This college town has an adventure for everyone.
With 16 state parks within a half-hour drive, options for outdoor adventure abound in and around the city, from discovering waterfalls to boating, fishing and waterskiing at one of the area's three lakes created by the Army Corps of Engineers. One of those lakes even features 415 miles of shoreline ready for relaxing or exploring.
The city also has a rich history, and visitors can find charming historic architecture as well as fascinating museums such as the Cookeville History and Depot museums. The city even hosts a range of art and cultural events throughout the year, as it's known as the cultural hub for the rural areas that surround it, evidenced by the many art galleries and sources for handmade crafts.
just the Facts
>Nickname: Hub of the Upper Cumberlands
>Birthplace of: basketball player J.J. Reddick
>Home of: Tennessee Tech University, Cummins Falls State Park, Cookeville Depot Museum
>Area: 22 square miles
Driving distance: Cookeville is approximately 90 miles north of Chattanooga on Appalachian Corridor J, or Highway 111, making it just over an hour and a half drive.
COOKEVILLE’S TOP EXPERIENCES
>Check out one of the area’s 140 documented waterfalls.
>Watch an event at the Dogwood Performance Pavilion in shaded Dogwood Park. There is a variety of events to choose from such as the award-winning Shakespeare in the Park program, Dogwood Fridays, Sundays in the Park, Cookeville Community Concert Band concerts, Jazz in Cookeville and Bryan Symphony Orchestra concerts.
>Sample the doughnuts at Ralph’s, which have been voted among the country’s best.
>Browse for antiques and other unique items in the variety of eclectic shops in the city’s historic West Side.
WORTH A TRIP
About 15 miles from Cookeville, off of I-40, the Bee Rock overlook in nearby Monterey, Tenn., affords a splendid panoramic view of the interestingly named Calfkiller Valley and Stamps Hollow below. If you’re looking for a place to stay, The Garden Inn Bed and Breakfast is considered among the best Southern B & Bs.
Festivals & Events
>Fall Funfest: Held each September on the Cookeville Courthouse Square, this festival features a barbecue competition, family-friendly games, live music and loads of handmade crafts for sale.
>BlueCross Bowl State Football Championships:
Each December, the best teams in the state converge at Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium to battle it out for the State Championship title.
>Putnam County Fair:
Held for nearly a century, the fair offers good old-fashioned fun in the form of carnival rides, livestock competitions, a beauty pageant, a strongman contest, a rodeo and more.
Despite its small size, the dining options in Cookeville will please a wide range of tastes, whether you want to taste a nationally acclaimed doughnut at Ralph's, grab some pub grub at Father John's or pass around tapas-style small plates at the Cooke House.