Thoughts on Tennessee

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ScubaHogg
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by ScubaHogg »

I’ll add another note for the OP. Having lived in both the NE and all through the South I understand why northeasterners think the South might be brutally hot. It’s because the AC is terrible everywhere in the NE! It’s old buildings that are poorly insulated with underpowered AC systems.

I totally get why if you are sweltering in your house cause it’s 85 outside and see on the weather map that it’s 95 somewhere down South you must think that sounds miserable. But the temp of your “life”, so to speak, is completely different. Your house is cooler and every business/restaurant/theater you go to is nice and cool.

The hottest summer of my life was when I lived in Boston cause there was no relief. House was hot. The bus was hot. Restaurants were hot. Everywhere was.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by TomatoTomahto »

ScubaHogg wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:18 pm I’ll add another note for the OP. Having lived in both the NE and all through the South I understand why northeasterners think the South might be brutally hot. It’s because the AC is terrible everywhere in the NE! It’s old buildings that are poorly insulated with underpowered AC systems.
My bedroom temp is set to 67 during the summer nights. The rest of the house is never above 71. It’s downright chilly sometimes, even during a Boston area heat wave as we’ve had this year.

Still, couldn’t get me to live in TN with a barge pole. It’s too hot 😁
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ScubaHogg
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by ScubaHogg »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:24 pm
ScubaHogg wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:18 pm I’ll add another note for the OP. Having lived in both the NE and all through the South I understand why northeasterners think the South might be brutally hot. It’s because the AC is terrible everywhere in the NE! It’s old buildings that are poorly insulated with underpowered AC systems.
My bedroom temp is set to 67 during the summer nights. The rest of the house is never above 71. It’s downright chilly sometimes, even during a Boston area heat wave as we’ve had this year.

Still, couldn’t get me to live in TN with a barge pole. It’s too hot 😁
I’m sure plenty of homes have better AC systems, but from what We saw on average they ranged between nonexistent to underpowered. Just my personal opinion, but I’ll happily take the AC running all summer vs having to wear thermals for 4-5 months a year. But different strokes and all that
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by TomatoTomahto »

ScubaHogg wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:28 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:24 pm
ScubaHogg wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 1:18 pm I’ll add another note for the OP. Having lived in both the NE and all through the South I understand why northeasterners think the South might be brutally hot. It’s because the AC is terrible everywhere in the NE! It’s old buildings that are poorly insulated with underpowered AC systems.
My bedroom temp is set to 67 during the summer nights. The rest of the house is never above 71. It’s downright chilly sometimes, even during a Boston area heat wave as we’ve had this year.

Still, couldn’t get me to live in TN with a barge pole. It’s too hot 😁
I’m sure plenty of homes have better AC systems, but from what We saw on average they ranged between nonexistent to underpowered. Just my personal opinion, but I’ll happily take the AC running all summer vs having to wear thermals for 4-5 months a year. But different strokes and all that
Yeah, it’s a matter of framing. I love a couple of months of cold and snow, hunkered down by the fireplace, etc. I’ll admit it gets old after a while, and (pre-COVID) a couple of weeks vacation in the sun was a welcome change.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.
Flyer24
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Flyer24 »

I removed a religious comment along with several follow-ups. Please keep in mind the forum rules. Topics related to religion are off topic for this forum.
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Youngblood
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Youngblood »

My wife and I retired in Chattanooga sixteen years ago after doing our career years in the Washington D.C. area (Maryland and Virginia).
Prior to that, we lived in Florida. Separately, I was raised in Brooklyn, NY and DW in Scranton, PA.

Neither of us have enjoyed living anywhere as much as we do here. We downsized and since retirement have switched to condo living. Our condo is on the Tennessee River (Chickamauga Lake) and we literally walk across our small parking area down steps to our boat slip and pontoon. We feel we are on vacation living here.

Previous comments about the weather have been varied but we have four seasons that all seem enjoyable. Sure, some days are too cold and some too hot but overall each season has many days to enjoy all the varied outdoor activities. In addition to the wonderful Tennessee River, the mountains surrounding the Tennessee Valley offer so many hiking, trail running and mountain biking trails If you enjoy those activities you'll have plenty to do.

Downtown Chattanooga is also enjoyable for all of the close tourist type attractions mentioned unthread.

Some very nice watering holes and restaurants with great atmosphere (not a foodie or more than an occasional beer drinker).

The Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport is ten minutes away with many convenient easy access flights.

Good luck with your decision.
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mesaverde
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by mesaverde »

I grew up in Memphis, moved to Chattanooga in 1999, then Arlington, VA in 2006 and have been in Arlington since.
I look forward to moving back to Chattanooga when I retire in a few years and still keep in touch/visit my friends there for that reason.

Pros of Chattanooga:
-Tons of outdoor activities (on Lookout Mountain overlooking the city, the TN River with long sections of trails and parks along and over it, Cumberland Plateau with places like Foster Falls (awesome place to swim), or Appalachian mountains which aren't too far away)
-low housing cost
-not terribly far from Atlanta's airport
-no state income tax, higher sales tax than most states (encourages work, discourages spending :happy )
-not much traffic but the benefits of living in a small city with plenty of places to shop and activities

Con of Chattanooga:
-like much of the South, a higher proportion of people are overweight or obese. Which almost makes it seem "normal" to be overweight or obese.
Last edited by mesaverde on Tue Aug 25, 2020 3:02 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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valleyrock
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by valleyrock »

I lived in Nashville a while, and on the landlord-friendly front, I was surprised that every single rental used the same lease, whether it was an individual renting a small attached apartment or a corporate apartment building. The lease gave all the cards to the owner, of course. Also, Tennessee is a "right to work state," which means you have a right to work until an employer decides you do not. Most bogleheads don't run into those issues, but where they exist, other issues may accompany them.

Finally, nobody has mentioned the movie, Deliverance. Great music in those hills, but be careful when canoeing!
johan_s
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by johan_s »

My family just relocated to Maryville, TN about two months ago from central Vermont. It was a work related move, so we were limited to looking within an hour radius of Gatlinburg. (We nixed Gatlinburg area pretty quick as an option, due to how touristy it is and the traffic congestion due to being the gateway to the most visited National Park in the country.)

We settled on Maryville, largely due to the excellent school district. However, many of our new neighbors are retirees who settled in Maryville, due to its proximity to West Knoxville retail and medical services, and 30-60 minutes to most of the main areas of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. And as others have mentioned: day trip options to Asheville/Atlanta, etc. We opted for an older neighborhood with wooded lots, some of the residents have been here since the 60s, rather than the many new developments. There is a housing shortage here in a fairly hot market, due to demand for the school district and from retirees moving in. So there is plenty of new construction.

You might consider Blount County, outside of Maryville city limits, similar access to mountains and Knoxville, without Maryville taxes. I loved some of the homes on the market, but we went with the higher rated city school district. Obviously, not a concern for you, so I'd look at Maryville zip in the county, not the city.

I also travel for work (or at least I did pre-Covid, up to 12 weeks a year), and in Maryville we are ten minutes from the Knoxville airport. That sure beats my previous 3+ hour schlep down to Logan for work travel.

Everyone here has been extremely friendly. And BBQ. I spent 7 years in the KC area, so the burnt ends aren't up to snuff. But the pulled pork is pretty gall darn decent.
66Sally
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by 66Sally »

Glad to know of other Bogleheads who live in my area! We have lived in the Knoxville area for 27 years. We raised our kids in West Knoxville and are very glad we did. Very wholesome and family friendly. A year ago we retired and relocated to Alcoa, just south of Knoxville. We love it! Nice small town feel with very friendly people. My husband has a very reasonably price golf course he joined, the greenway meets our subdivision and I can see the Smoky Mountains from our screened in porch. We are 3 miles from the Knoxville airport (TYS) which has cheap direct flights to Vegas and lots of places in Florida. Downtown Maryville is charming and downtown Knoxville has enough restaurants, bars and entertainment for us. Come visit!
gips
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by gips »

when my kids were growing up they competed in a problem solving challenge, finals were in knoxville. We had 3 kids, they did pretty well so we were there about seven times in ten years for 3-5 day stretches. Over the course of our visits, the city became more and more attractive with a lot of restoration to the historic downtown. We found good, interesting restaurants, farmer's markets and fun local events. Great access to college sports, I''m guessing adult education and an educated populace. We have family in fl so we bought a place there, otherwise we'd have taken a closer look.

luck,
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Restless
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Restless »

Thanks for all the feedback thus far.

A major reason I focused on the Cumberland Plateau is its elevation. At close to 2,000 feet, it is noticeably cooler than surrounding areas based on temperatures I’m monitoring through weather apps (e.g., Crossville is, on average, at least 5 degrees cooler than Knoxville and towns around it), which might be enough to make outdoor activities tolerable on more days. Being able to hike, bike, and explore nature near where I live are some of the things we would like to do. Ultimately, temperature is not the most important factor. If the place we like is a few degrees warmer than the plateau, so be it.

My understanding of the Hall Tax is it applies to unearned income (interest, dividend, capital gain, etc.). Since it is still income, I referred to it as income tax, although different from a tax on wages/earned income. We are retired; all of our income are unearned at this point (not collecting SS yet). In any event, I’ve read that this tax goes away completely as of 2021. If it is 2022, I can deal with it for one year if we move in 2021 as planned.

I didn’t know about the allergy issue. I do have some sensitivity to certain irritants as my eyes itch and I sneeze in the spring. I’m noting this issue for more research. The other issue mentioned several times is the significance of religion in a large part of the state. Even though DW is a regular churchgoer, our lives do not revolve around the church. I don’t think I want to live in an area where that’s expected of everyone, and religion is a frequent topic of conversation; that would be a cultural adjustment we’re not prepared to make. We are unassuming people, not loud and fast-talking know-it-alls. As such, we have never had problems getting along with most people. We’ll have to remind ourselves to slow down (I do tend to walk fast) and wave more.

We’re not afraid of periodic winter road conditions, just mainly want to get away from the cold winter temperatures in northern NJ. As we’re retired, we have the luxury of not going anywhere if road conditions are hazardous. We do want reliable electric service and high-speed internet.

I have read some things about Cookeville. If Crossville does not feel like the right place, we’re planning to go a bit further west to visit Cookeville (this is about as far west as we want to go at this point). Areas around Knoxville and Chattanooga are also places we intend to visit. I’ve known about Gatlinburg for a long time, so intend to take a peak there too. Sewanee, Vonore, and Maryville are new names to me; I’ll definitely take a closer look. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.
neilpilot
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by neilpilot »

Restless wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:47 pm

My understanding of the Hall Tax is it applies to unearned income (interest, dividend, capital gain, etc.). Since it is still income, I referred to it as income tax, although different from a tax on wages/earned income. We are retired; all of our income are unearned at this point (not collecting SS yet). In any event, I’ve read that this tax goes away completely as of 2021. If it is 2022, I can deal with it for one year if we move in 2021 as planned.
The Hall tax applies to some div and interest income; there are several exclusions such as int from US Treasury obligations. Other unearned income, including but not limited to SS, pensions, rent and capital gains and distributions, are not taxed.

I’m from NJ and have lived in TN for 35 years.
mkc
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by mkc »

neilpilot wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:27 pm

The Hall tax applies to some div and interest income; there are several exclusions such as int from US Treasury obligations. Other unearned income, including but not limited to SS, pensions, rent and capital gains and distributions, are not taxed.

I’m from NJ and have lived in TN for 35 years.
Per the TN Tax website, capital gains distributions from mutual funds are subject to the Hall Income Tax.

https://revenue.support.tn.gov/hc/en-us ... -interest-

https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/reven ... cguide.pdf

Taxable Income
The following types of income are considered taxable for the purpose of Tennessee’s Hall income tax:
1. Dividends from stock in:
(a) All corporations
(b) Insurance companies not licensed to do business in Tennessee
(c) All holding companies, including those formed by banks, savings and loan associations, and
insurance companies
(d) State-chartered banks outside Tennessee not doing business in Tennessee
2. Income from investment trusts and mutual funds, including capital gain distributions and
distributions designated as “nontaxable” under federal income tax law, whether in cash or
additional stock, is taxable. The portion of income derived from bonds of the U.S. government and
its agencies or bonds of the state of Tennessee and its counties and municipalities are exempt.
3. Market value of stock in a corporation given by another corporation as a dividend in the regular
course of business.
4. Distributions based on stock ownership to shareholders of an S corporation.
5. Interest from the following, if the instrument matures in more than six months from the date of
issuance (except certificates of deposit):
(a) Bonds of states, counties, and municipalities outside Tennessee
(b) Bonds of foreign governments
(c) Church bonds
(d) Bonds, mortgages, deeds of trust, personal notes, promissory notes, installment notes,
commercial paper, or other written instruments, issued by any person, firm, corporation, jointstock company, business, trust or partnership
6. Interest and dividends received as a beneficiary of a trust or estate located outside Tennessee,
unless derived from a nontaxable source.
7. Dividends or interest from shares or units in money market funds that are not bank money market
accounts. Interest from money on deposit in a money market account in any bank, savings and
loan association, or credit union is exempt.
cowbman
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by cowbman »

Regardless, the Hall Tax expires this year. As of January 1, 2021, it is no more. I wouldn't even worry about it.
johan_s
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by johan_s »

kabob wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 12:05 pm Wife & I retired to Tn - We Like it...
If you've ever lived outside the city limits and liked it, you'll probably like Tennessee. It's easy livin with a built in exercise plan! - a Beautiful Scenic part of the country.

We live East Tn, bout 20 miles south a Knoxville, very close to Vonore mentioned by a previous poster, and on the Little Tennessee river, runnin outa the mountains into the Tennessee Valley and joining with the main Tennessee river, which runs on down to Chattanooga - and all the way out to either the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf! And all part of the the Navigable InterCoastal Waterway! We actually have a Lock & Dam bout 4 miles down the lake - And all part of the TVA system. It's a interesting area.

We vacationed in Tn for a couple yrs before retiring, the Smokey's are America's #1 vacation area. We like East Tn.
Would suggest ya tour/vacation the area, roll in upper north east TN heading towards Knoxville, and noting the lakes follow the TVA system all the way down to Chattanooga. The east side of the Tennessee Valley is the mountains - the west side of the Valley is the Plateau. Just pick your lake, nearby city and area, there's lotsa civilized newly developed areas (from massive mansions to quite reasonable communities) to explore, plus your literally bout 30minutes from truly remote mountainous boonies. (or the Great Smokey Mountain reserves). We can get up and have Sunday brunch in a N. Carolina mountain lodge in less than an Hr.
The north side of Chattanooga going up the TN river is very nice area also. Lookout Mtn, Ruby Falls, ChattChoCcho, InclineRailWay, and Chatt By the River is a great weekend...
It was a toss up for us, north a Chattanooga, south a Knoxville, on somewhere in the middle, it's only bout 90mile between the two.
But Try out Tn before ya Buy - some like, some don't!
We Like it!

My wife from Albany,NY still says "Its Vermont in Tennessee! - without the winters"...
@kabob, if they had cross country skiing here in TN, like they do back in VT. . .I would be a very happy man.
feehater
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by feehater »

Restless wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:47 pm Thanks for all the feedback thus far.

A major reason I focused on the Cumberland Plateau is its elevation. At close to 2,000 feet, it is noticeably cooler than surrounding areas based on temperatures I’m monitoring through weather apps (e.g., Crossville is, on average, at least 5 degrees cooler than Knoxville and towns around it), which might be enough to make outdoor activities tolerable on more days. Being able to hike, bike, and explore nature near where I live are some of the things we would like to do. Ultimately, temperature is not the most important factor. If the place we like is a few degrees warmer than the plateau, so be it.

My understanding of the Hall Tax is it applies to unearned income (interest, dividend, capital gain, etc.). Since it is still income, I referred to it as income tax, although different from a tax on wages/earned income. We are retired; all of our income are unearned at this point (not collecting SS yet). In any event, I’ve read that this tax goes away completely as of 2021. If it is 2022, I can deal with it for one year if we move in 2021 as planned.

I didn’t know about the allergy issue. I do have some sensitivity to certain irritants as my eyes itch and I sneeze in the spring. I’m noting this issue for more research. The other issue mentioned several times is the significance of religion in a large part of the state. Even though DW is a regular churchgoer, our lives do not revolve around the church. I don’t think I want to live in an area where that’s expected of everyone, and religion is a frequent topic of conversation; that would be a cultural adjustment we’re not prepared to make. We are unassuming people, not loud and fast-talking know-it-alls. As such, we have never had problems getting along with most people. We’ll have to remind ourselves to slow down (I do tend to walk fast) and wave more.

We’re not afraid of periodic winter road conditions, just mainly want to get away from the cold winter temperatures in northern NJ. As we’re retired, we have the luxury of not going anywhere if road conditions are hazardous. We do want reliable electric service and high-speed internet.

I have read some things about Cookeville. If Crossville does not feel like the right place, we’re planning to go a bit further west to visit Cookeville (this is about as far west as we want to go at this point). Areas around Knoxville and Chattanooga are also places we intend to visit. I’ve known about Gatlinburg for a long time, so intend to take a peak there too. Sewanee, Vonore, and Maryville are new names to me; I’ll definitely take a closer look. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.
Chattanooga proper has gig-speed municipal broadband that was so good the telecom lobby got a law passed to prevent them from expanding outside the...city? county?

Also, you should be aware that locals pronounce Maryville in something approaching two syllables: MURR-vuhl
Freetime76
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Freetime76 »

My mom retired to Sevier County TN - about 45 min south of Knoxville- from MD nearly 15 years ago.
Her favorite things that she will happily tell anyone who asks:
1. Dollywood and Dolly Parton tied with the Smokey Mountains.
2. Cheap living (high sales tax doesn’t affect her because she’s not buying much). Cheap gas, food, products.
3. it’s in the state constitution - no income tax after the phase out (in 2022 I think)
4. Privacy. She lives off a back road, down a private drive. Nobody but her friends and neighbors even knows she is there. Yet she’s within 15 min of civilization, shops, stores, hospital/medical, and less than 30 min to the Smokeys
5. People are human beings whenever she has a problem, deals with a civic or gov’t agency, and great neighbors.
6. Gorgeous area. She can be at Chimney rock, a picnic lunch, or scenic drive in just minutes.
7. Especially in the last 5 years or so, her area totally caters to the retiree who wants entertainment, eats, has the family visit, and needs services. She knows many many transplants.
She loves it there - her entire living expenses for the month are less than her mortgage payment in MD on a townhouse.

Things she had to adjust to:
1. Slow pace of life. People do not rush. Local news is important.
2. Learning the back roads to avoid tourist traffic.
3. High homeowners insurance - she was told they (fire dept is volunteer) will never get there in time, expect the house to burn, and her friends’ house did in the Gatlinburg fires (different area, same concept). Also massive drain systems for runoff were needed at her house.
4. No Utz chips. No crab cakes worth eating. Weird liquor laws. Shorter store hours on Sunday.
5. No zoning. The colonial house she built is next to a cute 2 story farmhouse on a twisty little road with trailers and chickens...which has to flood regularly because there is a creek right there. Just over the hill are million dollar estates with gated drives, and a golf course. (I.e. If you don’t want to see it, buy enough space so you don’t have to.)
6. Appalachian poverty is real. Work is seasonal and tourism is the big economy. A nearly 2 hour drive for a $9 job is not unheard of. She has so many stories and has been able to help somebody.
7. :shock: Two words: Tree. Pollen. :shock:
8. She does not go outside for most of June, July, August, and some of September. If it ices in winter, she stays home. They all do - her neighbor let’s her know.
9. Logging and log trucks.
10. Sulfur water in some places - she has a water treatment system

The middle areas of TN (Crossville, Cookeville) were on our list as possible relocation options. Beautiful country. Not expensive.
We decided against it because:
- we still need an income and there were no jobs for us
- took too long to get anywhere from the boonies ( which we prefer) to civilization.
- hospitals supposedly were closing, according to my mom

Sounds exciting!
Good luck!
mkc
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by mkc »

Freetime76 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:28 pm My mom retired to Sevier County TN - about 45 min south of Knoxville- from MD nearly 15 years ago.

Things she had to adjust to:

4. No Utz chips. No crab cakes worth eating. Weird liquor laws. Shorter store hours on Sunday.
We have seen some Utz chips here in Crossville - check Food City if she has one. And Utz does mail order. Would be a challenge for a single senior to consume the minimum quantities, but we do order DH's wheels (pretzels) from them.
jrhampt
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2016 1:19 pm

Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by jrhampt »

My parents live in very East Tennessee around the Johnson City/Unicoi/Bristol area. My father's family is all from East Tennessee so I spent a lot of time there as a child (we lived in Texas) and now go to visit them regularly from where I live in New England (usually, in non-pandemic times). They have a lot of New England transplants moving into their area, often to retire. The locals complain about their driving, as I complain about the locals' driving :-)

You would be amazed at how inexpensive it is to go out to eat compared to the Northeast. Very very good cheap southern food and the right kind of gravy (creamy, white, sausage based), although perhaps not if you are concerned about your cholesterol. The BBQ is ok, better than New England obviously, but nothing will ever beat a Texas BBQ brisket IMO. And you won't get the fresh lobster, oysters seafood diet etc. that is ubiquitous along the New England coast.

There is indeed a lot of cheap or free music to go see - great bluegrass and country if you're into that, so if you're not, I suggest you get into that. However, you're not going to have a lot of symphony, opera, or ballet options like you would in the larger metro New England areas. Also it is true that social life there does revolve around 3 times a week church. This was a surprise to my husband who had never heard of a Wednesday night church crowd and subsequent restaurant rush. However said churches in non pandemic times will also have lots of great potluck suppers with wonderful southern cheesy casserole creations.

Lots of great hiking and mountain scenery. This alone plus the low cost of living/food are probably my favorite draws.

One big drawback to me is that if you're used to hopping over to Europe easily on a direct cheap flight from JFK, you're not going to get that there. Flying anywhere is a production that will probably involve some connections. But if you're content to road trip to Charleston, Asheville, Blue Ridge Parkway, and do tons of hiking and eat lots of dishes with gravy, maybe that's a fair trade.

Edited to add a footnote on the low cost of living: My parents pay just a few hundred (HUNDRED!) in property taxes on their house, while I pay many many thousands. So if you're looking to retire with a paid off house, it is more truly close to being no cost housing down there.
Last edited by jrhampt on Thu Aug 27, 2020 12:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
retired recently
Posts: 463
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 6:09 pm

Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by retired recently »

I could be mis-remembering, but it seems this is the poster that was looking to move so he could take his Porsche and speed around the curvy roads. If this is your goal, I cannot imagine you will be accepted with open arms in many communities.
Chuck107
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Chuck107 »

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Alas, I find moderation of this forum too restrictive for my tastes, farewell.
Chuck107
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Chuck107 »

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Alas, I find moderation of this forum too restrictive for my tastes, farewell.
Topic Author
Restless
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 7:33 pm

Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Restless »

This is the OP. Thanks for the additional thoughts. Chattanooga seems ideally located in the southeast corner of the state; it might be the perfect spot if it were a bit higher in elevation. We intend to spend some time in/around Chattanooga on our trip. The Deliverance comment got a chuckle out of me. I hope no one has ever heard of that happening in real life in TN.

Knoxville is also on our list. Thanks for the insight on specific towns/locations in the vicinity; these help with focusing our search as driving around aimlessly is not very productive.

Thanks for the pronunciation tip on Maryville. I think I have to give it a try when I’m in the area as some of the reactions I get might be priceless (I am of Chinese descent, although I've lived in the U.S. almost my entire life).

Although we enjoy open space and peace and quiet, we do want access to necessities of life and being able to socialize with people of common interest. Being too remote/rural is a concern; we hope this question will be addressed by our trip.

Johnson City is a bit further north than we’re thinking. But, it’s on our way to other parts of TN from NJ, so might as well look around there. I am spoiled by my current access to Newark (Liberty) Airport, which offers direct flights to many parts of the world. I am a lifetime gold member in United’s frequent flyer program, so will try to work this into the equation from my new home, wherever that might be.

“retired recently”- you remembered correctly. I did mention maybe getting back into a Porsche due to the interesting roads around the Smokies in another thread. I drive courteously and safely (and keep the exhaust in quiet mode while in the neighborhood), so folks shouldn’t have a problem with my driving. I would be concerned if people make judgments about me based on the car I drive, and will dislike me just because I drive a Porsche. Would it help if I drive a C8 Corvette instead? I’m definitely not a truck person, so will never blend in if that’s what it takes.
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Kenkat
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Kenkat »

retired recently wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 11:51 am I could be mis-remembering, but it seems this is the poster that was looking to move so he could take his Porsche and speed around the curvy roads. If this is your goal, I cannot imagine you will be accepted with open arms in many communities.
This is what the Tail of the Dragon is for: https://tailofthedragon.com/
GlennK
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by GlennK »

I forgot to mention this. If you are looking for over 55 communities, Tellico Village and Rarity Bay in eastern Tennessee both look beautiful. I did visit Tellico Village and it is on my short list. I did not get a chance to see Rarity Bay but it looks a little too exclusive for me. Tellico Village has three golf courses running through the neighborhood and at least two tennis areas. All well maintained.

You mentioned aimlessly driving around. I contacted real estate agents ahead of time in the areas I visited and explained I am just researching at this point. But all were willing to spend the day showing me neighborhoods. In the case of Tellico Village, I spent the morning with the agent only looking at new homes so I could more or less pick the builder. And after I explained my desires, the agent also limited me to neighborhoods that were appealing (i.e. not million dollar homes, which they do have).

Enjoy the visit. And don't forget western North Carolina.
Nowizard
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Nowizard »

The Tennessee income tax is not of concern for most since it is only on a few sources of income such as interest and dividends, with an exclusion that is significant. There is a high sales tax, and few items are excluded. East Tennessee and West Tennessee are very different geologically, culturally and politically. If you are conservative and Republican, it would be more appealing than West Tennessee where we live. Don't believe all you hear about West Tennessee, however. It is very nice in multiple ways.

Tim
jrhampt
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by jrhampt »

My Uncle likes to drive his Porsche around in eastern TN, and he's a local. I think you'll be fine.

If you do go through the Johnson City area, maybe stop in at Jonesborough (Tennessee's oldest town). It's a nice little town nearby with a historic downtown, a storytelling festival, a summer concert series, and some nice little restaurants in pre-pandemic times. If I had to pick a spot to live in East TN, that might be it.
Blake7
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Blake7 »

I still waiting on Toons to chime in with a few (very few) words on this thread. :D
tnr
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by tnr »

The number of Asian descent people has increased a lot in the Knoxville area due to the university and the national lab. Actually some decent restaurants there - they won’t be as good as NJ but better than other parts of the South.

I grew up in E Tennessee and am Japanese descent. I don’t remember many incidents of racism but they do occur, not just in Tenn., but anywhere. Maybe because I picked up the local culture (I like outdoor recreation, Southern cooking, football), I have good memories of Tenn. If you do end up relocating there, I hope you develop the same good memories.
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btq96r
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by btq96r »

Freetime76 wrote: Wed Aug 26, 2020 8:28 pm - hospitals supposedly were closing, according to my mom
Your mom was correct. This is something for the OP to keep in mind...rural healthcare in Tennessee right now is on a rapid decline. Hospitals in low median income areas have some horrible P&L's, and more than a few have closed their doors. It's a crying shame, but it's also a fact of life here I'd advise anyone moving for retirement to consider.
hudson
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by hudson »

Restless wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 3:23 pm
Florida is an obvious option, but I dread the thought of being there from June to September because of the heat and humidity. Hence, I started to look further north, particularly higher-elevation towns in the southeast for the more pleasant summer temperatures. Northeast GA looked intriguing as there are high-elevation towns near lakes (an additional plus),
Highest elevation towns in (Note the number is the elevation in feet)
GA: Sky Valley 3297
TN: Mountain Valley 2156
NC: Beech Mountain 5506
VA: Couldn't find....maybe Damascus 2231

Others:
Asheville 2134
Gatlinburg 1289
Bryson City 1752
Boone 3333
Abington 2087
Asheville 2134
Chattanooga 676
Roanoke 1740

The Top 61 Happiest Mountain Towns in the Blue Ridge: https://blueridgecountry.com/newsstand/ ... tain-towns

I live at 600 feet elevation and plan to stay. I dream about heading to the NC/TN/VA mountains for a few days. There are plenty of places left where there are no crowds. Somebody up thread said that 1/2 mile away from most parking lots, the crowds are gone. There's nothing like steep mountain creeks and windy mountain balds. The change of climate from the valleys to the mountain tops is refreshing.

Again, I'm not looking, but if I was, I would disregard all the house stuff and the financial stuff and go.
Barkingsparrow
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Barkingsparrow »

Kenkat wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:37 am
retired recently wrote: Thu Aug 27, 2020 11:51 am I could be mis-remembering, but it seems this is the poster that was looking to move so he could take his Porsche and speed around the curvy roads. If this is your goal, I cannot imagine you will be accepted with open arms in many communities.
This is what the Tail of the Dragon is for: https://tailofthedragon.com/
I once accidentally drove the Tail on a vacation with family. Good ole Google Maps plotted this route on our trip from Ohio to NC. I had to stop multiple times as the wife/kid constantly complained about car sickness due to this crazy road. Needless to say, we took a different route on the way back home.
Barkingsparrow
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Barkingsparrow »

My family is from the Tenn / KY mountain border area. I've been on a lot of trips to and through Tenn. Not once did I ever think - I would love to live here. Some very beautiful country, but I guess I have a lot of bad memories of coal mines and the grinding poverty pervasive in so much of the Appalachian hill country.

While I loved hiking up into the higher elevations of the Smokies, I detested Gatlinburg and the rampant tacky tourism. Never seen so many pancake houses in my life. And don't get me started on Dolly This and Dolly That, I guess I have visited the Smokies something like 10-12 times over my life, and always tried hard to find places to stay that were outside the town. My blood pressure would start rising having to deal with Stoplight 1, Stoplight 2, Stoplight 10.... then ease as I got into the park.
jbourne99
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by jbourne99 »

Chuck107 wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 6:44 pm Davidson county (Nashville) has Vanderbilt Hospital system, top notch.
... if you're ok with the system covering up medical errors as a cause of death. I'll leave that for you to decide. https://www.tennessean.com/story/money/ ... 155152002/
JackoC
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by JackoC »

neilpilot wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 9:27 pm
Restless wrote: Tue Aug 25, 2020 8:47 pm

My understanding of the Hall Tax is it applies to unearned income (interest, dividend, capital gain, etc.). Since it is still income, I referred to it as income tax, although different from a tax on wages/earned income. We are retired; all of our income are unearned at this point (not collecting SS yet). In any event, I’ve read that this tax goes away completely as of 2021. If it is 2022, I can deal with it for one year if we move in 2021 as planned.
The Hall tax applies to some div and interest income; there are several exclusions such as int from US Treasury obligations. Other unearned income, including but not limited to SS, pensions, rent and capital gains and distributions, are not taxed.

I’m from NJ and have lived in TN for 35 years.
Key point to summarize is that the 'Hall tax' refers to TN taxing investment returns only (the way it's almost always described outside TN rather than 'Hall tax') and it's basically gone, from the viewpoint of somebody only now considering moving to TN. Soon TN will just have no state income tax, like AK, FL, NV, SD, TX, WA, and WY. Which means TN is now at least in theory a relatively distant state we could consider moving to (from NJ). We're not making a distant move soon (grown kids now live between a few blocks and couple of hours drive) and maybe never, but taking all the trouble to move and get used to a new place and still pay state income tax (we're fortunate to have investment income enough for tax to be significant): hard to see that happening.

My brother lived in Nashville for around 20 yrs and liked it, eventually moved but nothing to do with not liking it. I always found it a 'nice place to visit', personally. I don't buy the idea that people from northeast can find summer in the South oppressive because AC doesn't work well here. Our house AC works fine, and I find stores around here if anything set the AC too cold. Blasting AC indoors does not solve oppressive *outdoor* heat and humidity, for at all outdoor oriented people. To each his own with climate of course, and I realize TN has some variation in climate, as in higher elevations in the eastern part of the state. Also there are cultural factors which can cause tension to get into in detail but they are real for deciding to actually move to a place, especially when not following a better job opportunity, we're already retired.

In general we find the trade off of no income tax states v. NJ difficult. The not *so* far ones have too hot summers and/or cultural issues for us (FL isn't really the South anymore but it's just too hot, TN as mentioned, TX similarly and farther), others really far with some also having cold winter issues (SD or WY, non-cold places in AK are pretty isolated). NV seems to have fewest drawbacks, Reno area for climate, and I've lived out West and know I can fit in easily. But it's still really far. We'll probably stay put unless/until our kids scatter themselves around the country.
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Youngblood
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Youngblood »

Since you're going to Chattanooga and you want to be cooler in the summer check out homes on Signal Mountain. the mountain on the Cumberland
Plateau. The height is 1,692 ft. and is about ten miles from downtown Chattanooga. Before the widespread use of air conditioning the affluent often had a summer home on Signal Mountain.

https://signalmountaintn.gov/

Youngblood
"I made my money by selling too soon." | Bernard M. Baruch
cowbman
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by cowbman »

OP,

If you want to be near your family in the NJ area, have you considered Delaware? It's pretty friendly taxwise, unless you are going to be receiving large pensions, in which case NJ may be preferable. Property taxes are much less, and there's no sales tax. NH is quite tax friendly too, though cold. It sounds to me like if you are going to move away WA may be your best bet.
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Restless
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Restless »

Thanks for calling our attention to Tellico Village and Rarity Bay; newer 55+ communities are of interest to us because of the carefree living and relatively younger residents. We are in our early 60s, so still want a more active lifestyle. If we can find willing real estate agents to show us around, knowing we’re not quite ready to pull the trigger, that would be the most productive way to look around. I’m aware of the scenic beauty and pleasant climate in southwestern NC, and will visit a few places there as part of our trip to the region. But, for tax reasons, we’re focusing on TN and GA first.

Thanks for the insight on Jonesborough. If we have time, we’ll definitely check it out.

Thanks for the link to happiest, and list of high-elevation, towns in the region. I’ll have to look into those, and surrounding areas, before finalizing the itinerary for our trip. I wish I could cast our list of requirements/wants aside and just go for the prettiest mountain town we find. But, reality can only be cast aside for so long as consequences will be knocking on the door before long.

The “Tail” is well known to many driving enthusiasts from all over. I can see how being a passenger in a vehicle on that road may become uncomfortable. I remember driving up to Pike’s Peak about 30 years ago and being glad I was in the driver’s seat that day.
FireAway
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by FireAway »

Coincidentally, I had started looking into TN when this thread popped up. A recent article in Kiplinger's pointed to Knoxville as a good retirement town.

One possibility I like about TN - I used to visit there for houseboating trips, in my youth - is the opportunity for waterfront living. Any recommendations for a place not too far out in the boonies, where one could get a modest waterfront home?

One other thing we're looking into as a possibility is a snowbird place, as the winters where we are now are gloomy, overcast, and constant drizzling rain. Would it be crazy to consider Tennessee as a wintertime destination? Are outdoor activities possible year round?
srt7
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by srt7 »

whodidntante wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 7:11 pm I have spent a lot of time in Tennessee. Fabulous state. Have a blast when I go. One thing that might surprise you is when they get snow or ice, they just stay inside for three days until it melts, leaving the hilly, narrow roads untreated and a pile of cars in the ditches. This means you need some sort of sure footed vehicle if you absolutely must get to work or if your venison runs out.
- extremely low taxes on most things, but the sales tax is pretty brutal and alcohol will cost you
- speaking of alcohol, they have weird rules about when and were it can be purchased, almost like they don't want you to get any
- the roads are fantastic, but other government programs are basically Lord of the Flies.
- rural areas gets lots of power outages during storms. And you probably won't find anyone to install your Tesla wall.
- speaking of storms, in the summer time, they get "heat showers." This is a quick, violent storm that comes ridiculously often.
- [religion comment removed by moderator Flyer24]
- people are unbelievably polite. Do not conflate this with being nice or naive. They can be polite and still plot against you. There is a saying the women use, "bless your heart." It's not a compliment.
- there are certain cultural rules that you will run afoul of eventually. I can't really tell you how you'll go wrong without knowing more about you, but you will go wrong.
- Jack Daniels is overrated. You'd better keep that to yourself, though.
- BBQ and meat and three will be consumed more often than you think.
- If you like to imbibe, be careful who you tell. Some people consider it a sign of sorriness. Some people who do imbibe will never talk about it in public.
- opiates are a food group in some areas
- Sometimes you will meet people that you simply cannot understand. They won't care for the noises you make, either.
- You will probably live within five miles of someone with more musical talent than you have ever witnessed before.
- No casinos. :annoyed
- It will not be possible to purchase bread or milk if there any possibility of snow or ice
- In the winter, don't count on your kids going to school every day.
- Extremely landlord friendly. If you rent, assume you can be jettisoned like a Falcon 9 rocket for any breach of the lease.
Heh! That was an entertaining way to put it but spot on, nevertheless!!
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc
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Restless
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Restless »

JackoC wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:53 pm We'll probably stay put unless/until our kids scatter themselves around the country.
We have one daughter in NJ and one in FL. The TN/GA/NC area works as they're close enough to drive to both. We have been in NJ for nearly all of our working lives, and find the state less appealing by the year. After retiring in 2018/2019, we're now free to look for greener pastures.

Thanks for the Signal Mountain suggestion. I came across it in my search of surrounding areas of Chattanooga and Knoxville, but didn't think it was a popular residential area. I'll have to take a closer look at real estate options there.

We have considered Delaware. One of my daughters went to Univ. of DE, and worked one summer in Bethany Beach. The main advantage is proximity to NJ/NYC area, where most of our friends and relatives are located. Although overall taxes would be better than NJ, I believe the summer temperatures (especially at night) would be worse than where we are in northern NJ, while winter temperatures would only be slightly better. The DE I know is just as congested as our part of NJ, which we also want to escape from. WA would be too far; we want to be within one day of driving from NJ and FL.
Carter3
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Location: Western Tennessee

Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Carter3 »

West Tennessean here. I don't think you can go wrong moving to this state. We plan to retire in western Tennessee. Milder summers vastly different terrain. Housing remains affordable in this state...I will never live in a place with state tax again.
JackoC
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by JackoC »

Restless wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 3:27 pm
JackoC wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:53 pm We'll probably stay put unless/until our kids scatter themselves around the country.
We have considered Delaware. One of my daughters went to Univ. of DE, and worked one summer in Bethany Beach. The main advantage is proximity to NJ/NYC area, where most of our friends and relatives are located. Although overall taxes would be better than NJ, I believe the summer temperatures (especially at night) would be worse than where we are in northern NJ, while winter temperatures would only be slightly better. The DE I know is just as congested as our part of NJ, which we also want to escape from. WA would be too far; we want to be within one day of driving from NJ and FL.
Our only kid who doesn't still live in our town is in a fairly nearby part of upstate NY, but otherwise that's similar to our thinking about DE which is the leading candidate among close by states.
Chuck107
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Chuck107 »

.....
Last edited by Chuck107 on Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
Alas, I find moderation of this forum too restrictive for my tastes, farewell.
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TnGuy
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by TnGuy »

OP - if you are considering community living situations, here's one:

The Preserve at Oak Ridge

Also, you had mentioned having family in both NJ and FL. When my wife and I moved here in 1992 we had family in NJ, NYC area and FL. We found living in East TN to be wonderfully 'central' for those places, as well as 'central' to other areas that we have traveled (via vehicle) to: greater Chicago, WI, MI, OH, IN, WV western PA, AK - and, of course, the nearby Southern states: VA, NC, SC, GA, KY, AL, LA.


David
"Money will not make you happy. And happy will not make you money." - Groucho Marx
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Geneyus
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Geneyus »

I've lived in TN my entire life. It is a great state with no income tax. If you're Conservative, you'll think the politicians do a great job. They are pretty reliable in that regard.

I would avoid Memphis and Nashville metro areas. Everyone and their mother are moving to Nashville, and it seems to be overly crowded and evolving. Memphis just simply doesn't have their stuff together, never really have. If I were to move elsewhere in TN, I would probably choose Chattanooga or somewhere on the East end. The OP mentioned Cookeville also... I haven't heard anything negative about that area.
jbourne99
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by jbourne99 »

Chuck107 wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:02 pm
jbourne99 wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:50 pm
Chuck107 wrote: Mon Aug 24, 2020 6:44 pm Davidson county (Nashville) has Vanderbilt Hospital system, top notch.
... if you're ok with the system covering up medical errors as a cause of death. I'll leave that for you to decide. https://www.tennessean.com/story/money/ ... 155152002/
I have decided, thanks for your concern.
https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/hea ... 980136002/
That old news (2018). I wonder if the more recent scandal with them is one of the big reasons they dropped and are no longer in the top 20? Here's the new top 20 list. https://health.usnews.com/health-care/b ... d-overview
tomphilly
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by tomphilly »

My most vivid memory of Tennessee is people still smoking in bars (2018). I liked it, made me nostalgic.
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Restless
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Re: Thoughts on Tennessee

Post by Restless »

TnGuy wrote: Sat Aug 29, 2020 4:24 pm OP - if you are considering community living situations, here's one:
Thanks for calling our attention to the "Preserve." This gives us another place to look into around Knoxville/Oak Ridge. Geographically, TN would be in a convenient spot for us, with good access to NJ/NYC, FL, and all east coast areas in between. I did notice that TN shares a border with 8 other states; I think it may be unique in that regard.

Based on all the input received, it's pretty clear TN is definitely worth a close look. Similar to the issue with northeast GA, some parts of the Cumberland Plateau (e.g., Crossville) may be too remote for decent access to things we'll need/want. Being closer to cities like Knoxville or Chattanooga (also Johnson City) may be a better fit for us. For now, we can focus our research and preparation on some specific locations/communities mentioned in response to my posts. We'll know more definitively if TN is right for us after our visit in late fall.

Thanks again for the very informative feedback.
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