Many people visit Gatlinburg, TN and just never leave. They pick up everything and move…I speak from experience. Have you always wanted to just pick up and move to the Smokies but can’t quite convince yourself to take the leap? Let me help. Here are just 10 of the many hundreds of reasons that I moved to Gatlinburg.
1. The Great Smoky Mountains. They are simply breath-taking; the landscape is grand. Regardless of the season, the mountains are always beautiful. A dusting of winter snow makes the peaks appear topped in confectioner’s sugar. The green of spring is so bright and fresh that it will almost hurt your eyes. And the fall foliage looks like a masterfully painted canvas too perfect to be real. Gatlinburg also offers fertile valleys and a river that runs through it all. If you’re going to commute to work, sit in line to pick up your child at school, or drive to the bank or post office…shouldn’t the scenery simply take your breath away?
2. The Weather. I moved from a climate where the summer heat & year ’round humidity made every season uncomfortable…so Gatlinburg is my personal weather paradise with distinct seasons–all of them beautiful. The summer heat is very tolerable with temps that don’t often rise above 90 degrees (30 days or less per year on average). Winters are considered mild with temps that stay mostly above freezing. Snow is to be expected, but the amounts vary depending upon your elevation.
3. No State Income Tax. Gatlinburg cannot claim this perk exclusively because the entire state of Tennessee is free from State Income Tax. Not only is wonderful not to pay state income tax, but I never realized how lovely it is to file only one tax return each year. There are exceptions. For details, read Tennessee’s Income Tax Guidelines.
4. Traffic. Yep, I said it…traffic is one of the many reasons to move to Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg has a bad reputation for heavy traffic congestion during the peak of vacation season (July, October & holidays). However, I think you will find that the roads are well-maintained and there is a back road to almost anywhere you want to go in and around Gatlinburg. Even a quick look at the trolley map will help you find short cuts in downtown Gatlinburg. It takes a little while to get the hang of remembering to “turn right by the 2nd white oak” or “left and the plant nursery,” but most folks catch on quick. Now, if you choose to drive through the middle of Pigeon Forge on a Friday in July at 5 p.m….well, just don’t…here’s a map of an alternate route through Sevierville & Pigeon Forge.
5. Sevier County Schools. The schools are well-funded and mostly small in size. As a resident of Sevier County, you may choose which school your child attends. With a little research, you can find the right fit for your student. For more information on Sevier County Schools, visit the Public School Review. Gatlinburg Pittman High School is ranked among the state’s best schools.
6. Community Facilities. In addition to the schools, student education is also supported by a system of affordable & accessible after-school and summer programs of the National Award winning Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains. The Gatlinburg Community Center offers very inexpensive (and sometimes free) access to swimming, bowling, sports, classes and more. The new Anna Porter Library may be the first public library in the country to be built in bookstore style and is drawing rave reviews right here in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.
6. The National Park. Locals are obsessed with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hiking, fishing, horseback riding, camping…wildflowers, wildlife and walking…it isn’t just a commercial; we really love it. We recognize our great fortune to have this nationally-protected playground in our back yards. 2009 marks the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
7. Small Town Livin’. According to the 2000 Census, Gatlinburg had a population of only 3,828 nine years ago. And while new data will be available from the 2010 census, recent estimates put Gatlinburg’s current population around 5,400. That is a growth of over 40%, but it is still a tiny town by most folk’s standards. Along with that small population comes all of the great things about living in a small town: safer streets, a slower pace, and lots of green space.
8. Things to Do. There is never a shortage of things to do from hiking to mini-golf and fishing to roller coasters or shopping and dining. Locals can show Sevier County identification and receive a significant discount at many local attractions. So… the things to do are also very often affordable. For example, one week per year, locals can enter every Ripley’s attraction for free in exchange for canned good to support the local food bank.
9. Gatlinburg is Going Green. As stewards of the majestic Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the residents and business community of Gatlinburg are aware of the responsibility to be environmentally conscious about every aspect of life in the Smokies. Gatlinburg is pledged to pursue every opportunity to stay in touch with our environment and maintain the aesthetics which allow this gateway city to blend into our mountains. From Gatlinburg’s LED holiday lights to Sevier County’s alternative fuel trolleys, parade floats made from recycled and sustainable materials…we’re on our way. Track your carbon footprint!
10. The Bears. I know, I know…we’re supposed to love all of the Smoky Mountain creatures equally. But, I have to admit it is easier to love a beautiful, majestic American Black Bear than turkeys or salamanders or wild pigs. Zeno, the dancing bear, is even Gatlinburg’s beloved mascot. Your chance of seeing bears as a Gatlinburg resident are almost 100%. They will rummage through your trash if you’re not careful, and they’ve been known to be mischief makers. But, if you give bears the distance and respect they deserve, Gatlinburg can be a wonderful place to co-habitate with one of nature’s most awe-inspiring creatures. Please remember: Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces a bear, is illegal in the park. Violation of this federal regulation can result in fines and arrest. Use binoculars, telephoto lens, or a spotting scope to view the animals.
This blog is sponsored in part by ERA In The Smokies Realty and Rentals located at 207 Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN. For more information on a Gatlinburg Cabin for your Smoky Mountain Vacation or all the reasons to move to the Smokies, call 1-800-309-0277. ERA In The Smokies is a leader in chalet and Log Cabin Rentals and Real Estate Sales in the Gatlinburg area.