Escape to the Great Smoky Mountains

Escape to the Great Smoky Mountains
July 12 15:33 2020 Print This Article

As more people in the Charleston area grow weary of the high-density development being implemented through the New Urbanism zoning codes and the increase in traffic and road rage, many are looking for more desirable places to live. The COVID-19 pandemic has proven that telecommuting is working effectively for many businesses, so employees can perform their duties anywhere with internet access. East Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains may offer Lowcountry residents a positive alternative to New Urbanism.

We recently spent five days in East Tennessee and were impressed with what we found. We stayed in Sevierville, a big retail center in the region. It even has a Bass Pro Shop. We enjoyed the tourist attractions at Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg but wouldn’t want to live there. Gatlinburg is so popular that it is hard to find parking, and you have to pay for it. We also visited several small towns, Johnson City and Morristown, that showed promise but were economically struggling, with a lot of vacant retail space. The towns that showed the most promise were Knoxville suburbs Farragut and Lenoir City. Both had great subdivisions, parks, restaurants and shopping.

We thoroughly enjoyed the outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, whitewater rafting, and kayaking. We encountered many friendly people. What we didn’t see were the massive apartment complexes and road rage that are diminishing the quality of life in much of the Lowcountry. We didn’t visit Knoxville, because it is too highly populated for our liking. We also noticed that home prices were much lower than comparable homes in the Lowcountry. Another attractive feature – Tennessee has no state income tax.

There is something about being in the mountains that reduces stress and lowers your blood pressure. During the week we spent in East Tennessee, we didn’t observe any protests or acrimony. The Knoxville TV stations were not filled with negative stories and gloom-and-doom. There were lots of positive news stories about organizations that are improving life in the community. I was inspired by a report on the Emerald Youth Foundation, which assisted children with distance learning and helps teens find jobs. If you are looking escape New Urbanism, visit East Tennessee.