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Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
3/8/17 9:20 a.m.

OK, Florida gets more than its fair share of shtick. We all know the next time someone posts a story about a druggy biting someone, a fatal shooting over a hamburger or a meth lab in a kind old ladies basement one of the first comments will be either ‘Why did I know this was Florida’ or ‘I’m surprised it’s not Florida’ Everywhere has it’s issues, let’s focus on the strengths.

This thread is idle speculation on my behalf. As my wife works outside in Michigan, every winter we spend at least a week in Florida or somewhere in the Caribbean every winter. We’ve done cruises; spent a week or more in Jamaica, Cozumel etc. We’ve spent weeks and weeks in Florida, mainly in the coastal more touristy areas and I used to go for work. My wife has spent extended periods of time in Palm Beach (the key, not West Palm Beach) We’re pretty familiar with Tampa/St Pete’s, Anna Maria, St Augustine, Naples, Key West and obviously Orlando and less familiar with Miami, Coco/Canaveral, Port St Joe and the peninsular, Apalachicola and have visited Pensacola and Tallahassee.

Obviously we’re sun seeking middle class Yankees, so we see mainly the best parts. I’ve never understood the hate. Not even the straight roads bother me too much as at least passing is easy and they are not covered in potholes like the frozen tundra of Detroit.

So, tell me Ladies and Gentleman, what gives? why the overwhelmingly negative vibe?

Now we’ve got the background out of the way, let’s talk retirement. We have the probably non feasible dream of retiring, at least in the snowy months, to a warm Caribbean island. Given the cost of everything on the islands, potential citizenship plus travel to and from being expensive on the islands, Florida seems like the easy button. Gee I wonder why millions of others do it too? This is all in the future, we’re still 15-20 years from retirement. But talking about retirement and where to live is something we’ve done since the day we met. So all this is hypothetical, but so are 50% of the 'what car' and build ideas on here so why not?

Given that we’re outdoor loving people. Love water, swimming, sailing, snorkeling (hopefully we can both get re-certified for diving now the kids are older) and being on/in the water, being on or close to the coast is essential, no inland communities. Also I damn well want to spend more time with cars post work so tracks, autocross and access to the FIRM is a must. One more thing. I don’t want to derail any conversation with politics, but the fact is I’m, by the standards of this country, ultra ultra liberal and getting more so as I get older. So anything like ‘The Villages’ which is considered a ‘must stop’ for every Republican presidential candidate isn’t going to work for me.
Is there some mythical quite key with access to culture, museums, water, race tracks, private beaches, protected from sea level rise and still affordable?

P.S. I’ve re-read chasing Amy and the various other ‘Florida’ threads already.

slefain
slefain PowerDork
3/8/17 9:29 a.m.

My friend lives in Miami. There are free range iguanas that hang out on this back porch. Some are huge. He's started naming them. That's all I got.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
3/8/17 9:35 a.m.

In reply to slefain:

Cheaper to have them on the deck than as a pet inside a glass aquarium! Can you BBQ them?

spitfirebill
spitfirebill UltimaDork
3/8/17 9:39 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: I don’t want to derail any conversation with politics, but the fact is I’m, by the standards of this country, ultra ultra liberal and getting more so as I get older.

You are dead to me

Seriously though, things could change a lot in 15-20 years. It certainly has in the past 15-20 years. It would be difficult to pick somewhere today that would be great 20 years from now. Fl doesn't have state income taxes and some food is not taxed (or wasn't years ago), but they tax the hell out of property. It has to come from somewhere.

I have a friend that has lived in Bradenton for years and loves it. My first boss has lived in Deland for many years and loves it. If I had to choose a place, it would likely be the panhandle on the gulf coast.

Tampa/St Pete/Clearwater years ago were the retirees heaven. I have no idea today. You could not pay me enough to live near Orlando.

pheller
pheller PowerDork
3/8/17 9:46 a.m.

I always felt that Florida wouldn't be so bad if its cities and their traffic were better. I like downtown Tampa. I like downtown Miami. I've heard good things about downtown Gainesville and even the conservative bastion of Tallahassee has a nice walkable downtown.

I guess my issue is that as a guy who needs solitutde occasionally, and who really enjoys mountain biking and riding bicycle off road, many of the cities are separated from green spaces. And getting to them after work, or on weekends means fighting traffic, which I can't stand. I'm a "quick ride after work" kinda guy, and I love being able to ride out my back door onto miles of trails.

Tallahassee and Gainesville are relatively close to state and local parks, and both have green belts. Ocala sits on the Cross Florida Greenway, which is MTB Meca for Floridians. Unfortunately, all the coastal cities completely lack this.

I've resolved that if I ever end up in Florida I'll either need to be on the beach and invest in a fat bike for sand riding, or I'll need to be within riding distance of a state park. Which means not being in one of the walkable downtown environments previously mentioned.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
3/8/17 9:55 a.m.

I've lived outside of Boston, Chicago and Denver. I've now lived in FL for 15 years and I love it. It's not for everyone, but if you enjoy the outdoors, boating, fishing, swimming and sun worshiping, FL is hard to beat.

My home is a 1500 sq ft, 3 bedroom / 2 bath on a 1/3 of an acre. The intercostal waterway is a block and a 1/2 from my front door--- the ocean about a 10 minute drive away. (1/2 hour by bicycle) My neighborhood is decent, but not fancy-- very little crime-- working class. My home is probably worth $150K at this point. The bang for the buck down here is incredible.

Most folks that throw hate at FL don't belong here. If you don't like the beach, don't like boating, fishing, or swimming....move to Kansas instead. Every place has it's positives and negatives--- if you take advantage of FL's positives, you'll love it. If you aren't an outdoorsy person---you likely will not like FL.

The bugs are worse in the Midwest than they are here. The heat in the Summer is oppressive, but (believe it or not) your body acclimates. We also don't wear much clothing here--- that helps.

I've loved every place I've lived--- as in my mind, everyplace is what you make of it. If you make the most out of what FL has to offer, it's really a great place to live.

Oh yeah--- and racing season is all year round, and you can ride a motorcycle in January without getting wind chill.

The Gulf Coast is full of retirees from the Midwest. Over here on the Atlantic side--- the "furriners" generally come from the Northeast. If you are looking for a quiet, nice town with a reasonable standard of living--- -look towards New Smyrna Beach, or Melbourne. Both are very nice areas, with lots of surfers, music and a laid-back lifestyle.

Politics wise--- the wealthy areas are generally red (Ponte Vedra Beach, Villages, Ocala horse country, Naples) and the rural middle of the state is VERY red. I'd imagine South FL is more blue---as there are so many Northeastern folks living there. Places like New Smyrna and Melbourne are mixed--- as most places are.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/8/17 10:02 a.m.

Adrian- some things I've heard/observed...

The panhandle is cheaper to live than the rest of the state. Apparently, it's remoteness from the rest makes it that way.

You mention Tampa/St. Pete- have you considered the direct opposite side? From Jacksonville down to Ft Lauderdale? I've wondered about cost on the east coast, too. I "know" a lot of cruisers who have retired to the Canaveral area of Florida. Another highlight to that side is GRM HQ. Which, I bet, would be a very entertaining retirement job that you probably have some serious qualifications for.

My issue is that I would miss things that we have come to love living in our town. Not sure if I can part with all of that or not.

(plus whatever we do in retirement, it would have to be a cost neutral swap- can't start a new mortgage)

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
3/8/17 10:25 a.m.

Done some on line calculators and in general places seem cost neutral with wear I live. I doubt that it would be a permanent year round move. My 'ideal' would be summer in Leelanau peninsular and turkey day through Easter somewhere warm. The house will be paid off years before retirement and I hope to have a couple of paid for rentals by then. That being the case it's easy to sell the main house here and buy a house up North, then either use the income from the rentals or sell one/both to fund a mortgage in Florida (insert warm watery location)

We have friends who have a place in Tampa area (hubby works there Monday through Thursday then comes home late Thursday, works from home Friday then returns early Monday) and know that side. I personally really like St Augustine but am concerned that it does get cold there being so far North and the plan would be to escape the cold.

What are the upper keys like, Key Largo etc.?

In reply to alfadriver: I expected that you would head to Perto Rico for the family?

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
3/8/17 10:29 a.m.
pheller wrote: I always felt that Florida wouldn't be so bad if its cities and their traffic were better. I like downtown Tampa. I like downtown Miami. I've heard good things about downtown Gainesville and even the conservative bastion of Tallahassee has a nice walkable downtown.

Once in retirement I don’t think rush hour traffic is such an issue. Walkability is very important.

pheller wrote: I guess my issue is that as a guy who needs solitude occasionally, and who really enjoys mountain biking and riding bicycle off road, many of the cities are separated from green spaces. And getting to them after work, or on weekends means fighting traffic, which I can't stand. I'm a "quick ride after work" kinda guy, and I love being able to ride out my back door onto miles of trails.
We live in the suburbs right now. In the future I’d like to live either in the middle of town or out in the sticks. Both have their attractions, and as per my previous post, I’d see the Up North Michigan place as the country so I’d be happy down town in Florida.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
3/8/17 10:31 a.m.
Joe Gearin wrote: Politics wise--- the wealthy areas are generally red (Ponte Vedra Beach, Villages, Ocala horse country, Naples) and the rural middle of the state is VERY red. I'd imagine South FL is more blue---as there are so many Northeastern folks living there. Places like New Smyrna and Melbourne are mixed--- as most places are.

So where is the blue zone?

Also I wonder how the politics of the state will change over time. In general people get more conservative as they age, but I and many other people I know are the opposite, we are getting further and further to the left. It will be interesting to see how political demographics will change over the next 20 years.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
3/8/17 10:33 a.m.
Joe Gearin wrote: My home is a 1500 sq ft, 3 bedroom / 2 bath on a 1/3 of an acre. The intercostal waterway is a block and a 1/2 from my front door--- the ocean about a 10 minute drive away. (1/2 hour by bicycle) My neighborhood is decent, but not fancy-- very little crime-- working class. My home is probably worth $150K at this point. The bang for the buck down here is incredible.

That sounds incredible, but people keep talking property taxes. I know I consider ours reasonable, but if you go 1/2 a mile from here into Birmingham they are nuts, and we have family in the Chicago suburbs and their property taxes seem criminal to me.

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
3/8/17 10:38 a.m.

A week in W. Palm Beach in July killed the deal for me.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
3/8/17 10:39 a.m.

In reply to iceracer:

Why?

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
3/8/17 10:44 a.m.

Temperature and humidity.

Even my daughter,who lives in Myrtle Beach doesn't go outside in the daylight hours in the summer.

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
3/8/17 10:50 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote:
Joe Gearin wrote: My home is a 1500 sq ft, 3 bedroom / 2 bath on a 1/3 of an acre. The intercostal waterway is a block and a 1/2 from my front door--- the ocean about a 10 minute drive away. (1/2 hour by bicycle) My neighborhood is decent, but not fancy-- very little crime-- working class. My home is probably worth $150K at this point. The bang for the buck down here is incredible.
That sounds incredible, but people keep talking property taxes. I know I consider ours reasonable, but if you go 1/2 a mile from here into Birmingham they are nuts, and we have family in the Chicago suburbs and their property taxes seem criminal to me.

Taxes in this area are not oppressive at all. Certainly nothing like Chicagoland--- which is criminal. "Blue" areas? Hmmm...... maybe Key West? Inner-city Miami? Florida is a mixed bag. I'd imagine Boca would be at least purple--- as it's very much a tropical NYC.

The_Jed
The_Jed PowerDork
3/8/17 10:52 a.m.

Great...now I'm daydreaming of selling all of our non-essential E36 M3, moving to Melbourne, Fl and working for Northrop Grumman. (That's the first place I found that had an opening for a machinist and seemed like a secure, viable employment option.)

mtn
mtn MegaDork
3/8/17 10:55 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote:
Joe Gearin wrote: My home is a 1500 sq ft, 3 bedroom / 2 bath on a 1/3 of an acre. The intercostal waterway is a block and a 1/2 from my front door--- the ocean about a 10 minute drive away. (1/2 hour by bicycle) My neighborhood is decent, but not fancy-- very little crime-- working class. My home is probably worth $150K at this point. The bang for the buck down here is incredible.
That sounds incredible, but people keep talking property taxes. I know I consider ours reasonable, but if you go 1/2 a mile from here into Birmingham they are nuts, and we have family in the Chicago suburbs and their property taxes seem criminal to me.

Don't forget, 40% of our governers since the 1960's have served in federal prison. 50% of those in the last 14 years.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
3/8/17 10:59 a.m.

DeLand is lovely--a small university town with a thriving downtown full of great shops, bars and restaurants. Lots of grandfather oak trees, and very walkable, which is rare in Florida, with tons of historic homes near the center. University life means you'll run into people who are left of Florida's very right-of-center politics, and may not even need to keep your voice down if you, say, espouse your love of public education while out and about.

It's near the St. John's river as well as Blue Spring, so plenty of boating and swimming potential. The Ocala National Forest (which is actually a scrub habitat with heavily managed timber production, so not as classically forest-y as northerners might imagine) is about 30 minutes away with more great springs, outstanding waterways and hiking/off-roading trails. Beach is about 30 minutes in the other direction.

That's where Tim, Tom and I all went to school. I still toy with the idea of retiring back over that way--it's about a half hour from GRM World HQ.

Margie

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/8/17 11:07 a.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: In reply to alfadriver: I expected that you would head to Perto Rico for the family?

Not going to happen. Unless there's a big shift in the healthcare down there. scary

pheller
pheller PowerDork
3/8/17 11:30 a.m.

I kinda wonder what Cuban vs Puerto Rican health care is like. From what I understand the health care in Cuba is quite good. We just can't live there.

Lof8
Lof8 HalfDork
3/8/17 11:39 a.m.

I was born and raised in Florida and I love it. There are all kinds of automotive/racing activities all year 'round and natural beauty, beaches, and water-related activities are unbeatable. I do wish we had some elevation changes, but we don't, unless you're up in the panhandle area. I wouldn't choose to live in the densely populated areas like Miami or the land-locked areas like Orlando.

I currently live in Bradenton and I love the proximity to sarasota and Tampa, the low cost of housing, the beaches and (mostly) beautiful weather. The traffic during "season" does get pretty annoying though.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson MegaDork
3/8/17 11:43 a.m.
Marjorie Suddard wrote: DeLand is lovely--a small university town.....

Showing my massive lack of Florida knowledge I was about to ask what DeLand was an abbreviation for. checked GooglyMooglyMaps and it's a real place! who knew. Reading up now.

mndsm
mndsm MegaDork
3/8/17 11:55 a.m.

sees no florida man, turns around, leaves

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
3/8/17 11:57 a.m.
pheller wrote: I kinda wonder what Cuban vs Puerto Rican health care is like. From what I understand the health care in Cuba is quite good. We just can't live there.

It would be an odd trade off.

From an economic standpoint, Puerto Rico is pretty much in a totally different standing to the rest of the islands. They have real industry there, few other islands have that (other than some banking havens). But vs. the US- it's the worst by a wide margin.

From a healtcare standpoint- it's very old school- where deference is always paid to the doctor. It was really hard to deal with, being demanding from up here. That, and the medicare/medicade rules mean the doctors get paid a lot less- there's a big shortage of doctors and nurses (many move to the northern 48 to practice).

It's a hard place to figure out, and between the healthcare, banking rules, and inheritance rules, I don't see me retiring anytime soon. The only family left are all above 70, most above 80.

The only thing I hear about Cuba is that they have great doctors, but the pay is so low that they do other work. That's just hearsay, and I have no proof for that. Doctors that are so good that they are actually finding better treatments for cancer than here.

dyintorace
dyintorace PowerDork
3/8/17 12:20 p.m.

I live in Gainesville, was born here and lived here up through high school. I returned ~14 years ago and love it. There is a LOT of good stuff going on in town, thanks to a big push by the city and university to improve relations and capitalize on technology coming out of the school. It is a very blue enclave in a red part of the state. Taxes are a bit higher in our county as a result, and electric rates are high too.

Thanks to the university, we get a ton of interesting events, performances, and, of course, college athletics. Retirees can even audit classes (I believe).

Downside is the distance to a true beach (~90 miles) and a true race track. Actually there isn't much automotive fun stuff locally (though we do host some crazy magazine's annual event ).

Lots of outdoor activity options, tons of springs and a LOT of freshwater lakes for boating, skiing, fishing, etc.

Visit Gainesville website

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