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Old 09-21-2010, 02:04 PM
 
12 posts, read 36,326 times
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I'm planning a move to Florida within the next 4 to 6 months. While I've been visiting the state for 30 plus years my time has mainly been spent south of Ft Lauderdale. While there is plenty for a visitor to do this area is too glitzy, manicured and populated for my permanent location.
I'll be semi retired, can afford a modest home but not major taxes or upkeep. The ocean is a huge draw for me and I'd like to be within walking distance (3/4 mile or less) from a good swimming beach. Gated communities and condos are not for me. A location where I could give classes/workshops from my home would be ideal.
Some of the areas that have appealed during my web searches are St Augustine and St Petersburg, and I'd like to hear from people living in each area regarding the pros and cons of each.
I consider myself pretty laid back, liberal, and art loving. Open-mindedness is a big factor for me and I'd like to find a spiritual but not religious community. Live theater and music is great, and I like the atmosphere of college towns.
Can anyone share information with me about living in St Petersburg or St Augustine?
Thanks so much.

Last edited by seashell13; 09-21-2010 at 02:07 PM.. Reason: added information
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Old 09-21-2010, 09:22 PM
 
Location: Tampa
2,602 posts, read 6,795,784 times
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The main difference between the places is the size. St. Pete is the fourth-largest city in the state and St. Augustine doesn't even rank.

I live near St. Pete, so I'm much more familiar with it. I'll try and make a list.

St. Augustine
-lots of history
-smaller
-the downtown area is definitely touristy, but not really trashy
-I don't think they have a high crime rate
-your closest big city would be Jax, obviously, but it's not a terribly long drive to, say, Orlando.
-Atlantic beaches
-I don't know anything about neighborhoods in St. Augustine

St. Pete
-large area
-Downtown St. Pete is beginning to become a destination again. Quite a few bars, restaurants, and whatnot opening up.
-quite a variety of neighborhoods, from 1960s tract homes to 1920s bungalows
-higher crime, at least compared to Tampa.
-traffic can be heavy at times, but the city has a pretty decent grid and you can find shortcuts
-definitely more laid-back than, say, Tampa
-Gulf beaches
-you'd be in the Bay Area, so you'd have easy access to sports, live performances, Tampa nightlife, et cetera
-there are a lot of churches, but I don't get a very "in your face" vibe

I'm not sure about your desire to be close to the ocean/gulf. St. Pete isn't directly on the Gulf of Mexico, so you'd have to investigate places like St. Pete Beach or Treasure Island. Gulfport is a small city partially surrounded by St. Pete that is supposed to be fairly artsy. They also have a trolley (well, a bus disguised as a trolley), that can take you from Downtown Gulfport to Downtown St. Pete Beach, and then it's just a short walk to the Gulf.

I hope this helps. It was all off the top of my head.
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:46 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
2,112 posts, read 4,991,373 times
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St. Pete is like Fort Lauderdale: Highly populated and dense. In Pinellas County, which is only just over 200 square miles there are between 900,000 and 1,000,000 "permanent" residents, with a snowbird season. St. Pete is also 10-25 miles away from Tampa depending on where in Pinellas you are. St. Augustine is 20-30 miles from Jacksonville depending on where in Jacksonville you're going (40 miles from the airport) and is the county seat of St. Johns county which has 200,000 permanent residents. 200,000 is not "small" and most of those people are between St. Augustine and PVB with snowbirds to boot as well, but 200,000 is not big city like St. Pete or Ft. Lauderdale.

Neither will leave you desperately seeking amenities as both have most of their own and both are next to bigger cities, but St. Pete and St. Augustine have very different feels so visit them in person to be sure. St. Pete has more condos and canals, less of a breeze, and a much longer strip of beaches to choose from (a whole county). St. Augustine has Anastasia Island, which only has canals in the gated sections and low to mid-rise condos. The actual people that inhabit the two places are probably very similar with more Midwesterners in St. Pete and more Northeasterners in St. Augustine.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:08 AM
 
1 posts, read 5,921 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by seashell13 View Post
I'm planning a move to Florida within the next 4 to 6 months. While I've been visiting the state for 30 plus years my time has mainly been spent south of Ft Lauderdale. While there is plenty for a visitor to do this area is too glitzy, manicured and populated for my permanent location.
I'll be semi retired, can afford a modest home but not major taxes or upkeep. The ocean is a huge draw for me and I'd like to be within walking distance (3/4 mile or less) from a good swimming beach. Gated communities and condos are not for me. A location where I could give classes/workshops from my home would be ideal.
Some of the areas that have appealed during my web searches are St Augustine and St Petersburg, and I'd like to hear from people living in each area regarding the pros and cons of each.
I consider myself pretty laid back, liberal, and art loving. Open-mindedness is a big factor for me and I'd like to find a spiritual but not religious community. Live theater and music is great, and I like the atmosphere of college towns.
Can anyone share information with me about living in St Petersburg or St Augustine?
Thanks so much.
I have lived in St Pete area from 1979 to 2007 if you have kids that maybe the place to be !! But St Augustine is all about the arts and it's small town compared to St Pete . I moved to St Augustine 3 years ago and I have no plane of ever leaving ! I am a sculptor and photographer to me this is the place to be ... St Augustine is the oldest city in the USA and full of History like ferret111 said ... Good Luck C.W.Hooper
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Old 09-22-2010, 10:38 AM
 
12 posts, read 36,326 times
Reputation: 16
Thanks so much for your responses, ferret111, jsimms3 and C.W.Hooper! It's great to have local unbiased information. Both towns sound nice, but I'm currently leaning toward St. Augustine. In winter I'll be visiting both places and will be able to get a feel for both.

Does anyone know how county taxes, home and auto insurance rates compare? Compared to where I live now there seems to be a dearth of new age/ancient thought centers and classes in either St. Pete or St. Augustine. Does anybody know if there are such places there?
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Old 09-25-2010, 12:31 AM
 
1,069 posts, read 2,195,520 times
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St. Augustine gets my vote. I moved here 12 years ago and have loved every moment of being here. Our best asset is friendly, caring people. We are a laid back, small town with much to do if you love beautiful, safe beaches, great music, drama, opera and thought provoking conversation. Our ampetheater offers top notch entertainment in a small venue. The local Flagler College always ranks near the top of private coleges. The public school system is tops in the state. The local hospital is also highly ranked. For boaters there is quick access to the ocean and the intercoastal. If you enjoy volunteering, there are many active civic, faith-based and philanthropic organizations that are well supported within the community. Crime and traffic congestion are low. The biggest problem here is lack of middle income jobs. The industries with the most jobs are education, healthcare and tourism / service. I have friends who live in St. Petersburg. I have visited there many times. It is very different from St. Augustine. Once you spend some time in both, you will not have a problem choosing which appeals to you more. Best Wishes.
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Old 09-27-2010, 08:14 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,635 posts, read 16,469,314 times
Reputation: 6670
Quote:
Originally Posted by seashell13 View Post
Thanks so much for your responses, ferret111, jsimms3 and C.W.Hooper! It's great to have local unbiased information. Both towns sound nice, but I'm currently leaning toward St. Augustine. In winter I'll be visiting both places and will be able to get a feel for both.

Does anyone know how county taxes, home and auto insurance rates compare? Compared to where I live now there seems to be a dearth of new age/ancient thought centers and classes in either St. Pete or St. Augustine. Does anybody know if there are such places there?
I've lived in St. Johns County for about 15 years. Property taxes will run you about 1% or more of current market value. Auto insurance is about $500/year give or take for a reasonable amount of insurance on a reasonably new car. Homeowners' insurance for windstorm will be expensive/difficult - perhaps impossible. Our homeowners' insurance market is really screwed up - and seems to change every 6 months or so.

St. Augustine isn't the Sedona of the southeast - or anything like that. So forget about the New Age stuff. St. Augustine is a "liberal" part of St. Johns County. But that has to be put in context - since St. Johns County is one of the reddest counties in the state. Your best bet will probably be a liberal church.

Also - although there are very cheap parts of St. Johns County (we're a large county) - they're mostly in the agricultural parts of the county to the west. Living "modest" and near the ocean is difficult (although perhaps not impossible if one goes a lot south in St. Johns County to places like Crescent Beach - haven't been there lately and don't know what the story is there now).

I like where I live a lot - but think that perhaps you don't know that liberal - new agey - whatever - means a light shade of red here - not any shade of blue except perhaps the palest.

Come on down. Take a visit and explore. At least a couple of times. And see what you think. Robyn
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:58 PM
 
Location: FLORIDA
8,965 posts, read 5,235,334 times
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St Aug.
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Old 10-02-2010, 03:19 PM
 
12 posts, read 36,326 times
Reputation: 16
Thanks all. St. Augustine is looking like my first choice.

One other question - Since I'll most likely be purchasing an older home how much do I need to worry about the Chinese drywall issue and mold in general? Can I avoid Chinese drywall by buying something built and/or remodelled before 2000?

I currently live in the desert and am not savvy about mold problems.
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:42 AM
 
1,069 posts, read 2,195,520 times
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Go to www.chinesedrywallcomplaintcenter.com/inspection.htm for good information. DO NOT reply on a home inspectors report. Make sure you are at the inspection and see for yourself. There have only been a few documented reports in St. Augustine that I am aware of.
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