I have lived in Cookeville most of my life. It has always had a very cozy feel, but it is continually growing, especially in the past twenty years. A few great things to mention:
*There is a grood mix of chain restaurants and mom/pop restaurants.
*It is a college town, so there is a neat culture that is brought in by the orchestras/theatricals/crafts/concerts/etc.
*The historical downtown district continues to grow and expand, putting in good retail stores and antique shops.
*A park in the middle of town is expanding at this time (spring 2008) and will be a great place for families and the young'uns. This park also hosts various outdoor concerts/theatricals in the ampitheatre each summer.
*There are great festivals on the downtown square each fall such as the Fall Fun Fest and Cookin' on the Square, as well as Christmas Parades.
*There are several great neighborhoods to settle in. There are lots of "fixer-upper" opportunities in cute houses.
*Cookeville is located just an 1-1 1/2 hours drive away from Nashville, Chattanooga, Knoxville. If you ever want to visit the big cities, take a weekend or an evening to do so. As a college student, its easy to feel trapped in a small cozy town, with few bars/clubs/ etc. So if you're into that scene, you may want to visit those cities on a weekend, but you couldn't ask for a better place to "settle" and raise a family or to retire.
*It's just a few hours drive from the Smokey and Blue Ridge Mnts.
*The Cumberland Plateau is beautiful! and is just covered up with beautiful green rolling hills. You can take scenic drives almost in any direction, as much farm land surrounds the city.
*There are lots of state parks with waterfalls: Burgess Falls (15 minutes from town), Cummins Falls (15 minutes from town), Fall Creek Falls (45 minutes away) just to name a few.
*If you're into climbing, there is bouldering just 45 minutes East.
*If you're into boating, waterskiing, etc., Dale Hollow Lake is 45 minutes northeast and Centerhill Lake is 45 minutes southwest.
*The Appalachian Craft Center is 30 minutes west of town in Smithville. It is partners with TTU, but it offers various workshops every spring/summer/fall in fibers, clay, wood, metal, glass, photography, and other media.
*The biggest job opportunities would be Tennessee Tech, Averitt Express, Cookeville Regional Hospital and the medical fields, and random retail shops/ restaurants. But, again, it continues to grow and expand, bringing in more job opportunities.
Those are just a few things off the top of my head. Cookeville is a great place to settle, raise a family, and settle down. It is still has a smalltown feel, but it is ever growing and as far as I can see, will only get better with time.