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Best Retirement Lake In Tennessee, Kentucky Or Virginia.....

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Take a look at Tims Ford Lake near Winchester, TN.  Great place, great lake with smallies, largemouth, walleye, stripers, etc.  Also there are trout below the dam and the Elk River to canoe and catch trout and smallies.  Plus, Phoenix Boats are made nearby.  And the Jack Daniels distillery is a stone's throw away.

 

Thanks for the tip Bob, I'll look into it but like above, it's getting to be bit farther from home than I had really hoped for. 

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No state income tax (other than on interest and dividends) but they do have a fairly high state sales tax.  Not a huge issue for me and you're correct, the property tax on a 3 or 4 bedroom lakehouse are about 1/4 what I pay for my 100+ acre farm and 4 bedroom home here in PA.  Thanks for the info on Douglas and Cherokee.  As it happens, I had already done a bit of research and found a few reasonably priced lakehomes on Cherokee and had requested info from one of the local chambers of commerce.  Still looking though but I'm really intrigued about that Cherokee/Douglas Lake area.

 

One bit of info the real estate folks may neglect to tell you, Douglas, Norris and Cherokee are lowered 40-50 feet in the winter months for flood control for our good neighbors to the south. Fort Loudon and Tellico lakes are only lowered a few feet because they are navigable waters. You actually get used to it and start to look forward to the water drop, plus the fishing improves with the water loss.

I share a private road with 5 neighbors. In the last few years three homes have sold on this road. All to folks from the north, one family from Pittsburg and two families from Chicago. I'm starting to feel like a intruder,lol.  However, I did gain three beer drinking buddies, so all is not lost. If I can help you with any research or answer any questions please feel free to ask............Al.....Btw, Douglas and Cherokee dams are only approximately 25 miles apart to area info generally apply to both. And Douglas dam is approx 20 miles from the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.

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One bit of info the real estate folks may neglect to tell you, Douglas, Norris and Cherokee are lowered 40-50 feet in the winter months for flood control for our good neighbors to the south. Fort Loudon and Tellico lakes are only lowered a few feet because they are navigable waters. You actually get used to it and start to look forward to the water drop, plus the fishing improves with the water loss.

I share a private road with 5 neighbors. In the last few years three homes have sold on this road. All to folks from the north, one family from Pittsburg and two families from Chicago. I'm starting to feel like a intruder,lol.  However, I did gain three beer drinking buddies, so all is not lost. If I can help you with any research or answer any questions please feel free to ask............Al.....Btw, Douglas and Cherokee dams are only approximately 25 miles apart to area info generally apply to both. And Douglas dam is approx 20 miles from the Great Smokey Mountain National Park.

 

Thanks Al, I did know that about the water drops in winter (thought I didn't know that Tellico and Ft. Loudon didn't have drastic level changes).  I'm still doing research and have asked another C of C to send me information about relocating and real estate.  So far I've inquired with Morristown and Sevierville.  Any other towns I should inquire with?

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I'm fairly new here in east Tennessee but I do love Norris....especially in winter

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Thanks Al, I did know that about the water drops in winter (thought I didn't know that Tellico and Ft. Loudon didn't have drastic level changes).  I'm still doing research and have asked another C of C to send me information about relocating and real estate.  So far I've inquired with Morristown and Sevierville.  Any other towns I should inquire with?

 

Yes, Jefferson City on Cherokee Lake and the city of Dandridge on Douglas Lake. Check with the following counties, Jefferson, Sevier, Grainger and Hamblen. City governments are quite small but the county government C of C are very active. I live in Dandridge, which is the county seat, and until about 2 years ago we didn't have a stop light. Morristown is, by far, the largest town and sevierville second. Sevierville is the state tourist capital and is gridlocked about 6 months of the year, so be careful with property in Sevierville, however the property tax rate is low. Sales tax is 9.something % statewide, close to 10%. Gasoline in the area now is about $2.23 nearly everywhere(within 2 cents) and ethanol free gas is available in many places. Three places in tiny Dandridge that I know off.

 

One point that my neighbor from Chicago really liked was the state of Tennessee will pay for 2 years of community college for your children. Saved him a small fortune, as he has 2 graduating high school this year. My kids are all out of school except one working on a doctorate. I don't know if you have any still at home. Not sure of the requirements except they must perform a number of hours of community service. This is the first year of the law.  A lot of this may not matter but is nice to know either way...........Al

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Thanks Al.  I have one son already in college who wouldn't take advantage of the free tuition even if I moved there today but I also have a son who's a junior in high school.  It's highly unlikely that I'd get moved down there early enough for him to qualify as a resident before accepting the two years, not to mention that I might have a hard sale on community college if he was already enrolled in a 4 year school anyway.  The good news is that I already bounced it off of him and he said that he wouldn't mind us pulling stakes and moving and that he could surely find somewhere down that way to attend college.

 

Thanks for the info on the communities and counties, I'll probably send a few more inquiries.  What about Boone Lake and the surrounding area?  At this point, I'm really starting to like the idea of a lakefront home on Boone, Norris, Cherokee or Douglas or possibly a riverfront home on South Holston or a similar river. 

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Thanks Al.  I have one son already in college who wouldn't take advantage of the free tuition even if I moved there today but I also have a son who's a junior in high school.  It's highly unlikely that I'd get moved down there early enough for him to qualify as a resident before accepting the two years, not to mention that I might have a hard sale on community college if he was already enrolled in a 4 year school anyway.  The good news is that I already bounced it off of him and he said that he wouldn't mind us pulling stakes and moving and that he could surely find somewhere down that way to attend college.

 

Thanks for the info on the communities and counties, I'll probably send a few more inquiries.  What about Boone Lake and the surrounding area?  At this point, I'm really starting to like the idea of a lakefront home on Boone, Norris, Cherokee or Douglas or possibly a riverfront home on South Holston or a similar river. 

Can't tell you much about Boone Lake except it was named after Daniel Boone, I assume, since he is from that area. I worked at BPS part-time for a few years and Boone was seldom mentioned, so it a mystery to me. it is north of here and I seldom go north for anything, lol.  The elevation there must be higher because that area does seem to get more harsh weather during the winter months. But I really don't know much about it.

 

The Holston River has bass tournaments on it and does have some good smallmouth fishing. A friend has invited me several times to fish a tournament there but I have a glass bass boat and tin boats rule on rivers around here, preferably with jet motors. A friend of mine recently bought a farm on the Holston River that has over a mile of shoreline, so property must be available if a parcel that big was for sale. I believe he told me 400 acres. If you look at property on the upper reaches of Cherokee or Douglas in the river area you will probably want a tin boat, if that matters to you. The Tennessee River is the only fiberglass friendly river that I know of in this area. It forms in the Knoxville area from the Holston and others then flows south to make Fort Loudon, Tellico, Watts Bar, Guntersville, Wheeler and others.

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Thanks for the ongoing information Al, it's truly appreciated.  I'm doing lots of research on my end and from my perspective, retirement and a move can't come quickly enough, it was 15 below this morning when I went to work (and that's NOT the wind chill).  March 6th and I'm still freezing my backside off up here.

 

How's the turkey and deer hunting in the areas being discussed?  As I get older, I've lost interest and don't hunt nearly as much as I used to but I still get out at times, particularly for spring gobbler, deer and grouse.  Here's a bird that I whacked in north-central Tennessee with a flintlock fowler that I built. 

 

gobbler%201%20of%201_zpsg6lb8xqx.jpg

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Thanks for the ongoing information Al, it's truly appreciated.  I'm doing lots of research on my end and from my perspective, retirement and a move can't come quickly enough, it was 15 below this morning when I went to work (and that's NOT the wind chill).  March 6th and I'm still freezing my backside off up here.

 

How's the turkey and deer hunting in the areas being discussed?  As I get older, I've lost interest and don't hunt nearly as much as I used to but I still get out at times, particularly for spring gobbler, deer and grouse.  Here's a bird that I whacked in north-central Tennessee with a flintlock fowler that I built. 

 

gobbler%201%20of%201_zpsg6lb8xqx.jpg

Nice turkey and beautiful gun. To answer your question, Turkey and deer are abundant in all of East Tennessee however, the deer are probably smaller than you are accustomed to hunting. I assume the forage and terrain are hard on the deer. The deer in middle and western part of the state are larger. The average weight of an adult deer around this area is only 100-125lbs and that's not field dressed. Much smaller than your area.  I gave up hunting a few years ago. I just snap pictures out the window when I see one behind the house now. You may want to read the deer regulations. They divide the state into regions and apply different regulations to the various regions. The Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency does a great job in my opinion performing a difficult job.

 

Btw- It was 12* here this morning but drop dead beautiful forecast for the weekend. Sun and 50's.

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I don't care much about the deer because I don't hunt a lot anymore either and I don't really consider myself a trophy hunter (although we have antler restrictions and I typically pass up plenty of legal buck for whatever reason).  I like to take photos too, a little bit......http://billragostaphotography.zenfolio.com/

 

Surprisingly, in my area, we now have a very healthy deer herd, good buck to doe ratio, big-bodied deer and nice racks but it wasn't always that way.  When I was a kid (not really that long ago), it was typical to see 50, 60 or 100 deer a day in my area of the state but you'd typically see 20 or 30 doe for each buck, the antlered buck were typically spikes or very small forkhorns and your 100-120 pound live buck was exactly what we'd expect, in fact, that would be a nice one back in the 60s or 70s. 

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If I was moving to the east as I live in Memphis I would move close to Dayton Tenn and fish chickamauga but that's just me.. That's a world class bass fishery now.. Plan on making that trip soon..

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I don't care much about the deer because I don't hunt a lot anymore either and I don't really consider myself a trophy hunter (although we have antler restrictions and I typically pass up plenty of legal buck for whatever reason).  I like to take photos too, a little bit......http://billragostaphotography.zenfolio.com/

 

Surprisingly, in my area, we now have a very healthy deer herd, good buck to doe ratio, big-bodied deer and nice racks but it wasn't always that way.  When I was a kid (not really that long ago), it was typical to see 50, 60 or 100 deer a day in my area of the state but you'd typically see 20 or 30 doe for each buck, the antlered buck were typically spikes or very small forkhorns and your 100-120 pound live buck was exactly what we'd expect, in fact, that would be a nice one back in the 60s or 70s. 

I forgot to mention that Elk have been reintroduced to East Tennessee and are reportedly doing very well. Had several sightings in my area, of one bull, last year which created a lot of conversation. Most of the Elk are in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park but they roam occasionally, especially young bulls. They have put some in Royal Blue Wildlife Management area. They started a hunting season a few years ago with very limited hunters, using a tag system. My wife and I have taken many pictures of them in the park, herd of at least 50. Some of the females will come as close as a few feet from our vehicle. Truly majestic creatures. Royal Blue is north of Knoxville about 30 miles, roughly an hours drive from Cherokee or Douglas Lake. 

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That's good to know Al.  I have them about an hour from me here in PA and I make at least one trip each fall during the rut to photograph and enjoy them.

 

Still doing tons of research and looking at new areas.  Douglas/Cherokee are still leading the pack, Boone falling somewhat and South Holston with the bullet.  We'll see......

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What about western Tennessee? We have been planning Paris or Lexington for a few years. Everyone here in s.w.Fl. is moving to eastern Tennessee. The very people I'm trying to move away from. We used to stay in the Copperhill/Ducktown area but as I grow older I see no sense in moving to a place with so much elevation. Not easy on a flatlanders knees. Speaking to an instructor from Knoxville, he told my wife Tennessee is waking up to the crowd that's moving in and prices and taxes are increasing quickly.

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What about western Tennessee? We have been planning Paris or Lexington for a few years. Everyone here in s.w.Fl. is moving to eastern Tennessee. The very people I'm trying to move away from. We used to stay in the Copperhill/Ducktown area but as I grow older I see no sense in moving to a place with so much elevation. Not easy on a flatlanders knees. Speaking to an instructor from Knoxville, he told my wife Tennessee is waking up to the crowd that's moving in and prices and taxes are increasing quickly.

 

I can't address West Tennessee at all. I have fished Kentucky Lake and Reelfoot Lake in that part of the state but have not spent much time there. Knoxville is growing like a weed. Not sure where they are coming from but they are coming in numbers. And yes property prices are on the rebound after the great recession. Even lake property was low but starting to see more interest. In East Tennessee I believe Douglas and Cherokee Lakes are your best bet. I have always thought of them as "blue collar" lakes

 

but that is slowly changing. My property taxes have not gone up very much in the 15 years I have lived on Douglas Lake. 

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I would also consider Kerr Lake(also called Buggs Island), it's on the Virginia and North Carolina border.  50,000 acres, with plenty of bass, catfish, bream and stripers.  Lots of room, and not too crowded. 

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What about western Tennessee? We have been planning Paris or Lexington for a few years. Everyone here in s.w.Fl. is moving to eastern Tennessee. The very people I'm trying to move away from. We used to stay in the Copperhill/Ducktown area but as I grow older I see no sense in moving to a place with so much elevation. Not easy on a flatlanders knees. Speaking to an instructor from Knoxville, he told my wife Tennessee is waking up to the crowd that's moving in and prices and taxes are increasing quickly.

 

I actually like the hills, the slightly cooler summertime temps and the proximity to the Great Smokies, all of which are draws for the eastern part of the state for me.  I have a buddy in the north-central part of the state (south of Dale Hollow) and I spent a week with him last spring and honestly, I just didn't care for the area enough to want to relocate there.  Your points are well-taken though, I don't want to retire to end up being followed by a bunch of people who don't value the rural nature of the area, the politics of the residents, etc. and I'd hate to move there for the low cost of living, only to have that change in a decade because of the influx of people that want more and more services.

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I would also consider Kerr Lake(also called Buggs Island), it's on the Virginia and North Carolina border.  50,000 acres, with plenty of bass, catfish, bream and stripers.  Lots of room, and not too crowded. 

 

I was actually also considering Smith Mountain and the surrounding area and I haven't ruled it out yet but the eastern Tennessee area and lakes seem to be growing on me, at least the idea is.  I'm planning a short vacation in May and will be making my reservations tonight so I'll at least get a quick visit and have a gut feeling for whether that area may be right for me or not.

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Gang green my uncle lives near Morristown Tn it's north of Knoxville and only 45 min or an hour drive to the smokies.. Cherokee lake is also near by.. He retired from Mphis light gas and water and found some land and is there beautiful area.. Check that area out also..

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Gang green my uncle lives near Morristown Tn it's north of Knoxville and only 45 min or an hour drive to the smokies.. Cherokee lake is also near by.. He retired from Mphis light gas and water and found some land and is there beautiful area.. Check that area out also..

 

Already on the list, thanks.

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I've never spent a lot of time on lakes that vary as much as those TVA lakes.  I'm having trouble picturing how one with waterfront property deals with it.  I saw this video of a guy pushing his dock out:

 

While that's sorta neat, there's got to be different (better?) ways to deal with the levels.

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I've never spent a lot of time on lakes that vary as much as those TVA lakes.  I'm having trouble picturing how one with waterfront property deals with it.  I saw this video of a guy pushing his dock out:

 

While that's sorta neat, there's got to be different (better?) ways to deal with the levels.

There are a lot of ways to deal with the floating docks, just a matter of "how much do you want to spend". When the lake is going down you pretty much have to push them, not as many options as when it is rising.

 

Most of my neighbors actually enjoy the lake bottom after it drops for winter pool. We enjoy walking/exploring the lake bed finding everything boaters/fishermen have lost during the summer. Or in some cases threw away.

Most of my neighbors also have atv's and enjoy riding them. The first year is a shock, second not so bad and continues to get easier. I have been here 15 years and look forward to the lake dropping. It's just a different adventure.

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i still think smith mountain lake may be your best option. if its the proximity to different bodies of water that entices you to douglas/cherokee, then i say dont forget that right on the other side of smith mtn lakes dam is leesville lake. and claytor lake isnt too far away either...

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For Virginia, I'd look into Buggs Island/Kerr or Lake Gaston, great fishing area

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I have a 2nd home on Norris.  I have been on both Douglas and Cherokee and chose Norris over both of them.  I'm in the town of Caryville at Twin Cove Marina.  The town (which if you blink) is down the street from Jacksboro and Lafolette on the same road.  They are decent sized towns with stores and restaurants.  I'm exit 134 off of I-75.  Another area of Norris Lake is exit 122. There are several marinas off this exit and Oak Ridge is a decent sized town.  Both areas are a straight shot down 75 into Knoxville.  To get to the Smokey Mountain National Park I prefer to go thru Maryville into Townsend.  Much less traffic than trying to go thru Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg to get to the park.  Townsend entrance to the park is closest to Cade's Cove.  The water is very clean on Norris and there are many more marinas than on the other lakes.  

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