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Old 04-15-2016, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Mount Airy, Maryland
9,409 posts, read 5,202,941 times
Reputation: 14191

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Hi 2013, this thread is right in my wheelhouse so I'd be glad to help. I live in MD too, as the name indicates. I've been on a 3 year project to research retirement destinations as well, our timeline is about 8 years. Looking for low cost of living, mountains, and milder climate that is no colder then here but not oppressive in the summer we have focused on the Appalachians from Charlestown, WV, down 81 to Johnson City. We have researched everywhere in between and here is where we are:

The finalists appear to be Roanoke, VA and the area in and around Johnson City, TN. I am strongly pushing JC, wife is undecided. I'd be intersted to hear why you have dismissed Johnson City. Here is what I have learned:

Once you get out of the mountains the rest of Tennessee is going to be too hot for us. The summers in the mountains appear to be about the same as MD. Not the case in Nashville, Chattanooga etc, it's much hotter and the wife will have no part of that. I'm not a huge fan of the Tennessee winters, personally I'd prefer 8" of snow to the cold rain, ice mixture that they seem to get. But there is a little snow in Johnson City and I would miss that if I never had it, then it's gone by afternoon. And of course the winters are shorter and heating bills reflect this. We took a trip in August to JC to test the summer and it was very very pleasant. A drawback is there seems to be less bright sunny days compared to Maryland, a lot of hazy days but the upside it is takes the heat off.

Of the Tri-cities I prefer Johnson City to the others and it's not even close. The college town feel with all the young folks is appealing, Bristol was second but didn't have the mountain views as prevalent as JC and appeared to be a little rougher around the edges. I dismissed Kingsport immediately once I got a whiff of the factories. Of course you stated that you don't want JC, that's OK there are neighboring towns such as Elizabethon, Jonesborough and smaller towns just to the north.

Housing and taxes are dirt cheap but surprisingly everything else is comparable to MD. Groceries are actually higher because there is a tax on groceries and the overall sales tax is high, they have to make up for the lack of state income tax and lower property taxes somehow. But the way we figure it you can always control your spending, we can't control the $3,800 property tax bill that we will have to pay in June. And of course you can always cheat the system if you are buying a big ticket item by going across state lines. But you didn't hear that from me.

JC appeared to be the ideal size for us, think Frederick. It's just large enough to have most everything but a breeze to get around. It's also similar to Frederick in that it's in the middle of a huge revitalization. When I first visited JC in November '13 it was kind of dumpy and there was no way I was moving 7 hours from friends and family to an area I didn't like. But following along on the Tri Cities thread here on CD I learned of the changes, took 2 more trips, and fell in love. Roanoke is nice but it just didn't have that same feel. And even though Roanoke is larger it's kind of out there all alone. From JC you have many options: Asheville for lunch is only a one hour beautiful drive away. Bristol for music or just to go somewhere else is much closer, all the needs of a big city can be met with a 90 minute drive to Knoxville.

The restaurant scene in JC was surprisingly good with a lot of variety, another concern of mine was it would be all Applebees. On the contrary, lots of ethnic foods. No crab cakes but what are you gonna do there.

Last edited by DaveinMtAiry; 04-15-2016 at 08:25 AM..
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Old 04-17-2016, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Cumberland Cove, Monterey, TN
1,268 posts, read 3,954,844 times
Reputation: 817
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveinMtAiry View Post
Hi 2013, this thread is right in my wheelhouse so I'd be glad to help. I live in MD too, as the name indicates. I've been on a 3 year project to research retirement destinations as well, our timeline is about 8 years. Looking for low cost of living, mountains, and milder climate that is no colder then here but not oppressive in the summer we have focused on the Appalachians from Charlestown, WV, down 81 to Johnson City. We have researched everywhere in between and here is where we are:

The finalists appear to be Roanoke, VA and the area in and around Johnson City, TN. I am strongly pushing JC, wife is undecided. I'd be intersted to hear why you have dismissed Johnson City. Here is what I have learned:

Once you get out of the mountains the rest of Tennessee is going to be too hot for us. The summers in the mountains appear to be about the same as MD. Not the case in Nashville, Chattanooga etc, it's much hotter and the wife will have no part of that. I'm not a huge fan of the Tennessee winters, personally I'd prefer 8" of snow to the cold rain, ice mixture that they seem to get. But there is a little snow in Johnson City and I would miss that if I never had it, then it's gone by afternoon. And of course the winters are shorter and heating bills reflect this. We took a trip in August to JC to test the summer and it was very very pleasant. A drawback is there seems to be less bright sunny days compared to Maryland, a lot of hazy days but the upside it is takes the heat off.

Of the Tri-cities I prefer Johnson City to the others and it's not even close. The college town feel with all the young folks is appealing, Bristol was second but didn't have the mountain views as prevalent as JC and appeared to be a little rougher around the edges. I dismissed Kingsport immediately once I got a whiff of the factories. Of course you stated that you don't want JC, that's OK there are neighboring towns such as Elizabethon, Jonesborough and smaller towns just to the north.

Housing and taxes are dirt cheap but surprisingly everything else is comparable to MD. Groceries are actually higher because there is a tax on groceries and the overall sales tax is high, they have to make up for the lack of state income tax and lower property taxes somehow. But the way we figure it you can always control your spending, we can't control the $3,800 property tax bill that we will have to pay in June. And of course you can always cheat the system if you are buying a big ticket item by going across state lines. But you didn't hear that from me.

JC appeared to be the ideal size for us, think Frederick. It's just large enough to have most everything but a breeze to get around. It's also similar to Frederick in that it's in the middle of a huge revitalization. When I first visited JC in November '13 it was kind of dumpy and there was no way I was moving 7 hours from friends and family to an area I didn't like. But following along on the Tri Cities thread here on CD I learned of the changes, took 2 more trips, and fell in love. Roanoke is nice but it just didn't have that same feel. And even though Roanoke is larger it's kind of out there all alone. From JC you have many options: Asheville for lunch is only a one hour beautiful drive away. Bristol for music or just to go somewhere else is much closer, all the needs of a big city can be met with a 90 minute drive to Knoxville.

The restaurant scene in JC was surprisingly good with a lot of variety, another concern of mine was it would be all Applebees. On the contrary, lots of ethnic foods. No crab cakes but what are you gonna do there.

Have you considered Cookeville, TN?

http://www.city-data.com/city/Cookeville-Tennessee.html
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Old 04-17-2016, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Mount Airy, Maryland
9,409 posts, read 5,202,941 times
Reputation: 14191
Quote:
Originally Posted by jguillot View Post
Not really, we don't really want to move much further away from friends amd family than the Tri-Cities. We'll be coming back a lot as well as to a friend's cabin in PA, another friend's MD beach house etc.
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Old 04-18-2016, 08:19 AM
 
273 posts, read 230,371 times
Reputation: 691
If you've not looked at Tellico Village, just outside Lenoir City, which is about 20 miles SW of Knoxville, you might take a look. We honestly feel like we found our little slice of retirement heaven there. It's a boating and golf community of around 7,000, that's built along the edge of a beautiful, clean lake (Lake Tellico). The development was started back in the 80's and has continued to grow and appears very stable. The amenities are all top notch, including several marinas, a yacht club, 3 golf courses, state of the art wellness center and a rec center with indoor and outdoor pools and all the fitness equipment you could ever need, tennis, pickleball, walking trails, a dog park, tons of clubs and activities to pick and choose from, and overall really down to earth, friendly people.

Here's a link: An Active Senior Living Retirement Community | Tellico Village

And from everything we've seen, these videos are pretty spot on.
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