Friday, January 16, 2015

Cold Up North? Move to Florida!

Move to Florida!

Wintery weather is having its due up north, so our friends tell us.  We tell them to move on down to Seminole County where you don’t have to worry about that any more.

Seminole County is one of the best-kept secrets of Florida.  Having lived here for nearly two decades, we continue to be in awe of the natural beauty, the great amenities, the historic flavor, and the nearness of big city life, but all tucked away in a setting that is like the neighborhoods we grew up in, but with palm trees.

We love the historic charm of Old Longwood, where Victorian homes from the 1870s and 1880s are lovingly cared for and create a streetscape that is unrivaled anywhere.  Perfect for strolling, with restaurants here and there, and just a block or two from the busy world, it is a quiet oasis of charm, available to one and all.  There is ample free parking, and a cluster of shops, most notably the "Inside Outside House", where you can find exactly what you didn’t know you were looking for to give to that special someone.

When it comes to the choice of where to live, Seminole County has it all, from the very highest end palatial homes to cute waterside cottages, from condos with a magical view to mid-century modern hideaways in the pines.  You can still find vintage farmhouses to renovate, as well as just-completed-this-week golf course view patio homes with screened pools and semi tropical greenery.  Seminole County has a collection of outstanding apartment complexes as well, ranging in style and setting to please the most discriminating tastes. 

Did we mention shopping?  Altamonte Mall is one of the largest in the state, easy to get to, filled with every kind of store and worthy of a day of shopping fun.  There are cozy main streets for traditional shopping and strolling, in some of the old Florida towns, like historic downtown Sanford on Lake Monroe and charming Winter Garden, where biking, outdoor markets and historic museums beckon.  And then there’s antiquing and vintage shopping—a real treat in Florida.  Down the decades, it is as if there has been some kind of continental drift of vintage items toward the Sunshine State, and so we find “sleepers” from every part of the USA, on a regular basis.

Golf is a popular sport in Seminole County and we count more than five dozen courses public and private for your enjoyment.  Wekiva Golf Club is one of the public courses that are tucked into a lovely suburban neighborhood, always a joy to play, it also boasts visitors of the four footed kind, from black bear to deer to the occasional coyote.  The largest state park in Central Florida, Wekiva Springs State Park, is just a long shot away, where swimming in the clear springs, picnicking and camping are popular activities.

Water sports abound, because everywhere you turn is a lake, as well as the Wekiva River, one of Florida’s most unspoiled waterways. You can also travel along the county’s stretch of the St. John’s River.  If you like rowing, sailing, water skiing, kayaking, pontoon boating, it is all waiting just a block or two away from you.

We believe it would be possible for you to eat out 365 days of the year in Seminole county and never repeat a restaurant.  Every imaginable example of world cuisine is here, because the county is truly a magnet for people from all over the globe.  Turkish tonight, Chinese tomorrow, Greek the day after, Thai, Brazilian, authentic Mexican, Caribbean flavors, and on and on.  You have so many choices. Not to mention the best Italian this side of Roma.

"Well we like the change of seasons", some have said.  We do too.  We do get cooler weather in the winter, and the signs of spring thereafter, with returning and migrating songbirds.  The spring weather lasts from February to May, and the fall weather from September to December, so the cooler hits of winter are just brief enough for us to enjoy a jacket or boots, more for style than to fend off the weather.  We did not throw away our sled and snow shovel…they make great holiday decorations on the front porch, with a big red bow.  But we have tossed aside any windshield scraper we ever owned!  December is most notable for the small flocks of ibis that gather on your lawn in the early morning.

Downtown Orlando, with its arts and culture, are a quick drive away or we can take the SunRail and leave the car behind.  The fabled theme parks are also nearby, and with the Florida Resident programs they offer, we treat them the way others up north would tread the local zoo, and come and go when and if we please.  No need to go when the lines are long or to try to see it all in a day. 

You have heard of some of those active lifestyle planned communities in Florida, and they are well and good; but real life in Seminole County allows you to enjoy a setting in which you have generational neighborhoods, with small children, young couples, families, empty nesters and seniors all in one place.  Many of the municipalities have recreational centers and plan monthly day trips to other parts of Florida, all it takes is signing up to share in a jaunt to St Augustine or St Pete where all you do is sit back and enjoy the drive to and from.

Do you think you will miss your friends from up north?  Well, be sure your new place in Seminole County has a guest room, because they will be there with bells on.  We love having our friends and family here, and can tell you that one memorable year our guest room was only empty for two days between Thanksgiving and Easter.  Between the theme parks and the conventions, everyone comes to Central Florida, often.

Did I miss something?  Yes, lots of something’s.  You who have been reading my blog since the beginning know some of the rest of the story.  If you don’t, please read back to what’s been posted before.  Suffice to say that Seminole County really is one of the best-kept secrets of Florida. 
But (ssshhh!), now, you know! 





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