One of the things I love best about Knoxville is that we have four distinct seasons. Growing up in Anchorage, Alaska, I experienced plenty of snow and cool weather but very few green spring days and even fewer autumn evenings. My sister still lives about five miles from where we grew up, and almost every October I ask her if she’s switched to her winter tires. Don’t get me wrong: Alaska is gorgeous! But if you love a hot, humid summer complete with sweet tea on the screened-in porch, Tennessee is the place to be.
I left Alaska to attend college at the University of San Francisco and enjoyed the Bay Area immensely. It was in San Francisco that I first discovered my love of homes and architecture. Modern homes with contemporary styling, row-style housing, and Victorian homes with their intricate details seemed novel and a little breathtaking at the time. The creative colors and design contrasted with the very basic, utilitarian design of the houses I’d grown up with in Anchorage.
When I finished my degree, I moved to New Mexico and discovered even an even greater variation in design and structure when I visited towns that boasted adobe everything! Even though I only spent a year in Albuquerque and never became comfortable with the unrelenting, dry heat, I came to appreciate the culture and cuisine particular to that area.
My next move took me to Pennsylvania, snowy winters, and sweltering summers. It was in Pennsylvania that I realized I LOVE the smell and sound of rain on pavement, rolling green mountains, and fall color. It didn’t matter that my partner and I lived in an attic apartment without air conditioning, it was all fabulous!
After three years in Pennsylvania, we made the move to Tennessee. In case it’s not already evident, I’m a huge fan of Knoxville. The winters are mild, the area is rich in local activities and culture, we have lots of restaurants and shopping options, great schools, and—best of all—beautiful houses that are actually affordable. My kids have enjoyed soccer, swimming, taekwondo, dance classes, hiking in the Smokies, Dollywood, trips to the aquarium, day trips to neighboring cities, and so much more. I’ve enjoyed meeting people native to the area along with others from all over the world. I’m pretty sure Knoxville is the only city where I can drive an hour in either direction and find the world’s fastest supercomputer, glassblowers, clockmakers, Dolly Parton, the Body Farm, and the most-visited national park—the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When I hear the phrase “love where you live” I think of home, and my true home is Knoxville.