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Old 07-10-2008, 10:28 AM
 
96 posts, read 661,029 times
Reputation: 81

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cork on the Ocean View Post
You hit it right on the head. In fact, the area is nothing like anywhere else in Florida and most places in the country. Stringent growth restrictions has made it quite the paradise. I just realized your handle of "Sailor". A friend and I are preparing to take off sailing for a couple of years. If artsy people like living life to the fullest, I'm there! I knew you couldn't be bad when you said you've been to Amsterdam.
We used to sail here in Seattle's Puget Sound, but gave it up because of the weather (too cold for us to really enjoy it). But I still love sailing! (FYI: The "Sailor" part of my screen name actually refers to the fact that I am both ex-Coast Guard and ex-Merchant Marine).

Questions re the 30A area:

Do you have easy access to organic food markets there?

How about your Internet access? Any high-speed or wi-fi offered?

How about good ethnic restaurants, such as Indian, Thai, or Sushi?

Any good independent bookstores nearby?

Sorry for the long list, but we are really trying to learn as much as possible about the two areas we have in mind. The things in the list above are important to us, but not totally imperative. And we don't mind having to drive a bit to get to the things that we need (but being "green types," we like the idea of buying from and supporting local businesses. We also would like to not be huge gasoline consumers).

Re our choices between the 30A and St. Pete areas: I personally would prefer to live in a less-populated area, but my wife is the one who prefers a livelier setting, such as St. Pete. (But I truly believe that if I were to get her to your area, she would become enchanted enough to be willing to forego certain things that a larger city offers. I know her pretty well!).

As always, thanks for the replies.

Curt
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Old 07-10-2008, 02:14 PM
 
Location: Seacrest Beach
11 posts, read 34,901 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor Curt View Post
We used to sail here in Seattle's Puget Sound, but gave it up because of the weather (too cold for us to really enjoy it). But I still love sailing! (FYI: The "Sailor" part of my screen name actually refers to the fact that I am both ex-Coast Guard and ex-Merchant Marine).

Questions re the 30A area:

Do you have easy access to organic food markets there?

How about your Internet access? Any high-speed or wi-fi offered?

How about good ethnic restaurants, such as Indian, Thai, or Sushi?

Any good independent bookstores nearby?

Sorry for the long list, but we are really trying to learn as much as possible about the two areas we have in mind. The things in the list above are important to us, but not totally imperative. And we don't mind having to drive a bit to get to the things that we need (but being "green types," we like the idea of buying from and supporting local businesses. We also would like to not be huge gasoline consumers).

Re our choices between the 30A and St. Pete areas: I personally would prefer to live in a less-populated area, but my wife is the one who prefers a livelier setting, such as St. Pete. (But I truly believe that if I were to get her to your area, she would become enchanted enough to be willing to forego certain things that a larger city offers. I know her pretty well!).

As always, thanks for the replies.

Curt
You're needs are simple (LOL). Yes, we have an organic food store halfway on 30A so it's no farther than 7 miles from anywhere on 30A. Also, Publix has several close stores which carry organic produce of course.

Internet Access is no problem. I have cable and there's lots of open networks in street cafes and stuff.

I'm an "almost vegan" (I eat milk and eggs but no meat or fish) so I'm not the best source for restaurants but I know there's several good sushi places (according to everyone). Also there are both Thai and indian in either Destin or Panama City Beach. Depending on the end of 30A that you're on, either is about 30-40 miles. There's also an excellent asian (more of a continental thai) in the middle of 30A. On Friday nights this year, we also have free ethnic food and drinks at Redfish Village. Each weed during the summer, they do a different country. This Friday is Japanese, so I know they have sushi and sake and other Japanese food.

There's an excellent independent bookstore in the center of Seaside called Sundog Books. Again that's mid 30A so no more than about 5-6 miles max from either end. We also just got a Books a million (or something like that) over in Pier Park.

Don't get me wrong, we're not void of businesses on 30A. It's just that they are all independents scattered in the commercial areas of the various villages. We have a string of new urbanistic villages which have a combination of residential and commercial incorporated in the master plan of the village to minimize vehicular traffic. There are quaint independent grocers, clothing shops, art and jewelry, even pet clothing all within a quick walk from most homes in the new urbanistic villages. I actually am sandwiched in between two of the finest - Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach. Either is a 5 minute walk from my home plus my own village has it's commercial, entertainment and amenities as well. So I rarely use my car. If you're not familiar with new urbanistic living, check it out.

I'm happy to share with kindred spirits. Most of us here are really one big family.
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Old 07-10-2008, 03:01 PM
 
96 posts, read 661,029 times
Reputation: 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cork on the Ocean View Post
I rarely use my car. If you're not familiar with new urbanistic living, check it out.

I'm happy to share with kindred spirits. Most of us here are really one big family.
Another big thanks for yet another great reply.

Re urbanistic villages: Yes, I am familiar with the concept. In fact, that has been the trend in building here in Seattle for the past few years. Makes a huge amount of sense to design that way and cuts down on the amount of sprawl.

You've given me a lot to research, so I'm off to do just that. But I'll go ahead and warn you now that I'll probably be back with more questions!
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Old 07-10-2008, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Living in Paradise
5,702 posts, read 22,232,250 times
Reputation: 2986
The "redneck riviera" has a lot to offer, is just a matter to look around and you will find what you are looking for. Many small towns still have great secrets to be discovered. We continue to see many of the Hollywood personalities in the area because is not as busy and they can enjoy time away from work...

That is why many of us live in Florida Best Kept Secret..
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Old 07-10-2008, 04:25 PM
 
10,604 posts, read 14,129,393 times
Reputation: 17198
If home food is important to you it's good to have it on your list. I moved here from Phila area and have a very difficult time finding any produce organic or not. Very limited at the grocery store and yellow, wilted and no variety AND cut up shoved in shrink wrap. I guess it doesn't sell. Compared with what I'm used to. Our grocery stores and local markets have 12 linear feet of just greens alone and here the entire veggie aisle is 14 feet or so with almost no greens except the boxed spring mix type deal.

Whole Foods in "commutable" distance is on my list of must haves when I move from this rental.
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:25 PM
 
Location: Seacrest Beach
11 posts, read 34,901 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor Curt View Post
Another big thanks for yet another great reply.

Re urbanistic villages: Yes, I am familiar with the concept. In fact, that has been the trend in building here in Seattle for the past few years. Makes a huge amount of sense to design that way and cuts down on the amount of sprawl.

You've given me a lot to research, so I'm off to do just that. But I'll go ahead and warn you now that I'll probably be back with more questions!
Not a problem Sailor. Check out DPZ (duany, plater, zyberk) in Miami. They are the architects that came up with the concept of new urbanism. Seaside is the first new urbanistic community which is right in the middle of 30A. The Truman show was filmed there. The 2 communities on either side of me are also DPZ communities (Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach). It's caught on all over the world and I just love it walking every place. Tre European

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunrico90 View Post
The "redneck riviera" has a lot to offer, is just a matter to look around and you will find what you are looking for. Many small towns still have great secrets to be discovered. We continue to see many of the Hollywood personalities in the area because is not as busy and they can enjoy time away from work...

That is why many of us live in Florida Best Kept Secret..
You're so right. Some of towns definitely show that they are the redneck riviera for sure but there are so many cute gulf towns that I go through on my way between here and Tampa. I just love going to Apalachicola and have always wanted to hang out in Carabelle for a day. I think the "secret" is the beaches. I've been all over the world and they sure do sparkle here like none I've seen. I just hope that we can keep it that way with our imminent growth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by runswithscissors View Post
If home food is important to you it's good to have it on your list. I moved here from Phila area and have a very difficult time finding any produce organic or not. Very limited at the grocery store and yellow, wilted and no variety AND cut up shoved in shrink wrap. I guess it doesn't sell. Compared with what I'm used to. Our grocery stores and local markets have 12 linear feet of just greens alone and here the entire veggie aisle is 14 feet or so with almost no greens except the boxed spring mix type deal.

Whole Foods in "commutable" distance is on my list of must haves when I move from this rental.
Wow, a grocery store a must have? Must be a heck of a store. Just checked their site and they're only in the south part of Florida.
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Old 07-11-2008, 01:13 PM
 
96 posts, read 661,029 times
Reputation: 81
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cork on the Ocean View Post
Not a problem Sailor. Check out DPZ (duany, plater, zyberk) in Miami. They are the architects that came up with the concept of new urbanism. Seaside is the first new urbanistic community which is right in the middle of 30A. The Truman show was filmed there. The 2 communities on either side of me are also DPZ communities (Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach). It's caught on all over the world and I just love it walking every place. Tre European
Hi Cork:

A quick Google search using keywords "DPZ communities" brought up their website. Those folks do get around! I spent over an hour browsing just through their Florida community projects, both completed and incomplete. What a great building concept they have and you are correct, it is very European city in design and functionality.

Quick observation that you may or may not be able to confirm for me: I have done a bit of cursory research into home prices in your area (both condo and house) and what I am finding seems to indicate that prices are a bit lower the farther west one is, i.e., lower prices when closer to Destin (Dune Allen, Santa Rosa Beach), and higher when closer to Panama City (Rosemary Beach, Watersound).

What are your thoughts, i.e., is that an accurate picture?
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Seacrest Beach
11 posts, read 34,901 times
Reputation: 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor Curt View Post
Hi Cork:

A quick Google search using keywords "DPZ communities" brought up their website. Those folks do get around! I spent over an hour browsing just through their Florida community projects, both completed and incomplete. What a great building concept they have and you are correct, it is very European city in design and functionality.

Quick observation that you may or may not be able to confirm for me: I have done a bit of cursory research into home prices in your area (both condo and house) and what I am finding seems to indicate that prices are a bit lower the farther west one is, i.e., lower prices when closer to Destin (Dune Allen, Santa Rosa Beach), and higher when closer to Panama City (Rosemary Beach, Watersound).

What are your thoughts, i.e., is that an accurate picture?
Hi Curt,

DPZ definitely knows how to do it right. You can be assured that if it's a DPZ community, it will be beautiful. I could kick myself because I didn't buy in Rosemary when I first got here but I didn't see the vision and knew nothing about DPZ or new urbanism back then. You guys are smart to research.

Yes, you are correct about prices being less towards the west. I'm kinda mixed about it because they are less but I chose east plus there are so many people that overspeculated that asking price is in many cases hoping prices. You can get lots of nice properties for as much as 70% or more of asking. Don't know how long that will last though cause the market has picked back up again this year but it's still down and lots of inventory.

The new Panama City Beach airport is going to be a tremendous boom to the area and the east end will be about 30 minutes closer so that's good from an investment standpoint.

The New Pier Park is the bomb and it's much closer from my end (east end). It's only 10 -15 minutes from me on the extreme east end. I love to go to the Hofbrau Haus (LOL) - yes, same owners as the Munich one.

The west end has no DPZ communities at all yet. To be honest, not sure if there's a large enough beachfront parcel to put one. Probably, but can't think of one.

So from Grayton Beach east is where the newer, nicer stuff is. 3 DPZ villages and 2 St Joe villages plus Seacrest Beach which is done very nice and centrally located. There's still a lot of older homes on the west end and you have to be careful because 30A swings out away from the beach in an area down there and it's a really long walk to the beach in that area.

The Dune Allen area has sections with no dunes. You walk flat out onto the beach. While this sounds nice, the dunes are our protection from water surges during storms. The bulk of the damage on 30A during the storms a couple years back was in the Dune Allen area. Also, when you've got nice high dunes, you don't need flood insurance, even if you're beachfront because they are over 25 feet above sea level. You walk down steps to get to the beach. My home is a couple hundred yards from the beach and don't need it.

You need to consider also that the quality of the communities such as Rosemary, Watersound etc are far superior regarding amentities, design etc. so they are going to be more because they are much nicer communities. You're looking at the creme of the crop there. There's also some nice homes and condos on the east end that are not in the luxury communities and the prices are definitely more in line with the west end. There's some real good buys out there. Are you looking at beachfront or is it OK to walk to the beach? For houses, Seacrest Beach is not beachfront but in the center of everything. For condos, the Alexander has great views and very nice. The village of South Walton is beautiful - right there at Rosemary, has great sushi at Chops on their plaza and while most don't have screaming views anymore, there are some good values in there right now. For instance, might be able to get a 3BR/2BA w/balcony, jacuzzi, marble floors and counters etc for in the $300's.

Lastly, the coastal dune lakes are pretty much concentrated on the east end. Don't know if that has anything to do with it but they are beautiful.

Mod Deleted

Happy hunting.

Last edited by sunrico90; 07-11-2008 at 04:12 PM.. Reason: Soliciting is not allowed
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Old 07-11-2008, 02:46 PM
 
96 posts, read 661,029 times
Reputation: 81
Cork:

Just a quick reply to let you know that I have read and am now digesting all of the great information in your last post to my question about east vs. west housing costs.

I have "friended" you on the system here and if/when we seriously start looking for property there, I'll certainly keep you in mind.

O.K., I'm off again to do even more research. Your advice will be a huge help. After all of this, a trip to the area will surely be in order . . .

Ciao,

Curt
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Old 07-12-2008, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Seacrest Beach
11 posts, read 34,901 times
Reputation: 22
Curt, This article was just published in the Huntsville times and it describes Alys beach and the overall "progressive" nature of the area beautifully. Thought you might like to read it.


http://www.al.com/huntsvilletimes/st...430.xml&coll=1

Last edited by Cork on the Ocean; 07-12-2008 at 12:04 PM..
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