Kinzel Springs - Available Lots in Townsend Tennessee
Townsend: A Great Location for Relocation
By Kelly Weaver-Hayes
Daily Times Correspondent
Originally published: April 05. 2008 3:01AM
Last modified: April 05. 2008 9:56A
Helen and Mike Gross
What's the downside of living in Townsend?
Most agree: there isn't one!
"So far, I haven't heard any negatives, and I've been here for five years," said
Tennessee Real Estate Principal Broker Shannon Tipton
. Her company recently began sales on condominiums in
the Reserve at Tuckaleechee Cove
. Just since the end of January when they could begin closings, they have closed on two condos there.
"Kinzel Springs is doing really well," Tipton noted, speaking of the residential-only, single-family, custom homes in the gated community.
"Property is appreciating very well," said Nancy Hodge, a Realtor with Parkside Realty Services. She notes the long-time success of golfing community Laurel Valley, and Stonegate, each of which includes a mix of homeowners and rental properties.
Lower property taxes than in Florida and in the northern United States, and close proximity to the mountains, Maryville, Knoxville and McGhee Tyson Airport are just a few of the positive aspects of living in Townsend, Tipton mentioned.
"Good old hometown people that enjoy having people here," is the reason people enjoy living in the Townsend community, said Hodge. The outdoor activities offered by the mountains, the river and the bike trail make living in Townsend desirable, she added.
"A lot of our clients are relocations," Tipton said, adding that many are graduates of the University of Tennessee who moved away for careers and want to come back now.
Helen and Mike Gross, who live in Kinzel Springs, are primary examples of that. The two relocated here from South Carolina near Charleston, where they lived for 20 years. But having been students at UT and then graduates, the two made a lot of visits to Townsend and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park over the years.
"People would be surprised at the amount of people who live here; the wealth of knowledge here, hidden in these little hills," said Helen Gross about the many retired professionals who have moved to the area. "It really is an interesting community here," she said.
Having "stumbled upon this area" in the mid-'90s, Doug Bolon and his wife relocated here just over a year ago and began selling real estate in Townsend after years in the mortgage lending business.
Kept coming back
The couple lived in Mooresville, N.C., just north of Charlotte, near Lake Norman and NASCAR headquarters, when they literally drove out of a fog bank, took a turn and didn't know where they were going. When they arrived in Pigeon Forge, they were tired and lost, so they stayed overnight, their first trip to Tennessee. After that, they discovered Wears Valley and eventually Townsend, where they visited for the next 10 years on camping trips.
They eventually bought a cabin, and although they had property elsewhere, Bolon said they just kept coming back to Townsend.
"We get a variety of buyers here," Bolon said, with some wanting more space for perhaps horses, a mountain view, a place on the river; some want the gated community.
"We like just a little peace and quiet. It's easy to promote Townsend. It's easy to sell it. We like it here so much. We don't have to convince people. They can tell people like it here. It kind of sells itself," said Bolon, a Realtor with Dogwood Realty.
"The pros well outweigh the cons," he said, asking, "Have you been to Wears Valley lately? Townsend has been preserved with its natural beauty and hasn't been over commercialized."
Having lived in New York City, and growing up in Los Angeles, Bolon contrasted the people you meet in Townsend: "It's a nice place to live (with) friendly people. They're not getting excited. They're not tailgating."
The few drawbacks Helen Gross noted could also be positive. She admits she's not a big shopper, but, she said, "You have to make more of an effort (to go shopping). It cuts down on your shopping. And I haven't gotten dressed up since I don't know when," she said, also a positive in her book.
"Sometimes the power goes off. Usually you don't know why. The sun is usually shining. But it's just for a minute," she added.
The 12 miles to Maryville can be covered in about 15 minutes; that's faster than 15 blocks in Charlotte, Bolon said.
"Every day that I drive out (U.S.) 321 with five other cars, I can't believe that I live here. It hasn't worn off yet; hopefully it never will," Bolon declared.
"We're just mountain people and wanted to come back," Helen Gross explained of their move from the Charleston area, which was sometimes hot, buggy and crowded. Although living there was a wonderful experience, she said her husband took an early retirement from higher education to "do something more peaceful. We wanted to hike and bike while we could still move," she said.
The move to Townsend also put them a little closer to their grandchildren in Illinois, who love to come and visit them in Townsend. "They love to go throw rocks in the creek," she said. They also take the kids tubing in the river, to Cades Cove for picnics, where they used to take their sons camping when they were little, and on little hikes where they can find deer, bear and turkeys.
The retired nurse calls herself a professional porch sitter, but notes a few of her favorite things to do here, most of which revolve around being outdoors: biking, hiking, fishing, river sitting with a book, quilting and being active with their church. Her husband does accounting part-time for the park service, as well.