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Need Help from Florida Tiki Central Members
Sailor Curt
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 50
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2005-08-02 08:32 am   Permalink

I am posting this in the hope that Tiki Central members who live in Florida can give us some advice.

My wife and I live in Seattle. Due to a number of factors, we are considering a move back to the east coast, with Florida being one of the possible areas on our list.

We know this may be a rather tall request, but we are hoping that some of you Floridians can suggest some possible locations that we should consider living in Florida.

Our idea of a livable city would include: good shopping areas that are not overly-commercialized (i.e., at least a few independent businesses that are alternatives to the usual Wal-Mart and Target stores); availability of good organic foods in the grocery stores; availability of art and culture (such as museums that have modern art and film); a socially and politically progressive community (i.e., not too conservative); nightlife that includes progressive/modern music; nearness to beaches; and last, but not least, access to the sort of community that fosters tiki lovers and similar hip-ness.

(Right of the bat, we should note that we are not particularly crazy about Miami, but are willing to listen to anyone who can change our minds about it).

Other locations of interest include: coastal Georgia and points farther north on the east coast.

Thanks in advance for your input.

Sailor Curt & Violet Ray (Curt & Melissa)

P.S. Site Admin: I hope we have posted this in the proper forum. If not, please move to the forum where this post is more relevant. Thank you.


 
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pablus
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2003
Posts: 2155
From: www.crazedmugs.com
Posted: 2005-08-02 11:34 am   Permalink

<<<...but not least, access to the sort of community that fosters tiki lovers and similar hip-ness. >>>

We're working on that one.

Speaking for the West Coast (since I'm an enemy of the grid lock that IS I-95)
Your town sounds like St. Petersburg.
"Must love elderly people."

Jacksonville, Jax Beach and St. Augustine have some each of what your looking for in that list but the traffic is even more horrible than Tampa Bay.

Avoid Naples at all costs.

Sarasota is a cool city as well.
If they had more flights I would consider moving there myself.
They have lots of good restaurants and fresh markets.
A few tiki places within reach, as well.

In a perfect world I would live equally distant from Sarasota, St. Petersburg and Tampa - but that would probably place me underwater in the middle of Tampa Bay.



 
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TikiGardener
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1365
From: 1st website dedicated to Tiki Gardens
Posted: 2005-08-02 11:41 am   Permalink

Or Tarpon Springs.

But Saint Petersburg is a nice place. The watefront is gentryfying, but the homes just a few blocks in from that are very nice.

Tarpon Springs is just getting noticed. At least thats the way it appeared to me my last visit their. Lots of small shops. A nice little historic distict.

Oh and Dunedin is nice also!!! And the Vodkanauts play there from time to time...


[ This Message was edited by: TikiGardener 2005-08-02 11:43 ]


 
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alohabros
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 04, 2004
Posts: 533
From: westernus
Posted: 2005-08-02 1:25 pm   Permalink

south beach would be the place to go... nightlife, food, beaches... all that stuff...

once you get your place you can invite everyone there for mai tai's and stuff, take pictures and have a good ole time... yup, south beach


 
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Sailor Curt
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 50
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2005-08-02 1:38 pm   Permalink

Quote:
On 2005-08-02 11:34, pablus wrote: Jacksonville, Jax Beach and St. Augustine have some each of what your looking for in that list but the traffic is even more horrible than Tampa Bay.



The traffic in Seattle is too appalling to even discuss here rationally!

At this point, I am starting to lean toward St. Augustine for an east coast possible, but admit to having a real fondness for the west coast and even the panhandle (but admit that I donít know very much about those areas).

I forgot to mention in my original post that I lived in Jacksonville for six years in the mid to late 80ís and visited St. Augustine many times. I also have relatives who live near there. But visiting and living there are two different things, naturally, hence the reason for asking about what the Floridians on here think about specific cities.

Anyone have any input on living in St. Augustine?

And thanks for all of the replies so far, they have already been a huge help.

P.S. And in response to the one poster about moving to South Beach and inviting everyone over: More than likely we will not move there, but most certainly we will throw a big party with the usual tiki drinks and such. You all are already invited.


 
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joefla70
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 17, 2005
Posts: 354
From: Fort Lauderdale
Posted: 2005-08-02 2:55 pm   Permalink

Hi Curt,

I live in Ft. Lauderdale and have lived here all my life. One thing you should know about South Florida is that the home prices have skyrocketed in the past few years. I'm sure it has gone up in other places, but its crazy here now. I heard a story on NPR the other day that a lot of people who are thinking of moving here and have accepted job offers, later declined those job offers after finding out that houseing was so expensive. Now, I see that you are from Seattle, so the situation may be even worse there than it is here.

Also, if art and culture are big factor for you, there is very little down here. Just to give you an example, the city of Miami is spending a gazillion dollars building a new performing arts center and opera house in downtown Miami. At the same time that they started building it, the Florida Philharmonic went BANKRUPT. So, they will soon have a great music hall for nobody to play in. (That Reminds me of a recent Simpsons episode where the city of Springfield built a performing arts center than nobody went to, and it later was turned into a XXX movie theatre, and then eventually a maximum security prison!). But I digress...

Another thing about South Florida is that people, by and large, are not extremely friendly. It always amazes me when I travel outside of Florida just how much more friendly people seem to be.

Its really hot and humid here too. I know it rains a lot in seattle, but at least its probably nice and cool. Here, even when it rains its like a steam-bath!

You know what, on second thought, I don't know why I live here! Don't come to Florida. Go to some place nice while you still can!!!! Like North Carolina.

[ This Message was edited by: joefla70 2005-08-02 14:56 ]


 
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Mambo
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 27, 2003
Posts: 65
From: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Posted: 2005-08-02 5:51 pm   Permalink

I definitely second Joe's comments!!!!

 
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mahalomo
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Feb 10, 2005
Posts: 70
From: SD, CA
Posted: 2005-08-02 6:16 pm   Permalink

Curt - I have your answer...

My wife and I recently moved from Seattle (Wallingford/Fremont area) to Florida about a year ago. We're pretty darn liberal - and especially for Florida. I was surprised, however, how much I'm enjoying life down in the sunshine state. I guess a pool, tiki bar, nearby state park beach and sunshine go a long way to happiness.

Anyway, my wife and I did a lot of research and decided Pinellas County was right for us. We didn't want to do Miami, and wanted the more relaxed attitude of the Gulf Coast. Good choice, I might add. We settled in a town called "Dunedin", north of St. Pete, west of Tampa, and very much a "western city". To get to the point: The town is quaint, has one of the few microbreweries in Florida that I've found worthwhile ("The Dunedin Brewery"), has a bar for every taste in it's little downtown area (great Martini bar that the Vodkanauts play at fairly regularly), and is gay friendly to boot (just thought I'd mention that because from experience I know Seattle is as well). It really is a great place, and lies right along the shorelines - we're just 2 miles from the Gulf. And the beaches closest by are state parks, so no nasty developments - check out "Honeymoon Island State Park" and "Caladesi Island State Park" online. We bought kayaks and enjoy the little islands off the coast. Nothing compared to the Orcas Islands, but still pretty sweet. Manatees, dolphins and turtles are common sight on our weekend excursions.

I'd even open up our house to you and your wife for a few days to get a sense of the place if you want. But really, the area around Tampa/St. Pete sounds like it'll do you okay. More conservative than Seattle - but other than San Fran, what place isn't more conservative, really? St. Pete isn't far and is a cool place as well. For Florida, it's tolerant and open-minded. Our community radio station here (88.5) is online and you might want to check it out to see what's going on in the minds of Florida folks with open minds.
http://www.wmnf.org/
I miss Seattle much, but I don't miss the rain. And palm trees in the front yard make the tiki life just that much easier.
Get in touch if you have any more questions. From one Seattle-to-Florida transplant to another - best of luck to you. And our place is open if you need a spot to explore from.

p.s - just saw Tiki Garnder's post about Tarpon and Dunedin. I'd agree. Those places aren't what you normally expect from Florida.

Mahalomo.

[ This Message was edited by: mahalomo 2005-08-02 18:23 ]

[ This Message was edited by: mahalomo 2005-08-02 18:25 ]


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Tiki-Troll
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 17, 2002
Posts: 122
From: D-LAND FL
Posted: 2005-08-02 6:18 pm   Permalink

I'm a native floridian, growing up in central florida, and as much as I hate to encourage anyone moving to Florida (its getting crowded enough!!) I do have to recommend the little town my hubby and I decided to buy a home in. We live in Deland, county seat of Volusia and only about 20 minutes from Daytona Beach. Its a little college town with a restored downtown area..lots of little eateries and stores, some nice bars we used to frequent pre-baby, and close enough to the beach, downtown orlando, the St Johns Rivers, and less than 10 minutes from two fresh water springs. (where we live in the summer...always 71 degrees!!) The housing prices are still pretty low compared to the rest of Florida too...your money will go alot farther. As for tiki culture...well they sponser a Tropical Night every year downtown which my hubby and I walk too, you get discounts if you wear hawaiian shirts (a little corny I know) but we're close enough to make going to the Hawaiian Inn a habit.

D-LAND RULES!!! maybe not for everyone but we love it
hope this helps
St Augustine is really nice too. We are actually close enough to it that we lunch there sometimes on the weekend.


 
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sungod
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 07, 2003
Posts: 219
From: Tampa Bay/New Port Richey
Posted: 2005-08-02 7:06 pm   Permalink

Sailor Curt, Today is your lucky day!! I just happen to be a real estate agent in Pinellas and Pasco counties. Feel free to email me and I'll be happy to give you some idea of types and cost of some properties. Sungod

 
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TikiGardener
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2002
Posts: 1365
From: 1st website dedicated to Tiki Gardens
Posted: 2005-08-02 7:30 pm   Permalink

Dunedin is one of the bay area towns I grew up in. It is still a great place. Tina's Cantina is a great place for mexican food. Although their Margaritas need a little work.
Across the street is a restaraunt that has great Italian dishes, and a mean Key Lime Pie. I can't remember the name of the place. Kelly's looked pretty good, but the day we peaked in, they didn't have much on the menu for vegetarians.

Clearwater is going through the roof, and full of scientologists. Who have bought up most of old downtown Clearwater. And who don't have a good rep with the locals.

Like anywhere, the closer you get to the water, the more you are going to pay.

Largo is more sprawling, but still affordable. But probably not for long.

Sungod can I contact you regarding real estate in Saint Pete? We're thinking of getting a place there.

Tg


 
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Sailor Curt
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 50
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2005-08-02 8:04 pm   Permalink

Hello Everyone:

Just another quick post here to say "thank you" to everyone who has responded so far to our request for information.

A couple of you have sent me private emails and I promise to respond to you A.S.A.P. (which will probably be first thing tomorrow).

Mahalo,

Sailor Curt


 
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saxotica
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2005
Posts: 213
Posted: 2005-08-03 05:23 am   Permalink

Isn't this whole thread really indicative of what TC is all about? The guy asks a question, gets lots of good, honest advice and even an offer of a place to stay. Tiki Central RULES ! "I get misty...."

 
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Sailor Curt
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 50
From: Seattle, WA
Posted: 2005-08-03 06:33 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2005-08-03 05:23, saxotica wrote:
Isn't this whole thread really indicative of what TC is all about? The guy asks a question, gets lots of good, honest advice and even an offer of a place to stay. Tiki Central RULES ! "I get misty...."



I couldn't agree more. Not only is TC all of the things you point out above, it is also the most civil of all message boards that I have ever seen. Major bravos and kudos for that!

Longer post later as I am using the input received thus far to start up a comparison list of possible places to live in Florida (yes, I am that methodical; it is force of habit stemming from my years as a paralegal, I'm afraid!).

Curt


 
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AlohaStation
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 27, 2004
Posts: 2158
From: So FL
Posted: 2005-08-03 08:18 am   Permalink

Quote:
At this point, I am starting to lean toward St. Augustine for an east coast possible, but admit to having a real fondness for the west coast and even the panhandle (but admit that I donít know very much about those areas).



I am a lifelong resident of the STATE of Florida, having lived in Pensacola, Destin/Ft Walton, Panama City Beach, Tallahassee, Orlando, Clearwater, Deerfield Beach and Miami. I love this state - most of my vacations are spent here in one place or another.

I grew up in the Panhandle and can tell you that is has some of the most beautiful beaches in the WORLD. White sand, emerald green water and a southern attitude. The area is EXPLODING with tourism - PCB has something like 33 hi-rises currently being built on the beaches. All of the sleepy little hotels are being bought up in a real estate frenzy. But get away from the beaches and all the towns are the same - small towns with great people. Its a tough place to make a living (doing what I do), that's why I live in South Florida. Some day I may move back.

There are a million things to do and see. Art and culture - maybe, depending on your standards(remember this is the Bible Belt). Real estate is still affordable (off the beaches). The deal with the Panhandle is that St. Joe paper company ownes a lot of the land up there and due to the "paperless society" they don't need the land any more. So, Arvida/St. Joe (who helped develop S.FL) is moving in and starting to develop some of their land and build an International airport in PCB. There is also a LARGE military presence: 2 large AirForce bases (Tyndall and Eglin), 2 Navy bases (Pensacola and PCB), and countless smaller stations and bases throughout the Panhandle. Tourism is the #1 industry there.

My advice is to look at the Panhandle as an alternative. Most people that live in Florida have never been there because it is somewhat isolated. Definately worth the trip. The 3 largest cities are Pensacola, Panama City and Tallahassee.


 
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