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Travel: Smyrna, Tennessee

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By Edited Oct 20, 2016 0 0

Welcome to my town Smyrna, Tennessee. It’s neither a little town nor a big city. It’s more of a large town (about 40,000 people) spread out over several miles along Interstate 24 north and south through Middle Tennessee between Nashville and Murfreesboro. It sits in the middle of Rutherford County. What makes Smyrna pop-out on a map is the massive Nissan Automobile Plant. Additionally, what makes the town an attractive location for living and vacationing is because it’s nearness to the showplace of Tennessee, Nashville. In many respects we are the place folk’s move to when they want a home outside of the big city; yet close enough to drive to work in a reasonable amount of time. Thus, our town and county have been growing and spreading out more and more every year.

Smyrna

The most universally recognized capital of any genre is that city known as the “Capital of Country Music,” Nashville. Nashville is surrounded by several smaller cities and towns that make up what is referred to as the “Greater Nashville Area”; and one of those towns is Smyrna. We are just 20-35 minutes (15-25 miles) south or a “hop, skip and a jump” (as country folk might say) from downtown Nashville. Down the road a “stone’s throw” (17-20 minutes/10-15 miles) is Murfreesboro, Tennessee. We make up what is called “Middle Tennessee.”   

First settlers were Revolutionary War veterans from North Carolina and Virginia that established the area near Stone River. The town’s name was selected in the 1850’s by the train stationmaster. Since the church was named Smyrna from a Bible passage in the Book of Revelation 2:8-11, the stationmaster gave the town the same name as the church; as many towns the train passes use their church as a center point for the community.  

Tourism and a Great Place to Live

Contents

  1. Nissan Plant
  2. American Civil War Sites
  3. Park and Recreation Areas
  4. Middle Tennessee Air Show
  5. Nashville
  6. Murfreesboro
  7. Colleges and Universities
  8. Shopping and Dinning
  9. Hotels/Motels

Nissan Plant

The biggest employer in Smyrna. Nissan's plant holds tours at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tours can accommodate up to 50 people 10 years and older. Reservations Required.[1]

American Civil War

As for Civil War historic sites, the entire state maintains many Civil War historical sites. It’s quite common to see old canons still set-up in the fields along the roads as you travel up and down Middle Tennessee. Some of the old Civil War era homes are maintained and open for tours. One of those homes is only five minutes from my house. It’s known as the “Sam Davis Home” and Museum. I’ve included a couple of YouTube videos that show the place and tell the story that goes with it. 

Stones River Battlefield:  On December 31, 1862, Union General William Rosecrans engaged in battle with Braxton Bragg’s Army of Tennessee on the outskirts of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Although the two sides initially fought to a draw, the arrival of Union reinforcements made Bragg’s position untenable and the Confederate forces retreated on January 3, granting the North a valuable strategic victory. Some of the Confederate prisoners were sent to the infamous concentration camp of the north; the union’s Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois where thousands of Confederate and civilian prisoners of war died by the hands of the union guards, illness, starvation, and extreme cold weather.  [2]

Stones River Battlefield

Sam Davis Home, Smyrna, Tennessee

Sam Davis Home

City of Murfreesboro is only 20 minutes south of Smyrna, Tennessee. It is an average size city of around 150,000 people and is only 28 miles (40 minutes) south of Nashville. In fact, Murfreesboro is the home of Middle-State Tennessee University. For Civil War buffs, Murfreesboro is also the site of the Stones River National Battlefield, a 570-acre park along the Stones River.

Smyrna Parks and Events

As you would expect by having the Country Music Capital just up the road our community parks are host sites for many local musicians and singers that perform for free at various times throughout the year and at various locations. Besides music performances businesses and community organizations host movies in the park, 5K Run and longer races, walking events, Independence Day, Halloween, Veterans Day, Christmas and many other public celebration events.

Two parks my wife and I frequent regularly are:

Gregory Mills Park: a small secluded public park that backs up against a narrow river (or wide creek depending on your point of view) that feeds into a river and reservoir. It’s a regular picnic spot for the local community as well as a place for year-round walks on the .6 mile trail surrounding the grounds. In the warmer months the town runs a “Splash Pad” for the kids. The Splash Pad is essentially a water works structure that shoots sprays and splashes water in every direction on a designated children’s area. Kids love to cool off in this water play area.

Gregory Mills Park

Lee Victory (Smyrna Community and Sports Park): The center for team sports from little league baseball, softball, football, soccer fields for school ages K-12 (Grade School through High School), as well as local amateur and adult league teams. Even college athletes use the playing fields for training. There is a large playground for the kids that includes many of the typical climbing, swinging, sliding apparatus. You’ll also find plenty of large picnic areas. The park has open Tennis Courts, Basketball Courts, Walking Paths of 1 Mile, 1 ¼ Mile and 2+ Miles. Across the street is the Smyrna Public Golf Course and the Smyrna Municipal Airport.

Other Parks and Facilities in Smyrna include: Pioneer, Old Rock School, Hilltop-Rosenwald, the Assembly Hall, Train Depot, Todd Lane, Rotary Soccer, Sharp Springs, Rock Springs, and Volunteer.

Airshow

A big draw for both tourist and all Tennesseans is the “Great Tennessee Air Show” held here at the Smyrna Airport every couple of years. This air spectacle occurs every other year and includes aerobatics display, old and newer aircraft, historical aircraft, displays. The 2014 Airshow included the U.S. Air Force Blue Angels. I’ve included a nice video of the show from this year.

Nashville, Tennessee Tourist Sites

Nashville Area Sites within 35 minutes and 25 miles from Smyrna: The Parthenon, Ryman Auditorium, Country Music Museum, Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Bluebird Café, and Opryland.

Parthenon

Other sites of interest: Lynchburg (Jack Daniel’s Distillery) = 60 miles, 1 ½ hours; Dollywood = 205 miles, 4 hours; Chattanooga = 116 miles, 2 hours; Franklin = 45 minutes, 35 miles.

Quick Tour of Nashville, Tennessee Music City

Murfreesboro

Horse, Livestock, Bulls, and Motocross Events are held at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum located on 1301 East Main Street. This large venue provides space for horse, trade shows, boasts 500 stalls, 100+ RV hookups & a reception space. In February 2015, the Southern Equine Expo will be held. Other events at this facility include: IBRA Barrel Race Futurity, SEBRA Bull Riding Championships, Southern Invitational Truck and Tractor Pull, Lone Star Rodeo, Horse Judging, Paint Horse Spring Fling, Dynamite Barrel Race, TWRA Archery Tournament, Quarter Horse Show, 4-H Regional Horse Show Championships, USTRC Eastern Team Roping Championships, East Coast Reined Cow Horse Classic, TN State Cowboy Mounted Shooting, Music City Arabian Horse Show, AX Motocross Tour, SEBRA Bull Riding Championships, and the Southern Invitational Truck and Tractor Pull.

Colleges and Universities

  • Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in Murfreesboro[3]
  • Tennessee State University in Nashville[4] 
  • Vanderbilt University[5] 
  • Belmont University[6] 
  • Extended list of Colleges and Universities in Middle Tennessee[7]

Shopping and Dinning

If you are looking for unique or even lots of shopping places, malls, and strip-malls, Smyrna is not known for this – However, there are several stores clustered along the Sam Ridley Parkway. And, as mentioned earlier, you are only minutes south of Nashville and the same distance north of Murfreesboro where there is lots of great shopping to include malls and specialty shops.     

Restaurants within the town are the typical fast-foods, along with common dining establishments and sports bars: O’Charlies, Cracker Barrel, Zaxby’s, and an upscale eatery called Razz’s. Just as with the shopping places, Nashville and Murfreesboro offer everything you can imagine and more. In fact, many locals consider Murfreesboro as the only place you’ll need for all your shopping and dining needs.

Hotels/Motels

One of the advantages of staying in Smyrna while you visit sites in Nashville and Murfreesboro is that there are hotels, restaurants and basic shopping needs right at the intersection of Sam Ridley Road and I-24 running north and south between Nashville and Murfreesboro. There are far more hotels/motels and shopping in Murfreesboro; however, as mentioned before, Smyrna places tourists at a center point closer to Nashville while still being close to Murfreesboro. By staying in Smyrna tourists, and residents, can avoid the usual crowds of Nashville.     

Jobs

The biggest employers in our town are the massive Nissan Automotive Plant and the local Smyrna Airfield. The Nissan Plant, as the biggest employer in town, has over 8,000 employees and covers nearly 900 acres of the town. Although, there are several employers and jobs in Smyrna, a large number of the residents work in either Murfreesboro or Nashville. They say that if you can’t find a job around here, you’re not looking.

Other Employment Opportunities

  • Veterans Affairs Facilities (Murfreesboro and Nashville Facilities)
  • Hospitals, Clinics, Medical Specialists, and University Medical Facilities[8]
  • Middle Tennessee Electric
  • Auto Sales (one thing you’ll notice while driving around Smyrna NS Murfreesboro, there are a lot of new and fairly new cars on the road).
  • Construction, Home Building, and Concrete Businesses
  • Banking (there are Banks all over the place in this town)

Final Word

I’m not an official or business owner simply promoting Smyrna, Tennessee. I’m a military retiree that specifically selected Middle Tennessee for our permanent residence out of all the places in the United States we could have chosen.

Nashville VA

For veterans, there are two veterans’ hospitals within 25 minutes north or south from Smyrna. Both are excellent facilities.

There are more several full service hospitals in either direction (north and south) as well as the Stone Crest Hospital right here in Smyrna. 

One thing you'll have no trouble finding in Middle Tennessee is medical care.

Again, whether you are just interested in site seeing or spending a little time in Nashville, Smyrna is a great option to settle-in for a few days; yet, it's a great place to live as well. Warm summers and mild winters. Real estate of every type - small homes, medium size and large estates, farms, condos and apartments, there is something for everyone.   

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Bibliography

  1. "Nissan North America Production Plant Tours." Nissan News. 25/11/2014 <Web >
  2. "The Battle of Stones River." Civil War Trust. 25/11/2014 <Web >
  3. "Middle Tennessee State University." Middle Tennessee State University. 25/11/2014 <Web >
  4. "Tennessee State University." Tennessee State University. 25/11/2014 <Web >
  5. "Vanderbilt University." Vanderbilt University. 25/11/2014 <Web >
  6. "Belmont University." Belmont University. 25/11/2014 <Web >
  7. "Middle Tennessee Colleges and University." Nashville Chamber of Commerce. 25/11/2014 <Web >
  8. "List of Hospitals in Middle Tennessee." Wikipedia. 25/11/2014 <Web >

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