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Old 08-29-2011, 03:35 PM
 
38 posts, read 53,339 times
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Hi there! Let me start out by stating that I absolutely love this forum, and a big "thank you" to everyone who has ever posted. I've spent more time than I care to admit reading all of your posts.

About me - Minnesota native, 30, married, no kids, no pets, tame lifestyle but I like the options, not all too athletic. The hubby and I decided that the St. Pete's/Clearwater area would be a good bet because of the proximity to Orlando and the ocean. The primary reason we are moving is to get away from the weather for 2-3 years before we move back to MN to start a family (we'd like to be by our own family when we have kids). Jobs are already secure, so no worries there, and I'm home based so no worries about commuting traffic, and he works off-hours, and depending on his territory, he should be be fine with regard to commute times/traffic. We will be renting, don't have a preference with regard to apartment or single house, budget is about $1500/month. We'd like to be close (within walking distance) to a nice beach, or have access to close/free parking to the beach (my aunt had that luxury in Naples, don't know if residents have that same type of deal in this area?)

My question to you knowledgeable folks:

1. How bad, really, are the giant bugs? Being from MN we have a fair share of bugs (mostly mosquitos) but I just get the heebie-jeebies thinking about cockroaches crawling out of everywhere as soon as I turn off the lights. If this is an unavoidable, serious concern with renting, this will be a deal breaker. I won't be able to sleep if I ever find roaches in my bedroom. Sounds like a silly question probably, but I really wonder how much of a hassle bug control is.

2. Are there any must-experience-before-moving daily occurrences that we should seek before making the final decision, besides traffic? We are planning to visit in early November to get a good feel for the area. We've both been to Tampa, but neither of us has been across the bridge. We will have a few weekdays so we can see what traffic is like, as well as a weekend to see what that's like. I think the plan is to fly into Tampa, drive through the beach front areas of St. Pete's, then over the beachfront areas of Clearwater, Indian Rocks/Shores, and maybe even down to Redington Shores.

Really, any tips/comments/etc are appreciated. I just want to make sure we fully utilize the time we will be there as if we were residents as opposed to tourists. Also, neither of us has even moved out of state or lived by an ocean before, and despite the hours and hours of research, I'm sure there are pieces to that experience I may have missed... if you've got tips/warnings/advice on moving cross country and/or living by the ocean, I'd really appreciate it!! PM if you prefer not to post in this thread.

Thank you all so much.
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Old 08-29-2011, 04:10 PM
 
1,106 posts, read 2,048,520 times
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1. a cat will solve that issue.

2. That's a good starting route. You should be able to live very well with a $1,500/mo budget.

I'm not sure what you meant by proximity to Orlando and commuting. Where will you be commuting to?
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Old 08-29-2011, 06:12 PM
 
Location: Coeur d'Alene, ID (Virginia Beach, VA)
11 posts, read 17,976 times
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chi_tino, What about those allergic to cats? I've been wondering the same thing about the critters... spiders... I am, uh... unbearably afraid of them.

alexthegirl, I moved from Virginia Beach to Japan, so I certainly know how it feels to make a big move. I would think there is going to be some culture shock even just moving to another state. I wanted to return to the states SO bad, and then when the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster happened and I thought I had to return, I wanted to stay in Japan. I took it for granted. I realized that I had actually come to really love it here. I also realized I never really took the time to learn how to live here. It may help to find a group to get involved with for support, maybe a church or hobby group. It really helps to find friends in a new area.

I wish I could give you more advice; I hope that I could be of some help.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:26 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
110 posts, read 251,730 times
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I'm from MN, born & raised, 36 years. We moved to St. Pete july 2010. I too am completely grossed out by bugs and was particularly concerned about roaches. My husband had lived in Dallas for 5-6 years so he knew what we were in for. So the 1st thing I set up when we got here was an exterminator to come every 3 months. We rented a townhome. Even with a regular exterminator (and VERY clean kept home) we still see "Palmetto" bugs, aka American Roaches aka the-biggest-frickin-bug-I've-ever-seen!!! They are HUGE, unlike anything I've ever seen in MN! Fortunately the majority of them that ive seen in my home have been dead (my husband says that's cause the exterminator is working, I on the other hand expect to see none!)

Palmetto bugs are different than the small roaches that scatter when you turn the lights on! In MN you only have those if your house is nasty filthy.

It's not like I see one inside my house everyday, or even every week for that matter. I've seen an increase of bugs over the summer, naturally.

All this being said, if you love warm weather, outdoor activities, the beach, beautiful sunshine, etc then these giant critters will pale in comparison to the wonderful FL weather! As much as I hate bugs, I love living here!

Good luck with your decision & move!
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Old 08-29-2011, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Tampa
2,602 posts, read 7,491,224 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexthegirl View Post
2. Are there any must-experience-before-moving daily occurrences that we should seek before making the final decision, besides traffic? We are planning to visit in early November to get a good feel for the area. We've both been to Tampa, but neither of us has been across the bridge. We will have a few weekdays so we can see what traffic is like, as well as a weekend to see what that's like. I think the plan is to fly into Tampa, drive through the beach front areas of St. Pete's, then over the beachfront areas of Clearwater, Indian Rocks/Shores, and maybe even down to Redington Shores.
Just be aware that St. Pete doesn't actually extend all the way to the beach (St. Pete Beach is a separate city), though the city does own a beachfront parking lot otherwise surrounded by the City of Treasure Island.

You can do the drive from St. Pete Beach to Clearwater Beach easily. It's about a twenty mile drive from one end to the other, and you'd pass through the cities/towns of Redington Shores, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores, and half a dozen other communities.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:03 AM
 
35,319 posts, read 44,590,795 times
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If you want to walk to the beach you'll have to live on one of the many beach communities off of western St Petersburg..
The beaches stretch all the way from Clearwater south to Terra Verde where Ft Desoto is the prize,,




Last edited by jambo101; 08-30-2011 at 02:14 AM..
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Old 08-30-2011, 07:57 AM
 
38 posts, read 53,339 times
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A cat exterminator! I LOL'd at that one and had to share with my husband. We may just do that. Do the large apartment complex buildings generally have a good handle on bug control?

So far I am loving Clearwater Point area as well as Indian Rocks Shores area. We'll have to see though when we actually get there. The St. Pete's beach area is a little more spendy for what I can find. From what I've read, the Indian Rocks area is a bit quainter and more "old Florida" feeling - would you agree? We aren't really picky, plus the way that Minnesota is with the massive suburban sprawl, we are accustomed to a 30-40 minute drive to get into Minneapolis or to another suburb for entertainment. It's pretty normal here to have an average commute time of 30-40 minutes anywhere you go (with the exception of groceries, Target, etc.) OH! Speaking of Target, are there a few Target stores in that area? I adore Target...

What I meant by commuting was more for my husband than me - his job covers a territory. Granted he doesn't travel during "normal" rush hour times, but I still want him to experience a typical daytime commute so he knows what he's getting into. The issue is that we won't know his territory until closer to the time of moving. By proximity to Orlando - I wanted to stay close-ish to Orlando for several reasons; primarily because of the activities that Orlando offers (I'm sure we'll have a lot of visitors in the winter) as well as a satellite office that I can work out of if I need to go in for some reason.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:41 AM
 
Location: Myrtle Beach
3,380 posts, read 8,242,992 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexthegirl View Post
A cat exterminator! I LOL'd at that one and had to share with my husband. We may just do that. Do the large apartment complex buildings generally have a good handle on bug control?

So far I am loving Clearwater Point area as well as Indian Rocks Shores area. We'll have to see though when we actually get there. The St. Pete's beach area is a little more spendy for what I can find. From what I've read, the Indian Rocks area is a bit quainter and more "old Florida" feeling - would you agree? We aren't really picky, plus the way that Minnesota is with the massive suburban sprawl, we are accustomed to a 30-40 minute drive to get into Minneapolis or to another suburb for entertainment. It's pretty normal here to have an average commute time of 30-40 minutes anywhere you go (with the exception of groceries, Target, etc.) OH! Speaking of Target, are there a few Target stores in that area? I adore Target...

What I meant by commuting was more for my husband than me - his job covers a territory. Granted he doesn't travel during "normal" rush hour times, but I still want him to experience a typical daytime commute so he knows what he's getting into. The issue is that we won't know his territory until closer to the time of moving. By proximity to Orlando - I wanted to stay close-ish to Orlando for several reasons; primarily because of the activities that Orlando offers (I'm sure we'll have a lot of visitors in the winter) as well as a satellite office that I can work out of if I need to go in for some reason.
Yes, Indian Rocks is more quaint and quiet than many of the other beach communities. I used to live within 5 minutes of Indian Rocks Beach.

Yes, there are big bugs here. You will end up seeing them. Best you can do is cut off their access points and be sure you are up to snuff on your pest control. Keep a can of raid handy if you are too afraid to smash a roach or spider with a flip flop.

Nearest shopping to Indian Rocks Beach is the Largo Mall on Ulmerton. It's an outdoor strip mall. Not much shopping there. Next main shopping area is Tyrone Square.

To be honest, if you are really into shopping, you won't find much shopping in Pinellas. I found the shopping in Pinellas to be spread out and unsatisfying. You can find everything you need.

I'm sure you'll like the area. We did!

Indian Rocks Beach is about 2 hours from Orlando. Keep that in mind, if it's that important to you.
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:48 AM
 
35,319 posts, read 44,590,795 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexthegirl View Post
The hubby and I decided that the St. Pete's/Clearwater area would be a good bet because of the proximity to Orlando and the ocean. .
St Pete /Clearwater is on the Gulf of Mexico,i suppose you could call it an ocean but the real ocean is on the other side of Florida,If you are going to be spending any time in Orlando and you want proximity to the beach i'd look east as its an hour and a bit to drive from Orlando to the beach or it would take at least 2 hours to drive from Orlando to the west coast beaches, if you are driving in rush hour add an hour to your destination..
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Old 08-30-2011, 08:51 AM
BBI
 
490 posts, read 850,703 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexthegirl View Post
30, married, no kids, no pets, tame lifestyle but I like the options, not all too athletic. ... We'd like to be close (within walking distance) to a nice beach, or have access to close/free parking to the beach (my aunt had that luxury in Naples, don't know if residents have that same type of deal in this area?)

1. How bad, really, are the giant bugs? Being from MN we have a fair share of bugs (mostly mosquitos) but I just get the heebie-jeebies thinking about cockroaches crawling out of everywhere as soon as I turn off the lights. If this is an unavoidable, serious concern with renting, this will be a deal breaker. I won't be able to sleep if I ever find roaches in my bedroom. Sounds like a silly question probably, but I really wonder how much of a hassle bug control is.
The beach communities are very old. I'm 30 and married w/o kids, and my wife and I started out in the area last fall and over the winter by renting in a beach community while house/neighborhood hunting. It was awesome on a few warm November days, and you couldn't beat the view. But December and January were much too cold to go to the beach, and it wasn't really good beach weather until more like April. And there was literally nothing else to do there but hang out with people old enough to be our grandparents. People our parents' age were young whippersnappers out at bars. Everyone was nice and all, but that sort of many-generational gap isn't what we're looking for in lasting friendships or fun nights out. We ended up commuting into downtown St. Pete for fun, but it's hard to make good friends when you live in another town. This spring we moved to the Old NE (the neighborhood just north of downtown St. Pete), and we love it here. But it was lonely out there surrounded by snowbirds. I guess all that to say, if the beach is top priority, then it's top priority, but I'd hedge that bet: aim for a beach close to downtown St. Pete, and keep the lease short-term.

I wish the bugs weren't here, and they freak out my wife, but it's not that bad. It's not like the 17-year cicadas in DC or the stinkbug invasion in PA, where they're just crawling on everything. If you're renting a single family home, make sure you've got a bug guy. Then you'll just see an occasional dead one; one per week at most. If you're in a building, get off the ground floor and there's a good chance you won't see any. FYI, they come in looking for water, so it's not about keeping a clean house; they're just part of the territory.
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