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Lowkey, waterfront, natural area for winter months--no high rises


Apr 25th, 2017, 02:53 PM
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Lowkey, waterfront, natural area for winter months--no high rises

We are looking for a place to escape Minnesota winters (or several months of MN winters) and are thinking of anywhere along the Gulf coast from Texas on to Florida. We are interested in coastal areas rather than freshwater areas, but it does not have to be real beaches. We have a boat and kayaks we'd like to be able to use on some bays or back waters rather than heading far out into the big seas. We don't need beach weather all the time but want it to be pleasant enough that we can go out in the boat comfortably. We'd be fine with an area that the locals regard more as a summer rather than a winter area. My husband is a fisherman (fly and regular but not deep sea) so we want an area that is good for that activity. An area with nice biking (meaning not totally isolated with only major roads to ride on) is also a desire.

Miles of traffic jams and strip malls do nothing for us. We are not into shopping other than for necessities. I'd like access to a decent grocery store that carries at least a few more interesting and upscale things. Casual, low key, restaurants are where we eat, and ethnic restaurants are our favorite. We are more interested in parks and nature than glitz. Some opportunities for occasional cultural events would be a definite plus. We have no interest at all in areas that are filled with high rise condos.

Ideally we would like to stay in (rent or maybe buy) a townhouse-like condo on a canal with a boat slip at hand. And, of course, we don't want to spend a gazillion dollars.

We spent a month on Sanibel, and in many (but not all) ways it has what we are looking for. Plus, it is definitely pricey. I guess perhaps you could describe what we are looking for as somewhat more the upscale silent sports enthusiasts.

Does anyone have any suggestions? If you know of something that isn't in the areas I described, I'd be interested to learn more about that too. Thanks.
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Apr 25th, 2017, 04:09 PM
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Wow, cannot wait to see the answers to that question. A paradise on a beer budget that few know about. I waiting 'cause I will be the second to buy.
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Apr 25th, 2017, 08:10 PM
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In the Sanibel area is Cape Coral, with hundreds of miles of canals, tons of water access, thousands of condos... attached to the cape is Pine Island ... more rural...
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Apr 25th, 2017, 08:59 PM
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Have you looked at Corpus Christi?
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Apr 26th, 2017, 06:17 AM
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Lower Southeast coast also.
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Apr 26th, 2017, 06:59 AM
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are you still totally hung up on that "blog" about Sarasota?

Anyway, it WOULD HELP US if you would say exactly what it WAS about Sanibel that wasn't to your liking. And I ask that WITH RESPECT because a whole bunch of people WANT to help you but if we have no idea what you didn't like then what is the point?
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Apr 26th, 2017, 07:12 AM
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I haven't stayed there, but I have fished in the 10,000 islands area, not too far from Naples, but rustic in places. Research it a bit and see if it suits you.
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Apr 26th, 2017, 07:22 AM
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Commercial fishing town
Piggly Wiggly supermarket
Historic houses
The only traffic light blinks
Tourist bars and bars for locals
A wonderful Episcopal church
Right in the armpit where the Panhandle meets the boot
UPS and Fedex

I assume there is a public library and cable/internet.

What more do you need?
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Apr 26th, 2017, 07:28 AM
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BETTER WEATHER LOL!! What if they are Roman Catholic or Baptist?
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Apr 26th, 2017, 09:05 AM
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Anywhere from Port St. Joe to Apalachicola in the Florida Panhandle fills most of your needs. But, these places are not upscale. They are laid back but affordable. You can't have everything unless you're willing to pay.
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Apr 26th, 2017, 09:41 AM
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Florida is miles of strip malls, yes.

Haven't been there for 15 years but Flagler Beach in Florida used to be very low key & under-developed
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Apr 26th, 2017, 10:28 AM
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Gretchen--I assume you mean states like Georgia and SC.

Tom Fuller--We are contemplating Rockport which is about 35 miles north of Corpus Christi. It has many of the attributes we are looking for.

We visited Apalachicola perhaps 25 years ago but I do not remember much. We may have also visited Port St. Joe on that trip. I'll have to take another good look at a map and do some further online research for housing types.

Dukey--About the blog. No I never was hung up on it; I was just asking for feedback. But, we have visited Florida and have experienced first hand the slow traffic and the miles and miles of strip malls that all look alike. And, I have been no other place in the world where there are "silver alerts". LOL.

Sanibel is actually very close to what we like as far as an environment because there are extensive natural areas including a national park/protected area. However, real estate is very expensive there, and from what we have seen there are not a lot of rentals of the type we would be looking for. Nearly all of the condos are on the wide open ocean beach side, and we really don't need or want to be on miles of beach for walking. We'd prefer something in more of a bayside type environment where we could go out in a small boat. There are rental restrictions in most places on Sanibel for houses with a minimum of a month rental. We don't have any problem with the time limit, but we have started to think that as enjoyable as a house is, for two people on their own in a new place with no friends a condo might be a better chance at meeting people.

Don't get me wrong about the financial part. We are willing to pay for the right rental place, and money is not the huge driver in the decision. If I can be honest and hope I won't offend anyone, we are looking for a place that is not redneck but also not a place where people are nouveau riche and into conspicuous consumption. I'm sorry, but from my observations there are both types of places in Florida.

I assume Dukey's comments also refer to the fact that for truly warm and reliable winter weather, people have to venture down to the more southerly portions of Florida.
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Apr 26th, 2017, 02:17 PM
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Is the Low Country too far north? For example, Bluffton??
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Apr 27th, 2017, 01:30 AM
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THANK YOU for your clarification. I still firmly believe that Florida varies in terms of both landscape, traffic, the number of strip malls, and silver alerts.

In terms of Sanibel I understand your concerns.

Yea, in terms of RELIABLY WARM weather day after day you are not going to be happy up in central Florida.

But I'm going to be totally honest with you, Julies. I think your ageist comments regarding "silver alerts" as well as your desire for what you think of as "nouveau riche" and "conspicuous consumption" could be problematic.

I honestly do hope you find your ideal place where nothing and nobody will be allowed to ever get in the way of your total enjoyment.
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Apr 27th, 2017, 04:28 AM
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Please clarify what "reliably warm" means to you. Does it mean beach weather or golf/biking weather? The latter would open up wide swaths of the country.

On a somewhat related note: I just received my alumni magazine from college.
One of my fellow alums, a year younger than me, has just left the northeast for a new home. The new home was chosen based on: "affordability, culture, quality medical care, and a warm climate." Where's the new home?? MEMPHIS!!
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Apr 27th, 2017, 05:05 AM
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ekscrunchy--We don't need beach weather and would be fine with comfortable biking weather. But, we also want to be able to do some boating and kayaking fairly regularly. Anything below about 65 probably isn't too enjoyable for that.

Memphis! Just for fun I did a quick survey on the Sperling's Best Places website the other day and I got some interesting responses I never would have thought of.

Dukey1--Sorry I offended you, but honestly we don't fit in either the redneck or conspicuous consumption demographics and wouldn't fit in either type of area. We need something in between.

The silver alert mention probably was ageist (and we are getting to that age all too soon ourselves), but for those of us who do not live in Florida and are not used to these, it is definitely a topic of discussion and surprise. Friends of ours came back from Florida and it was one of the things they mentioned as being very astonishing to them. I too was surprised when we saw a posted alert on the freeway during our last trip to Florida.
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Apr 27th, 2017, 05:26 AM
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A lot of people really love Rockport. Take a look at Port Aransas, too, which is nearby.
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Apr 27th, 2017, 05:37 AM
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Julie: I would suggest taking a good look at the Low Country of SC and Ga. You might get some colder days but overall I think the biking/boating season is all year round. If you have not been there, remove all ideas of redneck-country behind. Therre are many islands and coastal towns; I mentioned Bluffton, above, cause I've stayed there a few times and thought it was really lovely. I can attest to the fact that there are good food markets, supermarkets and smaller stores, within a short drive of the "downtown" area. No traffic that I was aware of, except maybe on the main road to Hilton Head.

Bluffton is just one idea but there are posters here who knows this area very well and I'm sure they can advise where to look. Outskirts of Charleston is another area.

A close friend moved to Wilmington, NC a few years ago and adores it, but he is more a golfer than a boat person. Even so, worth looking into. You get cold snaps every now and then but overall, good climate.
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Apr 27th, 2017, 07:35 AM
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I had to google "silver alert" - never heard of it before.

Julies, I have no suggestions (we're looking for the same thing though, so the thread has been very interesting). I completely understand your need for "something in between".
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Apr 27th, 2017, 11:40 AM
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I think that Florida has more than its fair share of terrible drivers, especially along I-95 in the south. Just crazy lane changing without signals, weaving in and out, all that. And I come from the land of the Long Island Expressway! We had a fender-bender a few months ago; older person's foot slipped off the brake and she nudged the rear of our car. At the body shop, the manager told us she never drives on I-95 cause she had seen too many accidents on that road.

But to be fair, I was in SE Florida all winter and I don't think I saw more than one "silver alert" posted on the highway, if that. I've seen them, sure, but think the last one was the winter before this past one. Maybe there are more not only cause there are a lot of older drivers but because the system is a good one for alerting lost people. Not sure we even have that up north.

None of what I just wrote is pertinent so feel free to ignore!!
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