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Old 03-24-2014, 09:31 AM
 
124 posts, read 160,448 times
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I am relocating this fall, and am narrowing down my search! I have lived in Tampa, and Orlando...Not the right places. I'm looking for a safe place to raise my child, with a health conscience vibe, and a bit of an artsy, eccentric feel would be lovely. I like the Fernandina area, but am concerned about the two paper mills there, and reports of terrible pollution (like, can't go outside bad).

Where would you guys say fits the bill?

Many, many thanks!!
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:40 AM
 
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Check out Stuart which has the feel I think you might be looking for along with good schools (ranked #3 in the state out of 67 districts) and safe neighborhoods.

Home | Historic Downtown StuartHistoric Downtown Stuart | Downtown Business Association of Stuart, Inc.

Last edited by kyle19125; 03-24-2014 at 10:51 AM..
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:47 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,486 posts, read 19,942,775 times
Reputation: 2804
You should check out Sarasota county.

This area has a wonderful art community with Towles Court Artist Colony, the many art galleries around, every town has a local art center, there are art festivals going on almost weekly, Ringling School of Art & Design and many resources for artists.

There are many cultural activities, festivals and music events in the area. Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Asolo Theater, The Sarasota Opera, Concerts, Ringling Museum (which I believe is free on Monday's), Circus Sarasota, Sarasota Ballet are some of the many venues and events. Siesta Key and Nokomis Beach both have drum circles on various nights in the evening. Sarasota county has free summer concerts in the park.

Punta Gorda Farmers Market: http://www.puntagordashopping.com/farmersmarket.html
Sarasota Farmers Market: http://www.sarasotafarmersmarket.org/
Siesta Key Farmers Market: http://www.siestafarmersmarket.com/
Venice Farmers Market: http://venicefloridafarmersmarket.com/

The Sarasota area is also very kid friendly. We have GWIZ a science museum that caters to kids. The Children's Garden, a whimsical outdoor play area for children. Then there's Jungle Gardens, which is one of the oldest attractions in FL and has flamingo feeding, bird shows, alligators and many other various animals. Spanish Point is a historical site where they have Indian mounds, early pioneer homes and a lots of summer activities for kids. There are YMCA's in every city from Bradenton to Port Charlotte. Sarasota has Mote Marine Aquarium, which gives a wonderful look at the native sea life. They also to a great job with rehabilitating injured animals and returning them back to the gulf. Bradenton has the South FL Museum, Bishop Planetarium and the Parker Aquarium. Stop by and say "hi" to SW FL's very own manatee, Snooty. The Big Cat Habitat in Sarasota is a wonderful place to visit and see the amazing job Rosaire's do with the animals.

Sarasota and Charlotte counties have some of the best schools in the state and also have Pine View School for the gifted, which is one of the top in the nation. It is a public school and the requirements are that you live in Sarasota county, have an IQ of 130 or more, pass the achievement tests required and have teacher recommendations. I have a child who attends PV. It's a great school but it's not for every kid. It services grades 2nd-12th. Here's some more info on that subject:
Welcome to Pine View School
Pine View School - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pine View wraps up perfect Olympics | HeraldTribune.com | Sarasota Florida | Southwest Florida's Information Leader
America's Best High Schools: Gold Medal List - US News and World Report

Sarasota ranks as one of the top districts in the state by a number of measures, including test scores, graduation rates and teacher compensation.

It offers distinctive programs tailored to different student needs, including Florida's only school for the gifted, the state's largest special needs school and one of a handful of career-focused high schools.

There are many other fantastic schools in Sarasota and Manatee county's. Here's a website where you can see how the schools are rated:
School Accountability Report...
or www.GreatSchools.com

Good luck with your search

Last edited by SoFLGal; 03-24-2014 at 11:03 AM..
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Pompano Beach, FL
389 posts, read 502,776 times
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I'd planned to suggest Stuart, but Kyle's excellent post beat me to it. The arts scene is about as vibrant as it gets in a small town and the downtown is compact, but lively. And Jensen Beach, which is a few minutes to the north, is just as artsy, maybe even more so. Martin County is low-growth by Florida standards and very environmentally conscious -- the populace has a real appreciation for the waterways and wetlands -- so you won't have to worry about stinky, unhealthy paper mills or anything else. Health care options are abundant and good because of the large retiree population.

Even though my home is in Fort Lauderdale, I had a job from 2010-12 that kept me in Stuart from Monday through Friday, and I thoroughly enjoyed the part-time experience.

Last edited by Papillons2; 03-24-2014 at 11:10 AM..
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:22 AM
 
124 posts, read 160,448 times
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I will check out Stuart. I absolutely love Sarasota, but I'm afraid I won't be able to afford the cost of living. My budget is $700 at the very most for a one bedroom.
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:39 AM
 
10,575 posts, read 10,860,316 times
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I would say Sarasota or winter park
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,486 posts, read 19,942,775 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Get_Glowing View Post
I will check out Stuart. I absolutely love Sarasota, but I'm afraid I won't be able to afford the cost of living. My budget is $700 at the very most for a one bedroom.
I think Sarasota would be a great area for you but I do think $700 would be a difficult budget. Not impossible but very difficult.
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Old 03-24-2014, 11:45 AM
 
Location: on the edge of Sanity
14,269 posts, read 15,918,114 times
Reputation: 7899
Quote:
Originally Posted by Get_Glowing View Post
I am relocating this fall, and am narrowing down my search! I have lived in Tampa, and Orlando...Not the right places. I'm looking for a safe place to raise my child, with a health conscience vibe, and a bit of an artsy, eccentric feel would be lovely. I like the Fernandina area, but am concerned about the two paper mills there, and reports of terrible pollution (like, can't go outside bad).

Where would you guys say fits the bill?

Many, many thanks!!
Have you considered Gainesville? UFL is there so you have a lot of events focused around education and the arts. (and football, of course!)

You said "artsy" but didn't mention "diversity" or "multicultural." Gainesville has an exciting mix of people from all backgrounds.
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Old 03-25-2014, 06:06 AM
 
21,202 posts, read 30,404,475 times
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^^^ Gainesville might be the best bet yet as I had overlooked the $700 rental budget which could be an issue in Stuart or one of the other options mentioned in terms of attaining nicer housing. Since we're talking college towns you might also consider Tallahassee which in my opinion has more of an eccentric feel in terms of it's downtown and arguably even more of an arts community given it's larger size (population 185K versus Gainesville's 125K). Your budget would do quite well there as well. The only drawback of either location is the lack of a "Florida feel" as if you didn't know you you were in Florida might think you could be in Georgia for example given the topography/vegetation and overall aesthetic. If consistent warmer weather isn't much an issue (winters can be quite cold in both, especially Tallahassee), then you could have a couple of good options.
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:33 AM
 
2,932 posts, read 4,017,744 times
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Mt. Dora might work. There's an apartment complex there where you could do about 750 for a 2 bedroom. Neat little small town.
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