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Old 07-15-2010, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Squirrel Hill
1,349 posts, read 3,408,135 times
Reputation: 405

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Hi! I was hoping for some insight into a job opportunity in Knoxville.

Sorry for the lengthy background... I'll keep it as brief as possible.

I'm a physician in my early 30's about to finally finish all my medical training (4yrs college + 4 yrs medical school + 3 years residency + 1 year working + 3 years fellowship) and settle down into my first "real" job. Although the job market is reasonably good for doctors right now, its not so great that I can just get a job I like in a location I want to be working with good people making the right amount of money. One thing that might not be obvious to non-medical people is physician salaries (especially for specialists) tend to increase substantially in areas considered less desirable to live in, for example a position in rural georgia or the rural midwest might pay twice as much (or more) as one in New York City. I'm married, my wife's job can be done remotely although living outside of DC will mean a few days of travel per month. We don't have children yet, but we are expecting our first baby soon.

I came across a job opportunity that looked really attractive in scope and was offering a lot of money... a good 30%+ more than I was expecting to start at combined with a reasonable workload and call schedule. I initially didn't give it much consideration because it was in Knoxville. I've lived in Northern Virginia/Washington DC area, Norfolk VA, Pittsburgh PA, and currently Baltimore MD. My wife is originally from central NJ (~1hr from NYC) but otherwise has lived all the same places as me. We haven't been to Tennessee ever aside from 2 layovers in the Nashville airport and to be perfectly honestly, its not somewhere I ever really thought about living. We have no family in the area, although I do have some in Charlotte. But, since the job looked good I decided to research the area using resources like city data and found Knoxville sounding a lot nicer than I imagined (friendly people, reasonable cost of living, low tax burden, revitalized downtown, etc).

Neither of us particularly want to go back to where we grew up. NJ and DC are both expensive, crowded, congested, and we aren't looking for that. It would be nice to be near family though...

We really did not like Norfolk or Baltimore much, to summarize we found the extent of the urban problems far outweighed the benefits.

We really liked Pittsburgh though, there wasn't a ton of crime/drugs/etc (most of what there was was confined to a handful of isolated areas), the (especially northern) suburbs were really nice, traffic wasn't too bad, there was plenty of stuff (parks, professional sports, theaters, etc) to do that was accessible to us on our relatively meager salaries, we bought a house in a good neighborhood for under 200k, etc.

After 2 telephone conversations, it looks like we have enough mutual interest in each other and I'll be coming down for an interview and to see Knoxville in a few weeks.

So...

1) We don't want to live a really congested, traffic heavy area like the DC or NYC metros, but we don't want to live in the middle of nowhere either. Like I said earlier, Pittsburgh was really a good compromise. Does Knoxville fit the bill here?
2) We don't go out for fine dining much, but we like something other than the Olive Garden and Applebees on occasion.
3) I don't really love strip malls and big box stores and really prefer the main street type of look/feel but honestly strip malls (target, walmart, Costco, supermarkets) are where I do most of my shopping just because its so much easier. Does Knoxville offer a mix of both?
4) Are there any sandy lake beaches in the area that you can swim in?
5) Is the small airport really limiting?
6) Are there good childcare options?
7) We are both Christian (raised Catholic, married in Catholic church but haven't attended church regularly for a few years) and we like the ideals of the church, but are a little turned off by the in your face, overly religious types. I've noticed churches seem to be a big part of Knoxville, what is this like?
8) Should we expect much trouble finding people in similar circumstance to ourselves? That is transplants, 30-something white collar couples starting families, etc. I guess I'm asking how much trouble will we have making friends...
9) What should I do in a 1 or 2 day(s) visit to get a feel for what living in the area is like. I'd like to spend more time, but it is what it is. I was planning to at least drive around Sequoyah Hills, Whittington Creek, Montgomery Creek which I saw mentioned as nice places to live in the 500-750k'ish range. We'd be interested in getting a boat eventually so maybe pointing out a nice marina sort of area. Maybe what some of the nicer shopping areas are? The dining areas or if there is a theater area?

Thanks so much.

Last edited by Bong477; 07-15-2010 at 10:17 AM..
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Old 07-15-2010, 10:37 AM
 
Location: Davidson County "Brentwood"
610 posts, read 1,538,228 times
Reputation: 306
Welcome! I'm a native, have lived in Knox 25 of my 27 years. I hated to have to move to Nashville for a job, but my heart is in Knoxville. I hope you get the job and enjoy this city.

1) Knoxville traffic is nothing-I learned this upon moving to Nashville. I would imagine Nashville is a piece of cake compared to DC and NYC but cab and taxis are not common here.. Most of the city runs parallel-wise.
2) One thing Knoxville lacks is an abundance of local cuisine. Not to say there aren't some great locals, just not as many for a city of its size and the abundance of restaurants for the amount of people in the city. Locals I can suggest are: Ye Olde Steakhouse, Litton's. Aubrey's, Calhoun's are chains that originated in Knoxville.
3) Two words: Turkey Creek Turkey Creek - Knoxville

4) The Cove in Farragut is the only one I can think of, but it's not really a beachy lake. Others may help with this.
5) My experience with Knoxville airport, it's cheaper and easier to drive to Atlanta or Nashville, since most flights route you through bigger cities anyway before you get to your destination. But the airport does offer Allegiant, which is an innovative flight that you can usually get good deals on.
6) Yes
7) We are both Christian (raised Catholic, married in Catholic church but haven't attended church regularly for a few years) and we like the ideals of the church, but are a little turned off by the in your face, overly religious types. I've noticed churches seem to be a big part of Knoxville, what is this like?
8) I would imagine you would possibly make friends through work and church. My father is an anesthesiologist at UT, and he has plenty of friends through work.
9) Driving around those areas are nice. Marinas I can suggest in those areas are: Duncan, Fox, the Yacht club. I used to go to Choto Marina, which is further down Northshore going west. There is a public drop-in across from Lakeshore (another local restaurant to eat!) I definitely would spend my 1-2 days just driving around and getting a feel for the city. West Town Mall and Turkey Creek are the nice areas to shop, as well as the Homberg area has some specialized and local shopping.

Hope this helps
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Old 07-15-2010, 10:40 AM
 
Location: Maryville, TN
340 posts, read 1,138,638 times
Reputation: 201
1) We don't want to live a really congested, traffic heavy area like the DC or NYC metros, but we don't want to live in the middle of nowhere either. Like I said earlier, Pittsburgh was really a good compromise. Does Knoxville fit the bill here?

I drive in to Knoxville each day from Maryville. Traffic moves along, I don't find to to be that congested, unless there's an accident. But, if you are living in Knoxville, you will find ways around an traffic jams. I used to travel into New Orleans, and find Knoxville traffic to be less than that.

2) We don't go out for fine dining much, but we like something other than the Olive Garden and Applebees on occasion.

There are some nice local restaurants that will fill the bill for you. I was concerned about leaving all the Gulf Coast seafood myself, but really I've been pleasantly surprised.

3) I don't really love strip malls and big box stores and really prefer the main street type of look/feel but honestly strip malls (target, walmart, Costco, supermarkets) are where I do most of my shopping just because its so much easier. Does Knoxville offer a mix of both?

There's more strip malls and indoor malls than anything else. There's not much 'true' main street shopping, except for downtown, which is nice but not that big.

4) Are there any sandy lake beaches in the area that you can swim in?

We're still looking for one of those ourselves. We tend to run over to the Smokies to swim, since we live close by. Maybe someone else can answer that.

5) Is the small airport really limiting?

Haven't used it yet.

6) Are there good childcare options?

Can't answer for Knoxville. We use daycare in Maryville.

7) We are both Christian (raised Catholic, married in Catholic church but haven't attended church regularly for a few years) and we like the ideals of the church, but are a little turned off by the in your face, overly religious types. I've noticed churches seem to be a big part of Knoxville, what is this like?

We are Christian, so maybe someone else should answer this. I've never found anyone to be 'in your face' with religion here. I've never had people ask what church we go to, etc. People do speak casually about their faith, and it's not discouraged. If you are uptight about people mentioning their faith from time to time, then this area might not be for you. If not, then you will feel comfortable here.

8) Should we expect much trouble finding people in similar circumstance to ourselves? That is transplants, 30-something white collar couples starting families, etc. I guess I'm asking how much trouble will we have making friends...

LOL. The majority of people I've met are transplants. As long as you don't come with an attitude of changing the place to make it what you want it to be, then you will find alot of friendly people. I think people here are very surface friendly, very polite. It takes a while to build close friendships, though. Longer than other places I've been.

9) What should I do in a 1 or 2 day(s) visit to get a feel for what living in the area is like. I'd like to spend more time, but it is what it is. I was planning to at least drive around Sequoyah Hills, Whittington Creek, Montgomery Creek which I saw mentioned as nice places to live in the 500-750k'ish range. We'd be interested in getting a boat eventually so maybe pointing out a nice marina sort of area. Maybe what some of the nicer shopping areas are? The dining areas or if there is a theater area?

Check out downtown and the stores/venues there. Drive down to Turkey Creek in Farragut to check out the shopping there. Not sure about the marinas. Take a walk on the greenbelt system. Drive on the interstate system at the hours you think you will be on them. Take a drive out to the Smokys, if you have time. It's really not that far away.

Here's a link to the greenway system:


City of Knoxville - Greenways

and downtown:

Knoxville CBID

Turkey Creek:

Turkey Creek - Knoxville

Arts & Culture:

City of Knoxville - Arts and Culture

Festivals in the area:

City of Knoxville - Festivals and Events
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Old 07-15-2010, 12:56 PM
 
13,080 posts, read 37,278,536 times
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Knoxville really is the best of both worlds. It's a biggish city so it has big city things (malls, concerts, high rises) but yet it also feels like an overgrown small town (everyone knows each other, people wave and smile, drivers are courteous, high school football rules Friday nights in the fall).

Maybe the ONLY shortcoming on your list is the airport. Granted, Knoxville's airport is nice, I mean really nice. It has a little whitewater stream running through the middle of it, and there are rocking chairs set up at the big windows to see the beautiful countryside. And it's WONDERFUL to be able to get through security in 5 minutes. But air fares are steep, and to get anywhere except for a few hub cities you'll need to change planes somewhere else. And since pretty much the only planes in/out of Knoxville are the little regional jets, they can be a little cramped and also offer no first class or business class seating which can be really annoying when you've just spent 20 hours flying back from China (trust me).

However, having said that, let me tell you about an experience. I once flew from Dulles to Knoxville and sat next to a woman who was an executive at the American Red Cross in DC. She and her husband decided that the cost of living in Knoxville was so much cheaper than DC, it was worth it for them to live in Knoxville and for her to commute to work in DC. I'm not kidding. She said they live in a gorgeous home with their own boat slip on a lake in Knoxville, something they could never afford to do in a million years in DC.

In other words, it really is hard to top the quality of life that we in Knoxville enjoy--and at a fraction of the cost of what people pay elsewhere.

I say, come on down and check it out! Bring the wife. I can't imagine that you'd drive around Sequoyah Hills and NOT want to move here.

Good luck, and be sure to keep us posted!
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Old 07-15-2010, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
62 posts, read 180,268 times
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1) We don't want to live a really congested, traffic heavy area like the DC or NYC metros, but we don't want to live in the middle of nowhere either. Like I said earlier, Pittsburgh was really a good compromise. Does Knoxville fit the bill here? Yes. Traffic is rarely at a standstill. Even at 5 PM on Friday afternoons, it moves along. My husband travels to Nashville, TN twice a month--traffic is a bigger problem there.
2) We don't go out for fine dining much, but we like something other than the Olive Garden and Applebees on occasion. My husband and I really enjoy The Orangery, Regas, Cafe 4, Littons, Seasons, Ye Olde Steak House, Stir Fry Cafe, Calhouns on the River...I think there are plenty of different cafes and restaurants around...
3) I don't really love strip malls and big box stores and really prefer the main street type of look/feel but honestly strip malls (target, walmart, Costco, supermarkets) are where I do most of my shopping just because its so much easier. Does Knoxville offer a mix of both? Main street type you'll find in Downtown/Market Square--we don't have a ton there, but it really has come far in the last 10 years. I love walking around Homberg Place...lots of boutique style stores. Although Turkey Creek is a strip mall, we usually park our car and walk around since they have all the sidewalks/fountains. There is a nice movie theater both in Downtown and in Turkey Creek, so we usually watch a movie after shopping. Knoxville is bordered by Maryville and Lenoir City and Gatlinburg is just about an hour away...so, we really have our share of mom and pop shops and big box stores.
4) Are there any sandy lake beaches in the area that you can swim in? Norris Lake to the north is very clean...we enjoy going there. Melton Lake has a sandy part, but it's so crowded that we don't enjoy it. Cove Lake on Northshore has a sandy area, but it tends to be crowded. Being so close to the Smokey Mountains, we really love to go out there and hike and swim. It's clean and not as crowded.
5) Is the small airport really limiting? In the past we used to drive to Atlanta or Nashville because it was more expensive to fly from Knoxville. However, we've noticed that in the past several years, prices have gone down. We flew directly from Knoxville for our last two vacations and the prices were comparable to Nashville's. We are looking to fly again next month, and have found prices and selection to be up to par.
6) Are there good childcare options? Yes. The Goddard School is really great, but there is a waiting list. That one is our favorite.
7) We are both Christian (raised Catholic, married in Catholic church but haven't attended church regularly for a few years) and we like the ideals of the church, but are a little turned off by the in your face, overly religious types. I've noticed churches seem to be a big part of Knoxville, what is this like? There are a ton of churches in Knoxville--it's a very church going area. We are church going people, and we have church going friends and non-church going friends. We haven't noticed a lot of in your face type of people though.
8) Should we expect much trouble finding people in similar circumstance to ourselves? That is transplants, 30-something white collar couples starting families, etc. I guess I'm asking how much trouble will we have making friends... My husband moved here from Portland, Oregon eight years ago. I've lived here for the last 20 years... He seems to have more friends than me!! You will find that people are very friendly here. We meet new people through work, church, kids activities, neighbors, etc. We moved into our new neighborhood a year ago, and everyone was very nice. Our daughter made friends easily (she's two) and we have bonded with a few of our neighbors and regularly meet for dinner or bar-b-ques.
9) What should I do in a 1 or 2 day(s) visit to get a feel for what living in the area is like. I'd like to spend more time, but it is what it is. I was planning to at least drive around Sequoyah Hills, Whittington Creek, Montgomery Creek which I saw mentioned as nice places to live in the 500-750k'ish range. We'd be interested in getting a boat eventually so maybe pointing out a nice marina sort of area. Maybe what some of the nicer shopping areas are? The dining areas or if there is a theater area? Shequoyah Hills, Whittington Creek area both closer in to downtown, so if you are working closer to that area, those are idea. Gettysvue is also pretty central in West Knoxville and there are many professionals in that n'hood. Montgomery Cove and Mallard Bay are further down Northshore, so unless you work further out West, many buyers feel that it is a bit too far out. There are plenty of beautiful n'hoods in Farragut in that price range as well--it really just depends where you will be working. The theater downtown, Riviera, was just redone and is pretty awesome. It is on Gay St, and there are lots of nice restaurants around there you could eat at beforehand. Also, the Pinnacle Theater in Farragut is also pretty nice and there is a ton of dining in Turkey Creek.
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Old 07-15-2010, 02:53 PM
 
2,063 posts, read 7,384,445 times
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If you've lived and commuted anywhere near NYC or DC the heaviest traffic here will be nothing to you. It isn't even in the same league.

Malls, strip malls and box stores are concentrated along a few main roads and it becomes suburban and open very much more quickly than in the cities you've mentioned. Every kind of store you might need will be within easy driving distance but you can be in a suburban to nearly rural setting within a few miles.

There are several catholic churches in Knox (there are also synagogues and other denominations beside the traditional southern Baptist) as well as in communities close to Knox, like Alcoa/ Maryville. Religion is not in your face here as many from back in NY predicted when we moved here but many natives have their social lives interrelated with their churches. Keep in mind an invitation to come to someone 's church is a courtesy not proselytizing. If you treat it as such you will have no problems getting along.

Your housing choices will be easy on your budget, and some of those places may be a happy surprise (having driven by them) but I can't recommend anything in Knoxville since we live in a Maryville (south of Knox). There are some good realtors here on CD who could easily show you great places. You final choices may depend on where you will work and the kind of community you feel comfortable with.

If you are missing the Jersey shore or LI beaches for sand you will be disappointed as we are no where near the ocean and lake beaches are not the same. There are, however, lots of places for boating, and the fantastic Smoky Mountains are a short drive away.

The airport is small and very easy to get to, with plenty of parking. There are more flights available in recent months, and depending on where you need to go can be quite reasonable but it is a very small airport when compared to Dulles, Reagan, LaGuardia, or Kennedy.

In general most people here are much more friendly than you might be used to. Some people have found it easy to find and make new friends here and others seem to never quite fit in. We've had no problems fitting in. You first friendships will most likely be other professionals and neighbors just like anywhere else.

If you come prepared with a map and general idea of where you will be working 2 days will give you ample time to drive around Knoxville and get a feel for the city, it really is more like an very large town in many ways.
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Old 07-15-2010, 03:01 PM
 
6,119 posts, read 10,518,549 times
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I think if you like the vibe of Pittsburgh you will be happy in Knoxville. We don't have so many old money cultural institutions but we have the Smokies and better weather to compensate.

I've flown in and out of the airport dozens of times for vacation - I price check and usually the extra $ to fly local is well worth it. < $80 rt. But then I haven't flown recently.
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Old 07-15-2010, 03:22 PM
 
Location: West Knox
394 posts, read 737,595 times
Reputation: 324
The only thing I can add is 1-2 days is not enough. You'll be running around to much to meet people and you have to meet the people. The people were a major factor in chosing K'ville for retirement.

P.S.: I've lived in Boston, Cinncinnati and Long Island (for urban hustle) and Mississippi and NC (for the small town southern experience).
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Old 07-15-2010, 03:51 PM
 
Location: The Conterminous United States
22,583 posts, read 51,676,573 times
Reputation: 13564
After all of these wonderful answers I don't have much to add. We're transplants, too, and there are many here. Not too much so that they are overwhelming like in Florida, but enough that you will definitely not feel like an outsider. I can't imagine that happening anyway, the people are too darn nice.

But I am from the northeast and my husband is from Chicago. We arrived via Florida and have been here five happy years.

I have a client from Pittsburgh and I can tell you that both cities are very similar.

We don't attend church and it is not an issue. People are not pushy here like I have sometimes found them to be in the northeast. The is the first time in my life that I have not had to deal with nosy questions. People are interested to hear about your personal life if you offer it, but otherwise, they don't ask. It is considered rude and manners is a big part of the Knoxville lifestyle.

I can't imagine there would be an issue with childcare. They have all the chains such as Le Petite Academy on down to the neighborhood lady.

We have excellent restaurants, more than most people realize because they are fairly new to the area. As you may have read, Knoxville has been gentrifying for the past 10 years and most have come on the scene in the past few years. There are much, much more than was previous listed. Places such as these exist here: Home echo bistro & wine bar and they are not even downtown.

There are not as many as DC, obviously, but I think you will be more than satisfied. Yes, there are a lot of chains here, but if you are a foodie, you will not be disappointed.

And in the same manner, our shopping experience is changing for the better, too. We have two malls, although one is limping along. But we also have Turkey Creek which has everything from a very nice Walmart and Target Super Store to Joseph A. Bank and Ann Taylor Loft. Downtown we are about to get Urban Outfitters. Bearden has some wonderful stores, too.

This is all very surprising when you consider the state our economy has been in for the past couple of years. However, Knoxville has just kept moving forward.

It is very exciting to live in a city that not only talks about it plans but does them and does them right. And the icing on the cake is the area is affordable and the people are wonderful.

It always sounds like I am making this up; that it is too good to be true. The reality is that people visit and can't believe it. It really is true.
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Old 07-15-2010, 04:14 PM
 
Location: Hobart, IN
157 posts, read 415,586 times
Reputation: 101
After all these great posts--I want to move to Knoxville.
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