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Old 01-29-2011, 05:18 AM
Location: Long Island, NY
9 posts, read 15,724 times
Reputation: 11


Hello -

We may have the opportunity to move out of New York in a year or two, yay! Words cannot express how excited we are at the thought of this! We've visited Middle and Eastern Tennessee and we LOVE what we've seen so far. Of course, we were only visiting to visit, not to look for a neighborhood. I've come to ask some questions so that we can use some of the time during our next trip (this summer) to take a look around at various neighborhoods.

Our background. We've lived on Long Island forever. DH was born and raised here, and so was I. Actually, I've lived in the same zip code all my life! LOL We have one child, and she will remain an only child. She's pretty much the only elementary school age kid on our street.

So. Any suggestions on what neighborhoods we should be looking at based on the below information?

* Town size is not important, don't care if it's big or small. Just want a super friendly neighborhood with a LOT of kids around for DD to play with. I would love for my house to be like Grand Central station with the kids all coming in and out to play!

* Preferably a neighborhood where the kids just go out to play - we don't do well with the whole scheduled "play date" thing. And I am decidedly NOT a helicopter parent, so I don't sit on top of my child while she is playing, watching every move she makes.

* On that note, I would prefer a safe and low traffic neighborhood so my daughter could go out and play without me having to sit out there with her. I would like for her to be able to walk around the neighborhood to find kids to play with, or a park to walk to or something. I know things are different now, but I spent my childhood outside with my friends from morning 'til dark walking around the neighborhood, through the field/woods, having friends at my house for lunch, etc. I would like her to have similar freedom and the opportunity to learn independence.

* DD would love a neighborhood where she could walk somewhere... to a convenience store, to a pizza place, anything. It doesn't have to be like NYC, but to be able to walk TO something rather than just around the block all day would be nice. Basically, she fell in love with the fictitious town in the mystery novels she reads (a note to all neighborhood developers - read the A-Z Mysteries by Ron Roy. LOL... I must admit, it is a perfectly planned out little town!) Actually, our neighborhood is pretty good like that right now... we have a few small shopping centers within walking distance of our house (less than a mile). But, there are no kids her age to walk with her anywhere when she gets old enough to go on her own. Sidewalks would be a plus, but not necessary - we don't have them here. BUT... people here drive through the development at crazy speeds, like 55 MPH (despite the posted sign for 30) and take corners like they're on rails! so it's not really safe for her to walk around or ride her bike.

* Good schools would be nice, but I tend to believe that you get out what you put in. I would prefer a smaller district - the one she's in now graduates classes of 700 or so every year. We have about 5 elementary schools with about 6 first grade classes in each school that all feed into one middle school which feeds into one junior high school which feeds into one giant high school. So, it's quite big for what is supposed to be suburbia. This is NOT what we want. We would even consider private if we thought it was a better option.

* We would love to be near a lake so we could have a pontoon boat or something.

* Employment. Not a huge concern. DH will be pretty young but retired, and would be perfectly happy being a part time employee at a grocery store or a Home Depot or something. LOL. Seriously, though, we feel very fortunate and blessed to be in the great financial situation we are in, given the state of the economy these days. I will be working, but if I can't find a job right away, I can always do consulting work back here in NY if need be, so not overly concerned there.

* We might rent for a year first, but ultimately our housing budget would be up to $450,000, though we would prefer to stay around $400,000 or less.

* Although we've lived here in NY forever, we would prefer a more laid back lifestyle. The kind where neighbors wave, help each other, know each others names, etc. Basically, we feel like we don't fit in here.

* So far, my short list consists of: Nashville area - McKays Mill in Franklin, Downtown Franklin, Hendersonville. Knoxville area - Sequoyah Hills, Fountain City, and West Hills.

Wow. This is already so long. Thank you and if you've gotten this far, you certainly deserve an award! Any suggestions would be more than welcome! If I've left out any essential information, please ask away! I will write down any suggestions and we will work them into our next visit or two.
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:59 AM
Status: "I cannot wait for the heat to break..." (set 4 days ago)
Location: Where the sun likes to shine!!
20,368 posts, read 25,488,669 times
Reputation: 87958
East TN is a wonderful place. I am also from LI and I have never looked back. I'm sorry I can't help you with your areas. I am in the east TN mountains.

I just wanted to suggest 1 thing before you jump. Rent first, spend some time there and make sure you are in the neighborhood that suits you best.

Best of luck on your move.

Drop off some pizza, kaiser rolls, and bagels for me on your way in. My area doesn't have those.
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Old 01-29-2011, 07:32 AM
Location: Tennessee
1,361 posts, read 3,712,096 times
Reputation: 785
To find what you're looking for (former LIer too), I would either look at Hendersonville (north east of Nashville) which reminds me a lot of LI with all the stores, restaurants, etc or take a look at Franklin (south of Nashville).

We moved just north of Nashville a little over 3 years ago and love it!
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Old 01-29-2011, 08:05 AM
Location: Sullivan County, Tennessee
445 posts, read 1,010,092 times
Reputation: 448
I have no doubt that there are hundreds of neighborhoods across this state that would generally fit your requirements. However, your post made me think of a new development (Edinburgh) just a few miles from me that is unique for families of elementary age children in that it was built around a new elementary school (property donated by the developers). This is in the eastern part of the state (not as far east as younglisa) in Kingsport and very near Interstate 81 and Interstate 26. Just Google on "Edinburgh Kingsport" and it will bring up many links to this unique development.

There is no shopping within walking distance because this is on the rural perimeter of the city but much shopping is within easy driving distance in several cities. Nearby also are several TVA lakes including the Warriors Path State Park with marina and recreation facilities.
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Old 01-29-2011, 09:03 AM
Location: Long Island, NY
9 posts, read 15,724 times
Reputation: 11
Thank you to everyone who has responded thus far! I appreciate all the advice and suggestions. We are not locked in to specifically Nashville or Knoxville, so if there are any suggestions outside of those two areas, I'd be happy to hear them. The only area of the state we haven't considered is the western portion - I don't know why, but it just has not crossed our radar. Of course, there may be some awesome areas there... I just don't know!

I know it's a broad question - I mean, it's a whole state I'm asking about! LOL I guess I'm just looking for somewhere to start. I have a year or two to start researching, and as mentioned, we may rent for a while before buying.

I'm happy to hear there are LI transplants in TN that are very happy. I hope to be one of them soon!!!
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Old 01-29-2011, 11:17 AM
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
22,533 posts, read 46,067,135 times
Reputation: 13302
I'm from the northeast, too.

I'll just give you a little food for thought. I lived in Florida for 10 years and have been in TN for five. Different regions of the country do have their differences. Duh, right? Well, intellectually, I knew this, but there are little things that I took for granted that are not necessarily the same here.

Sidewalks in The South are pretty scarce. After searching most of my life for Mayberry, I finally realized that I was born and raised in it and it is in New England.

There are some cute towns, though, but probably slightly different than what you are used to. Bear in mind that generally speaking, the smaller the town the less money is spent in the school systems. Not that money is everything. It's not and I find that TN is very good at making its tax dollars go a long way. But very small towns can be very rural and the schools are usually not that good. Years ago, Oprah did a show on kids from small towns that don't do as well as expected. She showcased a girl that graduated from a small town in northeast TN as the valedictorian and was totally overwhelmed in college. She couldn't keep up.

I think Sequoyah in Knoxville is an excellent choice. It's a beautiful area. Our business is down the hill from there. If I had the money, I would be there in a split-second. Bear in mind that Knox is a much larger school system but it is good. West High was named as one of the best high schools in Newsweek and it is a candidate to be an IB school.

I've never been to Franklin, but its downtown looks very charming and I think there are a lot of transplants. It would probably be worth checking out. The only thing I don't like about that area is the violent weather and the heat and humidity is much higher than East TN.

Best of luck and don't hesitate to ask more questions.
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Old 01-29-2011, 05:13 PM
2,170 posts, read 4,268,464 times
Reputation: 1351
I would look at Westhaven | Franklin | Brentwood | Nashville | New Homes it is as close to mayberry as you can get.

One thing to consider that is different from the northeast is that the school systems are county based vs by city or village. Williamson County (Franklin) has very good schools, but there are several high schools and another one opening next year and probably another high school within 5 years.
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Old 01-30-2011, 04:46 AM
Location: Tennessee
33,949 posts, read 32,379,274 times
Reputation: 49901
I'm a former Long Islander, too. Since both you and your husband have lived on the Island all of your life, I assume you will still have friends and family there. How do you plan to visit them (flying or driving)? If you plan to make driving trips, like I do, you probably want to live somewhere in East Tennessee, say near to or north of I-40 or towns near I-81 to keep the driving time down.
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Old 01-30-2011, 05:52 AM
Location: Long Island, NY
9 posts, read 15,724 times
Reputation: 11
Thanks again to everyone. What a generous group you all are to share your advice and opinions and suggestions with a complete stranger that is asking such an enormous, wide open question.

Hiknapster - I totally see your point about there being differences in different regions. And I'm prepared for a bit of... culture shock, is it? I'm not sure exactly what it is. But we plan to leave Long Island make our new home in TN. We are not actually looking for a little Long Island in TN. Am I making any sense? LOL And yes, though I said town size doesn't matter - I suppose it does. I am not looking for rural or super small. I think anything that feels like a cohesive town is fine. I mostly want to know people in my neighborhood/subdivision - so if there are 10o billion other people in the rest of the town, I don't much care. Gosh, I feel like I'm talking and it makes sense in my head, but not sure I'm coming across sensibly. LOL! I apologize if this is as clear as mud!

And as for sidewalks, I only think they are bonus since I have never had them. They are not hugely popular in my town or the surrounding towns. Though they *are* just starting to put some in on the main roads... I just want a neighborhood where my daughter can ride her bike and walk around without such a large chance of getting mowed down by some crazy driver doing 55 mph and blowing stop signs without even touching the brakes. Yep, that's what the nuts in my neighborhood do!

Septimus - thank you for the Westhaven suggestion. I now have it on my list of places to visit. I'm a little anxious about places like that as we have never lived in a place that had a HOA... I'm afraid all the rules and stuff would make me nuts. We are a live and let live kind of family for the most part. I like that the rules can keep things looking nice, but I think some places that I've read about can be a bit TOO restrictive! But, Westhaven and McKays Mill are high on our list of places to check out. And thanks for the bit about the schools. I will be sure to look into it more thoroughly so that I understand how it works...

LauraC - We do have some family here. Truthfully, my dad and two sisters will probably wind up following us. Or, at least my dad and the one sister most likely will. The other sister may or may not. As for my in-laws, i don't know what they will do. Their other son lives in VA, so they may go there or TN or somewhere else in between. They may do neither, which is fine as well. Visits will be made by car - we love love love driving vacations! We drove to Hendersonville last year, and plan to drive back to TN again this year. I'm not overly concerned with getting back to LI frequently once we leave.

Many thanks to everyone for all the help!!!!! I didn't think anyone would even respond to my very excited and rambling post. I suppose I will go do some more searches on the Nashville and Knoxville boards.
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Old 01-30-2011, 06:58 AM
2,170 posts, read 4,268,464 times
Reputation: 1351
The HOA adjustment was hard coming from the northeast where they don't really exist. We live in a HOA community. It is hard to not live in an HOA community unless you live in an older part of town and then you may be in a historic overlay distric which can be 100 times more restrictive than any HOA.

The nice thing about HOAs around here is a lot of them provide amentities like playgrounds, neighborhood swimming pools, tennis courts, etc. as well as insure a general level of maintenance. My old street was full of $700-8000k houses and we had a 1978 station wagon on cinder blocks on the street for long stretches of time.
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