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Unread 08-15-2011, 12:56 PM
 
Location: One year in Raleigh, NC
4,567 posts, read 3,797,950 times
Reputation: 5428
Default Mobile and S. AL versus SW Florida

We are retired, currently living in Phoenix, AZ. We want to spend more time on a small boat, enjoying the water and fishing. (which isn't really an option living in the desert!)

We spent several months in Cape Coral, and just had a blast with the inshore fishing and boating. (Not into open water boating or deep sea fishing). What we really liked was the affordability of housing with a water view and dock in the backyard, as offered by the canal system.

We find that that kind of canal system is available in other areas of SW Florida. But for a variety of reasons, we want to make sure we consider other areas - like the Mobile, AL area. And the boat in the backyard is NOT a requirement.

So can someone give me an idea or comparison of the boating or fishing that we enjoyed in SW Florida? Also - can someone confirm that Mobile has ample choices of restaurants (esp ethnic), activities for meeting other seniors, happy hours, billiards (husband is addicted), movie theaters and the other usual things that go along with city and suburban life?
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Unread 08-15-2011, 01:34 PM
 
Location: Tropical state of mind
5,102 posts, read 7,519,348 times
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How long were you in SW FL? I've never been to Mobile but think it looks nice. I was born and raised in SW FL though (Marco Island) and detest it now. It used to be a small little area that people knew each other and looked out for one another. But it's grown so much in the last 30 years that we wound up moving away 5 years ago and I don't even want to go back to visit the friends I have there.

Not saying it's hell or anything. I've got a friend I grew up with that moved to NH and was dying to get back to the area. She's in northern FL now but planning on moving back to Ft Myers beach. There's just SO much tourism and there's always traffic bogging down the roads and year round road work. I found the people to be incredibly rude and terse, something we wanted to get our kids away from. I'm not sure I could handle the 'attitude' down there after being up this way.

We've been looking around B'ham and found the people in that area of AL seem to have the same laid back, easy going, friendly personalities that the people in middle TN where we are now have. The traffic doesn't seem quite as bad as south Florida was. Again, haven't been to Mobile so I honestly can't compare the two of them and give you my personal opinion. Just my opinion of the SW FL area after 35 years. It's definitely heaven for some people, but hell for others. Not to mention the humidity and the bugs!!!!

ETA I've secretly been hoping we find something in the Mobile area. I very much miss the Gulf and the seagulls and pelicans and especially the hurricanes. Growing up on a beach, being able to open the windows at night and smell salt air is something that gets in your blood and it's hard to walk away from completely. I'm really hoping Mobile is nice and we wind up there, though I'm really guessing we'll be a few hours away at least.
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Unread 08-15-2011, 01:52 PM
 
Location: One year in Raleigh, NC
4,567 posts, read 3,797,950 times
Reputation: 5428
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrs1885 View Post

We've been looking around B'ham and found the people in that area of AL seem to have the same laid back, easy going, friendly personalities that the people in middle TN where we are now have. The traffic doesn't seem quite as bad as south Florida was. Again, haven't been to Mobile so I honestly can't compare the two of them and give you my personal opinion. Just my opinion of the SW FL area after 35 years. It's definitely heaven for some people, but hell for others. Not to mention the humidity and the bugs!!!!

ETA I've secretly been hoping we find something in the Mobile area. I very much miss the Gulf and the seagulls and pelicans and especially the hurricanes. Growing up on a beach, being able to open the windows at night and smell salt air is something that gets in your blood and it's hard to walk away from completely. I'm really hoping Mobile is nice and we wind up there, though I'm really guessing we'll be a few hours away at least.
Is the humidity and bug situation any BETTER in South Alabama????? If so, please tell me how and why? And where?
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Unread 08-15-2011, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Fairhope,Alabama
401 posts, read 587,788 times
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Birmingham and Mobile are quite different from each other...and very different from S Fla area. The terrible traffic in the Ft Myers to Naples area, specially in the winter, is not a problem in S Alabama.

You both want to be close to fishing, water, ect, so again, Bham is does not have that. I would suggest you come to check out the Eastern Shore of Mobile bay...very close to Mobile, but much more laid back.

Fairhope is the nicest of all three...as we have a great recreation center, with pools and other amenities. It also has the Nix Center for more senior residents, where there are many activities going on at all time. We have a very vibrant art colony, great restaurants and beautiful downtown area. Fairhope was named 4th best town to live in the US by Family Circle(August 2011).

Check out cofairhope.com, and beautifulfaihope.com These are informative sites that will give you an idea what we are all about. Come check us out!!!
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Unread 08-15-2011, 09:20 PM
 
Location: One year in Raleigh, NC
4,567 posts, read 3,797,950 times
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Thanks. Humacena. I didn't bring up Birmingham - another poster did. Mobile was the area I was interested in, and I thank you for those links.

Can anyone give me a GENERAL idea if property and homeowners insurance costs are similar to those we are seeing in SW FL (which, to us, are shockingly high)?
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Unread 08-15-2011, 11:44 PM
 
106 posts, read 191,293 times
Reputation: 53
I'd think they're the same. I'm south of I-10 in Mobile area and paying 4 X what I was paying before Katrina.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 06:36 AM
 
13,402 posts, read 20,587,800 times
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I lived in Tampa for 30 years before moving back AL so I will give you my opinion.

I don't think the HOI is going to be a lot lower in AL if you live close to the water. The biggest difference will be in property taxes vs state income tax. FL has high property tax and now they have a new auto tag tax that can cost several hundred dollars ($400.00 at least) for each car. AL has low property tax and reasonable auto tag tax.

Alabama has a state income tax on some pensions but not SS. There is a list of companies whose pensions are exempt from state income tax and if yours is not you can ask for it to be added.

I agree with Mrs1885 that the traffic is horrible especially during snowbird season. Traffic in places like Tampa is also bad. Crime is also an issue in many places. Now.. traffic around Gulf Shores is pretty heavy during the summer on Fridays and Sundays. It is humid in both places however you do get some relief from the heat in LA during the fall, winter and spring. Bugs well are everywhere just different kinds in different places

There are many little towns all around LA (Lower AL).. I love Fairhope personally. Just a very safe area. Many ppl don't lock their doors which says a lot about a place.

Mobile is a beautiful old city with lots of beautiful homes and oak tree covered streets. Yeah.. I am prejudice..
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Unread 08-16-2011, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Mobile,Al(the city by the bay)
2,162 posts, read 2,590,059 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keeper View Post

Mobile is a beautiful old city with lots of beautiful homes and oak tree covered streets. Yeah.. I am prejudice..

LOL me too grrrrr...The Alabama Gulf Coast has a lot of charm.
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Unread 08-20-2011, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Dallas TX & AL Gulf Coast
3,679 posts, read 4,971,125 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
We are retired, currently living in Phoenix, AZ. We want to spend more time on a small boat, enjoying the water and fishing. (which isn't really an option living in the desert!)

We spent several months in Cape Coral, and just had a blast with the inshore fishing and boating. (Not into open water boating or deep sea fishing). What we really liked was the affordability of housing with a water view and dock in the backyard, as offered by the canal system.

We find that that kind of canal system is available in other areas of SW Florida. But for a variety of reasons, we want to make sure we consider other areas - like the Mobile, AL area. And the boat in the backyard is NOT a requirement.

So can someone give me an idea or comparison of the boating or fishing that we enjoyed in SW Florida? Also - can someone confirm that Mobile has ample choices of restaurants (esp ethnic), activities for meeting other seniors, happy hours, billiards (husband is addicted), movie theaters and the other usual things that go along with city and suburban life?
While canals in Alabama per se are not the norm, (most would be described as streams, waterways, inlets, etc., instead), it is extremely plentiful with several reserviors, lakes, streams, rivers and bays where you can have the "affordable housing with the water view and dock in the backyard" you are looking for, as well as the Gulf if you so choose, for both freshwater and saltwater fishing and boating.

Here is a great site listing all of the varied outdoor activities Alabama has to offer: Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

For freshwater boating and fishing, see this in particular: Boating in Alabama - Boat Freshwater Access Points

And for saltwater boating and fishing, see this well-defined map of the Mobile Delta: Alabama’s Inshore Reefs & Boating Access Points

Restaurants/Happy Hours/Billiards/Seniors - Of course! The choice of restaurants and type of foods you'd have would depend on the city size as it would in any other state, i.e., the smaller the city/town, the more limited the selection, so living in - or within commuting distance to - Mobile would certainly give you access to most anything you might want. However, you will not find the diversity Cape Coral has in this area, thus the more limited access to the more ethnic restaurants, simply because there isn't as large a market for them. And, so it goes with meeting seniors, the more retirees in the community, the more seniors you would meet, i.e., in Mobile, it would strictly depend on the specific establishment you choose to go to since Mobile is well-rounded in all age groups, whereas in the more retiree-oriented (snowbird) areas of Fairhope, Foley, Gulf Shores, Orange Beach, etc., the more seniors you are likely to find, again, depending on the specific establishment you choose.

Property Taxes - Some of the lowest compared to Florida and most other states.

Property HOI - As others have stated, HOI rates would be considerably less in Mobile north of I-10 vs. any city/town/community south of I-10... i.e., the closer to the ocean, the higher the rates.

Specific Senior Activities - Mobile has an active
Mobile Regional Community Center, as well as do all of the surrounding cities/towns/communities, i.e, Fairhope's James P. Nix Senior Activity Center, Foley's Senior Center, Gulf Shores Harry Roberts Community House & Senior Center, Orange Beach's Adult Activity Center, etc, where they gather for planned activities, i.e., health checkups, swimming, dancing, exercises, games, lunches/dinners, day trips, arts & crafts and yes, billiards, etc.

Mobile also has several movie theaters, as well as the historical
Saenger Theatre that was magnificiently restored and now functions as a performing arts center and is the official home of the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, and also offers several film series.

All in all, with all of the senior activities listed above, as well as all of these
activities and with all of the unlimited outdoor activities available year-round, if you can't find some activity to enjoy, it's probably only because you've decided to sit on your porch/balcony and enjoy the scenery instead... while drinking your sweet ice tea... not such a bad alternative if you have the time! But, considering some of my relatives even enjoyed flying their seaplane they kept docked along with their boat in their "backyard" (Wolf Bay, Orange Beach, AL) well into their seventies, the possibilities here are endless!

Last edited by Keeper; 08-21-2011 at 05:29 AM..
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Unread 08-20-2011, 07:33 PM
 
Location: Destrehan, Louisiana
2,192 posts, read 3,107,714 times
Reputation: 3467
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrs1885 View Post

ETA I've secretly been hoping we find something in the Mobile area. I very much miss the Gulf and the seagulls and pelicans and especially the hurricanes. Growing up on a beach, being able to open the windows at night and smell salt air is something that gets in your blood and it's hard to walk away from completely. I'm really hoping Mobile is nice and we wind up there, though I'm really guessing we'll be a few hours away at least.
That's why I'm headed to gulf shores next week
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