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Old 03-16-2009, 04:20 PM
264 posts, read 798,873 times
Reputation: 182


Hi, My husband and I have a baby on the way and have been talking for a good 3-4 years about possible places to relocate to (TN and NC are top contenders). We're currently in the San Jose area in California.

We aren't desperate to leave California (family is here), but can't picture raising our kids here. We imagine living someplace where the kids are safe playing on the street, yards aren't fenced in, summers are green and humid, rain that comes and goes and the occasional thunderstorm, a very nearby lake or pond, someplace not inundated with cookie cutter house developments spread out everywhere, neighbors within site and walking distance (not rural), tending to a garden out back, a front porch, neighbors that are friendly enough to say hi and stop for an occasional chat, and a life that is a slower pace (not too close to a major interstate highway). A grocery store (small or big--doesn't matter) should be within a reasonable driving distance (right in town). We could care less if there is a super walmart or other big chain stores in town.

We would likely not relocate for another 2 years or so and would not be relocating until my husband could secure a job. We understand income will be a big gap between CA and TN, but the difference in living expenses and a very low mortgage (if any) should allow us to live they way we like.

Most ideal (being as specific as possible):
-4 bed / 2.5 bath, 2200-3000 square ft., 2 story, around 300k
-front porch, deck in back
-older home or newer home (doesn't matter much), 1-5 acre property
-mountains/hills nearby...or preferably not completely flat in the area (not too mountainous either)
-lots of trees in the area (but not as dense as a forest)
-1-2 months of snow out of the year is fine
-nearby lake(s) (small is fine) or pond

-town that doesn't feel too spread out, but not too small either
-town that has town activities and some festivals
-can be a tourist favorite, but shouldn't be filled with only vacation properties--want to feel as if it is a town "with a local identity" not a tourist trap town
-decent schools
-within 1 hour of any airport

Does this town exist in TN?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 03-16-2009, 04:46 PM
1,311 posts, read 4,446,152 times
Reputation: 1011
Your description of a town sounds somewhat like Cookeville, TN, except for the part about the major interstate highway. Interstate 40 runs through Cookeville, but you could find that special place far enough off the interstate highway so that it would not be a problem. Cookeville has around 30,000 people. The nearest major airport is in Nashville, about 1 hour away. You can see a lot of information on Cookeville by clicking on the link below.


There are many other places in Tennessee that will also meet your needs.

I know exactly how you feel about wanting to get out of California. I live in the Sacramento area and already plan to retire in Monterey, TN, between Cookeville and Crossville in about 6 years. I already have property there.

Good luck in finding that special place.
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Old 03-16-2009, 06:23 PM
Location: Beautiful East TN!!
7,279 posts, read 20,227,605 times
Reputation: 2776
I was thinking any of the small towns around any of the three Tri cities (Johnson City, Kingsport, Bristol) will work,and fits everyone of your needs thus far....... until you got to the airport part. There is a Tri-Cities airport, but it is also one of the most expensive to fly out of.

You actually described a lot of towns/areas from Nashville to Bristol.....maybe some more wants and needs could help us help you pin point a place a bit more.

What kind of job will your hubby be looking for?
What kind of activities do you like to do? Golf? hiking? bowling? crafts? civic clubs or organizations? car clubs?
Any other info like this or anything else you can think of may help out.
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Old 03-16-2009, 06:50 PM
Location: Knoxville
4,668 posts, read 23,846,038 times
Reputation: 5899
You can find lots of towns that meet 60-70% of your list. It's getting 100% that is going to be hard.
The airport thing might be the hardest. It really boils down to what you need an airport for. If you have your own plane, and need a place to park it within an hour, that is a lot more do-able than trying to get you close to a major airport because you plan on several flights each year.

Even Knoxville is not the greatest city to live in if you have to fly frequently. It's just hard to get in and out of, and the rates are higher than Nashville. Memphis and Nashville have the best airports, Knoxville and Chattanooga next, then all the rest are down the list. There are lots of small community airports all over the state, but are worthless if you are trying to fly commercial flights.

The other stuff on your list sounds like you are looking for Mayberry. That's all fine and good, but there are many considerations to take into account.

The smaller the town/community, the less access you will have to hospitals and major health care providers. The smaller the town/community, the harder it will be to "fit in" or get accepted. The smaller the town, the more you can expect to pay for groceries, gas, and goods. Schools may not be as good. Jobs will be harder to find and pay lower the further away from the major cities you get.

There was an old Twilight Zone where a man falls asleep on the train and wakes up in a sleepy little town (I think the name was Willoughby or something like that). He was looking for the perfect place too.

Don't get me wrong, I fully understand your reasons. I moved from CA in 94. It's just that a lot of your criteria makes it very hard to get the perfect fit. Depending on what kind of job you are talking about, the small town maybe out completely.
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:40 PM
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow in "OZ "
24,286 posts, read 26,138,468 times
Reputation: 31801
This link is for Cookeville ~ Putnam County. If you write ask for a relocation package. I would highly recommend a bogus e-mail address. This way you can contact who and whom you want after doing research on the individual or firm or company...... Most Town ~ City ~ Counties have Chambers with all sorts of free information just ask.......

Cookeville Chamber
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Old 03-16-2009, 07:46 PM
264 posts, read 798,873 times
Reputation: 182
jguillot - Thanks for the Cookeville suggestion!

mbmouse - Bristol is one that has caught my attention and I've just started looking into it.

My husband is in the electrical engineering field (could be classified as a senior electrical engineer).
As for activities we are interested in...hiking, kayaking, boating, biking, gardening, making art (painting, pottery, photography), an occasional movie out, and listening to local live music.

Barking Spider - Flying in and out is not a major priority, and I understand flying out of smaller airports to connect elsewhere will always be more expensive than flying out of the major airports. We definitely don't want a town that is too small, and understand that we may likely need to be closer to a larger city for electrical engineering jobs. --Just expecting we can find something "in between" or a house in a neighborhood that feels a bit more small town-ish...

I've added Cleveland, TN to towns that have caught my attention...seems like a nice area from pictures I've seen so far. I guess one change to my list is...being close to a major interstate is okay

Thanks for the advice
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:33 PM
Location: Beautiful East TN!!
7,279 posts, read 20,227,605 times
Reputation: 2776
By chances does your hubby do HVAC as part of his electrical engineering? Reason I ask is that seems to be prevalent for the past few weeks as something several companies in the Tri-Cities area are looking for. (my hubby is a mechanical engineer so I know how hard it can be to find those specialized field jobs!)
As for the rest of your lists of wants, I say Kingsport for sure, has everything on your list, including the local live music in the streets which is FREE all summer long and you can bring the kids. But I am biased as I love this area.
Here are some more links for you to check out.
Kingsport, TN
DownTown Kingsport Square
Area Links (http://www.downtownkingsport.org/Default.aspx?tabid=79 - broken link)
Take a Virtual Stroll Down The Kingsport Greenbelt!
Tri-Cities TN/VA - The Regional Alliance for Economic Development - Home (http://www.alliancetnva.com/ - broken link)
Move to Northeast Tennessee
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Old 03-16-2009, 08:59 PM
12,962 posts, read 36,827,397 times
Reputation: 10232
Since you said you're not desperate to leave California, I assume that means you'll probably want to make trips back out to Cali and you'll have friends from Cali who will want to visit you. If that's the case, you'll definitely want to live near Nashville since the Nashville airport is a hub for Southwest Airlines and has the cheapest air fares--by far--to California from TN.

If that's the case, I want to echo the suggestion to check around Cookeville.

Here's a post with some pics of some of the areas around Cookeville:


You might also want to check out Smith County. It's between Cookeville and Nashville, so your hubby would probably have a better chance of getting a job as long as he doesn't mind driving 30 minutes or so to get to it.

Good luck!
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Old 03-17-2009, 05:51 AM
Location: Whiteville Tennessee
8,262 posts, read 17,561,956 times
Reputation: 10108
The OP said they WANTED HUMIDITY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Hello West Tennessee!!!!
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:21 AM
Location: Beautiful East TN!!
7,279 posts, read 20,227,605 times
Reputation: 2776
In the late summer months, can't think of a single place in TN or the South in general that doesn't have humidity.
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