Truly "middle" Tennessee
" Smallish town near Music City "
Just putting a brief bit here about where my wife and I live. Murfreesboro is not exactly a top tourist destination, LOL. It is, however, a pretty good place to live, all things considered. We're not originally from here but chose this as our town of residence years ago when I took a job with a company in Nashville. I'm originally from Georgia, not far from Atlanta, with my wife having been born in Alabama and growing up mostly in the same town as me in Georgia.
The 'Boro, as it's locally known, is located in Rutherford County, the exact geographic center of Tennessee, and approximately 25 miles southeast of Nashville. Interstate-24 provides a quick drive between the two. Murfreesboro is a small-to-medium, but growing, town that's home to Middle Tennessee State University. Murfreesboro has grown quite a bit in the time we've lived here, with a lot of new housing developments and shopping areas. For Civil War buffs, there's the Stones River Battlefield park that captures some of the history from then. Most of the things you would need or want as to shopping, restaurants, movie theaters, etc., are available here without having to drive into Nashville.
" Nashville & TN in general "
Nashville has the nickname "Music City" due to its traditionally having been the U.S. center of the country music industry, with the Grand Ole Opry and Ryman Auditorium being the shrines of country music fans. These days the "Opry" is actually in a newer facility, but the Ryman still exists.
If you're like me the first time I saw some of the Nashville attractions and areas related to it having the name Music City, you might find less tourist stuff geared toward this crowd than imagined. The reality of Nashville (just my opinion, of course) is mostly that of any other mid-size southern U.S. city, with to me not that large of an area for those visiting here and wanting to see country music type places and attractions. True enough, there's a touristy type section of the city geared toward this with some stores, shops, and other tourist establishments located near "Music Row" where the recording companies have facilities, but it's frankly not very large. There's an annual fan appreciation event where you can meet some country music recording artists and with other fan-based activities.
There are quite a few past and present big names in country music who made or make their homes near Nashville, with the Brentwood and Franklin areas being some of the more upscale (read expensive) areas where you'll find some. The late Johnny and June Carter Cash lived in Hendersonville. Alan Jackson and his wife reside near Nashville, with an interesting tidbit that he grew up in the same small town as where I was born and raised, Newnan, Georgia. My wife went to high school with the girl he married, and has a photo or two in her senior yearbook with them at the homecoming festivities, where Alan's wife, Denise (also with the maiden name "Jackson"), was the 1978 homecoming queen. She also met both of them again when attending a high school reunion in Newnan several years ago. Cool.
Nashville is also home to Vanderbilt University - a very prestigious (expensive) university and medical complex - The Tennessee Titans football team, and Nashville Predators hockey. Centennial Park in the city is a nice outdoor place to visit, with a replica building of the Parthenon in Greece.
If you're visiting the Murfreesboro area and have never been to Chattanooga, Tennessee, it's well worth a visit and only about 90 minutes by Interstate from Murfreesboro. It gets a lot of visitors due to having a lot of attractions and very scenic places there, with the highlights being Lookout Mountain, Incline Railway, Ruby Falls, Rock City, and the Tennessee Aquarium. Memphis is also a destination for tourists, but is much further away at close to 4 hours Interstate drive from Murfreesboro; too far for a day trip.
Tennessee in general has the reputation of moonshine and hillbillies, and you'll still find some of those types around, LOL, but as with most stereotypes is of course not the case in the larger city areas. If you venture out into the boondocks, though, who knows? You just might come across Jed Clampett and family.
" Nashville traffic -- Ewwww! "
Tennessee is located somewhat on the line between the "Deep South" and the mid-west states, but most definitely has the history and feel of the South. The weather ranges from some summers being very hot and humid to some being fairly mild (but still humid!), with winters varying from some also mild to some fairly cold. There are winter days and nights where the temps might drop to the teens (F.), or even single digits, but that's not the norm and usually lasts only a few days. As to snow or ice, when it comes it pretty much locks up the roads, especially considering how hilly the area is, but again usually doesn't last very long.
Driving tip for the greater Nashville area: Be careful! The city gets a lot of through-traffic, including tractor-trailers, due to several Interstate highways passing through it. From my experiences in other mid-to-large U.S. cities, it has too many Interstate sections that are either not wide enough as far as the number of lanes or not designed well for the traffic volume. Traffic jams are a daily occurrence to one degree or another, with wrecks on the Interstates often involving a large truck. Local drivers are some of the worst I've encountered anywhere, and I've heard more than a few people from other places say this, and seem to have no concept of slower drivers in the right-hand lanes and faster ones in the left-hand lanes. Combine that with several Interstates coming together, a lot of big-rig volume with their usual driving styles, and it's a challenge. During snow, sleet, or freezing rain, just stay off the roads if possible. A lot of folks from Northern or Midwest areas hack on southern drivers and scoff at their driving difficulties in winter weather compared to the really nasty stuff that occurs in those places. It's often the case, though, that they're in for a rude awakening when the occasional winter storm hits. The Nashville area is on a geographic line that usually means a mix of sleet or freezing rain rather than the pure snow found in colder climates, and driving on ice in a very hilly terrain is next to impossible. When it rains there seems to be two designated driving speeds on the Interstates, either 50mph or 90mph, with nothing in between and with the rule being the older and crappier the vehicle, the faster it should be driven. As listed above, the rule also seems to be pick any lane and drive whatever speed you desire, tortoises in the "fast" lanes and hares in the "slow" and exit lanes is apparently a state law and must be in the driving manuals.