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Old 04-16-2011, 06:14 PM
 
12 posts, read 20,199 times
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I have been reading the posts here for awhile, but finally decided to post my situation and see what you all come up with.

My wife and I will be retiring in a couple of years and am seriously considering everywhere from Sarasota to Punta Gorda (we live in West Palm Beach now). We want a house or townhouse with room for a small garden, we are not crazy for the gated community life with homes that all look the same, we want something with a little character, but gated or not, is not a deal breaker, 55+ community - maybe. We prefer to be close to good restaurants, good shopping, health care, outdoor activities. Of course we want a safe area, friendly people, and we are fairly liberal. Price $200k - $300k. First, what city would you recommend, and second what area within that city?

Yes, we will be visiting in advance before we decide, (our first visit is in 2 weeks) and since this is a big area, looking for suggestions on where to look first.

Thanks in advance,

John
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:27 AM
 
Location: Palm Island and North Port
7,511 posts, read 21,949,526 times
Reputation: 2861
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnac View Post
I have been reading the posts here for awhile, but finally decided to post my situation and see what you all come up with.

My wife and I will be retiring in a couple of years and am seriously considering everywhere from Sarasota to Punta Gorda (we live in West Palm Beach now). We want a house or townhouse with room for a small garden, we are not crazy for the gated community life with homes that all look the same, we want something with a little character, but gated or not, is not a deal breaker, 55+ community - maybe. We prefer to be close to good restaurants, good shopping, health care, outdoor activities. Of course we want a safe area, friendly people, and we are fairly liberal. Price $200k - $300k. First, what city would you recommend, and second what area within that city?

Yes, we will be visiting in advance before we decide, (our first visit is in 2 weeks) and since this is a big area, looking for suggestions on where to look first.

Thanks in advance,

John
Hmm...well some of your requirements counter act others. For instance you don't really want gated or something where the homes look similar but you might like 55+. Usually with a 55+ communities the homes are pretty uniform and many are gated.

Kings Gate in Port Charlotte and Cascades in the Sarasota/Bradenton area come to mind. Those are both 55+ communities and people seem to be very fond of these communities. Both communities have lots of activities and amenities.

Next you might want to check out Bellagio on the island of Venice. It is gated but not all the homes are the same and it's very close to Venice beach and the downtown Venice area.

Sorrento East in Nokomis is another area to check out.

Now, if you're looking to get away from the gated communities I would highly suggest you check out the Southside area of Sarasota. These homes would generally be older but most have lots of character.

There's always something going on in the downtown area. Southside Village, which is the area west of US 41 and just of Main St and north of Siesta Dr. It's also close to the hospital. Right over the bridge is Siesta Key Beach or if you go over the John Ringling Bridge you have Lido Beach. The only problem is that nothing comes up when you search under SouthSide village because it's kind of a locally used term for that area but in the MLS they have that area broken down into a ton of little subdivisions. I'll list some here so you can look through and see what you find. Areas close to downtwon are GWIZ,Mote Marine, Selby Gardens, Jungle Gardens are all within minutes of downtown. Every Saturday they have the downtown Farmers Market. Then there's the Hollywood20 Movie theater and The Burns Court Cinema, which has some really cool foreign films. Burns Court and Towles Court are neat little villages that are great to spend the afternoon catching a bite to eat or doing a little shopping. Selby Libraryis a fantastic library right in the heart of downtown. A great little organic grocery store is Morton's Gourmet Market, Southside Village, Sarasota, Florida. Marina Jack’s is always great for an afternoon out with the kids, a picnic under the trees or a leisurely walk by the bay Welcome to Marina Jack.

Some of the downtown neighborhoods are:
The neighborhoods are:
Hyde Park
Hartland Park
Poinsettia Park
Floyd & Cameron
Riverwood Park
Ridgewood
Granada
Laurel Park
Bayview
McClellan Park
Oyster Bay Estates
Bungalow Hill
Aqualane Estates
Graham Heights
Burns Court
Hartsdale
Cherokee Park
Badger Heights
Paradise Shores
San Remo Estates
Harbor Acres
Avondale
Mandarin Park
Morton Terrace

Most of the above are known as a whole as the Southside Village neighborhood. I listed a few that are on the fringe of that area. Here's some more info on the downtown area:

Home
Sarasota Florida Downtown | Shops Downtown, Sarasota Hotel | Downtown Restaurant | Sarasota Rental
Downtown Merchants Association of Sarasota
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Old 04-17-2011, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Sarasota/ Bradenton - University Pkwy area
4,291 posts, read 6,595,202 times
Reputation: 5319
Sarasota, located south of Tampa on the Gulf of Mexico, is known for it's big city amenities with a smaller town feel.

Sarasota is the home of the Sarasota Orchestra, which holds a three-week Sarasota Music Festival each year that is recognized internationally.

The Asolo theater, next door to the Ringling Museum of Art, hosts cultural events throughout the year. It also provides facilities for the FL State Univerisity's theater programs. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall in downtown Sarasota on the bay provides year round performances, productions and famous name performers. Other Sarasota cultural attractions include the Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Opera, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, and the Sarasota Players. Sarasota also hosts an annual Sarasota Film Festival, which just wrapped up this past weekend.

Sarasota is also home to the following: Mote Marine, a marine rescue, research facility, and aquarium ; Marie Selby Botanical Gardens; G Wiz Museum; Sarasota Jungle Gardens; Ringling Museum of Art, Ringling mansion & circus museum and St. Armand's Circle, a popular spot on Lido Key with lots of upscale shopping and great restaurants.

Sarasota is probably best known for it's beautiful, white sand beaches on Siesta Key, Lido Key and Longboat Key and access to outdoor activities year round.

The local newspaper is the Sarasota Herald Tribune. You can access it on line at http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/frontpage to get information on local news, government and links to the local events (we have lots of festivals of all types running year round in the area).

As to neighborhoods you may like, there are lots of options that may appeal to you.

The Gulf Gate area may appeal to you. They are older, well built homes in South Sarasota priced mainly under $150,000 with fairly easy access to Siesta Key and the beaches. In the same general area, off of Beneva Road, you might try the communities of Beneva Oaks and Gulf Gate East. These homes sit on nice, tree shaded lots and have lots of appeal. Palmer Ranch has a lot of nice subdivisions but tends to be more cookie cutter style homes.

Off of Wilkinson & Proctor Road, slightly east of McIntosh, you will find popular neighborhoods of Emerald Gardens (low to mid $200's) and The Grove.

North of Bee Ridge, just west of Cattleman Rd, a very nice and yet affordable (mainly $180's - $200's), well kept subdivision is Colonial Oaks. You may also like Tamaron or The Lakes, both just south of Bahia Vista off of McIntosh. Just north of these 2 subdivisions, off of McIntosh is Sherwood Lake Estates, with lots of tall trees and multiple home styles, so definitely not cookie cutter homes.

Another nice planned community with subdivisions with homes you may like is The Meadows, in north Sarasota.

If you're willing to cross Unveristy Pkwy and look just over the line into southern Manatee county, the Palm Aire area is very nice and has lots of neighborhoods that you may like, including Mote Ranch, Grand Point, Riverbend, River's Edge. Copper Ridge and Chaparrel are nice communities too but most of the homes are similar in style.

Townhomes will generally all look alike due to being townhomes. One nice community that may appeal to you is Carolina Landings, off of Honore just north of University Pkwy.

I can think of other neighborhoods, but these will get you started as options to look at while you visit our area. Be sure to pack shorts as our highs are now in the upper 80's.
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Old 04-17-2011, 10:34 PM
 
Location: Near Nashville TN
7,201 posts, read 14,148,014 times
Reputation: 5442
Default Gardening in Gated Communities

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnac View Post

We want a house or townhouse with room for a small garden, we are not crazy for the gated community life....

John
We've done months of research on the Sarasota area. If you love to garden as we do, avoid the Gated Communities. Not all give permission (yes permission! ) to grow a garden. In some you even need permission to remove a tree or replace a shrub. Better to buy outside these GCs where you can grow what you like. You may also want to look into a BUYER'S AGENT. Those selling you a home are working for the seller. Get someone who is working for you.
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Old 04-18-2011, 12:22 AM
 
Location: on the edge of Sanity
14,268 posts, read 18,080,883 times
Reputation: 7973
Why are you leaving West Palm Beach to move to this area? Sorry, I'm just curious.
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Old 04-18-2011, 04:51 PM
 
12 posts, read 20,199 times
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We are leaving West Palm Beach to retire because we have been here 25 years and am looking for something different. I also believe the people are friendlier on the west coast versus this side.
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Old 04-18-2011, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Anthem, AZ
2,118 posts, read 3,568,618 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnac View Post
I also believe the people are friendlier on the west coast versus this side.
As someone who travels extensively throughout SoFL, on both coasts, I must agree with you there.

I moved to Port Charlotte 3+ years ago from AZ. If I had it to do over again, I'd move to the Keys. But if I had SWFL to do over again, I'd have purchased in Punta Gorda or one of the great single family homes inside Burnt Store Marina. PG has a great small town feel with bigger town conveniences 10-15 minutes away in PC. Being on the Harbor is huge priority for me though, so I can't do "inland." I don't understand it myself, but apparently not everyone moves to Florida for the water.

I also travel throughout Sarasota/Bradenton. These are not small town to retire to; especially during tourist season, aka Winter.

Pick Punta Gorda and you'll stay for another 25 years.
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Old 04-18-2011, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
18,772 posts, read 25,361,361 times
Reputation: 33911
Quote:
Originally Posted by Messing About View Post
As someone who travels extensively throughout SoFL, on both coasts, I must agree with you there.

I moved to Port Charlotte 3+ years ago from AZ. If I had it to do over again, I'd move to the Keys. But if I had SWFL to do over again, I'd have purchased in Punta Gorda or one of the great single family homes inside Burnt Store Marina. PG has a great small town feel with bigger town conveniences 10-15 minutes away in PC. Being on the Harbor is huge priority for me though, so I can't do "inland." I don't understand it myself, but apparently not everyone moves to Florida for the water.

I also travel throughout Sarasota/Bradenton. These are not small town to retire to; especially during tourist season, aka Winter.

Pick Punta Gorda and you'll stay for another 25 years.
We drove around the Burnt Store Marina area last weekend and yes, it looks lovely. BUT the OP said "We prefer to be close to good restaurants, good shopping, health care, outdoor activities." Unless I missed it, none of these things were close to Burnt Store Marina. At least a ten minute drive, yes? (Someone in the complex told us that if we wanted a good restaurant, we'd have to head over to PG or Pine Island.)
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:53 AM
 
Location: on the edge of Sanity
14,268 posts, read 18,080,883 times
Reputation: 7973
I thought the people in Vero Beach & Sebastian were very friendly & helpful. When I moved from Bonita Springs to Vero, I thought I was in a different country! I guess it just depends on your own, personal experience. I believe (to a point) we all attract what we think. I mean, I rarely wave to people who don't wave back.

Tonight at 9:30 I was stuck on Murdock Circle with a dead battery. I called AAA, but as I was watching my cheese curdle and my ice cream turn to soup, 2 nice guys saw my hood up, and gave me a jump start.

So I guess there are still friendly & helpful people in Port Charlotte.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Punta Gorda and Maryland
6,103 posts, read 14,440,201 times
Reputation: 1245
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jkgourmet View Post
We drove around the Burnt Store Marina area last weekend and yes, it looks lovely. BUT the OP said "We prefer to be close to good restaurants, good shopping, health care, outdoor activities." Unless I missed it, none of these things were close to Burnt Store Marina. At least a ten minute drive, yes? (Someone in the complex told us that if we wanted a good restaurant, we'd have to head over to PG or Pine Island.)
That is true. And, some of the reasons we chose PGI to live in. But, if you love to fish and golf, then Burnt Store is a nice place. Still you have to expect to drive a lot if you want to go out to restaurants, shop, and enjoy much night life.
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