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Old 01-02-2013, 09:52 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA
170 posts, read 209,373 times
Reputation: 188

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Hello and Happy New Year!!


My huband (retired, moderate Republican) and myself (still got 20 yrs to work, liberal Dem) are looking to move from Northern Calfornia (we have lived in SF Bay and Sacramento areas for the last 3 years) back East. We are from Western New York and want to be in the same time zone with easy flights back home...but would like to avoid the Great Lakes Winters.


I can internally transfer for jobs, which I frequently see in Gainsville/Jacksonville, Orlando, and also available but not as plentifully in the Tampa/Clearwater area. I would take a pay cut..but the cost of living and taxes have to be less there.


I am family familiar with Florida..at least the tourist areas having visited Orlando, Tampa, and Daytona multiple times and Miami and the Keys once. (Most of the visits were in October or February...one in August)


As a tourist, I loved loved loved Florida. My hubby has only been to the pan-handle once but did live and work in South Carolina so he understands some heat and humidity. (Sacramento was in triple digits a dozen times this summer...sure...its "dry"..but 105 is still 105). He is Florida skeptical


I am just looking for some area comparisons from locals please. I will also read some past threads.

As mentioned, my husband is retired. He likes to get outside for walks, play guitar, hear local music, and simply explore. Neither of us is extremely active in sports (although we like to watch) but really enjoy Zoos, theatre, parks museums, "foodie" places. We are pretty open minded and appreciate a variety of cultures. We'd love a sense of community...maybe a place to volunteer. We are also use to suffocating traffic...and would like to decrease it some. We don't need a specific church nor do we need to worry about schools as the kids are grown and out. (I would like a college or university though, just to keep learning)


We have dogs so we'd like a pet friendly place.


Ok..heres the silly questions you are probably sick of...Will the gators eat my dogs? (I know...Yankee paranoia)...I'd ask more about the bugs and snakes but having lived in Cali and New Mexico with the spiders and snakes..I think we can adjust. Are the A/C bills a killer? (I know the heating bills could be up north from Nov -April). And which of the areas we mentioned has the most sunny days? (can't move back into 8 months of gray)


How did I forget this....how far the casinos?? really...we do love our slot machines now and then.


I know I can look most of this up...but I can only get the real skinny from the locals..thats where any community gets its energy from!


Oh, and we would rent 1st vs buy. Anything from a larger studio to a 1-2 bedroom works.


Thank you!!
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:35 PM
 
Location: JAX
705 posts, read 1,396,195 times
Reputation: 299
Quote:
Originally Posted by AugustRN View Post

Will the gators eat my dogs? (I know...Yankee paranoia)
How big are your dogs? If you have small dogs and you live on a lake, probably not, but it's happened.

Quote:
Are the A/C bills a killer?
Depends on how big your house is, how much you run your A/C and sprinklers (JEA sends you a power and water bill) and how much money you have.

Quote:
How did I forget this....how far the casinos?? really...we do love our slot machines now and then.
Advantage, Tampa. It has the Seminole Hard Rock, near I-4 and 301. It's supposed to be the 6th biggest casino in the world. From the outside, Vegas,.. isn't concerned. However, I haven't been inside. Jacksonville has a few smaller ones. I don't think Orlando or Gainesville has them.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:45 PM
 
1,444 posts, read 2,161,231 times
Reputation: 1173
Jacksonville is overall very conservative. There are more "liberal" neighborhoods ( e.g. Riverside) Gainesville is a college town, lots of "liberals" there one of the few North Florida counties that consistently votes Democrat over the past few elections. Of course there are no mountains but there is ample opportunity for outside activities in Jax and Gainesville.
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Old 01-03-2013, 02:46 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
3,530 posts, read 7,514,478 times
Reputation: 904
Gainesville is a town really, and not much going on besides campus-related activities.

Here's responses to your wants & questions:

As mentioned, my husband is retired. He likes to get outside for walks, play guitar, hear local music, and simply explore. Neither of us is extremely active in sports (although we like to watch) but really enjoy Zoos, theatre, parks museums, "foodie" places. We are pretty open minded and appreciate a variety of cultures. We'd love a sense of community...maybe a place to volunteer. We are also use to suffocating traffic...and would like to decrease it some. We don't need a specific church nor do we need to worry about schools as the kids are grown and out. (I would like a college or university though, just to keep learning)

Based on the things highlighted in bold, you'd enjoy the historic neighborhoods that surrond Downtown Jacksonville. On varying scales, they are eclectic, diverse, character-ich, with lots of parks, cultural events, fesitvals, very walkable & bikeable, and are the concentrated hot spot for local, independent restaurants & cafes, and the Arts.

The Riverside & Avondale historic district is everyone's favorite nieghborhood, and has been featured in local, national, and international press as a great place to live. Riverside is more funky with a few rough edges, Avondale is more regal. Tons of good restauarnts, parks, night life, arts, etc. Just a great place to live.
www.riverside-avondale.com

The Springfield historic district is the perfect example of a transitional neighborhood, and has a little of everything & every type of person in it. Featured in local, state, and national press, it;s been highlighted as a changing neighborhood. Also has lots of parks and creative-types, but lacks the abundance of shops, cafes, etc. There are some popular ones sprinkled about, but the main commericial area is severly lacking. Also, you'll see a mish mash of great houses next to boarded up houses. It's sort of like Riverside lite, and has the best (by far) sense of community of any area in Jacksonville. Very active community socially & civically.
www.myspringfield.org & www.sparcouncil.org

San Marco is a tad bit more typically suburban ( a little more car-centric and less diverse), but actually scores the highest on Walkscore as far as walkablility and convenince. It's also the most uniformally posh of these various neighborhoods, but still has most of the same characteristrics as the other areas....ie, lots of parks, great character, lots of local shops & cafes, supports the arts, lots of community events, etc. Again, also been featured in national press as a great place to be.
www.mysanmarco.com & www.smpsjax.com

All surrond Downtown and are about 5 minutes from one another by car. You'll find there's quite a lot of inter-mingling, and are generally considered the most "open minded" in the city.


We have dogs so we'd like a pet friendly place.

All are pet friendly. Lots of dogs. Springfield historic district has it's own free dog park, and Riverside is in the process of getting one approved. Springfield has it's own animal rescue organization, www.sacarc.org if you're into that. Riverside & Avondale has (i'm not kidding) a book called "Dogs of Riverside & Avondale". James Lehosit's The Dogs of Riverside and Avondale
Both Springfield & Riverside also have annual dog fesitvals, to boot: Riverside Arts Market celebrates National Dog Day | jacksonville.com and "Dog Days in the Park" 2010


Ok..heres the silly questions you are probably sick of...Will the gators eat my dogs?

If they get too close, definitely. Watch out for tree gators too. Those are the ones people don't think about.

Are the A/C bills a killer?

Nope. Depends on the sq footage, but I live in a 1909 house, 2000 sq feet and my utility bills (electricty, water, etc) are about $300 or so in the dead of summer.

And which of the areas we mentioned has the most sunny days? (can't move back into 8 months of gray)

All the same. As the only noteable weather differences are that the cities next to water (Jax, Tampa) won't usually get quite as cold in the winter as those inland (Gainesville). Also, Jax is located in a little indention of Florida which makes it difficult for hurricanes to hit directly on. Jax hasn't had a direct hit a long, long time. 50 years? It's not unsual for most other Florida cities to suffer from them.


How did I forget this....how far the casinos?? really...we do love our slot machines now and then.

For big time casinos, Tampa and South Florida have full blown casinos. However, there's plenty of gambling in Jax. Ie, Best Bet: Jacksonville | bestbet



Oh, and we would rent 1st vs buy. Anything from a larger studio to a 1-2 bedroom works.
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Old 01-04-2013, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Sacramento, CA
170 posts, read 209,373 times
Reputation: 188
TREE GATORS!! LOL! I am embarassed to tell anyone how many search engines I used to try to find them!!! OK...you got me..lol.

Thank you everyone for your great input! I'll forward it all to my hubby and we will see what jobs actually roll in. Not looking to move until our lease is up June 1st so we have some time to hopefully visit before we decide.
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Old 01-05-2013, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Miami-Jax
7,389 posts, read 8,089,135 times
Reputation: 4406
I'm not sure I'd pick Jax over the rest, but I'd start my search in Riverside/Avondale. And Jax has the mildest summers of them all. Also not sure why Gainesville and Jax are lumped together. You'd have to choose one or the other...not really close enough that I would commute back and forth. Good luck!
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