You’ve heard it said many times before: “Bristol is a good place to live.” And it’s true! It’s so true that it hangs over the train tracks, serving as a gentle reminder to every Bristolian as they travel home from work that the place they live truly is good. Throw in Kingsport and Johnson City and together the Tri-Cities are a great place to be.
Travel lovers love living in the Tri-Cities! Popular daytrip locations such as Asheville, NC, Charlottesville, VA, and Blowing Rock, NC are all less than two hours away. The opportunities for adventuring outdoors seem endless, with the surrounding lakes and rivers and the Appalachian Trail close by. Hiking options such as Grayson Highlands, Bays Mountain, Roan Mountain, and Buffalo Mountain can be found in and close by each city. For longer trips, the Tri-Cities Regional Airport sits almost directly in the center of the Tri-Cities.
The first point in the triangle of cities, Kingsport, home to Eastman Chemical Company and Funfest, is a good place to buy a home. Kingsport is made up of many smaller communities, such as Indian Springs, Colonial Heights, and Lynn Garden to name a few. The Kingsport City school system feeds into Dobyns Bennett High School and is a selling point for families in and moving to the Tri-Cities. Home values in Kingsport vary from street to street, and neighborhood to neighborhood. Kingsport is a great place for all demographics, from young single professionals, to empty-nesters.
Big manufacturing companies such as Eastman and Domtar help to give Kingsport its value. While it has no actual college of its own, Kingsport houses The Academic Village, where many satellite campuses such as King University, East Tennessee State University, and the University of Tennessee provide classes to Kingsport residents. Kingsport is home to many popular chain restaurants and retail stores, but if you’re looking for that “shop local” feel, we would suggest the Mercantile on Broad in downtown Kingsport, and for dinner, Pratt’s Barbeque or the Purple Cow.
Johnson City, the second city in the Tri-Cities, is home to East Tennessee State University, a popular college choice for young adults all over the East Tennessee region. Johnson City was also named one of the best places to retire in Tennessee, shortly followed by Bristol and Kingsport. Johnson City brings that perfect college town feel with popular college hot spots such as a few Starbucks locations, a First Watch Daytime Café, and a massive Forever 21, which is located in the Johnson City Mall. Johnson City has a huge shop local feel, and plenty of locally-owned restaurants, breweries, and coffee shops.
Housing in Johnson City is a slightly different feel with the college in town so it is mostly populated with apartment complexes, and bigger old homes in the neighborhoods surrounding ETSUr are also mostly converted into apartments and duplexes. However, some bigger residential neighborhoods are scattered throughout the city, a well-known one being the “Tree Streets” neighborhood. This neighborhood is one for families who want to invest in good property value and be close to everything in Johnson City.
Last but not least, Bristol, home to the Rhythm and Roots festival every year in September, is packed full of the southern small-town character and charm. Shopping with small businesses and supporting local restaurants is important to all Bristolians. Downtown Bristol is flourishing with small boutiques, local breweries, and live music. Bristol is also home to the world’s fastest half-mile (Can we get a “Dale Yeah”?)! For two weeks in the year, one in the spring and one in fall, Bristol hosts Nascar fans from all over with exceptional Bristol-style southern hospitality.
The Fairmount neighborhood streets, just off of downtown, is lined with historic homes of all shapes and sizes, all surrounding King University. Some of these homes have been transformed into apartments and duplexes housing college students and young families, while other houses make great family homes. This neighborhood sits in the Bristol City school zone, which is a big appeal to most Bristol residents with children. We love the character of these old homes, and whenever we get a chance, we love to move into the neighborhood! We bring our modern touches to the homes while keeping the architectural elements true to the home – all these old homes need is a little TLC to be made New Again! (And maybe an updated heat pump.)
For anyone wanting to experience the perfect small town weekend getaway, we would recommend stopping in for an iced latte at Bloom Café and Listening Room, browsing the local shops such as Virginia Vintage Interiors, and Studio 6 Apparel, and painting your own pottery piece at Kiln’ Time. For dinner, be sure to visit 620 State Restaurant for some amazing Asian or classic American dishes, or Quaker Steak and Lube just across the street to try wings of all temperatures. Wind down at one of Bristol’s many local breweries on either side of the state line or visit Bristol Virginia’s famous Blackbird Bakery for a donut or a slice of cake and some live music by local performers, and then gaze at the stars from the Lumac Rooftop Bar at the Bristol Hotel and spend the night in one of the 65 boutique rooms. Enjoy breakfast in bed the next morning made by Vivian’s Table, and then stroll next door to the Birthplace of Country Music Museum for some souvenirs to take home.