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Old 02-08-2011, 02:49 PM
 
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Our family is considering a relocation from Seattle to Tallahassee. We have 2 young children, ages 5 & 2, who will be starting 1st grade and preschool in the fall. We like to be active - taking in local parks, theater, children's museums, zoos, etc. We have lived our entire lives in the Pacific Northwest, and except for a trip to WDW, have never stepped foot in FL.

I am most concerned about what the schools are like. It appears there are many private school options as well as charter schools - charter schools are unheard of around here. We live in a very affluent neighborhood currently, and chose our home based on the schools that surround it. Can anyone shed light on how a majority of families in the area handle schooling options? Do most go to their neighborhood public school or do they choose private? Are high expectations generally found?

I understand that Tallahassee is a "College Town". Does it cater to families too? I have read that the north end of town a good place purchase a home. We are looking for a neighborhood feel with low crime, but it does not have to be the most expensive. Are there any other cities/towns nearby that are worth considering? My husband would be working north of the city.

Any information you could provide would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:11 PM
JAS
 
Location: Metro Atlanta
582 posts, read 1,897,951 times
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Sounds like the residential areas on the north side of town would be your best option, especially if your husband is working on that side of town. Crime isn't a big issue on that side of town. No need to consider smaller towns in the surrounding area -- TLH itself isn't a large city (compared to Seattle), and even the suburban area north of town has a rural feel to it outside of the major subdivisions. The best public schools are on the north side. The best private school is also on the north side. Not much need for private schools unless you live in some other parts of town, want a religious-based school, or perhaps if you simply prefer private school.

TLH is really a "government town" moreso than a college town. The universities do have a large presence, but government, lobbyists, attorneys, and nonprofit associations are also the major industries, if you want to call it that. Very little to practically zero heavy industry in TLH -- the downside is that employment is often limited to services, govt, etc -- the upside is that TLH is a relatively green city with clean air.

There are plenty of children's activities, and it is a very short drive from the north side of town into midtown/downtown. Don't let the locals scare you with their ideas of bad traffic ... I live in Atlanta, and getting from one side of TLH to the other is a breeze compared to large cities.

A couple of other points:
1) If you've never lived in FL or the deep south (I guess you've been in the Pac NW), you will quickly learn what heat/humidity is all about! It doesn't bother me, but it can be an adjustment for those not accustomed to it. But that's why God invented air conditioning.
2) Don't bother looking on the south side of town or the areas within a few miles of FSU. High crime, cheap housing, bad public schools, drunk college students, drunk gang members, etc. Just being honest about it.
3) You won't see any mountains within a few hundred miles, but the live oaks, canopy roads, sugar-white sand beaches nearby are unique features.

I think TLH is a great place to raise a family. If I could pick up my job and move it to TLH, I would do so, but that won't work. Good luck with your decisions!
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Old 02-19-2011, 09:48 PM
 
10 posts, read 41,035 times
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Thank you so much for your information. It is such a HUGE decision for us, and on any given day, we have a million new questions. Thank you so much for your honesty. We are still in the process of making our decision....
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:33 AM
 
7,887 posts, read 9,512,763 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickennoodle View Post
Our family is considering a relocation from Seattle to Tallahassee. We have 2 young children, ages 5 & 2, who will be starting 1st grade and preschool in the fall. We like to be active - taking in local parks, theater, children's museums, zoos, etc. We have lived our entire lives in the Pacific Northwest, and except for a trip to WDW, have never stepped foot in FL.
Tallahassee is not much like southern and central Florida. We have trees and (gasp) hills here. It's more like central/southern Georgia. Very pretty, actually.

Quote:
I am most concerned about what the schools are like. It appears there are many private school options as well as charter schools - charter schools are unheard of around here. We live in a very affluent neighborhood currently, and chose our home based on the schools that surround it. Can anyone shed light on how a majority of families in the area handle schooling options? Do most go to their neighborhood public school or do they choose private? Are high expectations generally found?
The public schools, especialy on the north side of town, are generally better than what you would find in the rest of Florida. I don't know how that compares with the Pacific NW, but in general Florida schools are not that great. I can tell you that the north side of town has excellent elementary public schools. Many people living in the affluent parts of town send their kids to public school here. I wouldn't if I lived in any other part of Florida...but Tallahassee is different.

Quote:
I understand that Tallahassee is a "College Town". Does it cater to families too?
Yes, very much so! Tallahassee is much more than just a college town, and once you get away from campus and the student hangouts, it is a family/kid oriented place.

Quote:
I have read that the north end of town a good place purchase a home. We are looking for a neighborhood feel with low crime, but it does not have to be the most expensive. Are there any other cities/towns nearby that are worth considering? My husband would be working north of the city.
Not really any sizeable towns in the area unless you want to live in Thomasville, GA. You can live on a hunk of gorgeous land north of Tallahassee and have your own little plantation, and still have pretty easy access to downtown and all the stuff you need to get to.
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:46 PM
 
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Default ULTRA-conservative family moving to north florida...please help!

hello everyone! are there any towns that are good for families, they also need to be conservative......my family is HARD-CORE conservative. please help!! also need schools
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Old 02-23-2011, 11:06 AM
 
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Originally Posted by love_you View Post
hello everyone! are there any towns that are good for families, they also need to be conservative......my family is HARD-CORE conservative. please help!! also need schools
Then you probably won't like Tallahassee, as it is run by liberals.

And run pretty well, I might add.
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:04 PM
 
Location: Lake Talquin
108 posts, read 335,499 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Strel View Post
Then you probably won't like Tallahassee, as it is run by liberals.

And run pretty well, I might add.
Yup! Very well.
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:31 AM
 
10 posts, read 41,035 times
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Thank you, Strel! I don't know that I've seen anything yet in a picture that looks like a "hill" to me, but I believe you. I have been pleasantly surprised to see the oaks that are widely talked about. I obviously had no idea what to expect as I really thought the area would be riddled with palms! In my search across this forum I have come across a few other items that I am curious about, and I wonder if someone can help.

I've read extensively here about the "average electric bill" and have educated myself as much as I think I can with the city website as well. It appears that natural gas is not something that is regularly used/plentiful in the area, so are most appliances electric? I would assume that, at least for us, AC is going to cost a pretty penny as we are not used to that sort of heat, so I expect to pay the penalty for that! I am hoping there is a bit of a trade off - we heat our home and stay in for the winter, and down there it appears I will cool my home and stay in for the summer!

I have read a bit about the termite bond. This must be why homes are touted for being "4 side brick" - not something we think about out here. People have also noted the bugs as a reason for the screened porches, etc. I have also heard about the terrible red ants (at least in regard to pets). The bugs and gators are scaring me! I assume common sense and a fence would take care of gators (right?) so is the rest of it a real nuisance? It is fairly common to care for your home organically/without synthetic pesticides here - is that possible? We have dogs and young children.

Please tell me about hurricanes/flooding? Is there anything we should consider in this regard when buying a home? Is flood insurance common to have?

Thanks!
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Central Florida
2,833 posts, read 3,926,462 times
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Quite a few homes in this area have natural gas in addition to electric. My house, for example, is mostly electric, but I have a gas water heater and a gas fireplace in the living room. You can find homes with gas appliances but it seems to me that the majority are all electric.

As for the bugs, well, they are indeed a nuisance here in the South. I have lived in Florida for 40 years and have never gotten used to the bugs, but through a combination of a pest control service that does only outdoor perimeter pesticide (no spraying inside) and keeping the interior of the house reasonably clean and keeping all food products tightly sealed, I haven't seen a bug inside my home in (knocking wood here) several years.

Outdoor bugs, however, that's a different story. If you plan to spend any time at all out by your pool, I recommend screening it in to keep the mosquitoes away. (Although a screened-in pool is colder than a pool without a screen.) Sometimes you'll see that some bad ants have started to build themselves a home on your property -- call your pest control people and they'll take care of it. Fleas may become a problem for any pets that go outside as I'm told the fleas don't die off in the winter as they do up north, so you have to be proactive about flea infestation prevention.

Gators are not a problem unless you allow your kids and/or dogs to run into any nearby lakes. I was told to assume that any body of water larger than a rain puddle contains an alligator, and I believe it. But alligators don't come up out of the lakes and start roaming around your neighborhood. Just seriously keep an eye on your dogs and kids around bodies of water. I've never heard of a gator going into someone's swimming pool, but I guess it could happen. I used to find snakes quite often in my (unscreened) pool in south Florida. And frogs: they'd come and lay their eggs in the pool sometimes. Yuck. And it was a well-maintained pool too, y'all, before you start thinking it was a swamp.

As for hurricanes, (again knocking wood) they have not historically been a problem here in Tallahassee the way they have in other parts of the state, except for economically. Your homeowner's insurance will be higher because of hurricane damage in other parts of the state. Still, it's a good idea to prepare your house and your family and your supplies every year at the beginning of hurricane season, because you just never know. I remember that for a while, it looked like Hurricane Katrina was coming right up here, before it turned west and went to N.O.

And I think everyone should buy flood insurance, even if you don't live anywhere near a flood plain area. The reasons are that (a) flood insurance is relatively cheap, and (b) homeowner's insurance won't cover any kind of flooding, and we do get some pretty intense rainfall sometimes.

Living in Florida will take some getting used to, but I think it's worth it.
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Old 02-28-2011, 09:27 AM
 
7,887 posts, read 9,512,763 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chickennoodle View Post
I've read extensively here about the "average electric bill" and have educated myself as much as I think I can with the city website as well. It appears that natural gas is not something that is regularly used/plentiful in the area, so are most appliances electric? I would assume that, at least for us, AC is going to cost a pretty penny as we are not used to that sort of heat, so I expect to pay the penalty for that! I am hoping there is a bit of a trade off - we heat our home and stay in for the winter, and down there it appears I will cool my home and stay in for the summer!
There is a lot of natural gas usage in Tallahassee, and the city encourages it through various financial incentives/rebates etc. It depends on the neighborhood, but most of the places you would want to look should have city gas already. You might have to pay to get hooked up, but it's worth it IMHO - especially because I hate cooking on an electric stove.

There are a lot of gas fireplaces too, as well as wood ones, because it does get cold here in the winter. Cold for Florida, anyway.

Yes, you will be running your AC 24/7 in the summer.

Quote:
I have read a bit about the termite bond. This must be why homes are touted for being "4 side brick" - not something we think about out here. People have also noted the bugs as a reason for the screened porches, etc. I have also heard about the terrible red ants (at least in regard to pets). The bugs and gators are scaring me! I assume common sense and a fence would take care of gators (right?) so is the rest of it a real nuisance? It is fairly common to care for your home organically/without synthetic pesticides here - is that possible? We have dogs and young children.


Frankly the red ants are more of a threat than any other local wildlife. But that's easy. Your kids will learn their lesson the first time they step on an anthill. It only takes once.

Don't worry about the gators, foxes, deer, bears, coyotes, armadillos, possums, hawks, eagles, etc. Tallahassee borders (more or less) the Apalachicola National Forest so there is plenty of wildlife around, but honestly, you aren't going to see a gator unless you go looking for one.

The bugs are much more of a problem than any reptile or mammal.

Quote:
Please tell me about hurricanes/flooding? Is there anything we should consider in this regard when buying a home? Is flood insurance common to have?
Tallahassee is many miles inland. The biggest worry is a tree falling on your house.

Flooding is hit or miss, depending on where you live. Because north Tallahassee is hilly and on something of a plateau, there is serious flooding in some areas and none whatsoever in others. The south side gets the drainage, so it is more of a problem there.

BUT: because of the red clay soil, there is a high runoff coefficient here. This means, in English, that the water doesn't soak into the ground very quickly and tends to run all over the place. This means that certain roads - like the notorious Franklin Blvd., can turn into rivers within minutes during a powerful thunderstorm.

And that's another thing. Florida thunderstorms can be quite violent with lots of lightning in the summertime. My house has been hit twice...
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