"Picture perfect home of Southern flavor / Warmer than warm in every smile / Tullahoma land of the red flowers / Rapture of / splendor in every trail / Shadows of sun waltzing into nights / Stepping with moon chasing the stars / Tullahoma land of love of hearts / Opening arms to friends and strangers..." (Mittur Ramprasad)
Tullahoma is a city that is every bit as beautiful and unique as its name. According to legend, the town thanks its weirdly fun-to-pronounce name either to a rock or a horse. Apparently, "Tullahoma" is a Native American word for "red rock" (which is found in vast abundance in the area), but it could also be a misspelling of the name of the original landowner's favorite horse, "Tulkahoma." With a population density of only about 850 people per square mile, this is a very rural city, so don't be surprised if you occasionally spot a brother of the honored Tulkahoma in the area. Tullahoma has a humid subtropical climate, which means in summer you will have to run fans constantly, while in winter you will be the envy of your friends in the colder parts of the country. The average temperature for Tullahoma throughout the year is about 58 degrees Fahrenheit. Finding an apartment for rent in Tullahoma can be tricky, but worth your while, as rental apts are usually not very expensive and neither is the cost of living in this beautiful example of small-town America.
Seek and You Will Find
Search for Space
Because of the rural nature of this town, you won't find one-bedroom apartments for rent that easily. Only a minuscule 7.5% of the properties in the area are one-bedroom properties, while 26% have two bedrooms and 48% count three bedrooms. If your search for one-bedroom or studio apartments for rent doesn't come up with much due to a lack of availability, you may need to expand your search to two- and three-bedroom homes for rent. On the upside, the extra space shouldn't cost you that much more than you would have been used to in other parts of the country, as homes in Tullahoma are generally cheaper to rent than the national average.
Lower Your Expectations
The trend in Tullahoma is for people to buy their homes, so only a minority of properties are actually renter occupied. Don't expect to immediately find an apartment that will suit all of your requirements and be prepared to make concessions. If you don't like the wallpaper in your bedroom in an otherwise perfect apartment, hang a lot of photos or compromise by switching the light off before entering the room at night.
Prepare for the Appointment
As soon as you have selected apartments that you are interested in viewing, treat every appointment like a job application. It is a small town, so remember, that apartment for rent is going to be sought after and you will truly have to impress the landlord for him to entrust his property to you. This is especially true if you need to compete with other interested prospective tenants who are just as eager to impress. Dress neatly and arrive early. Watch your language and refrain from being overly critical about the property in front of the landlord. Have all of the needed documents as well as a security deposit at the ready in case you need to close the deal on the spot. For the application, you will most probably need your social security number and other personal information needed for a credit check, as well as proof of income. Contact details or reference letters from previous landlords will also help your case.
Briarwood / Tara Estates: Shopaholics love this area and are especially drawn to N Jackson Street, which boasts both the Cherokee Square Shopping Center and Northgate Mall. Green lovers and those in need of a breath of fresh air can head to North Atlantic Street Historic Park or Caboose Park for a jog, stroll or afternoon picnic. The hungry will find that there is a restaurant for every taste in Briarwood: from the spicy Latin-American flavors of Casa Mexico Bar & Grill and Camino Real Mexican to Rafael's Italian cuisine, Fast Jack's Steak and Seafood and Daddy Billy's Delicatessen. The Celtic Cup Coffee House is a favorite among local coffee connoisseurs and entertainment seekers, who report that this 100-year old house exudes a "welcome to the family" atmosphere with board and card games scattered all about. On weekends, local musicians provide live entertainment, and during the week, this is where members of the Not Yet Dead Poet Society share their love for the literary arts.
Ovoca / Lake Hills: This is the recreational hotspot of Tullahoma, especially for golfers and those who enjoy water-related activities. The Lakewood Golf and Country Club not only offers an excellent green 18-hole golf course, it also includes amenities such as tennis courts and a swimming pool where members can find relief on hot summer days. The area borders with the Normandy Reservoir, which attracts campers, boaters and anglers from far and wide. The most popular is the Barton Springs Recreation Area, with 67 campsites, a picnic pavilion and swimming beach.
Oak Park: Oak Park is a vast area starting in the city itself, stretching all the way to Tims Ford Lake. Three small airports are found here, including Lowndes Airport, Amacher Strip Airport and Tims Ford Seaplane. Those who can't afford a private airplane will have to make do with a car, bicycle or horse for transport. Oak Park is very popular with campers and has several public use areas, including Rock Creek and Turkey Creek. Grocery stores such as Dunlap's Market and S&J Market serve the area with basic necessities. If you are in the mood for delicious food and great views, this is the area to head to as there are several restaurants looking out over the lake. Lakeview Restaurant and Boat dock, as well as the Blue Gill restaurant, are two prime examples.
Westside Heights / Westwood: Westwood is the location of Tullahoma's main tourist attraction, the Beechcraft Heritage Museum. This aviation museum houses over 24 aircraft, tracing the lineage of the Beechcraft planes, and houses many other interesting memorabilia and artifacts related to aviation.
City Center: If you ever decide to upgrade your wheels, Tullahoma's city center is the place to be. Several car dealers, such as Thomas Auto Sales, Tullahoma Auto Sales and Hometown Auto Sales, are located in the area and will be more than willing to make a buck or two out of you. There are also some interesting, quaint little shops in the city center that are lovely to browse. If science interests you or you feel you have a gap in your education, the Hands-on Science Center will keep you intrigued for hours. They have all kinds of interesting exhibits where they prefer a hands-on approach. Well, maybe you won't be allowed to touch all of the exhibits
Life in Tullahoma
If you are from the North and decide to make Tullahoma your new home, you will need to learn to speak slowly and politely. Northlings often make the mistake of rushing through their words bluntly and quickly, which may come off as rude, with all kinds of negative consequences. But become involved in the community and you will be received with open arms and true Southern hospitality.
You will either need to work on your fitness, carpool or get your own car here, as there are no regular buses running in this city. Most people drive a car alone to work.
If you get bored in Tullahoma, it would not be for a lack of things to do recreationally. There are as many as 12 parks in the area, spreading over 605 acres. There are plenty of opportunities to sweat it out at the town's D.W. Wilson Community Center, which has a fitness center, a gymnasium and an indoor swimming pool. C.D. Stamps in Jackson Street also boasts a game room, a fitness center and gymnasium.
If you manage to find an apartment for rent in Tullahoma, you should soon feel at home. The other good news is that the cost of living here is relatively low, 15% below the national average. If you are a nature lover, Tullahoma is just the place for you. Good luck with the apartment hunt!