On the northeastern state line of Tennessee, Unicoi County experiences four incredibly beautiful seasons displayed among our gorgeous mountains.
Unicoi County makes you feel at home, with its mountaintop atmosphere and friendly folks. The community is well known for its unspoiled culture of music, good food and natural outdoor beauty, recently featured in a New York Times article, “Where the Hills and Hollows are Alive with Music.” Excellent outdoor sporting opportunities abound, from fishing and paddling to hiking on the Appalachian Trail at your leisure, all with easy access within the county.
Life in Unicoi County is comfortable, affordable and peaceful. Step outside your door to take in ample outdoors activities, with easy access to the mountains and authentic culture. Dine at local eateries, enjoying homemade meals served by people who call you by name. Go shopping, locally and regionally, without the hassle of traffic. Outlet browsing is within an hour’s drive.
When you stop to look around in Unicoi County, you’ll find that people notice you, happy to help you. Newly reconstructed downtown Erwin offers independently owned shops that feature antiques, collectibles, and vintage clothing and jewelry. Lunch at one of the original drugstores, or shop for gift items. A local hardware store, just off Main, is a daily hive of activity. The third-generation, family-owned movie theatre on Main Avenue has first-run films and, along the same street, you’ll discover restaurants and a coffee house with Wi-Fi or new friends waiting to make your acquaintance.
Just up from Unicoi Town Hall, the local hardware store is the morning gathering place, and shoppers will want to look at a few of the stores along the way. Local favorite roadside restaurants offer home-cooked, made-to-order food and breakfast all day. Department store and major chain shopping is fifteen minutes away on I-26 in Johnson City.
Discover our music culture—including world-renowned Scots-Irish bluegrass, two local symphony orchestras and numerous performances offered in the region—including the East Tennessee State University Performing Arts Center, the Mary B. Martin School of the Arts and the Niswonger Performing Arts Center.
Every October, Erwin’s Main Avenue is filled with throngs of people visiting the annual Apple Festival where apple products, crafts and regional art abound. Many visitors attending the National Storytelling Festival in Washington County enjoy both festivals, only minutes apart from one another. Each May, the Strawberry Festival in Unicoi features locally grown Scotts Strawberries. The Iris Festival, celebrated on the same weekend, is thirty minutes away in Greene County.
On Friday nights, from April to October, downtown Erwin hosts events focused on antique car owners with live music provided by regional musicians. Unicoi’s Bowman-Bogart Cabin features outdoor movie nights, old-fashioned egg hunts for the family and other community events. Summertime brings the Blue Plum Festival to neighboring Washington County. In September, the music continues at the Buffalo Valley Music Festival in Unicoi.
Unicoi County is home to Tennessee’s newest state park, 2,000-acre Rocky Fork State Park, offering breathtaking views, wildflower and fauna hiking opportunities, and waterfalls within the Cherokee National Forest. Tennessee is developing rustic camping and park interpretation facilities in the park in the next few years. The 2,000-acre park is part of 10,000 acres purchased by the Conservation Fund in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service in order to preserve the pristine environment, blue-ribbon streams for native trout, and natural game animal habitat.
The U.S. Forest Service offers camping and recreational facilities in Rock Creek Park, near Erwin and Unicoi. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, the wooded camping area offers electric hook-ups; RV, tent and picnic sites with grills; and bathhouses—a retreat close to town, but worlds away. The small, creek-fed swimming area and hiking trails are an easy escape to the deep woods and cool temperatures among the tall oaks and hemlocks. Acoustic music fills the woods in the evening during the summertime campfire program, sponsored by a local civic club.
Unicoi County hosts hikers as an official Appalachian Trail (AT) Community, with five points of access to the AT. Regional trails also are within a fifteen- to thirty-minute drive. Waterfalls abound in the entire region, allowing for excellent opportunities to hike to incredible falls and vistas. Rocky Fork Falls, Red Fork Falls, Spivey Falls, Upper Creek Falls are among many in the county, with numerous more amid the region’s three national forests.
Fish Rocky Fork to experience some of the best trout fishing in the southeast, with additional streams stocked with fish from the Erwin U.S. National Fish Hatchery. Find great fishing in Nolichucky River, Boone Lake, Watauga Lake and South Holston. Play on the greens at Buffalo Valley Golf Course, Pine Oaks Golf Course, Elizabethton Golf Course, Johnson City Country Club and Blackthorn Club.
The hottest ticket in NASCAR, racing at Bristol Motor Speedway, is forty minutes away and Charlotte Motor Speedway is three hours away. East Tennessee State University football, basketball, baseball, soccer, volleyball, track and field are fifteen minutes away. And, Unicoi County is approximately one hour and thirty minutes from the University of Tennessee, placing it within easy reach for more sporting events.
Paddling sports in the area include canoeing, kayaking and whitewater rafting. Visitors travel from all over the world to whitewater raft and paddle in the Nolichucky River and the mountain rivers throughout the region. Boating and sailing is available on TVA lakes in the region, including Boone, Watauga and South Holston, situated about thirty minutes from Unicoi County.
Unicoi County offers excellent transportation access, providing metropolitan amenities only minutes away in a region of 509,000 people. Tri-Cities Regional Airport serves the region with direct flights all day and evening to Atlanta and Charlotte for connecting national and international flight service. Residents of Unicoi often remark that they are living in the middle of breathtaking mountain views every day—all within minutes of metropolitan amenities and outstanding healthcare.
Examples of 200k Homes
Unicoi County is only fifteen minutes away from award-winning healthcare facilities within the Mountain States Health Alliance system of hospitals, the U.S. Veteran’s Administration’s Mountain Home Medical Center, many working with the region’s East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine and Gatton College of Pharmacy. A new local hospital, Unicoi County Memorial, will be constructed beginning 2017, to replace the existing facility. We also have Johnson City Medical Center and Franklin Woods Community Hospital.
The average precipitation for Unicoi County is 45.4” of rainfall and the average snowfall is 5.4”. The county averages about 201 sunny days per year. The average summer temperature is 73 degrees, and the average winter temperature is 40 degrees (December-February).
Tax & Living Expenses
Recently, Tennessee earned a number-one spot among states considered prime retirement locations in a Bankrate.com study. Ranked by data such as climate, tax rates, cost of living and access to health care, Tennessee has a cost of living 9.6% below the national average.
Our state and local tax burden is the third lowest in the nation, with residents enjoying no income tax except on interest and dividends. State sales tax is 7%; 6% for food.
Tennessee has no state property tax. Property taxes are locally determined and collected.
The median home value index in Unicoi County is $199,000.
East Tennessee State University, located fifteen minutes away in Johnson City, Tennessee, offers a full spectrum of educational opportunities. Northeast State Community College’s newest campus is located in downtown Johnson City and offers a wide variety programs with transfer agreements to many other institutions. Private colleges in the area include Milligan College, King University, Tusculum College and Emmanuel School of Religion.
Experience Living in Unicoi County
After a full career in the U.S. Navy, having lived in both Hawaii and California, Unicoi County has become home. I can hike throughout our mountains or along the Appalachian Trail, participate in outdoor sports, relax in the garden we began on our small farm, or golf with a small group of friends, and only be minutes away from everything that we might need in a growing metro region. I have access to veteran services at Mountain Home Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, just minutes away in Johnson City. Here, I have a chance to escape, have some quiet on my schedule. But, I also make every opportunity to get involved by sharing what I’ve been given, such as becoming a leader for Boy Scouts of America or working with local organizations. Plus, if we want to travel, we have easy access to flights or I-26. We’re home and happy to be here in the green, cool Appalachian Mountains.- U.S. Navy Sailor, Retired
We are native Floridians, both professionals. With my wife’s retirement approaching in 2011, we spent more than two years looking in four states for a small horse farm surrounded by mountains. On many three-day weekends, we searched in North Georgia, Middle Tennessee, northern South Carolina, western North Carolina and Northeast Tennessee. We wanted urban amenities in a rural setting. Finally, we found a place. We knew the minute that we saw the property that it was what we’d been looking for. It was home.- Court and Margaret Lewis, native Floridians
Unicoi County can take some of the hassle out of your lifestyle visit. We have arranged discounts with select hotels and have coordinated VIP treatment for our visitors with participating development partners (subject to availability).
Discover Tennessee Tour
Tennessee’s array of amenities will please any interest. Whether you enjoy a active lifestyle or prefer a more leisurely pace, Tennessee provides natural beauty, a mild climate, urban conveniences and rural peacefulness.
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