Tennessee - Mountains, Music and More
Tennessee has long been popular as a vacation destination, but, recently, more and more people are discovering that its mountains and lakes, mild climate, affordable housing, and the absence of an income tax make it a great place for retirement living. With a diverse and beckoning landscape ranging from the towering peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains in the east to the meandering waters of the mighty Mississippi River along its western border, Tennessee offers a unique blend of culture and tradition.
Anyone moving to Tennessee quickly becomes acutely aware of these historical influences. They are readily apparent in the rich and varied musical lineage, reaching from the bluegrass and folksongs of the mountains and extending to the country music of Nashville and the soulful blues of Memphis. Together with a deep appreciation for traditional arts and crafts, such factors add up to a lifestyle that provides a constant stream of entertaining attractions and events.
Combine these ingredients with the natural recreational opportunities to be enjoyed in Tennessee's great outdoors... its majestic mountains, network of wilderness areas and vast network of lakes and waterways... and one quickly realizes the potential for an exciting and adventure-filled retirement in this beautiful state.
East Tennessee Offers Mountains and Lakes
In East Tennessee near Knoxville and the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, retirees can choose from a number of waterfront or golf course resort communities. Although none of these is designed exclusively for retirees, a significant portion of buyers are, in fact, retired and relocating to the area from Michigan, Ohio and other mid-western and eastern states. Also, Floridians, many of whom first discovered the mountains and lakes of East Tennessee while vacationing here, are now returning in search of their retirement destination.
This recent surge of new master-planned communities, especially around the urban centers of Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville is clearly indicative of the state's growing significance as a retirement destination.
While Knoxville is the economic hub of the region, it is primarily the smaller towns surrounding the city that are experiencing the strongest impact from this influx of new retirees. Communities closest to the lakes and mountains, such as Loudon, Maryville, Kingston and Morristown, are all benefiting from an increased interest from out-of-state retirees.
Norris, a small village just twenty minutes from downtown Knoxville, is becoming a popular choice for retirement living, largely because of its quality of life and proximity to beautiful Norris Lake. Built in the 1930's to house workers for TVA's Norris Dam, Norris was designed as a true master-planned community with a network of small, bungalow-style homes connected by a network of winding streets, walking and hiking paths and sidewalks. Within minutes of three state parks and the trout-filled Clinch River, residents find plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, ranging from boating and fishing to birdwatching and hiking.
Crossville, located on the Cumberland Plateau and situated between Knoxville and Nashville, has been a favorite place to retire for more than thirty years. Billed as the "golf capital of Tennessee," this small town is home to several residential golf communities as well as a Jack Nicklaus course at Cumberland Mountain State Park.
Retirement Living in Middle Tennessee
Home to two major league professional sports teams and a growing number of corporate headquarters, Nashville is the cultural, financial and medical center for Middle
Tennessee and a great portion of the Mid-South. Boasting of a national and world wide reputation for its influence on country music, the city is also gaining recognition as a center for a much broader mix of art and culture. With such new outstanding facilities as the Frist Center and an exciting and magnificent symphony and performance hall, Nashville offers its residents and those in surrounding small towns tremendous opportunities for anyone who appreciates drama, music and art.
In keeping with trend that has already reached several other large urban cities that have not traditionally been viewed as retirement destinations, Nashville is the site of a new age-restricted resort community designed specifically for active adult living. This new Del Webb project is located in the Nashville suburbs and is patterned after its other retirement facilities in Florida and Arizona.
Retirees are also looking at small towns throughout Middle Tennessee as places to retire. One town just south of Nashville, Franklin, was recognized by Money Magazine in 2003 as one of the best places to retire in the U.S. With a blend of small town charm and hospitality, this is a place where neighborhoods of Victorian and ante-bellum homes abut new and exclusive golf course communities. Franklin and Williamson County, including neighboring Brentwood, have evolved into the fastest growing area of Tennessee. The result has been a tremendous increase in demand for new housing and a surge in economic growth. Yet, for all practical purposes, and in spite of the booming number of new residents in town, the small town atmosphere has remained relatively intact.
Other Middle Tennessee small towns worth considering as attractive possibilities for retirement living include Dickson, Gallatin, Cookeville, Murfreesboro and Shelbyville. All in all, the rolling green hills, winding rivers and lakes, and mild climate, when combined with such other attributes as affordable housing, outdoor recreation and quality of life, place Middle Tennessee high on the list of desirable places to retire.
Affordable Retirement Still A Possibility
While the cost of housing has continued to climb across the U.S., there are still some areas in Tennessee, notably in the smaller towns and particularly in many of the small towns of West Tennessee, where home prices are still very attractive to retirees. For the most part, this situation exists in less accessible communities where the economy is not as strong as more urban areas. Consequently, the lack of demand for housing results in lower prices for some older but very attractive homes. While some of these small towns may lack the advantages and attractions of a large city, they still offer a hospitable and affordable lifestyle.
And some, like Paris near Kentucky Lake, for example, offers an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities for anyone who enjoys fishing, hunting or golfing.
This Month's Spotlight City: Franklin
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