Discover Your Passion

You gaze across the Valley Beautiful as the scent of classic country cooking floats through the air on the tune of a steel guitar. Here, you’ll find your passion—the only hard part will be deciding what to pursue. With Asheville, North Carolina to the south and the upper regions of Northeast, Tennessee to the north, life in Unicoi County puts you at the center of it all, with access to most anything that interests you.

Great Outdoors

Mountain Music

Cooking & Culinary Arts

History & Craft

Plenty to Keep You Busy

About half of Unicoi County is in the Cherokee National Forest, so outdoor activities are a natural draw to the region. With a state and federal park within a county that also is home to the Appalachian Trail and one of the world’s top whitewater rivers, we’ve got you covered in beautiful surroundings. But there’s more than our outdoor offerings to feed your soul here in the foothills of our glorious mountains. With art, music, and so much more within your reach in our valley beautiful, you’ll never run out of things to do, see, or try when you live in Unicoi County.

If your mantra is “the best things in life are free,”  then Unicoi County is the right place to live, retire, or just visit. Unicoi County embraces those of any age who love to be active and outside. Erwin’s Linear Trail is a popular destination for those who love to run, bike, walk, or take a relaxing stroll. Running parallel to Interstate 26, the greenway includes a paved path traveling through peaceful wooded areas, along ponds, and over wetlands with chances along the way to take in the mountain views. In Erwin you’ll also find a skate park and playground, which offer a fun experience for families and youth. The Town of Unicoi’s Jack Snider Park & Pinnacle Trail invites you to explore a path to the top of a 3,520 foot high precipice tower that rewards you with a view of three states in one glorious moment.

The Nolichucky Outdoor Learning Institute’s mission is to celebrate the outdoors and help others learn. From kayaking, backpacking, and outdoor mapping skills to art, photography, stewardship, and conservation, NOLI lets you learn as you enjoy one of America’s great outdoor environments. Stay physically fit by learning more about our outdoor adventures, or simply chill out and embrace your new-found home at this unique learning center. Explore all the center has to offer and see what courses peak your interest.

Want to chase your passion as a country or gourmet cook, or create the next great food brand? Well roll up your sleeves and head to the Town of Unicoi’s Mountain Harvest Kitchen, where you’ll have the opportunity to explore the culinary arts. Established as a learning and incubation center for entrepreneurs wishing to start a food brand, Mountain Harvest Kitchen can help you build your own business plan and produce pilot scale products to kick-start your journey. If your passion is simply to hone your culinary skills, there are numerous classes covering a range of cooking topics. Want to have a place away from your own kitchen to can or freeze your bountiful garden harvest? Yes, Mountain Harvest Kitchen even offers affordable rates for renting their foodservice-scale kitchen for mass production of your favorite recipes. Check out their schedule of upcoming classes for ideas of how you could dive into the world of food. 

Ever dreamed of mastering the steel guitar or being center stage at the Grand Ole Opry? Get a glimpse of mountain music that sparked country music’s meteoric rise as America’s heartbeat. During the summer months, enjoy The Nolichucky Opry, Unicoi County’s free weekend concert series. But the musical offerings don’t stop there. Just up the road in nearby Bristol the Carter Family started country music and the area holds many historical sites. Even closer to Unicoi County is East Tennessee State University’s Old-Time and Country Music Studies Program, where country music superstar Kenny Chesney began his career as a student. Here, you can follow his path by enrolling.

The Clinchfield Railroad Museum, named for the beloved engine of a rail line that made Erwin known as a railroad town, is another point of interest to discover. Entrepreneurs of the early 20th century had a vision of a railroad that would bring coal from the mines of Kentucky and Virginia to the southern coast. A marvel of rail construction, the Clinchfield Railroad called Erwin its home. Join fellow railroad enthusiasts as a member of the Clinchfield Railroad Museum on the campus of the U.S. Forest Service Erwin Fish Hatchery. Here, you just might catch the delight of rail history.

>Speaking of history, did you know that Erwin’s Southern Pottery was a dominant source of dishware to some of America’s top retailers for a half century? Fired and hand-painted dishware and pottery was the rage of mid-20th century homemakers and it came from Erwin. Today, “Blue Ridge Pottery” are highly valued collector’s items around the globe. Learn how they did it with excellence, and talk yourself into a trade or purchase in a downtown Erwin shop. Or, celebrate the craftsmanship monthly as a member of The Blue Ridge Pottery Club and participate in their annual show.

Back in the day, Unicoi County was the first stop over the mountains from North Carolina. It’s where the young future President, Andrew Jackson, challenged Unicoi Countian, Colonel Robert Love, to a horse race to determine whose horse was the fastest in the land. The legendary race at Greasy Cove is memorialized in the county with a historic marker. By the way, Colonel Love’s horse won that race.

Just up the road in nearby Elizabethton you’ll find Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park. This park epitomizes the role that this part of the Appalachian Mountains played in the birth and expansion of our country. From Fort Watauga (the site of today’s park), pioneers became the Overmountain Men who won a pivotal Revolutionary War victory at the Battle of Kings Mountain. Join the ranks of reenactors of the park in their annual trek, learn ancient skills, or be a member of the cast of the annual outdoor drama.

Adjacent to Unicoi County is the Tipton-Haynes Historic Site. Join folks in reliving the foundation of Tennessee’s cessation from North Carolina (this is where the State of Franklin was established, until the North Carolina militia came calling). You can also join the ranks of reenactors at Rocky Mount State Historic Park, near Unicoi County, home of the capital of America’s Southwest Territory of the 1700’s. Check to see how you can get involved in keeping the spirit of America alive for the next generation of patriots. No historical experience would be complete without a visit to David Crockett Birthplace State Park, home to the hero of the Alamo, famous U.S. Congressman, and pioneer. Crockett and Andrew Jackson walked the streets of Tennessee’s oldest town, Jonesborough, where Jackson practiced law. The town’s heritage continues as a backdrop for Hollywood movies and is home to the National Storytelling Festival.

Discover Appalachia’s rich musical history and learn more about Unicoi County festivals where that musical heritage is celebrated each year.

Unicoi County has a thriving church and civic community. Whether you’re looking to connect spiritually with like-minded folks or just want to join a club, there are plenty of options for you here.

From the Nolichucky River and the Appalachian Trail to fun festivals and farming communities, Unicoi County is bursting with opportunities to get outside and learn something new!

Unicoi County and the surrounding region offer a variety of unique shopping and dining experiences. Make a day of it, and see what fun finds you’ll rustle up.

In Unicoi County you’ll find everything from private mountain homes to friendly town communities, so you can find the perfect spot to create your own personal paradise.

Live where you love, without making financial sacrifices. Take a look at how Unicoi County cost of living compares to your current hometown, or others you’re considering.