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Old 07-03-2018, 07:42 AM   #81
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I know what you mean, and IMO you are correct. The way to be happy with people in the Rockies or Pacific coast is to spend 10 years or so in Boston as prep. After that, anyplace else will seem unbelievably friendly.

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Old 07-03-2018, 08:08 PM   #82
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Coming home from our place in the NE Georgia mountains today, we drove through Hiawassee, GA. It is a town on islands in the middle of Lake Chatuge. They city is surrounded by mountains, and absolutely beautiful.

We went west over the mountain to Young Harris, GA, and the terrain was even more beautiful. This is just north of the highest peak in Georgia's Blue Ridge Mountains--Brasstown Bald--10 miles from NC. All I could think of was the high quality of life in such a beautiful place--and also affordable.

The more I look into it the more intrigued I am by northern Georgia as a place to retire. Housing is surprisingly affordable and taxes not bad. Thanks for a couple more places to check.
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Old 07-03-2018, 08:30 PM   #83
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The more I look into it the more intrigued I am by northern Georgia as a place to retire. Housing is surprisingly affordable and taxes not bad. Thanks for a couple more places to check.
Let me give you two other superior Tennessee River retirement towns: Huntsville for a larger city and Guntersville for a smaller city.

Huntsville is perhaps as smart of a city as there is with so many rocket scientists, missile builders and other ultra high tech businesses. The city has a big mountain range inside city limits, and it is a low cost, hi quality lifestyle.

Guntersville is sitting on a peninsula in the middle of Guntersville Lake--the holy grail for bass fishermen. The waterfront homes are nothing short of magnificent. Go out on the patio at Guntersville State Park Inn tonight at 7:30 pm and you will see the most incredible western sunset over the river 500 feet below you. And it is a 30 minute drive from the edge of Huntsville.
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Old 07-04-2018, 06:40 AM   #84
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Thanks for all the suggestions, guys (and gals). I'm looking forward to planning a trip to that area. Sounds like there are a lot of possibilities across multiple states.
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Thoughts from a Former TN Resident
Old 07-08-2018, 10:21 AM   #85
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Thoughts from a Former TN Resident

OP-

Iím late to this thread but, FWIW, here are some thoughts. For context, Iíve lived in both Knoxville & Chattanooga, and have family still in the area; Iíve also lived in KY. So, that experience is the basis of my comments.

- Both Knoxville & Chattanooga are great midsize cities with nicely developed downtowns & lots of waterfront. Both also have universities; Knoxvilleís is bigger & the state flagship university.
- I think the previous comments on high crime rates are misleading. We lived in downtown Knoxville for 4 yrs & despite what City Data or other sources will tell you, we never had a problem. DW is very sensitive to the safety of her environment & felt very comfortable walking around town.
- Maryville (small college town), Vonore , Lenoir City & Townsend are nice small cities that are in the foothills of the Smokeys. Definitely check them out if you want something smaller than Knoxville or Chattanooga.
- Medical care in/around both Knoxville & Chattanooga is excellent. I think Knoxville is a bit better (UT Medical center which, BTW is a short drive from Maryville).
- I saw Oak Ridge mentioned (I worked there for several years). Itís much like Huntsville, AL in that itís home to US Govt facilities that have brought lots of folks w/ advanced degrees from elsewhere, and all the amenities that come with such migration. For my taste, Oak Ridge & Farragut (West Knoxville) are too far from the mountains if you want lots of trailheads near your doorstep.
- The weather in east TN (especially Knoxville & south) is much better than KY. The Cumberland Plateau is btwn them and catches a lot of nasty weather that KY gets but, TN doesnít. Even though the plateau is not that high, the difference in winter weather was remarkable to us.
- Donít know if politics is important to you but, Knoxville is a little Ďblue dotí in a red state. Itís by no means as progressive as where we now live in NorCal but, itís different than the surrounding area.
- IMO, the Tri-Cities area (Johnson City, Bristol & Kingsport) is not attractive at all. Itís too far from everything (especially a good airport), has little culture, and it not closer to the Smokeys than the Knoxville-Chattanooga corridor.
- Donít live anywhere near the Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Galinburg/Cherokee corridor; itís like a low rent Six Flags and the traffic is horrendous.
- I concur with the comments from ĎFrayneí & ĎUSGrantí, who do/(have) live(d) there. Iím sure theyíd be a great source of info. Feel free to PM me too if you have questions.

Best of luck.
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Old 07-08-2018, 01:07 PM   #86
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OP-
- I think the previous comments on high crime rates are misleading. We lived in downtown Knoxville for 4 yrs & despite what City Data or other sources will tell you, we never had a problem. DW is very sensitive to the safety of her environment & felt very comfortable walking around town.


- Don’t live anywhere near the Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Galinburg/Cherokee corridor; it’s like a low rent Six Flags and the traffic is horrendous.
- I concur with the comments from ‘Frayne’ & ‘USGrant’, who do/(have) live(d) there. I’m sure they’d be a great source of info. Feel free to PM me too if you have questions.

Best of luck.
Thank you! Appreciate all the input. Especially about Knoxville's crime rate. That's a relief. I'll put Knoxville back on my list, then.

I agree about the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area, from what I've seen (just finished watching a Youtube video on it)*. The tour guide said they were "tourist traps," which is probably right. Fun to visit occasionally, but you wouldn't want to live there. Work there, maybe, but not live there.

Although I wouldn't plan on working, of course. I'm done working if/when I move there. At least I think I am. Maybe I'll do some writing or volunteer work.


* here's that video, Travelling Robert, lol. Love the theme music. So cheesy. It's him and his mother in an RV.


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Old 07-08-2018, 05:16 PM   #87
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I live in the summer in a small place -- Linville North Carolina. About 30 minutes east of Johnson City Tenn. and about 30 minutes south of Boone, NC. Wonderful summer weather. We are at 4000 feet altitude. Never gets above 80 degrees and has low humidity. Great hiking (Linville Gorge, Appalachian Trial, etc). Great fly fishing. Fun bluegrass music and flatfooting dancing. Several Universities nearby (Appalachian State, East Tennessee State). Nice golf courses. In the winter there is some cold and some snow but not too bad. There are several ski resorts close by.

I never hear of any serious crime in our area (maybe a few drug deals, some drunk driving, I can't remember anything really serious).

Come and take a look at the Linville, NC, Banner Elk, NC, Boone, NC, Johnson City TN area.
I agree, that is a great area. I lived in Knoxville for about 3 years. Met the wife there and go back a couple of times per year for the past 35 years. Great Motorcycle roads anyplace you go in E TN. Knoxville is like any good sized city, if you go to some areas where you shouldn't it could be dangerous but we have a lot of family there and no body has had any problems that we are aware of. Nice having the 4 seasons but summers are almost as hot as Florida unless you get up into the mountains toward NC. Get on 40 headed from Knoxville to Asheville and you can find some beautiful small towns along the way and it gets a lot cooler the higher up you go. Like the post above, Johnson City area is beautiful and all the small cities up that way on the NC border as well.
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Old 07-08-2018, 09:08 PM   #88
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I agree, that is a great area. I lived in Knoxville for about 3 years. Met the wife there and go back a couple of times per year for the past 35 years. Great Motorcycle roads anyplace you go in E TN. Knoxville is like any good sized city, if you go to some areas where you shouldn't it could be dangerous but we have a lot of family there and no body has had any problems that we are aware of. Nice having the 4 seasons but summers are almost as hot as Florida unless you get up into the mountains toward NC. Get on 40 headed from Knoxville to Asheville and you can find some beautiful small towns along the way and it gets a lot cooler the higher up you go. Like the post above, Johnson City area is beautiful and all the small cities up that way on the NC border as well.
Thanks for the input. I'm going to target that area on an upcoming trip, probably in 6 or 7 weeks. I'll spend time in Chattanooga, tooga.
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Old 07-10-2018, 05:48 PM   #89
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East TN

As a KY native, I concur with what some of the others say about East Tennessee! I would pay a visit to the Johnson City area which has a small enough feel (with the 50k+ tai-cities population you seek) but with all the educational opportunities, hiking etc. you mention. Plus, you have great/quick access to the Asheville area as well as the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains. There's just about everything you could want there! My twin lives there and I plan to spend a lot more time with her in 6 months or so, Personally, I am partial to the area others mention about the Morristown area! It has beautiful Douglas Lake, an excellent, small university (Carson-Newman) and beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains. It has close proximity to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville, hiking and within 45 minutes of Knoxville and Johnson City. Just a beautiful area that you must see to appreciate. The people are wonderful too! TN would be a great retirement choice. As to the other cities, others have noted that Nashville has exploded in growth. I would compare to what happened with Atlanta but not there yet. Memphis, I love and go to often. Probably not the retirement choice but the history, food and people are great. Plus, Memphis is a medical and transportation hub. It's not outgrown itself, held onto its history but some of the areas are very high crime, which is a shame. Good luck!
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Old 07-10-2018, 06:15 PM   #90
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Great thread. #1 son goes to a small school in the Maryville area. #2 son looks to follow next summer for school in the same area which now gives us more direction for us to live over the next few yrs. as we have looked at areas and continue we struggle with what we are gonna do for a place to live. If you get to close to the tourist area it has its own set of challenges. If I am west of Knoxville itís too far for the reason we are there. For buying not a lot of appreciation and the ability to sell quick if needed. We do and have used UT medical center when there and it works well. Hot as the surface of the sun there right now. Still working through options
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Old 07-10-2018, 07:06 PM   #91
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I live in Marietta Ga and it's about 90 minutes to Chattanooga. I've driven there a few times and liked what I saw. Had I not bought a house recently I would put that city as a possibility.
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Old 07-11-2018, 06:38 AM   #92
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I moved my family to west knoxville from the northern va area 25 years ago to work at the oak ridge national laboratory in nearby oak ridge, tn. Best decision I ever made. Since retiring last year, we wanted to remain in the area for all the hiking, boating and camping all around this wonderful area. Built a retirement home in Tellico Village just south of Knoxville which is on Tellico Lake and has 3 golf courses. 30 miles from the Smoky Mtns and UT Medical Center. Nice quality of life. A lot of retirees have relocated here from up north. Here is a link if you are interested.

https://tellicovillage.org/
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:15 AM   #93
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Live in the NC mountains near Boone, NC for 20 years. Have been to all of the towns listed. All would be great places to live depending on how cold you want to be and how small of a town you want. Some thoughts:
  • Tri-cities would be wonderful. Some parts are small, old, eclectic. Some parts have modern and have great shopping. Bristol racing is big.
  • Rather than live in Chattanooga, I would want to live in Lookout Mountain, GA which is right there but 1,000 feet higher. Homes are incredibly expensive, but if you can afford it, WOW!
  • You cannot beat the summers in Boone, Blowing Rock. My A/C has been on 5 days when the humidity was high. Didn't have A/C the first 10 years here. I am a 5 hour drive from the ocean. An easy drive.
  • Check out a town right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are many such towns that might appeal to you.
  • Asheville has lots going on. Very trendy. Low elevation makes summers too warm for me.
  • Visited Highlands, NC a few years ago. It has a vast number of upscale restaurants. Town is growing by leaps and bounds. It is 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chattanooga so it is probably a summer/weekend getaway from those towns.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:39 AM   #94
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Just coming on to this thread and I'm not sure I can add a lot to the "pros & cons" about Tennessee but I can share a bit of my perspective, having retired here for the last year. Chattanooga is definitely all it is cracked up to be..... We are renting along the Riverwalk while our house is being built in Jasper Highlands in the next county over (Marion County). The Riverwalk is a 10-mile walking and biking boulevard winding through the Scenic City, along the TN River. The Riverwalk is essentially the spine of a very progressive, culturally rich, historical and beautiful town that has risen from the ashes of the industrial revolution. Chatt is not perfect but it is heading perfectly in the right direction. City planning is a model and coupled with the immeasurable beauty of the area and active conservation efforts, it earns the reputation as "America's Best Mid-sized City" and Outdoors Magazine's "Best Town Ever" award. We started in Virginia and looked to retire in Western NC, Upcountry SC and Eastern TN. We loved the mountains and low cost of living in TN and looked extensively in East TN. We are building a home at 1800 ft, atop the Cumberland Plateau and will be 25 minutes from Chatt, when we move in 2 months. The weather from our homesite is always 5 degrees cooler, with lower humidity than Chattanooga. My passion for outdoors life and hiking will all be satisfied, as Jasper Highlands has over 100 miles of hiking trails in a pristine natural setting. In addition, one of the country's top 9 hole golf courses is at the bottom of the mountain that I will be living on and I only have to pay for it when I use it, which is not the case in many communities that we looked at. The accessibility of Chattanooga (25 mins), Nashville (1.5 hrs), Atlanta (2.5 hrs), Huntsville (1 hr+), makes our location very flexible. With dozens of waterfalls, state parks and an uncountable number of outdoor activities available, we have plenty to keep us busy with in retirement. The area has more than met our expectations and we could not be more delighted with our choice of southeast Tennessee.
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Old 07-11-2018, 07:56 AM   #95
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Look into Maryville. Small college town and only 20 minutes from Knoxville where you have UT and all that comes with a large university. In the other direction you are only about 30 minutes from the park line on the quiet side of the Smokies--all the hiking you could ever want without the crowds of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Townsend and Walland are small towns in the mountains right outside of Maryville. Maryville and Alcoa are twin cities just about 20 minutes from Lenoir City where Tellico Village is. Wonderful place to live!
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Old 07-11-2018, 08:01 AM   #96
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We moved to TN in 2010 after spending most of our life in Upstate NY. It was a huge change in terms of COL going from the high cost North to the South, a real benefit for us. And TN has one of the most fiscally conservative administrations in the country, meaning we run a surplus every year. But since MS has arguably the lowest COL in the nation you will not see the same benefit that we did.

We live in the Eastern TN area, almost to the central part of the state, in a small town just off I-40. We love the state, the people, the COL, and the sheer beauty of TN. For example, the state is home to more bird species than anywhere else (possibly in the world; certainly the US) so if you put feeders out, they will come. Our home is on the Cumberland Plateau so we do not get the oppressive heat like the cities at lower altitudes, and we don't have to deal with the traffic in the major cities that are all growing much too fast.

One final point that might be of importance. TN is a conservative state and liberals oftentimes struggle with that. If you veer to the Left you will find similar people in the larger cities, but that is where the crime tends to be worst as well. And those cities are islands of blue in a state that is overwhelmingly red. So if you are conservative you will thrive here in TN; otherwise you might be miserable.
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Old 07-11-2018, 12:09 PM   #97
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This has been a great topic! For backround, I have lived in central KY for about 40 years off and on (Lexington, Georgetown and Frankfort), two years in East Tennessee (Greeneville), a couple months in Atlanta, 12 years in Charleston, West Virginia, two years in northern Indiana, and 3 years in southwest Ohio.

Of course, there is no Nirvana. I currently live 8 miles west of Frankfort, KY, in a rural area of curvy, two-lane roads. I love it. I bought 2 acres of land and built a small (1100 square foot) house about 8 years ago. I have woods to the back of the house, the road out front. I pay $541.00 per month on my mortgage, which is a lot to me, but probably not so much as in many places in the country. My electric bill is $130.00 per month, water is $30.00 (it would be $20-$25 if not for my hobby of gardening).

I like east Tennessee, and it would be hard for me to pin down a specific town or city. Chattanooga always seemed nice to me, and Johnson City. Knoxville, I just don't care for. Not sure why. Maybe it is because of the Orange Stain. (Being a huge college basketball and football fan, KY and TN are bitter rivals).

I also like western North Carolina.

For some idea of taxes, you might want to check the following:
https://smartasset.com/retirement/retirement-taxes

I love Frankfort, Ky because where I live it is 45 minutes to Louisville or Lexington, about 75 minutes to Cincinnati, OH, and maybe 3 hours to Indianapolis. Probably close to 4 hours to St. Louis.
I64, I65, I71 and I75 are all within 50 miles of my house. The Louisville and Cincinnatti airports are both within 90 minutes. The health care in Frankfort is OK, because specialists from Lexington and Louisville have a satellite office in Frankfort 1 or 2 days per week. Or, it is 45 minutes' drive to their main office.

Gasoline prices are about 30 cents per gallon less than Louisville, not sure why.

There are 4 areas of KY: Northern KY (greater Cincinnati): Yankee country, very northern feel; Eastern/Southern Kentucky (Appalachian Mountains, very similar to Eastern Tennesse), Central Kentucky (Lexington, Frankfort, Georgetown, etc). Rolling hills, beautiful horse farms, Blue-grass southern hospitality, Western Kentucky: Hot, flat, boring.
If I wanted to live closer to the mountains, I would look at Mt. Sterling, or Winchester, KY, both within about 40 minutes of Lexington. Take a trip to Natural Bridge State Resort Park, it is absolutely beautiful, and where we spent our honeymoon.

I am 62 years old, and just retired. Things that are important to me are weather, cost of living, health care, friendliness of people (we all wave at each other as we drive by out here), access to Doctors/Specialists, access to bigger cities, transportation (major highways), low crime, colleges nearby, etc. I like have 4 distinct seasons of weather, it is a little too hot/humid for me in the summer, but A/C handles that. Everyone out here has guns, as the police are 30 minutes away. Not that we have any reason to use them. But just in case, everyone has one. It is conservative in my area, the liberals live in Lexington or Louisville. If you ever want to check out central KY, just let me know. You are welcome to stay in our house, and I have lots of time to drive you around to meet the locals. Good luck with your research, and let me know if I can answer any questions.
Larry in Frankfort



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Old 07-12-2018, 05:00 PM   #98
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I am interested to see what kind of reports your thread gets.

VW
OP here. Yeah, it's been a lot more popular than I expected. Lots of great ideas and input. Thanks, everyone.

I'm really impressed at how positive people are about living in this area. It is sounding pretty good for retirement. I visited before, but in terms of cities, it was mostly Gatlinburg and some smaller towns in that area, so I haven't seen much of TN proper. Looking forward to it.

I'm planning a trip for the last week in August, based in part on this thread. I'll spend 7 or 8 days up there. I'll visit Chattanooga, then go north to Knoxville and beyond, to Johnson City, then to Banner Elk, Linville, and Boone in western NC. I want to hit some southeastern KY, too.

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One final point that might be of importance. TN is a conservative state and liberals oftentimes struggle with that.
Good.

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If you ever want to check out central KY, just let me know. You are welcome to stay in our house, and I have lots of time to drive you around to meet the locals. Good luck with your research, and let me know if I can answer any questions.
Larry in Frankfort

https://smartasset.com/retirement/retirement-taxes

There's that southern hospitality I was talking about.

Thanks, Larry. I think I'm headed to the mountains. Appreciate the suggestions of places to visit in southeastern KY. I'll try to include them.
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Old 07-12-2018, 05:38 PM   #99
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ER Eddie, remember that if you want cool summer weather and lower humidity you need to think of higher altitudes. In my research I found that I needed to be at around the 4000 foot elevation to be cool enough in the hot summer.

When you get to Linville,NC, check out my neighborhood, Linville Land Harbor. See the website. It is a large development with less expensive, smaller cabins /houses. It has a great pool, clubhouse, golf course, tennis, lake, fly fishing, etc. Near the Blue Ridge Parkway and great hiking, dancing, etc. Many fun things to do. If you want me to show you around when you get here, send me a PM.
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Old 07-12-2018, 07:31 PM   #100
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Live in the NC mountains near Boone, NC for 20 years. Have been to all of the towns listed. All would be great places to live depending on how cold you want to be and how small of a town you want. Some thoughts:
  • Tri-cities would be wonderful. Some parts are small, old, eclectic. Some parts have modern and have great shopping. Bristol racing is big.
  • Rather than live in Chattanooga, I would want to live in Lookout Mountain, GA which is right there but 1,000 feet higher. Homes are incredibly expensive, but if you can afford it, WOW!
  • You cannot beat the summers in Boone, Blowing Rock. My A/C has been on 5 days when the humidity was high. Didn't have A/C the first 10 years here. I am a 5 hour drive from the ocean. An easy drive.
  • Check out a town right off the Blue Ridge Parkway. There are many such towns that might appeal to you.
  • Asheville has lots going on. Very trendy. Low elevation makes summers too warm for me.
  • Visited Highlands, NC a few years ago. It has a vast number of upscale restaurants. Town is growing by leaps and bounds. It is 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours from Atlanta, Charlotte, Chattanooga so it is probably a summer/weekend getaway from those towns.

Is lookout mountain split part in Ga and part in Tn?
That was one of the things I loved about Chattanooga and If I moved to that area it's where I would live . I even looked at homes and there are some in the high 200's.
I do a lot of driving around for fun and love to explore neighborhoods. Lookout Mountain is in my top tier.
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