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Hello, I will be relocating (hopefully) to Naples, Florida in the summer. I am a teacher with some job prospects in the area. I have heard so many opinions about Naples. I have heard that it is absolutely stunning and a paradise. I have also heard that there are not any young professionals in the area. I am a single, young (23 year old) professional and I want to live in an area where there are people my age with a lot of things to do. Where is the best place to live and what is there to do around the area? I live a very active lifestyle and I would love to be around other young professionals and people my age.
I did post a question to Trulia's website and I was told that there are a lot of young professionals in the area. It is growing and there is a lot to do especially in the Mercato area (for nightlife). I was very excited to move and then I read another website with someone posting a similar question and everyone ripped Naples apart. It is very disheartening. All I read is that the cost of living is atronomical and there are NO JOBS. I am going to be a teacher and there seems to be a vast amount of jobs and a really good school district. I keep reading that there is nothing to do. There are no young professionals there and no one can make it because there is nothing to do. I read everyone is snobby and there are no jobs. I don't know what to think anymore.
I understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion and everyone has different lifestyles and likes, but I want to fit in and feel like home. I am thinking of either renting or buying a foreclosed condo. I am just starting out and my funds are not there quite yet. I would love some advice from people who live in the area. I would especially love any advice from people my age. This is a huge decision that I was so excited about and now I am nervous and have a bitter taste in my mouth. I know every place has its ups and downs, but ANY ADVICE WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED!! Thank you so much!!
A lot of people rip Naples apart, like you said they are entitled to their opinion.. Let me give you mine. My husband and I are young professionals (I'm now 29 gah but I have lived in naples for 27 of those 29 years). There is PLENTY to do and a lot of young people. Everyone will say oh its an old people community etc etc. If that was the case they wouldn't have just opened a Children's Museum 2 months ago. Across the street from the museum is Fun and Sun Lagoon (water park) Across from the mall is a HUGE skate park thats always packed and the first Saturday of every month is free entrance to all Collier residents at the Naples Zoo. Let me tell you its shoulder to shoulder with young families and people ALL day.. That doesn't scream old people to me.
Mercato is a great place to hang out. I love The PUB and Blue Martini plus the Silverspot movie theater on the second floor is wonderful. We also enjoy Coconut point a mere 15 mins up the road in Estero and Gulf Coast Town Center a few exits away in Estero also. LOTS of shopping, dinning, bars and movies there. In the "winter time" this place is packed with art shows, out door theaters , parades for the holidays, A Taste of Collier, A Taste of Marco and so on. We are never bored in season. In the summer yes it can be slower, thats the time to enjoy the beach and upcoming movies. The bars will still be hopping and Naples has a wonderful food scene (I graduated culinary school I should know :-P ).
We have Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers where you will find a lot of people your age who hang out at Gulf Coast Town Center. Ft. Myers Beach also has a lot going on with bars, clubs, festivals ......
We also have Germaine Area in Estero which hosts MANY concerts (Elton John was just there a few weeks ago) and also hosts the Florida Everblades hockey team which are SO much fun and cheap and when they aren't playing the ice rink is open for public skating..
Cost of living yes is high. North Naples would probably be the most desirable place to live for most followed by the City of Naples. For rent I don't know what your budget is but expect to pay over $900+ for a decent place to live (apt) houses are gonna be over probably $1,200.
I find it most enjoyable to live here, RARELY do I find myself very bored although like any place you live you have those days where you just can't find a d*mn thing to do you know. I lived in the middle of nowhere New Hampshire and let me tell you these kids don't know a darn thing about nothing to do! This place is paradise compared to that! No place is perfect really but hey I didn't have to shovel snow or de-ice my car this winter so I think I'm coming out on top!
What else, people the are snobby.. Well yah some are why surround yourself with them? I find the "snobby" people are infact the older people and/or visitors (sigh we can't live without em here but they do sometimes act like they deserve the world) People our age (20's-30's) are usually friendly and outgoing I've even met some really nice older people.
Gotta take it all with a grain of salt you know maybe you're just catching someone on a bad day who knows! I don't know about no jobs as far as your area goes but I will say there is a huge influx of young families and people with children . I have a two year old and I'm finding many things to do that cater to her age from indoor playgrounds, water parks, the museum and even free kids movies at the theater in the summer time so imo if there is a need for children oriented activities then someones gotta teach the little stinkers ;-). Don't let the negativity scare you everyone has crap to talk about some place. ESP those that don't want to be here, moved here against their will or have been here so long they just have lost joy in what they do. We'd be glad to have you here
Sweetbottoms: I am intrigued about the Mercato area and I have heard that there are some fun places there. I actually don't know anything about Coconut point or Estero, but they sound fun. The advice you have given me is fabulous. I really appreciate it. I know that everyone finds where they live to be boring at times. I have lived in Upstate NY for my entire life and everyone my age complains about wanting to leave because there is nothing to do. That is a misnomer because there is a lot to do, but we just get bored. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Florida weather. I live for hot weather and never having to brush snow off my car again would be unbelievable. It has always been a dream of mine to teach in Florida and when I graduated from college recently, I knew this was the time because I am young. There are NO teaching jobs in NY and if I hated it I knew I could move home. I was just concerned about the HATE I kept reading about for Naples. I am coming down in May to check it out. I know that every place has its pros and cons, but I wanted to know that it wasn't going to be me and no one else in my age bracket. I want to know that people my age without families are around and that there are things to do for me when I am not in the classroom.
RMD: Thank you for posting that thread. It really opened my eyes to a lot. One question I have is about the schools. I actually have a relative in Naples and she said that the school system of Collier County was very good. You are saying that it is not? I have heard the schools are clean, well-maintained and with good teachers. Is this not true?
Sweetbottoms can give you better advice than me since she graduated from the school system.
Here are my thoughts:
I was fortunate to be able to send my daughter to private school. Several of her classmates had parents that taught in the public schools. What does that tell you?
If you search the Florida threads you won't find anyone who likes the school system in Florida. Specific schools, yes, but the school system in general has a poor reputation-especially comparing it to the NE or MW. No one moves to Florida for the schools. You'll find multiple examples of parents stating their kids were a year ahead of the Florida kids when they first moved here.
I don't think the schools are dirty or have poor teachers-it is the system. Naples (as well as much of Florida) is made up of retirees who don't have kids in school and don't support politically the schools, especailly issues that impact taxes.
Take a look at the demographics of the schools. Many of those have a high percentage of non english speaking homes and/or are on the subsidized meal program. These things affect the system as a whole and classroom dynamics. I have a friend who is bilingual and works in the front office at one of the schools. She told me some days she speaks spanish more than english. That's not racist or discriminatory-it is reality.
I don't think it is horrific here. Plenty of kids graduate and do just fine, you have to recognize that the system here is not going to be the same standards that you are used to.
I'm really surprised there are job opportunities for teachers here.
I started writing in pink not to be "cute", but to be able to see which post was mine quickly. I know that the color may be annoying so I won't use it.
RMD: Although I am young, I have been teaching for a while. I started teaching preschool when I was 16 and it opened my eyes to a lot about school systems in general. I live in NY and we have the reputation of having amazing schools with such high standards. We are no exception, however, to having problems in our school systems. Our schools are so upside down all we do is budget cut costs at every turn. My school district alone just cut 49 more teachers this week. We are getting rid of the arts and special education all the time. People like me who have just graduated from teaching are told by our teachers that there are NO jobs and that we need to reaize that now. I applied to sub in December for 3 major school systems here and I just got a call the other day for one school. I have friends that graduated a few years ahead of me that can't get in a school system here and if they do manage to, they are cut quickly. I respect your honest opinion about the school system being what it is there, but our school system is pretty rough here too. It actually discourages you from teaching all together. I knew that when I wanted to teach in Florida I would get a lot of heat from a lot of people about how terrible there school systems are and how NY is so far ahead and the best. It actually intrigued me even more. I know more than one person who has moved from NY to teach in Florida and loves it. I think that the key is to go in with your eyes open. I am not naive to the fact that there are going to be some real obstacles, but I have also taught in the inner city of some very rough areas in NY and some very poor rural areas in NY. These schools really prepare you for anything. My best friend and her family moved from NY to Florida 6 years ago and she graduated high school and college there. She said that she started off ahead, but that her education was fine. I actually took Spanish for 7 years in school and I am excited to use it finally and not just on vacation in Mexico. I actually look forward to the challenge and forcing myself to really speak fluently. I know an administrator from NY that moved to be an administrator in Naples and he loves it and wouldn't move back. I am more nervous about moving and finding a place that I fit in over teaching. The idea of starting a new life essentially from scratch is very bitter-sweet. I want the adventure and new challenges, but it also scares me to be know this is fully on me and i can only depend on me.
Naples is a nice area visually, most parts of town are clean and kept up, it doesn't have that "industrial" look to it that I've experienced in Clearwater/Tampa. As far as quality of life for a young professional? I'm 30, married and have a 2 year old daughter, I work for the county and I don't think Naples is as great and filled with thigs to do as you might have heard. Naples is very seasonal, meaning that between April and October, the population is cut in about half, since all the snowbirds leave for the summer. During this time, you may find it easier to get into restaurants, movies, etc, traffic is much better also. I find going to be beach during the summer impossible, it's way too hot. During season (October until April) this town is filled with q-tips (my name for all the senior citizens flocking over here), I believe that everything is catered to them, the events, shows, etc, they take over restaurants, movies, THEY'RE EVERYWHERE . I recently had to make a trip to Mercato and looked over at The Pub's outside seating area and it was NOTHING BUT OLD PEOPLE. Traffic during season is terrible, people don't know where they are going, they're going slow because they have all the time in the world. I'm not the type that would go clubbing, but I'm sure if you are, you'd find plenty of parties to go to and you'd meet lots of people, I think this is all the young crowd has left - Clubs. It's almost like old people take over, but somewhere in there, there ARE young people having fun. I'm sure at first you'll find it appealing, but honestly, things get old for everyone. I've lived in Naples since 1995 and I'm ready to leave (actually working on it). In my opinion Naples is very conservative and that doesn't suit me very well. As far as expenses, the $900+ rent is about right for an apartment/condo in a nice area. Another huge negative about Naples/Collier County is the fact that it's so big, you have to drive EVERYWHERE.
Oh, I have a friend who works for the school system, she's in her early 20's. If you're interested, I can give you her contact info and I'm sure she'll answer any questions you may have regarding the schools. Send me a private message.
I wish you luck with your decisions, my post is probably not what you wanted to hear/read but I think you should get both sides.
Sweetbottoms: In NYS I am certified 1-6 regular and special education as well as 5-9 English and special education. When I move down to Florida my certifications extend. I will also have kindergarten and my special education will go k-12. I am also taking an exam to extend my English through high school.
I originally thought I would teach kindergarten and really always wanted to, but after I taught in middle school I really liked the ages and the challenge. I actually might go for middle or high school.
What is your top pick for elementary and middle school and why did you choose Barron Collier over Gulf Coast high school? What makes your top pick criteria? I know nothing about any of these schools, but I love the advice from someone who sent their child through the system. It REALLY is appreciated!!!
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