Discover Kingsport, TN

There is something for everyone in the Kingsport.

By
Kevin Litwin
On Friday, June 26, 2020 - 19:24
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Living in Kingsport means two things: 1. You have access to a ton of top amenities; and 2. You won’t break the bank because of its low cost of living. Want more? This lively, safe community offers four distinct seasons, hundreds of miles of trails, a wide selection of cuisine, exceptional public schools and top jobs at companies. 

Beautifully Haunting Howls

Enjoy an otherworldly natural experience every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. when Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium hosts its free Wolf Howling program. People can gather near the park’s Wolf Habitat and hear the pack as they are encouraged by rangers to communicate with one another and howl in chorus. Another program, Wonder of the Wolves, gives more in-depth info about the history and importance of gray wolves as well as details about the wolves who live at the park. The latter program is $3 per person. Check the park calendar for details at baysmountain.com.

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Ed Rode

Train Keeps A-Rollin

The Santa Train enters its 78th run Thanksgiving weekend when CSX Railway hosts its annual 110-mile holiday excursion run between downtown Kingsport and Shelby, KY. Besides a fun ride for kids and adults, the Santa Train distributes toys, food and winter clothing to people at several stops along the way. The event is sponsored by the Kingsport Chamber, CSX Food City, Appalachian Power and Soles4Souls.

Try the Mountain Mint

Whether your passion is dark chocolate, white chocolate or milk chocolate, Bellafina Chocolates has a truffle variety for you to enjoy. All truffles are made with no preservatives or added sugars, and popular flavors include peanut butter, espresso, mountain mint, intensely orange and red hot cinnamon. Bellafina has a downtown Kingsport store on Cherokee Street and also does much business via online sales. Net proceeds from all chocolate sales benefit worthy children’s and literacy charities.

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Courtesy of Visit Kingsport

Wings, Racks, Tunes & More

Downtown Kingsport’s events season kicks off each May with the Kingsport Spring WING Fling at the Kingsport Farmers Market Friday evening with the Racks by the Tracks Festival the next day. Friday’s event features about a dozen chicken wing vendors from around the Tri-Cities offering wings for attendees and judges to sample and cast votes for favorites. On Saturday, Racks by the Tracks includes a full day and night of activities, including a 5K and 10K run, craft beer and wine tasting, barbecue competitions and a kids’ station. Kingsport’s biggest annual event, Fun Fest, occurs each July over nine days. The street fair includes multiple events, including races, kids’ activities and lots of live music. Fun Fest is consistently ranked among the Top 20 Events to attend in the Southeast in July by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Bravo, Encore

Kingsport has a vibrant arts community, and the Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts oversees a number of organizations and also schedules a variety of performance events. Among the talented groups thriving within the city are the Kingsport Art Guild, Kingsport Ballet, Kingsport Theatre Guild, Symphony of the Mountains, Suzuki Talent Education of Appalachia and the Netherland Inn/Exchange Place.

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Courtesy of Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

The 4-1-1 on Kingsport

  • The Kingsport Spirit: In 1937, Kingsport’s founding father J. Fred Johnson coined the phrase “The Kingsport Spirit” to describe the enthusiasm and dedication of its residents, and that mantra still holds true today.
  • Good Corporate Citizens: Charitable involvement by Kingsport companies and their workforces is abundant, from sponsoring community events and permanent venues to employee-led efforts like fundraisers and outdoor beautification projects.

  • Low Crime: Crime is low, thanks in part to the city’s internationally accredited Kingsport Police Department and fire/medical services. Kingsport is one of only 18 accredited Safe Communities in the U.S.

  • Attractive Affordability: There is no state income tax, inheritance tax or personal property tax in Kingsport, and real property is taxed at only 1/4 of its appraised value. The cost of living in Kingsport is 18.9% lower than the national average. 

  • Comfortable Climate: Summer weather in Kingsport is like Chicago, while winters are like Atlanta, spring is like Washington, D.C., and autumn is like New England. Sound enticing? The year-round average temperature here is 66 degrees Fahrenheit, and Kingsport has an average of 203 sunny days per year.

  • Well Schooled: Comprising 13 schools, the Kingsport City Schools system is highly regarded and the winner of numerous national academic awards. The downtown higher education Kingsport Academic Village houses five satellite college campuses and attracts nearly 3,000 students each semester.

  • Convenient Location: Kingsport is accessible to 70% of the U.S. population, thanks largely to easy access to Interstates 26 and 81. 

  • Outdoor Recreation: Kingsport houses Warriors’ Path State Park, the most visited state park in Tennessee, and the city is within easy driving distance to five national parks, 14 state parks and six TVA lakes. Also in Kingsport is Bays Mountain Park and the Kingsport Greenbelt. Walking Magazine ranks Kingsport among America’s Top Ten Cities in Which to Walk.

If you'd like to learn more about the Kingsport area, check out the latest issue of Livability: Kingsport, Tennessee

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.