Discover Oak Ridge, TN

There is something for everyone in the 'Secret City.'

By
Kevin Litwin
On Monday, June 8, 2020 - 15:00
oak ridge

Shhhh…it’s a secret! Well, not anymore. Created to be the home base for the Manhattan Project during WWII, this once-secret city is now thriving, offering residents affordable housing, high quality schools and career opportunities. Oak Ridge is bustling with opportunity and with fun. 

So ExtraORdinary!

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce hosted its first “An ExtraORdinary Evening Installation and Awards Dinner” in January 2020 to honor extraordinary local business leaders. The most prestigious awards of the event went to Bob and Carol Smallridge, who were honored with the Eugene L. Joyce Lifetime Achievement Award, and Colin Anderson, who was honored with the Kerry Trammell Volunteer of the Year Award. Other honorees were Entrepreneur of the Year Michael Wilhoit of Mac’s Pharmacy, Young Professional of the Year Jeff Cheek of Countryside Tire, Community Impact Award recipient ORNL Federal Credit Union, Business of the Year Oak Ridge Tool-Engineering, and Small Business of the Year The Houndry.

oak ridge
Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

Mmm, Delicious

Hungry? There are more than 60 restaurants to choose from here, ranging from upscale cuisine to down-home favorites, like catfish cakes and country ham. Dining hot spots include Aubrey’s, Calhoun’s, Burchfield’s, The Other One, The Soup Kitchen and Mexican restaurants like El Jinete and Dos Bros Fresh Mexican Grill. Other popular destinations include Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, Buddy’s Bar-b-q, Arby’s, Panera, Dunkin’ Donuts, Zaxby’s, McAlister’s Deli and new arrival Dairy Queen.

Gaining Seniority

Oak Ridge Senior Center opened in October 2019 on Oak Ridge Turnpike, offering residents 50 or older various types of recreation, volunteer opportunities, educational seminars, health screenings, computer use, exercise classes, a lunch program and transportation assistance. A recreation room holds three pool tables, two snooker tables and tables for cards, games and puzzles, and there is free Wi-Fi. The center is open every day except Sundays.

oak ridge
Nathan Lambrecht

Congrats, Ray Smith

In October 2019, the East Tennessee Historical Society (ETHS) presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to longtime Oak Ridge historian D. Ray Smith during a reception at the Ts117 Modern Coworking facility. The well-respected historian was presented with a plaque from the ETHS inscribed to Smith as follows: “For excellence in and dedication to preserving and documenting the unique history of Oak Ridge and sharing that history with others through his work as the official historian of the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge; authoring numerous articles, books and columns; and especially through creation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.”

Pioneering Health Care

The community’s hospital, Methodist Medical Center, prides itself on being responsive with quality, high-tech care to keep residents healthy. Services include bariatrics, cardiology, cancer care, joint replacement, breast care, robotically assisted surgery, wound treatment, women’s care, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, diagnostic imaging, emergency care, GI care, homecare, intervential radiology, neurosurgery, occupational health, orthopedics, sleep diagnostics, stroke care, therapy services and vascular diagnostics.

oak ridge
Michael D. Tedesco

Get the 4-1-1 on Oak Ridge

  • Natural Areas: Outdoor recreation is abundant, including Melton Hill Lake, which offers boating, fishing, rowing and greenway trails. On Haw Ridge trails, mountain bikers are challenged by bridges, creeks and elevation changes.
  • Great Access to Parks: Residents have access to a high-quality, strategically developed parks system, with each residential area situated within a half-mile of at least one park.
  • A Love for Celebration: Festivals, holiday celebrations, concert series and other special events typically fill local calendars year round. Be sure to visit ExploreOakRidge for the most up-to-date info on scheduling changes this year.
  • International: World-class research jobs attract a diverse population to Oak Ridge. In addition, 60% of the visitors to Oak Ridge are businesspeople from around the world.
  • Smart Residents: The city features significant work in research, science, engineering, technology, supercomputing, energy and national security. Meanwhile, more than 80% of Oak Ridge School District teachers hold at least a master’s degree.
  • Excellent Schools: The Oak Ridge School District is the first entire district in Tennessee and second in the world to earn STEM Certification by AdvancED. The district’s schools also incorporate art into the traditional STEM approach to ensure students receive a STEAM curriculum of science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

If you'd like to learn more about the Oak Ridge area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Oak Ridge, TN​​​​​​​

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.