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Kingsport - Johnson City - Bristol The Tri-Cities area
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:04 PM
 
21 posts, read 10,418 times
Reputation: 83

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My husband and I are 55, no kids, looking to move to the tri-cities area. I've lived in New England (Boston, NYC, Maine) for almost 30 years. My husband is a native Mainer. We currently live in Mississippi (where I'm originally from) but plan to relocate to the tri-cities area in the next year or two.

We are both creative types, non-traditional, open-minded, and fairly liberal leaning. I "get" Southern culture because I was born and raised in Mississippi, but we've had a really tough time meeting people in Jackson, where we live now. No place can offer you everything, but my hope is that we don't end up making a lateral move to yet another overwhelmingly conservative, church-going town. We have varied interests -- he's a mechanical engineer and motorcycle enthusiast, and I'm interested in starting my own practice in the healing arts. We love to travel, hike, cook, and both of us are entrepreneurial. He's excited to connect with other motorcyclists and tour the mountains. I'm hoping I can find a small community of artists in the area.

I've read a few forum posts that speak of JC as being isolated. But given that Jackson is three and a half hours from New Orleans and an hour to nowhere, I'm hopeful that the tri-cities area would prove more interesting than where we are now.

Would love to hear how other "damn Yankees" or anyone else with similar perspectives feel about the area?

Thanks so much! I appreciate the honest, measured responses I've read in these forums.

Last edited by jgirl63; 08-12-2019 at 06:30 PM..
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,286 posts, read 21,213,936 times
Reputation: 34696
Johnson City is really the only option in the area if you're looking for politically moderate. Some neighborhoods in Johnson City trend liberal - Tree States, around downtown, around the university.

Johnson City is a medium-sized city (~65,000), but between the university and being the nicest part of the area, has more in the way of retail, dining, nightlife, and things to do than you might expect out of a city this size.

There is a sizable motorcycle community here and groups of bikers are frequently seen touring the mountains. That shouldn't be an issue. There are artists and the like, mostly on the south side of the city.

While Johnson City is politically moderate, it is not liberal, and the overall area is probably going to be much more Republican-leaning than Jackson. Jackson is around 80% African-American, and they tend to vote Democratic. This area is around 95% white overall, and is extremely Republican. Church is the center of a lot of social activities here and of a lot of folks' lives. I'm a local native and an agnostic Republican, and even I find the church influence a bit overbearing at times. You will likely be invited to church, but if you politely decline, most people drop it.

Do you need work or are you retiring? What is your housing budget, and are you looking to buy/rent?
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Florida/Tennessee
5,841 posts, read 5,252,967 times
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The Knoxville surrounding area. East Tennessee is very conservative, but equally tolerant. Maryville might work as a middle ground. Not sure if local folks are into the healing arts... and I'm not even sure what that is. UT has a artsey influence.

If you could twist your healing arts into traditional healing with a backwoods-dirt road feel.... you might have something... combine that with healing foods and herbs and you might have a winner. Religion is important in East Tennessee. Most Churches are full and folks socially connect via church. Live and let live is the usual the approach, for east Tennesseans. Don't try to change us and we won't try and change you.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:22 AM
 
18 posts, read 14,940 times
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My wife and I moved here to the tri-cities from Maine 26 years ago. We never had any problems. Majority of people we've met are nice and some are not welcoming, but you would get that anywhere you would move to. Johnson City area is where I would suggest, more diversity. Bristol is getting better and Kingsport is dying. The weather is great and cost of living is super cheap comparing to other parts of the country. This corner is a little hidden gem.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:25 AM
 
21 posts, read 10,418 times
Reputation: 83
rayzor58 -- great to know another Mainer is in town! We lived in the Portland and mid-coast area, Bath and Georgetown, specifically. Still miss it there, but not the winters!

Thanks all. Live and let live is definitely our approach. We just hope to find a little more diversity than what we have here. Between Knoxville and Asheville nearby, I'm hoping we find the tri-city area suitable.

As for the healing arts -- I'm an occupational therapist studying the role of movement on the brain and body for overall health. I'm hoping to get out of the hospital setting and into a private practice that offers an alternative to the rote treatments you find in traditional medical settings. Hoping to connect with massage therapists, acupuncturists and the like.

As for our budget, we're looking between the 300-400K range. Don't think we'll have a problem there.

Thanks so much for the input!
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Florida/Tennessee
5,841 posts, read 5,252,967 times
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Lots of artsey folk buy some acreage and create retreats. East Tennessee has a very active artisan/craftsman community. Dolly Parton is at the forefront of many activities and efforts, both socially and environmentally.

If you have joy, like to interact, volunteer, and respect others you'll fit right in. Honoring our neighbors by respecting them, goes a long way.

Here's an example by me ... https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...Tennessee.html
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Memphis
459 posts, read 1,185,041 times
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I'm originally from East TN and my Wife is from Mississippi (and I have lived there as well), so I think I can speak a little to this.

I think you will find that it is pretty cliquey overall like Jackson. It is not the traditional "deep south" culture like Jackson, but it still has the closed to outsiders mentality.

East TN is very conservative and more "Tea Party" type than the establishment Republicans you may be used to in Jackson. It is more Southern Baptist than Methodist / mainline protestant you may be used to in Jacktown.

Feel free to PM me for more info.
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Old 08-13-2019, 02:41 PM
 
9 posts, read 4,923 times
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Why on earth would you move to east Tennessee?

It's the heart of the abolition movement in the South. During the Civil War, it almost went the way of West Virginia by seceding from its host state over slavery. Solidly Republican in 1860.

When I was growing up, it was conservative. It's conservative now. No slavery then, no slavery now and the definition of slavery has changed, but it's the same even if folks miss the switch.

It is not a good destination for liberals. I have family there and it puzzles me what the draw is for east Tennessee to Northerners aside from, "Well it's cheaper than our liberal state and we want to retire and like the scenery..." etc.

You will move there, wish you had higher taxes, more regulations and more socially liberal policies and be disappointed by the outcome.
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Old 08-13-2019, 05:34 PM
 
Location: Florida/Tennessee
5,841 posts, read 5,252,967 times
Reputation: 4127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gibsonian View Post
Why on earth would you move to east Tennessee?

It's the heart of the abolition movement in the South. During the Civil War, it almost went the way of West Virginia by seceding from its host state over slavery. Solidly Republican in 1860.

When I was growing up, it was conservative. It's conservative now. No slavery then, no slavery now and the definition of slavery has changed, but it's the same even if folks miss the switch.

It is not a good destination for liberals. I have family there and it puzzles me what the draw is for east Tennessee to Northerners aside from, "Well it's cheaper than our liberal state and we want to retire and like the scenery..." etc.

You will move there, wish you had higher taxes, more regulations and more socially liberal policies and be disappointed by the outcome.
lol.... slavery? really? Corey? Corey Booker? is that you?
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
28,286 posts, read 21,213,936 times
Reputation: 34696
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgirl63 View Post
rayzor58 -- great to know another Mainer is in town! We lived in the Portland and mid-coast area, Bath and Georgetown, specifically. Still miss it there, but not the winters!

Thanks all. Live and let live is definitely our approach. We just hope to find a little more diversity than what we have here. Between Knoxville and Asheville nearby, I'm hoping we find the tri-city area suitable.

As for the healing arts -- I'm an occupational therapist studying the role of movement on the brain and body for overall health. I'm hoping to get out of the hospital setting and into a private practice that offers an alternative to the rote treatments you find in traditional medical settings. Hoping to connect with massage therapists, acupuncturists and the like.

As for our budget, we're looking between the 300-400K range. Don't think we'll have a problem there.

Thanks so much for the input!
If you want to see any sort of diversity, you really need to plug into the social scene in Johnson City (preferably the south side) and ETSU.

Go to The Willow Tree coffee house for a concert. Capone's or Hideaway if you like heavier music or feel more "adventurous." There are some places in that area (some "fair trade" outfit called Atlantis downtown beside Main St. Pizza, Shakti in the Mountains (women's place)) that might be able to provide some contacts. Definitely go to Johnson City Brewing Company (lots of like-minded people there - it's the "neighborhood pub")

I wouldn't expect to make a living off of "alternative" treatments. OTs are sorely needed with the local hospital system. I would do the alternative stuff on the side.

Otherwise, this area is probably way too conservative for you. Asheville should also be in consideration. Also, unlike most areas, the Tri-Cities are quite spread out and it's quite common to live in one city and work in another. I'm from here, but moved back three years ago after a nearly five year stint in the Midwest. I've lived in 2/3 of the three cities, closing on a condo in the third next month, and have worked in two. Working in Bristol living in JC can be irritating.
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