Tennessee is known for its extensive lakes; and Center Hill Lake is one of Middle Tennessee’s most beautiful. Situated on the rolling hills surrounding Center Hill Lake’s shores is Smithville, a must-add to your trip. From a downtown full of murals, unique shops and old-school soda fountains, a center for Appalachian folkways and art, and dining on the waterside, this Made in Tennessee town is not to be missed.
With luxurious creek side accommodations, an historic mill and Smithville’s premier fine dining kitchen, Evins Mill is going to be one of your favorite lodging spots. This 40-acre property is ideal for romantic couple’s weekends, friend getaways and group retreats including weddings. From the covered decks and shaded walkways to the flowing creek, rest and relaxation can easily be found. Add the dining and you’ve got yourself a basecamp to enjoy all of Smithville and Center Hill Lake.
This boutique and coffee shop are as unique as its name. Located right off of Smithville’s downtown square, you can go to the counter for a latte before shopping for special gifts. Fans of unique finds should swing by as soon as possible. With baby clothes to wall art, candles to handbags and just about everything in between, you’ll have to visit many times to see what all they’ve got along these walls.
Step back in time to the 1950s for this classic pharmacy and soda fountain spot. Classic diner food with a real-deal soda fountain makes Webb’s a timeless piece of nostalgic Americana. Ice cream in waffle cones, grilled cheeses and hamburgers, your choice of soda floats and hearty soups are set against the backdrop of an actual pharmacy, the way it used to be.
Located right outside of town, Twisted Oaks is a great spot for lunch, dinner or late night. Now, the local debate goes like this: is Twisted Oaks a bar with good food, or a restaurant with a good bar? You be the judge. Either way, the restaurant has American classics while guests can shoot pool, watch a baseball game, play a life-sized Jenga and rock out to live music on Saturday nights.
Directly across Nashville Highway from Twisted Oaks is the Bert Driver Nursery, which is a surprising spot for a beer garden and tap house. The Burlap Room is also in a former drive-in theater. This spot is a hangout with a local selection of craft brews, an air-conditioned tap room and an excellent fire pit in the beer garden.
The Appalachian Center for Craft is an art, design and craft school within the Tennessee Tech University College of Fine Arts. Students, makers and artists-in-residence display their works on these grounds. Art exhibitions and workshops ranging from blacksmithing, glass blowing, clay and wood are just a few examples of the artistic talents found here.
Harmony Lane Farm & Creamery
Cuddle baby goats in your lap 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays at Harmony Lane Farm and Creamery. Take a full farm tour at 10:30 a.m. or 2 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays. After your tour, browse the farm store filled with eggs, cheese varieties, meats, ice cream, goat milk fudge and more. Pick up gift baskets, goat milk soap, goat milk lotion, crocheted goat pillows and more that make for great gifts. You can also feed emus, donkeys and goats as well as brush llamas and take pictures with a scarlet macaw.
Another favored lodging spot is The Retreat at Center Hill, large enough to house visitors from individuals and families cruising in to take advantage of their private dock and water access to church and corporate groups looking to have a gorgeous lakeside space to convene. During the summer, the on-site Hickory Cafe serves all-you-can-eat barbecue dinners to folks who have come from all over the Southeast to boat, fish, hike, swim, canoe, kayak and otherwise enjoy the natural splendor surrounding this gorgeous 139-acre retreat.
Floating on Center Hill Lake at the end of the pier at Hurricane Marina is another beautiful dining gem. Families and large groups come in right off the water to enjoy American food and a wide range of beers, but you don’t have to have a boat to enjoy Blue Water Grille. Seasonal ingredients and southern hospitality make this restaurant Center Hill Lake’s main eatery. Join them for a local tap takeover, a shrimp boil, or just lunch and dinner. Either way, grab a chair on the shaded patio and feel the gentle wake of the lake beneath your feet.
Smithville may be a small town, but it’s filled local art, craft brews, beautiful lakeside views and delicious dining. Start planning your day trip or weekend getaway.
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