A Day at the Beach with Ice Cream on Top! Yes, You’re in East Tennessee.

The beach at Cherokee Dam is free to use, and it has some unique features that are appealing, especially for families with young kids!


So, you’re considering moving your family to Jefferson County in East Tennessee. Like much of the land in this area, there are beautiful, rolling hills, great views and even lakefront property if you like living in the country, and if you prefer town life there are quaint, historic houses near Carson-Newman College as well as modern subdivisions nearby.

But what can you do with your family? There are lots of fun, affordable (in some cases, even free!) activities in this fair county to help you make lasting memories. One of the local favorites is the beach at Cherokee Dam, just minutes from downtown Jefferson City.

The Tennessee Valley Authority maintains multiple dams in our corner of the Southeast USA for the purpose of generating power to residents. The lakes created, as well as surrounding land, provide tons of recreation for swimmers, campers, picnic-ers, day-trippers…all for free, or for a nominal access fee, depending on the site. Click: here for a list of swim beaches maintained by the TVA.

beach in jefferson city
The parking area, with the beach and Cherokee Lake just beyond. Picnic areas are up and to the left.

The beach at Cherokee Dam is free to use, and it has some unique features that are appealing, especially for families with young kids! There is a sandy beach at the edge of the water, a stone-walled public bathroom, and many lunch spots complete with picnic tables and even grills—charcoal not included! You can stroll over the dam itself and get an amazing view of Cherokee lake on one side and the steep back end of the dam on the other side. There are walking paths mown into the grassy fields stretching away from the parking lot at the beach, too. In one morning you could get in a swim, a walk, a view and a lunch before heading back to town! Oh, and there are great swings under the tall trees, a few yards up the hill from the water. They are the really tall kind that remind me of my childhood, so you can swing a long, swooping arc while the sparkling water and shady trees seem to tilt around you…or, I guess your kids could swing, too, while you take a break with your camp chair and your novel!

Reserve a bit of energy after your day at the beach, because it wouldn’t really be complete without award-winning ice cream. That’s right, award-winning! No typical store-bought here! Drive the five minutes or so it takes to get from the beach to The Creek Café, located in the historic Mossy Creek section of Jefferson City. Click: here for the website. The ice cream comes fresh from The Apple Valley Creamery. Click: here to visit their website.

“Voted best ice cream in East Tennessee by WBIR TV and ranked #1 local restaurant on Trip Advisor.”

For more information about the renovation of the historic building housing the café, click:  here. Jefferson City really is a special place, with motivated people working hand-in-hand to help revitalize this historic town. Trust me, you can taste the community love in the amazing ice cream!


110 E Old Andrew Johnson Hwy

Jefferson City, TN 37760

(865) 308-9084



Considering Retirement? Consider East Tennessee!

Tennessee transplants are often pleasantly surprised at how much further their dollars stretch here.

Lovely fall leaves, inspiring spring flowers, sunny summer days and just enough snow to make winter deserve the name…East Tennessee wears all four seasons beautifully. Add to this soaring mountains, rolling valleys, woods, creeks, and lakes, and this is the ideal environment to enjoy retirement.

pretty field

But there are practical reasons to retire to East Tennessee, too. Here’s what Marketwatch.com had to say:

“Tennessee recently earned the number-one spot among top retirement states in a Bankrate.com study, which ranked states by such data as climate, tax rates, cost of living and access to health care.”

Tennessee transplants are often pleasantly surprised at how much further their dollars stretch here. Daily necessities like food and utilities are several points below the national average. Housing costs fall in at 23.7 points below the national average! All together, cost of living in the Volunteer state ranks at 9.7% below the national average.  Click here to start comparing the numbers: retiretennessee.org.

It’s one thing to discuss lower cost, but what about quality of life? Anybody can downgrade to eating Ramen noodles for every meal and save money, or stay in day after day to avoid spending on recreation and entertainment. In Tennessee, you don’t have to. The quality of life vs. cost of living ratio is very favorable here. Temperate weather means you can enjoy golf most of the year, hike the Smoky Mountains, fish and boat on the myriad of lakes and rivers…do all the things that make retirement so rewarding, without draining your resources.

More than just an affordable place to live in terms of what things cost, Tennessee is listed on Kiplinger.com as a tax-friendly state for retirees:

“There’s no state income tax, so salaries, wages, Social Security benefits, IRA distributions and pension income are not taxed.”

Click here to compare for yourself: Kiplinger.com.

But what about healthcare?

Moving to the rural lifestyle is peaceful, but worry over adequate healthcare and emergency services can ruin the ambience. Worry not. There are award-winning hospitals in Knoxville and the Tri-Cities, and excellent medical facilities in Morristown, Jefferson City, Rogersville…in fact, in most areas of East Tennessee, you’re never more than a quick drive to medical care.

Even rural areas, such as Grainger County, have efficient and skilled emergency medical services, with ambulances at your door within minutes, when you need them. For life-threatening situations where every second counts, the University of Tennessee LifeStar emergency helicopter serves a 150-mile radius around its Knoxville, Tennessee headquarters. Even areas as remote as Hancock County, a rural northeast corner of the state, are serviced by its cutting-edge, life-saving technology.

For more information about LifeStar, click here: utmedicalcenter.org.

Routine health maintenance is easily accessible, too. With Lincoln Memorial University’s program in Osteopathy (in Harrogate, Tennessee) and the University of Tennessee’s medical programs, our rural and urban areas alike have an abundance of well-trained physicians. There is also a medical college and Veteran’s Hospital in Johnson City.

Add to this a growing list of chiropractors, massage therapists, acupuncturists and other holistic healthcare providers, who are also attracted by the beautiful surroundings and low cost of living, and you’ll find that your options for well-rounded healthcare maintenance are quite diverse!

For a sampling of holistic healthcare professionals in Knoxville, click here: Holistic-alternative-practitioners.com.

For a list of best hospitals in East Tennessee, click here: Health.usnews.com.



Once a week we’ll be posting about life in our beautiful corner of southern Appalachia!

Welcome to DarleneReevesKline.Wordpress.com, your new source for information about culture, lifestyle and, of course, real estate right here in East Tennessee. Once a week we’ll be posting about local businesses, festivals, and great things to do in our beautiful corner of southern Appalachia! We’ll also give you useful information about our state’s low taxes and low cost of living, which makes it the perfect place to start a family or enjoy retirement to the fullest.

Visit http://www.darlenereeves-kline.com/ for local listings.

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beach in jefferson city