columbia, TN
If the quick trip from Nashville and the painted picture of this historic city still aren’t doing it for you, we decided to let you know about five reasons to visit Columbia. These four things will be sure to please any age, any interest, any time of the year! Whether Columbia is your homestead or a quick stop on the journey, we have something for everyone.
1. The Open Road
The famous line “country road, take me home” isn’t a far fetch from the truth. You will find seemingly infinite, cascading roads that travel through open farms, cityscapes, mountains and more. If you’re like many of the newer residents in these cities, you most likely are packing your car to the brim and driving to your new home. We think this is a great option especially given the famous routes Tennessee has to offer.
Some pointers for your road trip whether you’re moving or just headed out for a few days:
- Always have plenty of snacks and water
- Map out your route tentatively (but always be up for a detour, you never know what cools things you could see!)
- If moving, ship your big belongings first and rent a self-storage unit. This way there’s more room in the car for comfort and unpacking won’t seem as daunting
- Create a playlist to last through some no-signal areas (we enjoy the ever-so-often disconnection though)
Every road trip is different, but there are definitely some essentials and convenient strategies you can incorporate to make it a smooth ride the whole way. Once you’ve loaded the car, set up the map and have your music playing it’s time to cruise out and see what Tennessee has to offer. A couple of our favorite routes include:
Nashville’s Trace Trail – roll down the windows and enjoy the route from Downtown Nashville to just below Columbia along the Nashville Trace Trail. Featuring the famous Tennessee portion of the Natchez Trace Parkway, authentic BBQ spots such as the Loveless Cafe and oodles of historic monuments throughout Franklin, Columbia and more, this road holds endless beauty and experiences.
Jack Trail – following the lead of the Nashville Trace Trail, you can make your way down middle Tennessee along 80 plus miles of scenery and places to visit. Family-friendly outdoor spots, history-buff must-sees like the Sam Davis Home and Plantation and of course you’ll want to stop in the dry-county of Lynchburg to see how Jack Daniel’s Distillery works their magic.
2. One-of-a-Kind Shopping
Department stores and overdone fashion fabs are becoming a thing of the past, especially in towns and cities across Middle Tennessee. With an influx of next-generation college kids, innovative entrepreneurs and prominent modern music and arts scene, the shopping game has been brought to the next level. The town square is booming with the meeting of historic architecture and small-town charm, and fresh businesses and an energetic community.
Are you into flipping trash to treasure? Do you enjoy exploring unique shops for hours, enjoying all the knick-knacks and imagining all the projects you could do? If yes, then shopping in Columbia needs to be marked in your calendar. As flea markets become more and more favorable and antique shops make their presence known, Columbia is the host with the most. From genuine vinyl record shops to upscale consignment stores or two-story treasure hunting “trash to treasure” paradise, this city has what you’re searching for.
Like many bargain hunters, antique gatherers and entrepreneurs that bring life to old things, space in your home or workshop can quickly become scarce. To help alleviate that Stuff It Inn offers storage units with state-of-the-art technology and equipment for maximum security, so you can keep shopping, keep space and keep all of your valuables secure.
3. Food, Food, Food, and More Food
Anyone will tell you that when living or exploring in the south, you are bound to pack on a few pounds due to the endless options of food. It seems like there is a new “best restaurant” in town every month, and trust us no one is complaining. If you’re looking for a true southern barbeque experience, we have a bounty of smoking spots we love, as well as, fresh, modern cuisine making its mark.
Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant – there’s no secret that Puckett’s is one the best-known BBQ joints in Tennessee and their Columbia location has been serving up pork, ribs, and cornbread since the ‘50s. So head to the heart of the square and enjoy live music, good beer and all the fried chicken you could dream of.
Landry’s New Orleans Cafe – you don’t even have to cross a state line to enjoy some authentic Louisianna style Cajun grub. Genuine jambalaya, packed Po’ Boys, unbeatable prices and right downtown in Columbia, this restaurant is perfect for when you’re passing through the city or just want to change up your lunch options.
Hattie Jane’s Creamery – looking to quench that sweets craving? Look no further than the artisan ice cream shop located in Downtown Columbia – Hattie Jane’s Creamery. Offering homemade ice cream, waffle cones and a variety of other sweet treats, definitely make Hattie Jane’s a stop for the family (or just you!)
4. Rich Heritage to Explore
For many, the most appealing aspect of Tennessee and the southern states, in general, is the multitude of historical monuments, land, and events. Columbia is a city that embraces its past and shines a light on their heritage. There are a couple of favorites within Columbia that will take you back in time.
The Historical Athenaeum – Known as Columbia’s “hidden jewel” this school turned museum welcomes daily visitors from all over. During the Great Depression, two famous girls schools stood in Columbia, and this building is all that remains today. Now an official historic site, the school is open for tours and can even be rented out for a special event.
President James K. Polk Ancestral Home – On acres of land tucked away in Columbia TN sits the original home and plantation of the 11th president of the U.S. – James K. Polk. Visitors can explore the home and surrounding lands including the Polk’s breathtaking garden and official Presidential hall year round.
The possibilities of adventure are endless in Middle Tennessee. Don’t forget about the various trails you can hike, roads to cruise down on your motorcycle during crisp Fall days, and lakes to dive in a while enjoying a boat ride in the Summer heat. Whether you’re passing through or making roots Stuff It Inn has the space you need to make the journey easier. Store your lake toys during the winter, secure your bike if you’re taking off for an extended trip or simply ease up the clutter in your home; we have convenient locations to fulfill your storage needs.