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Old 02-06-2016, 09:14 AM
 
8 posts, read 12,046 times
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Hello everyone! My husband and I are looking to retire in a small (under 20,000 pop.) town that has low crime, low traffic, good healthcare close by, good shopping and an actual *downtown.* So far, we've seen and liked the following towns: St. St. Augustine, New Smyrna Beach, Mt. Dora, Sebastian, Punta Gorda, and Venice. We are planning another FL trip this Spring and are wondering if Inverness should be on our radar? If not, any recommendations for other areas that offer what we'd like?


All comments appreciated!
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Old 02-06-2016, 09:57 AM
 
21,121 posts, read 30,210,890 times
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Inverness is pretty quiet and in terms of downtown areas pales in comparison to your other options. I know for a fact that St Augustine and New Smyrna Beach get buried in tourist/beach traffic much of the year, so based on that criteria I would consider whittling them from your list. For a town with St Augustine-like feel you might check out Fernandina Beach, just north of Jacksonville. It has a beautiful historic downtown area loaded with charm, much less traffic and is an easy 30 minute drive to top-rate medical facilities in Jacksonville (Mayo Clinic and University Of Florida-Shands). Another overlooked option is Stuart. It too has a very nice/charming downtown area and that small town feel you're looking for. There are plenty of services nearby (doctors/hospitals/shopping) minus the massive tourism or snowbird traffic influx seen in some areas.

Fernandina Historic District Downtown | Amelia Island eMagazine

City of Stuart
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Old 02-06-2016, 12:21 PM
 
852 posts, read 1,811,273 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beantown52 View Post
Hello everyone! My husband and I are looking to retire in a small (under 20,000 pop.) town that has low crime, low traffic, good healthcare close by, good shopping and an actual *downtown.* So far, we've seen and liked the following towns: St. St. Augustine, New Smyrna Beach, Mt. Dora, Sebastian, Punta Gorda, and Venice. We are planning another FL trip this Spring and are wondering if Inverness should be on our radar? If not, any recommendations for other areas that offer what we'd like?


All comments appreciated!
Would you mind detailing "your take" on those towns you've been to already? Much appreciated.
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Old 02-06-2016, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Spring Hill Florida
12,135 posts, read 13,210,924 times
Reputation: 6009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beantown52 View Post
Hello everyone! My husband and I are looking to retire in a small (under 20,000 pop.) town that has low crime, low traffic, good healthcare close by, good shopping and an actual *downtown.* So far, we've seen and liked the following towns: St. St. Augustine, New Smyrna Beach, Mt. Dora, Sebastian, Punta Gorda, and Venice. We are planning another FL trip this Spring and are wondering if Inverness should be on our radar? If not, any recommendations for other areas that offer what we'd like?


All comments appreciated!
Inverness is much different than the other places you've seen. The surrounding towns are also must see's. Health care and shopping are within reasonable distance. Inverness has Citrus Memorial Hospital. Spring Hill (34 miles) will be the closest major shopping area. Inverness is pretty rural overall but is a nice slice of FL. Inverness is about 20 miles from the Gulf. Crystal River is on the Gulf. If you want peace and quiet Inverness may be for you. Take a look at Google images for the downtown area.
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Old 02-06-2016, 05:50 PM
 
8 posts, read 12,046 times
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Thanks so much to all! I had a feeling Inverness might not be quite my cup of tea and these postings confirm that it's a bit of a "Dead Zone." I do enjoy an active, viable downtown that has some outdoor life, cultural offerings and what some may refer to as artsy-fartsy.

Oyster Catcher, all of the towns I listed as having seen have that small town, quaint, artsy-fartsy vibe and are on the minus side with respect to urban sprawl. However, all are close to or have good medical facilities. FWIW, though I loved St. Augustine, I do think the touristy aspect would grow old in short order; traffic jams, etc. Great place to visit though.:-)

Venice historic district and beaches were lovely, but I didn't like the driving over there....very, very wide roads that felt like highways to me; call me wimpy, LOL. Shopping and dining were great.

Sebastian is very small and pretty and right next to Vero Beach which has all sorts of cultural *stuff.* It also has the Sebastian Inlet State Park which is an amazing natural, beach area. I haven't been back to Sebastian/Vero in 9 years, so I'm sure it's changed a bit.

Thanks for the recommendation to see Fernandina! It's been on my list forever, but it seems that RE is rather expensive over there. For me, that means more than 200k for 2/2 or 3/2 home and it appears many are not concrete block construction; weird. Not sure I'd feel comfortable anywhere in FL in a stick-built home.

Spring Hillian, thanks for such an honest assessment of Inverness. It looks so appealing on the Net, but....driving long distances for basics is not appealing. More than 10 minutes is a long distance to me for food, pharmacy and hospitals.
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Old 02-06-2016, 05:53 PM
 
8 posts, read 12,046 times
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Oh, knew I forgot sumthin'; duh! Oyster Catcher, Punta Gorda is gorgeous, perhaps prettier than Venice, but...a long drive to the beaches.

Mt. Dora is charming; hills, very green with okas and other trees in addition to palms, small shops, outdoor dining, cobblestone streets, pseudo gas lamps, and a pretty lake. The con? Over an hour to the nearest saltwater. Then again, maybe that's a *pro*? Could be in a hurricane.
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Old 02-06-2016, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Spring Hill Florida
12,135 posts, read 13,210,924 times
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Inverness and the surrounding area is basically rural. Not much excitement and no where near an urban center. That's one of the many plus points in FL. Huge range of diversity.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Beantown52 View Post
Thanks so much to all! I had a feeling Inverness might not be quite my cup of tea and these postings confirm that it's a bit of a "Dead Zone." I do enjoy an active, viable downtown that has some outdoor life, cultural offerings and what some may refer to as artsy-fartsy.

Oyster Catcher, all of the towns I listed as having seen have that small town, quaint, artsy-fartsy vibe and are on the minus side with respect to urban sprawl. However, all are close to or have good medical facilities. FWIW, though I loved St. Augustine, I do think the touristy aspect would grow old in short order; traffic jams, etc. Great place to visit though.:-)

Venice historic district and beaches were lovely, but I didn't like the driving over there....very, very wide roads that felt like highways to me; call me wimpy, LOL. Shopping and dining were great.

Sebastian is very small and pretty and right next to Vero Beach which has all sorts of cultural *stuff.* It also has the Sebastian Inlet State Park which is an amazing natural, beach area. I haven't been back to Sebastian/Vero in 9 years, so I'm sure it's changed a bit.

Thanks for the recommendation to see Fernandina! It's been on my list forever, but it seems that RE is rather expensive over there. For me, that means more than 200k for 2/2 or 3/2 home and it appears many are not concrete block construction; weird. Not sure I'd feel comfortable anywhere in FL in a stick-built home.

Spring Hillian, thanks for such an honest assessment of Inverness. It looks so appealing on the Net, but....driving long distances for basics is not appealing. More than 10 minutes is a long distance to me for food, pharmacy and hospitals.
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Old 02-06-2016, 08:08 PM
 
8 posts, read 12,046 times
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Spring Hillian, I agree about the diversity FL offers and think that's why it can be confusing for those like myself to choose the right relocation area. It's such a big state in comparison to where I am and though I've seen a lot, I certainly haven't seen it all. Now, if I could just decide which area to focus on for my next trip, I'd be all set.:-)
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Old 02-07-2016, 07:26 AM
 
6,971 posts, read 2,584,420 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beantown52 View Post
Oh, knew I forgot sumthin'; duh! Oyster Catcher, Punta Gorda is gorgeous, perhaps prettier than Venice, but...a long drive to the beaches.

Mt. Dora is charming; hills, very green with okas and other trees in addition to palms, small shops, outdoor dining, cobblestone streets, pseudo gas lamps, and a pretty lake. The con? Over an hour to the nearest saltwater. Then again, maybe that's a *pro*? Could be in a hurricane.
Punta Gorda is indeed beautiful but I find Venice downtown as more "viable". Downtown PG is primarily bars, restaurants ,three hotels and two parks. No real shopping to speak of in down town. Having lived there for three years I can tell you most of your shopping will be done over the bridge in Port Charlotte. There are a lot of events though held in down town. And outdoor activities also.
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Old 02-07-2016, 07:32 AM
 
Location: Spring Hill Florida
12,135 posts, read 13,210,924 times
Reputation: 6009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beantown52 View Post
Spring Hillian, I agree about the diversity FL offers and think that's why it can be confusing for those like myself to choose the right relocation area. It's such a big state in comparison to where I am and though I've seen a lot, I certainly haven't seen it all. Now, if I could just decide which area to focus on for my next trip, I'd be all set.:-)
I think the first thing to decide is what lifestyle best fits you and then look at it from that perspective.
Its also possible to have "the best of both worlds" in a lot of places.
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