Thursday, July 5, 2012

Best Places to Buy Waterfront and Water-Accessible Property in Chattanooga

A view of the Tennessee River from Chickamauga Dam to Lookout Mountain
Copyright © NashvilleCorps - Creative Commons. 
The Tennessee River has been making Chattanooga attractive since it was first founded. In fact, it's founding goes hand in hand with the waterfront. Ross's Landing, now the site of the Tennessee Aquarium, is the riverfront spot Chattanooga's key pioneer John Ross first settled on in 1816. From the city's founding until the 1930s, the river played good cop and bad cop. It was the catalyst for the city's growth, making trade and manufacturing possible and contributing to Chattanooga's value to Union and Confederate troops during the Civil War. It was also a source of floods and outbreaks of yellow fever until TVA built the Chickamauga Dam as part of the New Deal during the Great Depression. With the dam, the rapids of Moccasin Bend were tamed and the Big Suck, a deadly whirlpool that threatened barges and steamships, lost its bite. The Chattanooga area also gained huge tracts of peaceful waterfront around Harrison Bay, Chickamauga Lake, and Lake Nickajack. Though originally manmade, these ecosystems are now unique and diverse enough to be featured in the Tennessee Aquarium's montage of the river's path from mountain creeks to the sea.
Chattanooga has no shortage of waterfront.

Suburbanites of yesteryear flocked to neighborhoods away from the river like Highland Park, St. Elmo, Lookout Mountain, and Signal Mountain to avoid the unpredictable downsides of the river. Today, suburbanites seek out the safe, amenity-packed communities along the lakefront, including Bal Harbor, Colonial Shores, Lake Shore Estates, Valleybrook, Big Ridge, and Sale Creek. Residents from all over the Chattanooga area enjoy socializing and recreating through the Chattanooga Yacht Club, Island Cove Marina, Lakeshore Marina, Harbor Lights Marina, and Valleybrook Golf and Country Club. State parks carve out some of the area for public use, including Chester Frost Park, Harrison Bay State ParkBooker T. Washington State Park, and Possom Creek Recreational Center. 

A paddle board yoga enthusiast does a headstand on Waconda Bay.
In addition to all the boaters and kayakers enjoying paddling, waterskiing, tubing, sailing, and good old fashioned cruising about, paddle boards have made a big splash in the area. Both SUP Paddle Boards and L2 Boards offer equipment for sale, classes, and group outings throughout local waters. Paddle board yoga classes are the latest craze ever since Zuddhi Yoga teamed up with SUP Paddle Boards to host the first classes at Greenway Farms in 2010. The trend quickly grew into a paddle board and yoga community, and another local business, Waconda Bay SUP Yoga, brought this unique combination to the Harrison area. These sports, once found only in West Coast waters, are a perfect fit for Chattanooga's miles of shoreline and rich natural diversity to be explored. Wildlife that would be spooked or startled by powerboats or noisy swimmers can be approached more closely and quietly by paddle boarders.

Unlike many waterfront areas, Chattanooga's lake-accessible neighborhoods aren't farflung from downtown. Most are within 30 minutes from the city center, and are very close to shopping centers in Hixon, East Brainerd, and Ooltewah. The city's two malls, Northgate and Hamilton Place (the later is Tennessee's largest) are located on either side of Chickamauga dam, easy to reach from any of the city's suburbs. Major highways also extend past each side of the waterfront area-- Highway 153 and Highway 111 to the West and I-75 to the East. These make commuting the city center a breeze, as well as heading out of town to Crossville, Cookville, Knoxville, Atlanta and beyond. Neighborhoods with easy access to the water or the many recreation areas also come at a wide variety of price points, making the area economically diverse and affordable for all. That doesn't detract from the quality of tax-supported services like schools, however. The public schools in these suburbs are some of the area's best.

Whether you are coming for the outdoors, the shopping, the spacious homes and neighborhoods, or the community and family-oriented amenities, the areas around Chickamauga Lake and Harrison Bay are hard to beat. They offer the best of suburban living without a loss of convenience, and are one of the best ways to enjoy Chattanooga's unique natural wonders year round. Whether you want a primary residence or a weekend and summer retreat, whether you have a lot to spend or a little, there's something for everyone in one of Chattanooga' defining areas.