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Old 12-06-2010, 09:02 AM
 
371 posts, read 1,174,091 times
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If you are a family with young kids in public school, what area of Florida would you recommend to another family? What areas would you tell us to just scratch off the list right now?

Like everyone else, we want it all, starting with safety, affordability, and the best public schools (I only hear bad things about FL schools compared to the Northeast - what's the deal?).

We'd like a neighborhood with activities for children/families (including a good rec department) and lots of community family events. We like the small town feel (but not the sleepy suburb). Towns with character, walkable areas and with enough entertainment to be moderately self-contained. Beach would be GREAT! We also want fun for the grown-ups: open mic's, bars, poetry readings, drum circles, nightlife (for the middle-aged LOL), art, etc. We both work from home now, but if that were too ever go down the tubes, job prospects in Graphics (spouse) and Mental Health/ University teaching (self) would be a good safety blanket (if there's such a thing anymore).

Budget for housing would be about $300-$350k and we could use all the rooms we can get, as we both work from home and need home offices. Our ideal neighbors would be neither crunchy, militant liberals NOR straight-laced conservatives ... we think both sides of the argument suck and would love more live-and-let live attitude with a few rainbow flags flying in the wind LOL.

Apart from looking in Florida now, we have also looked at Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC and Frederick, MD. Towns that I have liked in the past (by living there) have included Northampton, MA and Rhinebeck, NY. Just for reference on how we're thinking.
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Old 12-06-2010, 09:19 AM
 
21,187 posts, read 30,351,954 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minier View Post
If you are a family with young kids in public school, what area of Florida would you recommend to another family? What areas would you tell us to just scratch off the list right now?

Like everyone else, we want it all, starting with safety, affordability, and the best public schools (I only hear bad things about FL schools compared to the Northeast - what's the deal?).

We'd like a neighborhood with activities for children/families (including a good rec department) and lots of community family events. We like the small town feel (but not the sleepy suburb). Towns with character, walkable areas and with enough entertainment to be moderately self-contained. Beach would be GREAT! We also want fun for the grown-ups: open mic's, bars, poetry readings, drum circles, nightlife (for the middle-aged LOL), art, etc. We both work from home now, but if that were too ever go down the tubes, job prospects in Graphics (spouse) and Mental Health/ University teaching (self) would be a good safety blanket (if there's such a thing anymore).

Budget for housing would be about $300-$350k and we could use all the rooms we can get, as we both work from home and need home offices. Our ideal neighbors would be neither crunchy, militant liberals NOR straight-laced conservatives ... we think both sides of the argument suck and would love more live-and-let live attitude with a few rainbow flags flying in the wind LOL.

Apart from looking in Florida now, we have also looked at Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC and Frederick, MD. Towns that I have liked in the past (by living there) have included Northampton, MA and Rhinebeck, NY. Just for reference on how we're thinking.
As someone who lived in Chapel Hill/Carrboro and loved it, I would say keep it at the top of your list. It's a great place to live. However if you want the beach/coastal lifestyle I'd recommend Safety Harbor, a neighboring suburb of Clearwater. It's central to both Tampa and the beaches, has a cute little downtown area, has excellent schools, a demographic similar to yourself and plenty of bang for the buck with lower home prices AND low taxes. Nice 4 bedroom/2 bath homes with a pool in well-established neighborhoods top out around 350K, most are in the lower 300s.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:21 PM
 
371 posts, read 1,174,091 times
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Thank you for the suggestion on Safety harbor, will look up information on it.

Any thoughts on Sarasota?
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:27 PM
 
Location: N.H Gods Country
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Northhampton Mass would be my bet out of those areas. It's a whole different world.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:46 PM
 
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Sarasota has some of the best schools in florida. We have a nice downtown and the beaches are impecible compared to most areas. It's really a dream out here. You have areas around your range at the Palmer Ranch which is a exclusive area to say the least.
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Old 12-06-2010, 12:57 PM
 
371 posts, read 1,174,091 times
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Ken, I should've clarified that Northampton and Rhinebeck were listed as examples of some of the towns I have loved - however, the weather takes those out of the running as we'd like to go south. I just wanted to give a sense of the towns I admire and felt like a good fit. Chapel Hill and Frederick are listed because we ARE considering them (and have visited).

I should've have also mentioned that we are not HOA people. I know it's hard to find homes outside of HOA/developments these day, but we are willing to be patient as that is a non-negotiable point for us.
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Old 12-06-2010, 01:28 PM
 
5,507 posts, read 9,272,770 times
Reputation: 2289
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minier View Post
If you are a family with young kids in public school, what area of Florida would you recommend to another family? What areas would you tell us to just scratch off the list right now?

Like everyone else, we want it all, starting with safety, affordability, and the best public schools (I only hear bad things about FL schools compared to the Northeast - what's the deal?).

We'd like a neighborhood with activities for children/families (including a good rec department) and lots of community family events. We like the small town feel (but not the sleepy suburb). Towns with character, walkable areas and with enough entertainment to be moderately self-contained. Beach would be GREAT! We also want fun for the grown-ups: open mic's, bars, poetry readings, drum circles, nightlife (for the middle-aged LOL), art, etc. We both work from home now, but if that were too ever go down the tubes, job prospects in Graphics (spouse) and Mental Health/ University teaching (self) would be a good safety blanket (if there's such a thing anymore).

Budget for housing would be about $300-$350k and we could use all the rooms we can get, as we both work from home and need home offices. Our ideal neighbors would be neither crunchy, militant liberals NOR straight-laced conservatives ... we think both sides of the argument suck and would love more live-and-let live attitude with a few rainbow flags flying in the wind LOL.

Apart from looking in Florida now, we have also looked at Chapel Hill/Carrboro, NC and Frederick, MD. Towns that I have liked in the past (by living there) have included Northampton, MA and Rhinebeck, NY. Just for reference on how we're thinking.
A place like Chapel Hill doesn't really exist in Florida. I lived in CH and loved it. We would have stayed if our families were not in Florida. The only place we considered moving to in Florida was Gainesville because we always planned to live in a college town and it's the only real one in FL. That being said it's not quite CH and having gone to school at UF was also one reason for coming back.

One other note. In Chapel Hill 300-350k doesn't get you much. It's very very pricey to live there in terms of taxes/housing. You also might find CH too liberal as it's the definition of crunchy. You can find a protest on the corner about every week about some issue. Don't be fooled because of the high income/housing. Those 800k homes have Obama bumper stickers on their cars.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:41 AM
 
371 posts, read 1,174,091 times
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Quote:
One other note. In Chapel Hill 300-350k doesn't get you much. It's very very pricey to live there in terms of taxes/housing. You also might find CH too liberal as it's the definition of crunchy. You can find a protest on the corner about every week about some issue. Don't be fooled because of the high income/housing. Those 800k homes have Obama bumper stickers on their cars.
Gatornation, we have visited Chapel Hill twice now. While we loved many aspects of it, I know EXACTLY what you are talking about.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:49 AM
 
5,507 posts, read 9,272,770 times
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Originally Posted by Minier View Post
Gatornation, we have visited Chapel Hill twice now. While we loved many aspects of it, I know EXACTLY what you are talking about.
Since you mentioned the politics part I figured if you had not been it would have been easy to assume that with such high prices CH wouldn't be so liberal.

Taking family out of the equation we'd be living in Chapel Hill right now
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:53 AM
 
11,636 posts, read 20,435,121 times
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Originally Posted by Gatornation View Post
Since you mentioned the politics part I figured if you had not been it would have been easy to assume that with such high prices CH wouldn't be so liberal.

Taking family out of the equation we'd be living in Chapel Hill right now
The FL schools are really bad.
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