From mountains to metropolitan, Tennessee has something for every retiree's taste.
“When we started looking for a place to retire, Tennessee just kept coming up at the top of our list,” says Ruth Harton, who with her husband, Steve, moved to Tennessee from Georgia following retirement. The couple bought a house in Tellico Village, one of the state’s premier retirement communities in Loudon County in East Tennessee. Tellico Village is in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and features a lake, golf and a short drive to Knoxville.
“We can spend time on the lake with friends and then drive into Knoxville for dinner and the symphony," Ruth Harton says. "There’s always something for us to do, or we can do nothing and just enjoy the view of the lake and mountains from our porch.”
"Living in Loudon County is a comfortable lifestyle that offers affordable, quiet, gorgeous country living with a quaint, small-town atmosphere adjacent to Knoxville's cultural activities and the Great Smoky Mountains at our doorstep," Myers says.
The Hartons are part of a growing demographic pursued by the state through its Retire Tennessee initiative. Retirees from around the country are encouraged to choose Tennessee for the state’s low cost of living – 10 percent below the national average – recreational and outdoor spaces, easy access to metropolitan areas and pleasant climate.
Big City Excitement is Always Close By
Middle Tennessee, with Nashville at its heart, appeals to retirees interested in cultural opportunities, quality health care and college towns, while still having the choice of living in a small, close-knit community, like Cookeville in Putnam County.
“Our community is an ideal place for retirees looking to relocate,” says George Halford, president/CEO of the Cookeville-Putnam County Chamber of Commerce. “We've got the amenities of a large city with a small town feel and exceptionally low cost of living. And we've got cultural opportunities. We are one of the smallest towns in the Southeast that has a full-blown, professional symphony orchestra, a performing arts center and art galleries galore.”
Cookeville was tagged as "Asheville West" in a study by Wadley Donovan Growthtech research group.
Cookeville, like many other Tennessee communities, also boasts access to quality health care – an amenity retirees seek when looking to relocate. Cookeville Regional Medical Center provides inpatient, outpatient, rehabilitation and emergency care in addition to a host of specialty services such as The Heart Center and The Cancer Center.
Small Towns Embrace Newcomers
Further west, places like Hardin County welcome retirees to enjoy a leisurely pace in a beautiful setting.
“Hardin County offers genuine Southern amenities,” says Rachel Baker of the Retire Hardin County program. “Retirees can choose resort living on Pickwick Lake or a farm in the country on the borders of historic Shiloh Battlefield. People make you feel welcome here.”
Jean and George Gunn found exactly what they were looking for when they chose Savannah in Hardin County for their retirement. The couple bought property along the river in 2006 to build their retirement cabin.
“The area has unlimited possibilities and opportunities,” George says. “The bright blue sky reminds us of what it use to be like when the air was non-polluted. The people bring us back to a time and place where being a neighbor meant something.”