Thriving arts scene, year-round entertainment enhance Maury County’s appeal
By Jessica Walker Boehm on June 1, 2017
Maury County meets its residents’ needs with close-knit communities, excellent schools, high-quality health-care facilities and affordable housing options. If those attributes weren’t enough, it also offers plenty of what they want – advantages that make the community even more vibrant and appealing.
The county is home to dozens of artsy attractions, year-round entertainment opportunities and annual festivals, plus revitalized downtowns filled with one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants. All together, Maury County’s many assets and amenities make it easy for residents to enjoy a quality of life that’s tough to beat.
Maury County’s commitment to the arts is evident in the newly created City of Columbia Arts District, which Columbia Mayor Dean Dickey says was inspired by the Lower Town Arts District in Paducah, Ky. The district, established by the Columbia City Council in July 2016, is located adjacent to downtown Columbia and includes artists’ studios, galleries, art shops and the century-old Columbia Train Depot that’s currently undergoing renovations. Also being renovated in the district is the Columbia Arts Building, a 12,000-square-foot historic industrial building that will offer studio spaces for working artists and makers, art classes and a retail shop.
“The City of Columbia Arts District has plenty of room to grow, and we think it’s going to improve our residents’ quality of life,” Mayor Dickey says. “It’s an exciting time for us; the best is yet to come.”
Maury County also celebrates the arts with festivals throughout the year, including the community’s signature Mule Day Festival that draws more than 200,000 visitors to Columbia each spring and features live music, arts and crafts, a downtown parade and various mule-related events. In addition, Columbia plays host to the Summer Songwriters Night each June, where talented artists take the stage to perform and explain the meaning behind their songs, as well as Muletown MusicFest, a series of free concerts held downtown in October.
In Spring Hill, the annual Country Ham Festival also features live music and more than 50 vendors selling handmade arts and crafts each fall.
“Having grown up in Maury County and now raising a family here, I’m excited to see how the community’s arts scene is continuing to grow,” says Andy Moore, a painter who has a working studio in the City of Columbia Arts District. “It’s great for my children to live in a place where visual and performing arts and music are so appreciated.”
Shopping and Dining
Columbia has improved its historic downtown drastically since 1983 when it became one of the first five communities to join the Tennessee Main Street Program, and it is now a top spot for shopping and dining. The district has a courthouse square that’s lined with antique shops and unique boutiques, and several locally owned eateries are within easy reach, like Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant, Square Market & Cafe and Marco’s at 822 South.
In the midst of a revitalization and restoration project, downtown Mount Pleasant is another great place to shop and grab a bite in Maury County. Jernigan’s on Main, a home furnishing and decor retailer, and Tailored Tumbleweed, a salon and boutique, recently set up shop on North Main Street, joining existing businesses such as Breckenridge House Antiques and Too Much Stuff Emporium. Mount Pleasant’s downtown restaurant selection includes spots like Mount Pleasant Grille and Small Town Diner, and it will soon welcome Buckhead Coffeehouse, which also has a location in Columbia.
Nearby, downtown Spring Hill draws shoppers with destinations such as Fireflies, a collection of unique boutiques under one roof, and the Spring Hill Antique Mall. Stand-out downtown dining options include Neely’s Italian Cafe and Jack of Hearts BBQ. Approximately 1 mile away are several chain restaurants that are part of The Crossings of Spring Hill, the city’s largest shopping center.
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