I am so worn out.
It usually happens after finishing a major project. It’s almost the kind of a low grade depression, where you have no motivation to do anything. I was going to go on a walk yesterday, and I couldn’t muster enough willpower. I cancelled the gym session today and slept until 8:00 am instead. It was so nice.
Now I am drinking tea and trying to scrape enough brain cells together to start the new project.
We’ve got an appearance coming up this Saturday, then the edits for the EB are landing in early March. We will have three weeks for those. We might go to Florida for a week.
I have come to the conclusion that my husband is unhappy in Texas. The allergies are killing him. He wants to be able to drive to a beach. He wants warm weather.
I thought it might have just been our house, so we went house shopping last week. We found this incredible beast of a house north of San Antonio. It looked like something out of a movie. This grand white mansion that sits on almost 3 acres, all gated, with a pool and an absolutely gorgeous office space. It needed a coat of paint and some TLC and it could’ve been on a pages of any architectural magazine. Every bedroom upstairs had a balcony that offered the view of the hills. So the style he loves, the security of a gated estate, the amazing square footage, the pool with a screen cage, which you almost never see in Texas (hail), the office space, and a motivated seller. He ooohed and aahed and he loved it, and then he came home and looked at some cookie cutter houses in Florida.
So, we’ll be heading to Jupiter once the edits are done to window house shop and see if we like the area. The thing is, the girls are pretty independent, and it’s time to do stuff that we want to do. Plus, Kid 1 might be heading to Florida eventually.
I love parts of Florida and hate the others. I absolutely loathe Orlando area, because Gordon’s mother’s house was there and all of that is tied up with her dying in agony from cancer, and I still have nightmares about that. You know what else I hate? Those gated communities where they have manicured grass and deed restrictions and neighbors are in your business 24/7. I read “with a view of a golf course” and break out in hives. 🙂
But there are gorgeous houses in Florida and I do love the beach and the tropical nature of it. I would also like to have cool fruit trees. And since Jeaniene is in Jacksonville, it wouldn’t be a long drive for a visit. But more importantly, I wanted to live by the beach as a little girl and all the way into my twenties. In my head it was Mediterranean beach, mountains and the sea, because that’s the region where we vacationed. But that’s not in the cards, unless we move to Greece or Hawaii, so Florida it is.
Look at Amelia Island. It is near Jacksonville.
Thank you but that area doesn’t work for us. We need clear water, so we are looking further South.
i used to live at the end if no name key water was incredible close to bahia honda, if you are outside all the time house does not matter as much, and the views omg!
We used to live in Jupiter- so pretty! Make sure to visit Peanut Island for swimming and coral.
There are a lot of regulated communities there which drive us crazy. But the Jupiter Farms area just west of 95 was more old Florida with big yards and fewer rules instead of cute cookie cutter.
It’s also wonderful if y’all like baseball. Spring Training is there.
Vanessa Porter says
I understand every second of this. I hope you find a beautiful spot and it sings to you ❤️.
Fruit trees would be awesome. I’d look for some comparatively high ground. We visited Florida for the first time last year – Fort Lauderdale area – and it was way cool. So many neat houses and so much beautiful nature!
No thoughts about Tampa/ Sarasota/Sanibel? Lived there and loved it, hated the East coast of Florida as it felt so fake and obsessed with status…
Sara B. says
There are some lovely bits of Florida; but also bugs the size of mini-coopers. On the plus side, able to visit St. Augustine any time you wish!
You might check-out Amelia Island/Fernandina Beach area, to the north near Jacksonville. I have only been as a visitor, never lived there, but seemed like a nice area, near to beaches, with some vintage charm in the down-town area.
Hoping change of scenery perks you all up.
Lol I just commented about the same area. Fernandina is so beautiful.
Well, you guys keep coming back to Florida. If you don’t like it, you know how to move. I hope the market is good for the house you currently have.
Toni Causey says
I think Florida has so much to offer. I have multiple author friends and several in the publishing tertiary business (editing / virtual assistant, etc.) who all live around St. Petersburg.
I went to a writing retreat at a well-known author’s home there, and it was *stunning* — not on the beach but very very close. Really lovely.
There’s hurricanes, but we get that here in the Quarter, so as long as the home is built hurricane-worthy, I’d go for it.
Toni Causey says
Oh, Illona, I meant to add… you’ve just birthed a 400(?) page baby, that took a lot of labor. You and Gordon have worked your fingers off (I honestly don’t see how you keep up the pace). I hope you get a break to take care of yourselves without stressing over the ‘next one.’
Check out Amelia Island. It’s close to Jacksonville but has some amazing beaches and really nice neighborhoods. The little town of Fernandina Beach is small and cute and cozy. I’m a Texas girl but I lived there for a few years (a long time ago) and I still think I’d move back if given a chance. Good luck and happy milestone-reached, relaxation time.
Erin D says
Do you have thoughts about climate change implications? That would be one of my concerns. Let’s be honest though. There’s some of the best beaches in the entire world (far better than the Mediterranean in terms of beaches) there, and you’re close to some nice Caribbean culture. Good for you for taking advantage of the independence that comes with having successfully raised your kids ????????
I love Florida but my thoughts go to climate change too. There are areas that flood at high tide, without a storm. My family lives in Florida so I pay attention to weather. The hurricanes have been getting bigger and more frequent. I would love to live near the beach, but I think you have to be able to afford to loose your home. Also, Florida is overdeveloped and money makes the decisions, which isn’t always good for the residents.
I love Sarasota. Lots to do. Great weather. White sand beaches. We thought about moving there before we came to California
Tim M says
Might I suggest boca reton Florida it’s 3 hrs away from Orlando, has beaches and is very nice. My aunt lives there and the whole family visits it a lot. Anyways what’s more important is that you start to feel better soon exhaustion leads to sickness so let’s try and avoid that
I completely understand your not wanting to be in a “gated community”/ covenant/HOA. That would annoy me no end too.
I’m sure that you’ll find a house that is right for both of you and where you want it to be. Now, it might take a bit of looking, but I’m sure that the universe (or whatever diety you choose to follow) will come through.
Have fun in Florida and I hope that you can get a bit of vacation time in too! ????
Sweet! We live in Palm Beach Gardens which borders Jupiter. My son actually goes to Jupiter High School. It is a very nice area. If you are looking for that beachfront community but still near city life, check out Tequesta. It borders Jupiter as well and has a more upper income, beachfront feel to it than most of the area. And a bonus for me, if you guys move here maybe we can get some book signing action.
I’m in Florida and I love it. My husband is an architect and works in Broward and Palm Beach counties. So if you need anything please let me know!
I’ll be sad if you leave, but you have to do what’s best for you. And if I have to visit you on the beach, I mean, I guess I’ll survive somehow. 😉 Good luck with the event and the edits!
Liz V says
Take some time for yourself! Everyone needs a break and some relaxation!
My mother moved down to Jacksonville about 15 years ago (from MN) and having visited her quite a few times, I can say it’s lovely. It’s a bigger city but has a fair amount of suburban areas, right on the ocean. Plus, it is not that far away from St Augustine (which is a delightful shopping/historical city). The largest bonus that I’ve seen is that Jacksonville is at a spot in Florida that they rarely get hit by the hurricanes.
Happy house hunting!
Shannon from Florida says
Love to have you over here! I grew up on the gulf side and thought it was perfect. Now live in central Florida. Local politics can be pretty bright red depending on where you settle. There are some really nice areas along the bigger rivers too (yes we do have some????)
Kim Hollenback says
It sounds like you have a finish hangover. You’re not quite sure what to do now that the piece you’ve been working on is done. My fellow cross stitchers and I experience it when we complete big pieces and sounds like it goes for writing too!
You deserve a break, be kind to yourself. You and Jeaniene in Florida? Sounds like a great deal. I am sick of snow and cold here .
As a former Floridian, I highly recommend Lakeland area or Melbourne area. I also have several siblings who are real estate agents if you need help ????
I hope you find a place you love. I moved to Arizona 15 years ago. I miss the beach, but I also love the desert (especially Sedona and the Mongolian rim areas). I have fallen in love with my new home. If I ever moved states again, though, I would want to live closer to the ocean.
Dayanara López says
I think you deserve a break. Take a few days to relax and sleep . Good luck with the house hunting ♥️
I live in Jacksonville, well Orange Park. I bought my house specifically because there is no HOA. But FYI, my allergies are going crazy. We go from winter to summer about twice a week. I would like a little consistency LOL! I’m considering a heater for the pool so I can use it in cooler months. I mean why not? You two do what’s best for you and the kids will let you know if they need you. I know this from experience!
LOL it’s all in opinion. My daughter is finishing up doctorate lives in Melbourne,Florida and can’t wait to leave. Cooler weather and mountains for her.
Life is too short not to pursue some of your dreams. Good luck house hunting.
The transistion from Texas humidity to Florida humidity would not be a shock compared to coming from a cold or dry state. Hurricanes though… definitely a down side. My father has lived in Florida for over 30 years. His house is less than half an hour from the beach. Because he was always working, he never spent down time there and now he is too unstable on his feet to go. He sits on his backporch now every day. It is a very green and nice porch.
Just go to Florida and find yourselves a nice place to live.
Texas is not your place, so move on. You deserve it.
I wish you the best of luck in finding your new home. My husband and I are seriously looking at Nevada for retirement our biggest argument is he seems to want a two story house. I say we could get a big single story. I just feel as we get older we won’t want to climb stairs.
I forgot to add, I totally get it about gated communities. Also near Jupiter is a small city named Stuart. I have never been there but my cousins moved there and are pretty happy with the area.
To DianainCA, my sister and husband moved from NY to Las Vegas and while it is way too hot in the summer, her allergies are way better out of the humid air. Good luck to you. There are a lot of two story homes being built there.
Thanks for the heads up. We are looking more in the Sparks/Reno area as we have some family there. Heat wise it is not as bad as Vegas but it will be cold in the winter.
Joann Kent says
My folks retired to Punta Gorda (from New Hampshire) and they love it . They built a little one-level house in a nice neighborhood with a creek in their backyard. Its a nice little town on the west coast.
Go. Beach. Be happy. Live your dream.
Now, I know that you’re perfectly able to Google on your own, but I love looking at houses and I’m not moving, so here’s my vicarious house find. I picked it because I think it’ll fit your Christmas tree. I mean, we have to have priorities, right. Everything else, cost included, doesn’t really matter, does it? ????????
Polina Makeeva says
Why not rent for a year or two to make sure the place fits you? You can never discover everything from online research before buying the place: allergens, alligators, mosquitoes, summer heat, hurricane season …
+1 Every article I’ve ever seen about moving to vacation areas recommends this. Having seen a few southern beach towns in winter, I agree.
Also totally agree about gated communities. I can’t handle them, even as rentals.
Amy Ann says
This sounds like a good idea. You can decide about the area at your leisure.
While we will miss both of you here in Texas (you’ve spoiled us with many, many visits to Houston), allergies are horrible in Texas. I hope you find a place in Florida where the allergies disappear, and you find the warm, gorgeous home of your dreams ❤️
I hope you find a place where you’ll be happier and Gordon won’t suffer so much from Allergies. I don’t know which environmental allergen troubles Gordon so much, but you might want to look up areas which people find less of a problem.
Living close to farms and golf courses due to pesticides & herbicides drift. Also, wide open spaces can make dust movements through wind a problem.
Jeanette Estridge says
Venice FL! City on the Gulf. That’s the motto! Explains all.
Glad you are taking a well deserved break – both physically and mentally! Listening to our bodies and doing what it says it needs isn’t always easy.
Had pictured myself living by the beach as well but as I’m still in Colorado, maybe in retirement… 🙂
Mary Carter says
I have a friend who has lived in Jupiter for a long time and absolutely loves it. Hurricanes, though.
good luck with resting and sleeping! and finding something you love
I used to live in Florida and my husband and I are seriously considering moving back for all the reasons you listed. We are doing a scouting trip in June to check out some different areas.
Relaxing at the beach is the best recharge. What’s the next project?
Mountains & the sea?
Have you considered trying California or Southern Oregon. Humidity is enough that you don’t dry out but it’s not oppressive. I don’t know about allergies but I don’t hear a lot of complaints about it. Southern Oregon gets quite a bit of sun April to October and there’s usually at least some sun every day in the winter as it rains at night. Mild 4 seasons. Ashland has good restaurants & the Shakespeare festival. There’s a costco & airport in Medford. Britt music festival in Jacksonville. Within 1-2 hours you can be at Crater Lake, the beach, or the Redwoods. People are really into their dogs. Lots of land & space with most city amenities & a short flight or 4-5 hour drive to Portland or San Francisco for the rest.
I can understand the fatigue you get after a big project that required brain power. You use your brain “too hard” and then everything else you try to do is extra difficult. I hope you can take it slow and recover quickly.
We were in North Carolina for six years and my husband had severe allergies, he didn’t go outside except for the commute to work. Miserable. I can see why your husband is unhappy.
I think there is something very satisfying about being in a location you long for, whether it’s a short trip or a more permanent move.
When we moved home to Minnesota I felt this incredible happiness. I think it’s the trees (haha).
I hope you guys find what you are looking for. And if you are not too far from Jeaniene, you can decorate her yard or door with tassles on April Fools…
My husband has always wanted to move back to Texas, it’s where he lived when we met. He hates the climate in the Midwest, but my family lives here. Chicago is my hometown. I’ve only ever passed through Texas on the way to visit family in Mexico. I enjoyed living in Arkansas, more so when we lived in the rural areas than the city, but I was homesick and I missed my mother. Now that she and my stepfather have retired, she’s moved back to Mexico, southern Mexico, where her husband is from instead of the north, where her family is from. She lives by the beach, has mango and coconut trees in her yard, and a pair of pet parrots. She’s living her dream life.
Once we get the kids all launched into the world, though…I don’t know what we’ll do. One of them wants to live in New York, his field of interest is broadcasting, one is open to wherever life takes him, he’s currently studying culinary, but he likes the Midwest, and my youngest is in middle school and not thinking about where in the world she wants to be.
I’m super excited for the integration of Florida Man-type people into your books now ????
Good luck house hunting!!
The West Coast of Florida is awesome too! Totally different vibe than east coast towns. We have some fabulous beaches and old florida towns here also. From Horseshoe Beach to Cedar Key, the metropolitan Clearwater area, the quaint beauty of St Armands, the incredible dog beach at Ft. Desoto, to the shells and sands of Sanibel Island, there are a plethora of beautiful beaches and beach towns peppered along our peninsula! I for one am thrilled you’re considering my state!! ????
Just my 2 cents!!
Aly P says
Well, I wouldn’t mind if you guys moved to Europe 😀 have fun window house shopping
Duane Leinhos says
The Gulf and Florida Atlantic coasts have this occasional issue for which you need some awareness. Hurricanes. Check for potential storm surge, drainage, and resistance to wind. One needs a bit of space between the fruit trees and the house. Also, a reliable generator is nice for the very infrequent outages. Keep some reliable batteries and the lights, communication devices, and whatever one would need. This is from a Gulf coast reader. Bonus: no Florida income tax.
Kathryn Whittington says
We take a week or so in the Longboat key area almost every winter so we do not die of the cold???? However, we chose not to move there because when my parents retired to Florida, their doctors were mostly all mediocre to bad. I finally decided that since there were so many older and retired people in that state , the doctors were kind of spoiled and had no need to be better. We moved to Cleveland ( our daughter is in the area) where medicine is big business and there is a ton of competition. We have never had better care.
Suzann Schmid says
Have you considered the panhandle, Gulf side? We own a condo in Navarre right on the beach. It’s an island. Beautiful water, sugar sands, and you are right in between Pensacola and Destin for airports etc. Lot of nice houses. Not acreage or fruit trees, but you would have the Gulf and views to put on your Xmas cards for life. Anne Rice had a place there at one time. Not sure she does anymore.
Happy you’ll get some down time. What about South Carolina? Have friends there they love the beach. Thank you for the wonderful books. They save my sanity.
Debi Murray says
I knew Florida would call to you! While I don’t expect to be nearby neighbors, I will be glad to have you both in the same state with us. No worries, I will make the welcome cookies when you get here! ????
You probably don’t need more recommendations but the areas on the Florida/Alabama border might have some nice places. Of course, you get the white sand -but-not sand (quartz) there. The areas around Destin are pretty as well, plus you’d have access to Seaside. Destin always felt more like a place for adults to vacation and have a life vs. the tourist/kid attractions some of the other beaches were.
Annamarie Schmidt says
look around Mossy Head Fl. there is a large ex-military pop there
Mountains, turquoise sea and Mediterranean… you’d probably love the island of Corsica.
I know that has nothing to do with Florida, which I know zero about. I hope your dream house is waiting for you there somewhere.
Yes Corsica might be perfect!
Heather Langston says
Okay, I live north of DeLand in Volusia County. That area has some beautiful, old homes and one of the nicest hometown downtown areas around. It is about thirty miles east of Orlando and about thirty minutes from the beach- the Ormond Beach and New Smyrna Beach areas are far nicer than the Daytona Beach area, where people drive on the beach. Ponce Inlet is another quiet, secluded area.
New Smyrna Beach, on the south end of Volusia County and along the beach. Nice area with some gorgeous homes.
I don’t know if you wanted all that input, but I’ve lived here for a long time and while I’m a northern girl at heart, but there are some great places here.
If you want closer to Jacksonville, St. Augustine is a great area also.
I hope you’ll find the place that fits you both and where you are well. Even if it means going through the process of moving again or writing less or or or. Putting yourself first is important. I cross my fingers for you. 🙂
Do whatever tickles your fancy. You’ve delivered the “baby” and passed it off to the nanny so to speak and now you can enjoy your break before starting the next labor of love.
The only thing I know about Florida is that it is easy to locate on the map and has coast on both sides. Good luck with your search for a “forever” home.
We have enjoyed having you in Texas. It’s been lovely to meet you at signings and to see part of our home in your writing.
I also love the beach. I’ll enjoy reading your writing, regardless of its setting.
I’ve been trying to plan vacations. No inspiration is striking.
Maybe not your cup of tea, but we love visiting my grandma in Largo. Mind you we could never live in a ‘city’, I’m pretty sure my husband’s head would explode. Both Grams and I LOVE Dunedin, which is a short drive from her. But annnnyway, I hope you guys take a good long vacation! It sounds like you need it!
Melissa G says
I live in Clearwater right down the road from Dunedin. I’m not so sure they’d like the traffic here and getting any sizable property is almost impossible in Pinellas County. Most densely populated county in the state.
I’ve always wanted to live on the coast, but I always pictured myself on the West Coast after driving part of the Pacific Coast Hwy. Unfortunately, it seems like they have way too many landslides, forest fires, drought, and other issues now. They might have always had them and I just noticed them more in the news the last few years, so might have to think Gulf Coast or southern East Coast, but those areas are more prone to hurricanes.
Mind you, it’s not so much that I want to go on the beach — I just want to watch the waves, especially if there are some rocks and/or cliffs for some nice violent wave action.
Plenty of wave action on the Florida coasts, especially the Atlantic side, but if you want rocks and cliffs, you’ll have to go to New England or Hawaii (actually not that many beaches but plenty of cliff view) or the Pacific coast. If you want water you can actually swim in without a wet suit, stay in the Gulf or way south Atlantic or HI. I was at Cape Hatteras in Aug and that water was cold, but okay for short sprints. Gorgeous beaches though along the FL coast – the sand and water are so much prettier than TX. I did get into the water outside of the Seattle area, also in August, also quite cold. My mom was a beach kid (from Ohio lol) who loved FL (she worked summers at Ft Lauderdale and Miami hotels back in the late 40s). I myself much prefer escaping the heat into the mountains!
Might this be the right moment for your dedicated fans from Europe to push a (completely unselfish…**cough**) agenda? *-*
Greece is nice and all, but there is lots of very nice properties in the south of sweden and they have sea access and stuff; all the people speak English very well and they have four seasons….just saying….
Take your well-earned break and relax. Window shop for houses that get Gordon away from all these allergies and the oppressive heat. 🙂
I am just amazed that you have the energy to move again. I moved three times up until now and always due to studies or a job and it is exhausting 🙁 I wouldn’t do it if i didn’t have to 😀 lazy me
North Carolina has beaches and mountains. Since I live in the state, I may be partial. Good luck and have a good rest!
Yup.. I live in Pittsboro.. 2 1/2 hours to the beach or 2 1/2 to the mountains.. and we have four seasons…
Hey, I live just up the road, then. (In the woods South of Chapel Hill.)
My sister was just visiting, and if we can bring all the pieces together, she might relocate together here as well.
Jenn Lin says
I grew up in Palm Beach Country Estates subdivision in Jupiter and it’s super close to Juno Beach, which is beautiful! When we lived there, there was no HOA and the lots were all massive!! The houses are all unique instead of boring cookie cutter. I loved living there 🙂
I know how Gordon feels with Texas allergies…I lived there for 49 years and my allergies kept me house bound…a lot. Moving to Colorado gave me some relief, but alas there are no beaches here and the winters are VERY cold (which doesn’t bother me but does bother some others). Higher humidity is also hell on allergies….I never had a problem right on the beach, but the further away from them I got the worse it was….Good Luck in your search and I hope you find something that fits you both to a T.
Enjoy that vacation that you and Gordon both need.
Allergies really are the pits so I completely *get* not wanting to be miserable.
Julie Pursley says
My parents just built a house in the Punta Gorda area, and they are counting the days until they retire. All of my siblings who have manage to go visit absolutely love the house and area. Good luck searching! If I could twist my husband’s arm we would move to Florida.
If you grew up near the beach, salt water or fresh water, you are a Water Baby. It’s something in your cells and psyche. And it’s hard to live where there isn’t water. I grew up in a town on Lake Michigan, then moved to the Chicago suburbs for nineteen years. No water, except pools. Am glad to be back in that hometown area so I can go to the beach again. Lake swim season is short in northern Illinois, but what we have is sweet.
Here’s to a restful vacation and some time to yourselves!! ????️ ????️
I’m a native Floridian that moved to Dallas, TX for 10 years and now I’m in Atlanta until retirement to get closer to family in St. Mary’s GA. I’ve lived in Ft. Walton Beach, still own a home in Tampa, but visit Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Ponte Vedre and Destin often. St. Mary’s, St. Simon’s, Sea Island are all very nice, but they aren’t FL, so I’m starting my campaign to return to FL. I love the sunshine, blue water and white sand, plus no state income taxes, lol. Because of family, I’m probably going to land around Jacksonville, hopefully closer to Ponte Vedra. Good luck in your search!
Melissa Fouse says
Sounds like a man who wants to move. You have moved recently, so you are all tuned up!
The Space Coast is awesome. The beaches at Canaveral National Seashore (Playalinda Beach) are great. Being close to the Space Center is super cool, etc.
Hobe Sound is one of my favourite places in Florida . . . enjoy your window shopping.
I’ve heard the St Augustine area is nice. Several of my relatives live further south on the gulf side near Cape Coral.
Warm weather. Fruit. Beaches. (Disney World)
What’s not to like?
Mary Outtin says
I am a native Floridian. Born in Tampa and now live just south of Jacksonville. I prefer the First Coast to Pirate Bay. We get less hurricane action because of the Gulfstream, nice beaches with more locals than tourists, and a river to ski, sail or fish on to your hearts content. Also a large military community of active, reserve, and retired… In other words, moats are not an issue for most neither are walled estates. (Buttresses might be pushing it though!)
I spent 3 years living in Houston, and I had no less than 3 doctors tell me to get out of there because if I didn’t, my allergies would literally kill me. Bell’s Palsy, constant headaches, swollen joints, pain, pain, pain — all allergic reactions to what’s in Houston. Mold was a big problem for me. Before you choose to go to Florida, you need to get Gordon tested and see exactly what is bothering him. If you go to Florida and his problem is molds from the humid climate, it won’t help. Find out what is making him so miserable before you start looking at houses. Even if you moved to Florida into a house you already lived in and had no allergic reactions to, once allergies flare up, there’s no escape.
As a child, I lived within two miles of the beach. On Lake Erie. There ARE beaches that are not on oceans, you know. The trouble with living close to a beach is the bugs, of course. For reasons I could never figure out, anyone who lived closer to the beach than we did had massive spider invasions every single year. In Florida, there are SO MANY types of bugs and pests that you just can’t count them, and they’re HUGE! Plus weather is an issue with storms, of course, living on an ocean beach. On a Lake beach, you can sit safely under a shelter or in your car and watch the storms roll up without fear of being inundated with massive waves. Of course, lakes are not salt water and won’t hold you up as you swim.
Your fatigue has been perfectly described by you already, you know. When Nevada’s father died, the entire family felt like marathon runners who had finished the race and didn’t know how to stop running. I mean, I’m paraphrasing, but that’s how you worded it: “…didn’t know how to stop…” We’ve all been there. You devote every waking moment to a project, and when it’s done, you have to look around and pick up the threads of your life that you had to drop until the project got finished. One thing is very clear from the outside. Don’t make ANY changes (like moving) until you are back into the real life you lead, done with the edits, and settled. Finishing the book was a big deal. Not having to write it is a major change, and you shouldn’t make another major change until you have adapted to the one you already made. Trust the old person to know how bad it is to make more than one major change without settling down after the first one. You’ll never get settled if you make too many changes too fast.
What nrml said.
I had to go have a look as well. I love the beach. We lived on the beach for 6 years while the kids were small and it was great! Beach living eats cars (they rust like crazy), but sometimes it’s worth it! Good luck!
I hope you find the place that is perfect for both of you. While you are visiting, check out Four Purls in WinterHaven. It’s an indie knit shop and home base for the team behind Emma’s Yarns. Lots of fun colors!
I lived in Florida (Tampa) for a short time after I got out of the service the second time. Worked on a small construction crew building homes, I remember laying the foundation for one in an orange grove, orange juice squeezed from an orange you just picked off tree has nothing to do with store bought orange juice.
Maine has mountains and oceans? I know too cold, but it’s my dream! Good luck finding your next resting place!
Two comments about your post:
1) I have moved around a lot during my life and I am here to tell your that your allergies will follow you around, no matter where you live. You move to a new place and, a few years later, you are sneezing your face off and your sinuses are plugged until you feel like you are wearing a heavy mask.
2) If your kids are old enough for independent living, you are old enough to start planning where you want to live for retirement. Sometimes that gives a whole different slant to” where do I want to live next?” There is a whole change in mind-set between living close enough to children to watch over them as they take their fist steps in adulthood and in living where you want because they are fully functional adults.
I agree with you you about HOA driven communities. You pay enormous fees to have them all but peering into your windows.
Tiger Lily says
You need to get on HGTVs Beachfront Bargain Hunt. You can tell them exactly what house specifications you need, where it needs to be located, and how much you can pay. Then let them do all of the work. Just be sure and let us all know the date and time you will be on so we can watch you find your dream home(:
Too bad a California beach front is probably too expensive. Would love to have you here.
I second this notion.
Ana Sanmiguel says
I’m way down in my Miami but I would recommend you go and visit Palm Coast. That’s a beautiful area and the community is good too. I have very good friends of mine living there. They have a lot of snow birds( people coming from the North for the winter) it’s very close to Daytona Beach and Saint Agustin. Maybe you should go for a visit and see if you like it.
I know nothing about Florida. So here is a (virtual) nice hot mug of tea and a coriander walnut scone to go with. Sit for a bit and enjoy.
Well, in the south of France you also have the mountains and the Mediterranean sea ????
I live in Pensacola, FL. Nice beaches but not sure the rest of the city would fit the bill. It’s too small for me but I’ve also been here way too long. My parents love Cocoa beach. I’m actually wanting to leave Florida in part to my allergies (something with the trees and grass here) and the humidity; would love something to the West like Washington or Oregon…admittedly leaving the beach is hard. They really are beautiful in Sunshine state.
I love that everyone is trying to entice you guys to move to their neck of the woods. ???????? We are being very subtle, no?
Maria (BearMountainBooks) says
Check out Port Charlotte. My cousin is moving there and has been checking out houses in that area. He said it’s very nice and not overly expensive like a lot of Florida. My friend recommends Vero Beach. There are some new subdivisions going up in Port Charlotte.
As for your energy levels, next time you are at the doc ask to have your b12 checked. It might be low. Have them check your vitamin D while they are at it, if they will (they don’t like to test that one.) Taking a multivitamin won’t help if those are low because of an absorption problem. You can take both as sublingual if you aren’t absorbing them properly.) Feel better, stay young and carefree and if you must get old, do it with zest!
Man, we will miss having you just down the road! But as I’m hoping to find a place in CO to escape to for the summers, I completely understand. Central TX is just hot and getting hotter. And crowded. And expensive. And…….
I grew up in Austin until 7th grade (when we moved to Beaumont, wince, shudder – humidity, sweat, bugs), and we didn’t have air conditioning except for a couple window units, which we really used only for August. Now I live in the ac for months at a time. If it’s not been done outside by 10 am, forget it. I really enjoyed my 8 years in the SW corner of Virginia – 4 usable seasons, none of them extreme, great hiking, pretty mountain drives. I want that again.
Good luck on the house hunt, but first and foremost have a great vacation!
Roxanne Wynne Davenport says
Please get some good rest and I second the suggestion for specific allergy testing. Also, I wondered if you had considered doing some long-term renting in various places that you might like, rather than house hunting? I was curious about a couple of things. Having never been to Texas, I wondered what may have put the Texas beaches out of consideration? Also, are you thinking salt water specifically? What about lakeside living?
😉 You haven’t been to a Texas beach. Ahh, the smell of crude oil and rotten fish.
Patricia Schlorke says
That’s just as bad as smelling fried fish, an oil refinery, beer fermenting, and scalding milk all at the same time. ????
To this day I cannot stand the smell of Budweiser.
Gracie O'Neil says
You could always come and live in New Zealand. Being three islands (North, South, and Stewart) there’s a whale of a lot of coastline. 🙂 At least come for a visit before you buy. We’d love to see you!
All my close friends agree we’d love to live in New Zealand (or the tourist idea of New Zealand). This was before traffic grew into such an issue and current weather reports indicate NZ is also going through its own weather pattern changes. I will admit the Costco and Ikea rumors does have me wondering if it would be a good fit (because I’ve gotten used to the convenience of big box stores) or bad (because the community density can now support big box stores).
Florida is lovely , except when hurricanes come to visit . I’ve heard that the area around st. Petersburg is nice. It also has a bay within a ocean. I’ve been there, very nice , calm no waves.
north Carolina is very nice and well.
Why not Hawai’i? The Big Island is great. Lived in Hawaii for four years as a supervisor on sugar plantations. Of course, that was 42 years ago????
Erin D says
I live in Florida and I love it here. (I’m a native). I’ve had the chance to experience real winter and I’ll leave the cold, snow and weeks without sun to those who like it.
I know you worry about the hurricanes, so avoid the southern tip and the east coast, they get hit more often and unfortunately usually very hard. The gulf side is safer. I’ve lived in the Tampa-St Pete area and we’ve only had two hurricanes that caused us any worry. One was in the 80’s and the other was 2 years ago, neither of which did any significant damage to the area. Which means we won’t be due another scare for 30-40 more years. There is something about the currents in the Gulf that spin the hurricanes away from the west coast of Florida, though my mom swears with quite a bit of conviction that it is a Native American protection that keeps our area safe. Who knows…. Either way it works. So stick to the west coast and well lets just face it, you two are definitely the research experts so it wouldn’t take much for you to find areas that frequently escape hurricane damage. Good luck and happy house hunting 🙂
I do think you all will love Florida. It really is generally pleasant weather, and the beaches are fine. 🙂
You know what looks like mediterranean sea?
The mediterranean Sea! Come to visit soon! you could spend a whole summer here in Italy!
My dream vacation!!
Have you considered Belize? Lots to like there: amazing beachfront homes on the islands; no cedar; everyone speaks English; Southwest Airlines flies there and the cost of living is very low. Half a day’s flight from Texas and Florida.
Cheryl M says
Having the children grown and mostly independent is VERY free-ing. We are working at selling our house, buying a new truck and 5th wheel, and spending time traveling and being vagabonds. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Alligators. Pythons. Monkeys. Yep that’s a nope for me ????????
cherylanne farley says
Rest. Don’t quit. Rest. After my hubs sudden death after 40 yr marriage I would jump first. Kids must grow on their own. Your work Is done. Release. Our plan becuz of health care costs was emigrating to Canada. We looked Fl over carefully. We are hardcore deep Blue intellectuals and could not take corrupt politics/decisions. That also cut out other states like AZ. Now–after VERY careful research–me & Bern like this(twists fingers together) staying put within blessings of substantial community support. Life is so weird.
I am curious as to why you immediately eliminate Hawaii. You don’t have to live on Oahu if Honolulu is not your thing. (It’s not mine for more than a couple of days.)
The island of Hawaii (the Big Island) is gorgeous and almost rural compared to Oahu and Maui. You could have great beaches and mountains. The cities are small and the two sides of the island are very different climates. Hilo is very wet and Kona is rather dry. I’m told Wen Spencer lives in Hilo.
My dream retirement would be a small house part way up one of the volcanoes, Hilo side. The temperature drops pleasantly as you gain altitude and if it gets too cold you can hang out by the beach and warm up.
Alas, my husband is dead and I am too old to live completely alone in a new place, but I can still dream.
However, you two need to find a place that makes you happy. I wish you joy of wherever you decide on.
It’s too far from the kids. Unless they are on a west coast, a trip to Hawaii ends up being an expensive 6-12 hour flight that sometimes takes 24 hours because of layovers. Flying to Europe would literally be faster.
Wherever you live I wish happiness and good health to both of you. Just remember we will all be waiting online so it must have internet. ????
Kris Ten-Eyck says
Enjoy what down time you have! And enjoy the beach if you make it. Florida is too warm for me most of the year – my preference would be a house on the beach in Michigan’s upper peninsula, as long as it has screened in porches and a screened in gazebo during mosquito/black fly seasons.
Good luck on wherever you decide to go. I have lived in Hawaii for over 20 years and love it. It is beautiful, peaceful and stress free.
I lived in Cyprus across from the beach for 5 years. It’s not that great. There are pluses and minuses there as well. I loved the scent of the sea in the morning but I hated humidity that comes with living so close. I loved very little cold days but then they also made buildings for that weather so I was freezing for the two months of cold weather( freezing at 10C)
My friend just got the house in Florida and he loves it after 40 years in NYC
I wish you good luck in finding the perfect place
Have you thought about Mount Dora? Apopka? There is land there. If you want beach, I always recommend New Symrna or Ormond. East coast is way better than west coast.
Any new development will have an HOA because it’s law but there are a lot of houses that don’t have HOA. Or if the fee is low, then it’s not a strict one usually.
My sister didn’t like St. Augustine. Just FYI. But that area surrounding is also pretty nice.
Ms. Kim says
Pinellas County! Beaches. I have friends that really like Dunedin. The beaches are so nice on the West Coast of Florida. I used to love Destin and Ft. Walton, but they are way too crowded now.
Clearwater, near Tampa Fl, is a really nice community on a peninsula. Water all around! Still have some allergies but a good whole house filter keeps the sleeping great. Lots of activities, eateries and fun things to do. Water about 20 minutes away in any direction. I’ve raised my family here for 43 years and it’s been wonderful. Crystal Beach has lots of houses (on stilts) on the water and so does Oldsmar. You need a long vacation in Florida to assess the whole state!
It’s funny – I’m so used to checking your blog and getting a dose of smiles that I’ve really missed you in your quiet time but I also appreciate and am glad you were able to take it!
I hope you can find a wonderful spot to call your own wherever you decide that may be. I grew up in Florida and there are many things to recommend it as a place to live. Besides the warmth, weather, sea breezes, and salt air, the sunsets rival anywhere in the world. I will say something tho, I have a lot of environmental allergies (thankfully, not many food as I love to eat) and Florida was not always my friend growing up. Mold, dust, and cockroaches, all unavoidable in Florida, are my big triggers and I know those are all Texas natives too. Ha! The good outweighed the bad, for sure, but just a thought to consider.
Yeah, what kommiesmom said, I wanted to move to Hawaii, beach, SUN, mountains, my friend, Jonathan Seiwell lives there, who is an incredible glass artist, Manifestation Creations, after being in Oregon, and experiencing MOLD!!!!! We, my husband and I, live in Wi. by Lake Michigan. Snow, and Ice, and not as much Sun as I would Love. But we’ve gotten old, and need to count our blessings, bless our hearts. So, I tell you, if Florida brings the Smile to your Heart, consider it could be a good thing for you, and Gordon. Why not, eh?? Don’t miss out because time flew, and you got too old to want to do something anymore. LOVE your work, Smiles and Sun to you!!!!
My favourite place in Florida is Fort Myers Beach, we had holidays there for over 20 years in November and loved the place. Fantastic beach, nice restaurants and diners to suit all pockets, a great publix supermarket and my favourite place Annette’s book nook. For somewhere larger Naples is super too. Our last visit in 2018 did not go well due to lost luggage and a health scare but FMB was fantastic as usual. If I could be there without having to go on two planes and almost 20 hours travel time each way I would book a flight tomorrow. I live in Scotland so it is a long trip but that first walk on the beach is magical.
I loved living in Florida, except for the humidity….. your towels won’t dry, sometimes you feel like you can’t breathe. Plus the hurricanes.
Susie Q. says
I lived in Lee County in Ft. Myers Beach, Ft. Myers and Lehigh from the 1960s (second grade) through 2004 when we had 3 hurricanes in 4 weeks – Bonnie and Frances in the edges of the cone, Charley a direct hit. A friend lost most of her roof during Charley, when Frances blew the tarps off, her second floor collapsed into the first floor. I was living in Lehigh, about 25 miles inland and suffered almost no damage and got power back within a week. Easy sales when 60% of the properties are damaged or destroyed. We moved to Texas to be close to my brother. Having said that, I recommend Lee County. It’s small enough to know your way around quickly. Ft. Myers Beach (2nd grade and my junior year of high school) has a very walkable beach, sheltered by sand bars, Sanibel great shelling and nature oriented and Matlacha has great art galleries. No museums which I missed. And sadly, no tex mex or HEB. Great Cuban restaurants though.
My husband and I had a nice condo in that area, but since there are so many plants and trees in Florida the allergies were horrible. It is a beautiful place to visit, but even with allergy shots it is a difficult place to live if you suffer from allergies. Also while we were there, the gated communities were being targeted by thieves. So don’t believe in the myth that gated communities equals safety.
If you do decide on Florida, then the Naples area had great beaches. But I always felt the beautiful waters and beaches of the Emerald Coast area are the best!
Try the Palm Coast area in Florida. There are some beautiful houses and it’s only an hour and a half from Jacksonville.
I agree. Check out Palm Coast. Nice area, close to beach and St. Augustine which is a cool little town. My aunt has a house there, very nice. I lived in FL for about 20 years, various places on the east coast. Stuart (about 30 miles north of Jupiter) is nice if you want to go further south, but getting more crowded.
Try Jekyll Island, Georgia – just up the road from Jacksonville – but the beauty and serenity of this former state park is just beyond anything – to me.
But I sadly question whether Andrew’s allergies and your yearning for beach life can possibly go together. Maybe he could take shots?
Teh Gerg says
I agree about Jekyll. It’s a lovely place. Humidity never goes away, though.
As for Florida, sand, hurricanes, and a constant flux of tourists say no.
I spent 19 years in central Florida. Allergies galore!! I moved to Alaska then colorado and was able to breathe finally!!
I hope he has different allergies than I or maybe a different part of Florida is easier.
Good luck and rest well!
Allergies are pretty personal? I mean, who had major tree allergies, and gets better when they move to NC? This weirdo. (I think my former house was an issue?)
Pat Knuth says
I know the kids are barely independent, but at some point there might be grandchildren and then you will want to be living closer to them. I’ve seen that change several friends’ retirement plans.
If you wanted to stay in Texas you should check out Houston. Or Galveston. Tiki island is really nice. The cost of living is low and nice properties with a deck over the surf are relatively inexpensive. We’re 15 minutes from our boat and there’s NO CEDAR trees. But certain areas of Florida are lovely. Just pricey. And we Texans hate to lose such treasures.
Bruce R says
You might want to check out Naples, FL (and the nearby areas).
Bruce R says
trying to add pic again …
Tara S says
I hope your visit to Florida is fruitful and gives you a better ideas out what is out there. It’s always nice to be closer to loved ones! I enjoyed the beaches near Jacksonville much more than the Texas beaches. Not that I have a lot to compare either to lol.
Will you be at the Pop Con in SA for the entire duration of the event (9am-4pm)?
Amelia Island, FL is a quaint area with a lot of charm…and beaches. (Although it is on the Atlantic side and not the gentler gulf side….) Anything from Palm Harbor south should get you great white sand beaches with calmer waves.
I’ve live in several areas of Florida and they all offer different things. I’m originally from the Panhandle/Pensacola area which is beautiful and similar climate to what you have now. The Jacksonville area is nice but I’m a little bit of a beach snob and didn’t like the beaches as much there. I currently live in a small town just north of Fort Myers and its a great place, however it was a big shock moving here . I was in the minority when I came to my age. The area is considerably older than I was used to and when “season” arrives in south Florida it goes from a nice place to live, to a crazy OMG at the traffic kind of place to live. Sarasota has some really nice beaches .Siesta Key being my favorite up there. It reminds me of the quartz beaches in Pensacola.
I travel all over the state for different events and I have to say I love the Gulf side of the state. I wouldn’t move back to the hustle and bustle of the East coast unless I had to. And it doesn’t matter where you live in Florida if you have allergies then you will more than likely have them here. I suffer from them also.
Good luck with the hunt.
For that low grade depression – I recommend massage and aromatherapy. And awesome fiction. Like yours. Though you might need other authors. 😀
I’d like to suggest Saint Johns , Florida-you have the river and the beach. Gordon can get a boat! Nearby St.Augustine and Jacksonville! Hope you have a nice and relaxing time off!
Good luck with the house shopping!
For Holidays may I suggest the Azores, green hills surrounded by sea? Its a 4.5 hour flight from Boston
Sara Quan says
I love the pollen alert and pollen map- problem is Florida is usually in the red zone for high pollen count index.
I was thinking this, too, as I also have allergies. But it depends on what you’re allergic to – Gordon may not be allergic to the pollen in Florida, though if it’s oak or pine I think nowhere is safe.
Lynne B says
Thanks for all your hard work! It is appreciated and enjoyed! Hope you find what you’re looking for in an allergy-free area! I live in Tenn. …..allergies galore!
I would recommend (if you haven’t) visiting Florida in July or August before deciding on a permanent move. I didn’t get a real tan until I moved to New England because the many years I lived in FL were spent indoors in the air conditioning. If you like heat with heaps of humidity (and I should mention I was in SW FL on the gulf coast), then you’ll probably be fine. I hated it. The daily thunderstorms were pretty neat, but I don’t miss them enough to ever want to live there again.
I can’t believe you’re actually going to go to Jupiter, Florida. We have a home there and I was going to suggest it to you. I am familiar with gated and non-gated areas. If you would like more information please private message me. Our realtor that sold us our property has become one of our best friends. We now spend Christmases together with our families. I would love to help.
Also FYI I was born and raised in Texas and Florida is definitely better for allergies
There are some really nice places in coastal South Carolina. I’d recommend Beaufort. It’s like Hilton Head but a lot less expensive. You also have the historic houses that you ooh and ahhhed over today. With balconies. You might find it more Florida-like than today’s Florida.
KATHLEEN PARRISH says
Fewer bugs, and higher ground than you’ll find in Florida. Fewer evacuations from hurricanes and tidal surges. Florida is going to drown in a few decades.
I enjoy visiting the Florida Keys. The sunrises set the sky aglow in pink ember-laced colors and the sunsets sizzle into the sea. The restaurants, the views, the beaches, … The only thing I couldn’t do there was take a nap on the beach. The concierge at one of the hotels told me that, “The only thing left when someone falls asleep on the beach are drag marks and their sunglasses.” Apparently the crocodiles and alligators are notorious for snacking on dozing beach goers.
I also enjoy visiting Georgia, but then I live on steroids, antibiotics, and Diflucan because the pollen is so thick that it’s suffocating for anyone with asthma or allergies.
I wish you every happiness and that you’ll find that perfect balance you’re looking for in your quest for a new local.
Debbie Hunt says
As a previous resident of the central Florida coast, I have to say that I loved the barrier islands from Jupiter going north to Melbourne Beach. Jupiter itself was too crowded but go just a little bit north and stay on the barrier islands because the ocean breezes help with bugs and pollens.
Mary-Anne Goss says
If you need a warm place close to the sea, and humid to boot, then I suggest one day, visit Australia, lots of places that will hit the mark, come on down.
Essie Tong says
If the allergies are bad in Texas, I don’t reccomend Australia. Come down for a visit though. Our beaches are amazing ????
Sending happy, healthy motivational vibes. Look after yourselves.
My parents are right by Jupiter, in a small community called Palm Beach Shores. It’s right on the ocean and is quite lovely. The people there are very welcoming.
I remember you guys had fun in the west coast , mentioned in trip-to-florida-and-book-recommendations.
Jupiter is better than Port Saint Lucie from what I hear ,and I think is part of the treasure coast. I am sure you guys know about the turnpike( far better than I 95). You don’t need a transponder since it’s toll by plate, so all that needed is to update an account with whatever car you guys will be using.
Hope you guys find what your looking for. It would be interesting to hear if you guys like west coast beaches or east coast beaches.
Try San Diego. Too dry for allergies and adjacent surf and mountains.
From Texas says
But the fires! It seems every year there’s a wild fire around San Diego. And CA has all sorts of economic problems … I was raised in CA but would never go back to live there.
There’s no paradise on earth. You have to take the positive and negative into account wherever you go. I love California ????
I was going to say: beaches don’t have to be Florida. Georgia and South Carolina (and even North Carolina have lovely beach communities….(and islands, too)
And the further north your beach, the more infrequent the hurricanes. Not nonexistent, mind you. But more infrequent that Florida.
Also, there’s Central America. Just saying. LOL
I live on the Emerald Coast of FL. There are sugar-white sand beaches, and I’m five hours from Jacksonville, without enduring the population density of Jacksonville or other large cities. However, it’s become more and more uncomfortable with scorching temps and humidity, seemingly ever earlier each year.
A few years ago, August was the month I tried not to leave my air conditioning due to the overwhelming heat index. Last year, it started in June, and didn’t let up until October. Nights were only marginally better than days.
As seas rise, and weather patterns change, living on the beach will become more dangerous. If you don’t live on the beach, you can go weeks or months without actually touching a toe in the water. It’s difficult to schlep supplies to go to the beach every day, or even every few days.
As people moved here from other locales, they brought their favorite plants with them, thus overwhelming Florida’s natural ecosystems with non-native species. Allergies are so bad here, even my dog has a dermatologist (NOT kidding).
Just some local perspective to consider as you window shop those houses.
I definitely agree with the previous poster—don’t buy here until you’ve spent time in August.
If it weren’t for the proximity of family members I wouldn’t stay.
Hope you are able to rest in the in between times! That mansion with pool sounds amazing… I live in Massachusetts in a house built in 1780! (Not as old as some of our oldest houses in Salem right next door) but old enough! I lived in Coral Springs, Florida as a kid. It really has a uniqueness about it! Enjoy visiting and window shopping for possibilities …
Move to New Zealand! The beautiful sunny Bay of Plenty. And no Donald Trump.
Or sunny, beachy Nelson! NZ pools have to be fenced, by law. Plenty of allergens here, though. Grasses, pine, olive… Probably like BoP, I’m guessing?
Corpus Christi (pic below) seemed interesting when I visited in 2015. You’d definitely need a car, though. Couldn’t be walking everywhere like in NZ.
Go for it. Experience it.
The ???? beach ???? , the hurricane ????⛈ will not deter you. ????
You can always move again. ????
Having lived in Fla off and on for 25 years, I think it is important that you visit a potential place in high season. You might really love it but find the tourist traffic a real nightmare and 2 years later you start looking again. And of course, anything on the beach is subject to hurricanes.
2 years ago my family took a long July 4th weekend on St George island, which is south of Tallahassee. Lovely beaches and surprisingly modest tourist traffic. The only “chain” restaurant is a Subway, everything else is local. Highly recommend.
Inari Teets says
I grew up on the treasure coast of fla, left at 30 moved to the west coast for 15 years..done texas..We’ve also done every state that touches salt water, there is a remarkable change in living by the beach for my childhood to now. The gulf coast of florida is having issues with algae bloom..killing off fish and trashing beaches. ALL of florida is getting crowded. Hurricanes suck. (I think its also toxic. I haven’t seen it in person but done research the last 3 years into buy property to retire on.) Georgia has lovely beaches, not super expensive and has its own personality. SC reminds me of the florida of my youth, pretty and not super crowded. NC is also lovely..just dont live in the MIDDLE OF A STATE PINE FOREST while allergic to pines. My husband wants snow. He wanted Maine. We compromised with mountain area NC. If we want beach time we’ll go visit somewhere for vacation and live inland enough to ignore hurricanes. Bonus. Georgia. NC. SC. have a lot of old houses with personality.
Nice areas to live near the ocean in florida
* Fort Myers
* Ameila Island
* St Augustine
If you visit Jacksonville again take a drive on Mandarin Road, which circles the perimeter of a pensular jutting into the St. John’s River. We looked everywhere in Jacksonville and I had glumly resigned myself to asphalt when we drove down Mandarin Road. Trees, birds and crickets galore, the river and Julington Creek, foxes crossing the road at dusk, pileated woodpeckers. Then cross the Julington Creek Bridge and follow the river down SR 13 to Woodpeckers BBQ, Alternatively, drive north on Roscoe Boulevard from where it intersects with Palm Valley Road and have lunch at Barbara Jean’s on the “wild” part 9f the intercoastal. Take a detour and head east on Palm Valley Road to the beach. This is my Florida–water everywhere. By the way, both routes have areas of modest homes as well as mansions.
cheryl z says
I live on the Lake Tahoe Basin, where there are beautiful beached, an incredible lake and granite peaks abound. Granted that means shoveling snow in the winter, but you can swim in the lake without fear for critters with large teeth. I love the balance of earth , sky and water. Hope you find your dream home.
We love Sanibel and have been vacationing there over 30 years. Looking to buy now in the Fort Myers area right near Sanibel.
We love that coast. Happy house hunting!
Maybe you could be on an episode of Beach Front Bargain Hunt. View three houses, complain how they are all dated, and pick one.
From Texas says
Texas does have problems with allergies. There are ocean views in Corpus or South Padre Island. I’d take Texas over Florida. There’s something about all these retired folks settling down in Florida. Like kindergarten 2.0.
I’m sure it’s cheaper to live in Texas. Love the people. Love the culture and pride in their history. It’s unique. The food!
If Florida is really on the books, why not rent a place for a couple months and see how the reality of living on the beach is the same as the dream. You may hate constant ocean breezes. Sand everywhere and tracking it in the house. Hurricane season.
You and I bought know what Texas beaches look like and especially what they smell like. When you ask a realtor about the water that looks and smells like it came out of a sewer, and she tells you, “Oh, nobody swims in it. People just fish,” it answers all your questions.
Why would you want to eat fish from sewer water? I know, some people catch and release, but I think the point of fishing is to eat it, so…. Eww.
Come back to Oregon!
We have beaches. You… just can’t swim…
Try Navarre or Gulf Breeze, you are within 5 miles of the beach no matter where you live there. You can live on the ocean or on East Bay. It is growing but it is nothing like Destin or 30a which is very busy and crowded….at some times you can actually be in the beach by yourself for as far as the eye can see!
And there are seasons, not freezing cold, but enough to where long sleeves. And you would be about 4-5 hours from your friend.
Carol Ells says
Maybe Gordon could be tested for allergies if that hasn’t already been done? We moved to South Carolina and my allergies ran amuck for 7 years. Then, voila! This year I am not having my usual pine pollen migraines. I guess I got over it. Also, could it be the pets? I know. Sorry. Horrible thought, but still… Anyway, good luck with everything you have on your loaded plate! And thank you for including us in your life and for your wonderfully written alternate worlds.
Inés Heinz says
My better half and I have been thinking about where we want to lay our hat after we both retire. We want warm, but not too hot, beaches, no HOA or covenants or any of the neighbors that tell you how to color your house. I have looked at Florida, Texas, Michigan, Mallorca, and Costa Rica. Michigan – wonderful fresh water beaches but too cold for me. Texas great good but too muggy. Florida wonderful salt water beaches, but waayyy too hot and good beachfront property is too expensive for what you get (also sea water rise). Mallorca amazing beaches amazing food a bit far from kids and potential grandkids. Costa Rica – perfect weather, amazing beaches, extremely clean (better than my local grocery stores), higher literacy than USA, a single fairly cheap flight from the USA. anyway, our minds aren’t made up and we mught just stay in ther San Francisco California area, but with the work you do, you might expand your search for a house to outside of the USA. also. i triple agree with going to ther places for a couple of weeks in each season. we didn’t realize how dry Baja California was until we went there in the summer.
1. I’m so happy you’re going to take a vacation. 2. Hurricanes.
RJ Blain says
Have an enjoyable trip, and I hope you find the perfect place in Florida for your adventures!
Gordon is a fortunate guy.
Just moved from Florida to Hawaii. There is magic here. Soft breezes, clean Air, and the Aloha Spirit thrives. Good luck in your house hunting adventure. Florida has those sugar sand beaches and stone crab. 😉
Vicki LENOIR says
Hello! My in laws have just expatried themselves to Portugal for 6 months of the year. That means their villa in Frejus is empty from oct to April. That’s the french Riviera… could always think about rental. Email if interested?
Vicki LENOIR says
Ugh. I hit reply instead of making a new comment. My apologies.
It’s less expensive to live out of the States. There are houses in Spain which would make all ur dreams come true.
You should rent a house for a while n see if u like living in the area b4 buying anything.
I live in North Central FL near Ocala, FL. I love this area with it’s gently rolling hills, crystal clear springs, beautiful oak trees and horse farms. I am 2 hrs from Jacksonville, 1 1/2 hour from either coast and the beaches, 45 min from Gainesville ( University of FL and Shands Hospital). I like Jacksonville. You can get fresh shrimp and fish off the boats near the Navy Base. I usually bring a cooler when I go there to shop at REI or IKEA.
I keep suggesting Sunny Australia because we love it here – but It can also be allergies galore depending on where you go. And quite pricy in comparison, unless you go rural.
My godmother lives in St. Petersburg on the the west coast of Florida. According to her, the east coast of Florida is filled with New Yorkers and the U.S. east coast, whereas the west cost of Florida tends to be stocked with people from the inland U.S. (mid-west and the Mississippi watershed).
And don’t forget: the panhandle of Florida has amazing beaches – that white Gulf Coast sand is fabulous stuff.
SUZANNE B ROTHCHILD says
I have lived in Florida, lived in Texas, and I would choose Texas hands down. That house near San Antonio sounds perfect. You won’t find anywhere near the square footage or land in Florida at a price you can afford. Also take into consideration climate change and the joys of hurricanes, beach erosion and flooding. Plus the people in Texas believe in privacy.
Unless you like golf or tennis, like to live on the beach, there is not the variety of extracurricular activities that there is in Texas.
I live in Massachusetts now, miss the Texans, don’t miss the heat.
Mary Allen says
I live in Florida. Old Carrolwood north of Tampa. It is lovely most of the year and we never suffer the brown dead grass you see in California in the fall. But it is hot a lot of the time. My daughter-in-law lives in Naples and I think that is one of the nicest places to live in Florida. I moved to Florida in the 70’s when it was the fifth largest state in the nation now it is third so we are dealing with a lot more traffic.
The Carolina’s have some great beaches, and without the constant hurricanes. So does California. If you check us out in Calfornia, I would recommend more north, say Monterrey to Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara area, or north of San Francisco. Not as many allergies as Florida, and the beaches are so beautiful, and without the humidity and heat of Florida. San Francisco, which I do not recommend because it is a very expensive place to live, has some of the best weather in the entire Country–not too hot and not too cold. Almost perfect. I lived there for twenty years and the weather spoiled me for anywhere else. Take a nice vacation and check us out.
Try out the Tampa area . It’s urban and near a beach.
We had a friend with really bad allergies and they finally moved to Whitefish Montana. I think he did better there than any place else. Colorado has a lot of cedar. My allergies didn’t improve there. I just take allertec and use the allertec nose spray every day. I hope you find the place that works for you.
My father moved to Florida a few years ago, he looked for 1. low hurricane activity, 2. not republican, 3 close adminitys. He found Pinellas, Pasco, and Manatee counties to fit his search and now lives close to Clearwater. I’ve visited and it is a lovely area with plenty of beaches, shopping, and a car isn’t completely needed, we biked most days. the downside for me was my allergies wanted to kill me and the humidity is not my friend.
Alison Parker says
I’ll miss knowing you’re in the same state as me but I’d much rather you be where it will fill your soul.
Kimberly Couch says
I know I’ve suggested this before, but try Amelia Island. It is such a lovely community! There are charming shops and the people are wonderful. They also have a book festival every year!
East-coast Florida is an entirely different beach life than West-coast Florida, as you likely know already. As a life-time West-coast Floridian, I don’t even count East-coast beaches as worth it. They are inferior. People have agreed with this sentiment over the years, though, and too many people now live over here up and down the coast. So, there’s that. But, the beauty is not comparable.
They have beaches in California too. No tropics and no hurricanes but fire and earthquakes. Have fun house hunting. Rest up .
Bill G says
Rest and a take care. And best of luck with your house search.
We live in Lakeland, FL – between Whorelando and Tampa. Cannot recommend.
We recently did an art show in Cocoa Beach. It was so damned gorgeous there, and still somehow small, and just lovely. Bonus you’ll get to see rocket launches from your backyard because Kennedy is so close.
Wherever you look, be prepared to SPEND. Real estate prices here are batshit, no matter where you are looking.
Traci Walls says
You should check out Puerto Rico. Beaches, perfect weather, mountains. It is a paradise.
AnnaMarie Zurawski-Lubow says
I live the beach but I like wild beaches rife with storms and tide pools. I lived in Florida for years and the humidity is not my thing. Southern Oregon coast and Northern California coasts are wild and cool. That’s my dream beach.
Before you look too hard at homes, check the news and the city policy about Spring break. I have a friend in Panama City and she tells horror stories about the college (& high school) party weeks in her and in nearby towns. Some towns have very strict laws and others not so much.
Also her home was turned to splinters by Michael.
I spend time in FL every year for a conference I go to. This year I’m headed (hopefully) for Clearwater/St. Pete area. It’s supposed to be beautiful so I guess I’ll see. I’m a beach girl at heart too and would LOVE to retire to a beach somewhere. Good luck on your house window shopping.
Tim McCanna says
Good luck on home hunting if you go that route. My dad used to like to move about every 5 years. I have never understood that because it’s supposed to be one of the most stressful things to experience.
I don’t know you outside of your books and posts so I won’t recommend whether to move or where to if you do. Only thing I can say is to recognize any type of change can sound good when life has been a grind. I know for me that I can be much more satisfied with where I am once I get sleep.
Best wishes and to obviously counteract what I just said, I totally get the beach idea but what do I know, I lived near the ocean for 30+ years and now I’m an hour away…
A dear friend of mine lives here in Florida for six months of the year and in Montana for the other six months. She loves both areas and simply refuses to settle for just one. Have you you thought about doing something like that?
I know California is expensive but beaches and beautiful mountains without humidity are available all in proximity to each other ( that’s why it’s expensive ????). Although there’s no Jeaniene Frost here sadly. As a suggestion, Sonoma County is gorgeous plus wine tasting. Just sayin’ …
Regina Hesse says
I’m a native Southern Californian. In this area it is summer 9 months of the year with the attendant allergy season. It is getting increasingly humid. It is possible to get allergy shots. It takes over a year and you will have to take them the rest of your life. My husband started them due to his allergy to many plants. He had become allergic to my cats as well. The injections have worked.
If you decide that in fact you love your current house, you might consider the shots. You might consider it anyway since you take your allergies with you and the same plants may be wherever you go.
Syd Harper says
I lived on St Augustine Beach for a little over 5 years, 1 block from the beach. I loved it and then my first husband decided that insurance was going to be too high because of Katrina. I miss it every day. If that is any help. There are also some good restaurants and Jacksonville is close. I hope that this might help.
I lived in the Pensacola area twice, thanks to the Navy. The white sand beaches are lovely. However, while you could pay me enough to live in Florida without military orders, it would take 6 figures… at least. It’s not the hurricanes I mind, it’s the insect life. There is just too much of it. Three inch long flying cockroaches that rejoice in the name “Palmetto Bugs”, anyone?
I also enjoy having 4 distinct seasons rather than “hot and sunny” or “warm and rainy”. Of course, I’m really not a hot weather person. I loved Iceland the two times I lived there. And Alaska. And Scotland. Admittedly, Iceland and the Aleutian Islands pretty much have two seasons: Winter and Not Winter. Spring and Autumn are mostly noticed because the days and nights are roughly the same length.
Still, many people enjoy Florida. My daughter’s in-laws retired there. Good luck in your house hunting. I hope you find something that suits you both. What fun would it be if everyone in the world liked the same things?
Probably better plan stay way away from areas prone to flooding, since it seems to be getting worse in lots of areas of Florida.
I dreamed for decades of living in the Keys, but not anymore!
Here’s a resource:
David in Fremont says
+1 on all the good wishes, but +1 on this, too. Please don’t live close to sea level (anywhere) if you plan on being there for a long time. Not trying to play Chicken Little, but ocean rise effects are not going to chart a nice, perfectly linear increase over the rest of the century. *Especially* not if we’re considering resale value and the effects of public panic thereon; public attitudes will eventually reach a tipping point, and good luck unloading your beachfront property thereafter, even if it isn’t yet swamped.
Hope you get your mojo back soon and you can create the perfect home just as you create the amazing stories!! Best wishes you do them both sooner than later
When I’m feeling that way after a major project is complete I call it an emotional hangover. There was so much energy going toward the finish line, and now I’m hungover with all the adrenaline, having spent all my reserves. Sending positive vibes for the next place.
May I suggest St Augustine just south of Jacksonville or if you like the idea of small town nowhere , Port st Joe/Apalachicola Fl area.
Gloria Magid says
So Florida is nice, and I certainly wouldn’t discourage you from looking there, but I do want to put in a plug for Southern California. We have beautiful beaches, low humidity, fewer bugs and a great climate. In the interest of fairness, it is expensive here – we have high taxes, and housing is expensive, so maybe California is not in the cards. However, did want to mention it, just in case you don’t see something in Florida that speaks to you.
On another topic – glad you are resting up after the marathon to finish the book. It’s good to take time to relax, and we modern humans don’t do it enough.
P.S. North Carolina also has pretty beaches, and is probably cheaper than CA, sad to say.
David in Fremont says
Plus always remember we in California get our ocean currents/coastal water temperatures from Alaska, not the Gulf of Mexico. I think California has an awful lot more going for it than the rest of the country seems to realize, but fun days in the water at our beaches is really not one of those things unless you want to deal with wet- or drysuits.
Northern Florida has lots of parks and springs and access to everything. So many choices. I cannot deal with cedar pollen in Texas so know where Gordon is coming from.
Well if you’re going to be in Jupiter anyway (booksigning?) maybe try looking in Jupiter Farms or Palm Beach Country Estates. About 3.5 hours away from Jacksonville. Just west of I-95 and only 10 mins from the beach but outside the flood zones and hurricane evacuation areas. Also you can get a good size house and property for a relatively reasonable price. Do you need a realtor? I know someone trustworthy (no, not me, :)).
I don’t recommend moving to a new area as a cure for allergies. Two true stories:
I was in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, in the spring (about Memorial Day) and came down with a terrible cold for a solid two weeks. Funny thing… within minutes of getting on the place to go home, the “cold” disappeared. I concluded I was allergic to something blooming at that particular time. (Other seasons have been fine.)
My eldest sister moved from Dayton to Phoenix to get rid of her allergies. Turned out, she got a whole new set of allergies — particularly to Bermuda grass, which is what all the lawns in Phoenix used because of its drought resistance.
If you love Florida for some reason that’s fine. But if Gordon is suffering from allergies, I recommend he see an allergist, get tested, and get shots.
Judy B says
When I think of beaches I see images of northeastern Canada.
I never think of sand on a beach, but water-smoothed rocks.
(To each his own eh)
Northeastern Canada? That’s me! Nice to see a fellow Northerner here.
Re: dream homes. I found mine by the beach, in a Mediterranean climate, on an island in the SF Bay Area: Alameda. I remember living there with the best of memories. I loved that house and that I bought it. I hope you find yours – good luck!
Charlene Amsden says
Well, since I live on The Big Island in Hawaii, I’d vote for here.
We love the beaches between Clearwater and St. Pete’s Beach. It’s very quiet compared to the Eastern Coast of Florida. Lovely houses right on the beach in Bellair Beach and Redington Beach, etc. Take care, a holiday that is carefree sounds just the ticket for the two of you!
I feel that you have written off all of Central Florida because of Orlando. We live 40miles north of Disney World , in Lake Co. and are surrounded by lakes everywhere. Crystal River and the Gulf of Mexico are about an hour away. This whole area is about boating and fishing, hiking trails, and beautiful parks. Although we’re about 5 miles south of
The Villages, with their walled fortresses (presumably to protect the citizenry angainst
anyone below 55, or non drinkers, or non golfers) most of the rest of the area is just houses in the countryside and regular neighborhoods. Put any price parameters you want into Realtor. com and you will see gorgeous homes that are on whatever amount of land you want, many within a stone’s throw of a beautiful lake. Nearby Leesburg has a thriving downtown with a wonderful big library, Beacon College, a great hospital, and Venetian Gardens Park on Lake Harris, which is the most beautiful city park I have ever lived close enough to use. You can catch a fish and BarBQ it right there. It is an idillic place where everyone gets along regardless of ethnicity or any other perceived barriers.
Please don’t write this gorgeous area off without at least an internet peek at it. The people here are friendly and welcoming.
Maybe you should think vacation home. It might turn out to be permanent home but it could also be good for most of the time.
Great idea Teresa ! No state income tax, low property taxes and low utility costs
not to mention great climate and lots of sun make Central Florida a great place to try out. Property values are stable enough that you would really have to work at losing money, if you bought and then decided that you needed to sell again in a relatively
short time. Even short term rentals aren’t out of the question. Many, Many people
try out Florida for 6 months a year, and soon sell their northern home to be here full time.
I was born in Jacksonville, spent a good part of my childhood both there and on the California coast (La Jolla, Mission Bay). My favorite beaches are the wild ones in Oregon, but I still like the east side of Florida, partly because of good memories and partly because we used to go south and watch the rocket launches, and I love NASA and the space program.
Pollyanna Hopson says
Texas has beaches and Brownsville is further south than most of Florida. Have you considered looking in the Corpus Christi area. I’ve only vacationed there but it’s really nice.
Port Aransas is very nice too with houses on cul-de-sacs that back on to the beach.
Jill Dolbeare says
Sorry you have to move so soon after you just moved. That sucks. I do however understand about the allergies. They are so much better close to the beach. It’s an amazing change. Good luck . Health is worth it.
Michele G says
Just to say ‘Thank you’ in anticipation for anything House Andrews’ write. Including this lovely, witty blog. Please take soem PTO and find some inner peace. I hope the brain cells settle into a happier place.
As for where to move to: don’t come to London. Its’ wet, cold, VERY windy and grey right now . While I love my home town, it’s defintily not “everyones cup of tea”. Come in June & July we may have sunshine 🙂
Florida sounds nice, but you know you actually can get gorgeous mountains, beaches, forest, and the ocean here in the continental US. In Virginia. Also you can get a lot of it for a good price in areas because the economy isn’t the most solid, but being authors it seems like that may not be a big issue :). Worth considering, if you like the climate (generally more temperate since it’s coastal). Good luck, hope you find a spot you love.
I was just in Tarpon Springs and Dunedin today. Recommend you take a look….but Anna Maria Island is my favorite.
Laura Patterson says
Hope you feel better soon.
My husband and I have a plan to check out coastal Oregon. We’ve gone to Brookings and loved it. Very small town. Great ocean views.
Jean Morgan says
May you and Gordon find that which you are looking for. May peace, health and all good things be yours
While I would hate to see you leave Texas, I totally understand the Allergy Issue. I was born in Florida and literally can not be anywhere in the state without being within 35 minutes of a relative. I have spent considerable time in all areas, and lived in Central Fl, West Coast, Pensacola, and Key West (yes, actually on the island of KW). After a year in KW, I was able to come off all allergy meds, except for about 8 days out of the year. An amazing feeling for someone who has suffered most of their life. I have also been blessed with living in 8 other states, from South Carolina to Idaho and Wyoming, and enjoyed many of their advantages. There are many wonderful areas in Florida, just follow the above advice about insurance, flood insurance (even MILES from the beach, it is often mandatory and costs more than your mortgage), city ordinances on everything (even the types of plants and trees you can have in the yard), Spring Break issues, etc. Wonderful place, love and bless my family for living there and allowing me to visit.
Texas has been a consistent home base for 2o years and Central Texas is the Allergy Capitol of the state. Everything from the north, everything from the south, and all the allergies that come with a large water source and rivers.
That being said, having lived in San Antonio and the hill country, unless he has a serious Oak Bloom allergy, San Antonio is much better for most allergy sufferers. And you get the benefits of the Edwards Aquifer if you choose the right location. Even as “far north” as Gruene, allergies are worse for me than SA.
If he knows exactly what his environmental allergies are, you can find maps that show where those are the highest, where they overlap (double or tripling your allergy misery), and eliminate where you are choosing to live. That is how we chose KW (even with the cost of living) over 2 other options in our Florida job rotation.
You should spend some time binge watching Beach Front Bargin Hunt on HGTV.
Washington state and Oregon beaches are great, but as others have said you get gray, cool, and earthquakes. Great for allergies. Hard for the kids to commute.
I would also look up into the Carolinias.
Good luck! And thank you both for the great books!
Sue Gundel says
I’m with Jeanine-you need to be far enough away from ocean and water to be out of flood and evacuation zones. But you can do that and still be close to ocean/water. West Coast of FL is where we live but in Pinellas County. You don’t want to live in this county. It’s a peninsula that could get wiped out with a hurricane. We also seem to get tornadoes here more than other places in FL. There are plenty of places near the west coast (which has the best beaches in the country!) that are out of flood and evacuation zones but near enough to the coast for a quick drive. Do check the website Faith listed and check the flood/evacuation zone of any house you might be interested in. I also recommend buying flood insurance even if not in a flood zone because any damage from water that came into the house would not be covered by homeowners insurance. There’s lots of property that’s doesn’t have “a view of the golf course” and not in gated communities. Take Jeanine’s recommendation for a realtor and give them everything you want in a house. They’ll find it for you but I agree with Sekimori-the prices of homes are out of control!! Good luck and get some more rest. Picture is from the highway near home.
I’ll add to the “What about California?” contingent. Northern California is gorgeous, and you can’t beat being near the beach but at the same time being a few hours from the mountains. Plus, no fire ants, very few giant cockroaches and there’s wine country nearby… just sayin!
Enjoy your break and looking at houses in Florida but don’t make any hasty decisions until you both are rested and have your ‘bounce’ back – moving to a new area is a big decision
Still we could do with some sun here in England- rain and floods – we’ve had enough!
It sounds like you all are going to have an adventure. May I offer some other options that contain beaches, fruit trees and mountains? On the west side of Washington state you will find all of that. With gorgeous rivers, tulip fields, cherry trees and vineyards. If you go north you can ski, find sand dollars on the beach and train rides to take your breath away. On the east coast you have Maine, gorgeous trees, maple syrup, and beaches. . Not so much mountains. I personally fell people in Washington are nicer, but more off beat, while New Englanders feel more standoffish. I’ve lived in Maine, and my Husband is from Washington. Just thought I would give you options that don’t include gators, fire ants, and raining iguanas. .
I lived in Florida and have traveled all over the us. Humidity, bugs, and prices temperature rain are the reasons to avoid florida. I recommend St. Augustine or Cocoa Beach if Florida is a must. But if it’s beaches than North Carolina is where I would recommend. Less humidity, better prices, and you get cold night hot days, most times 4 seasons. If allergies are bad in Florida than likely won’t be bad in NC and vice versa.0
I also hate Orlando. My mom lives in Deltona and it’s gruesome. And no transportation unless you drive where she is. I love the southern portion of the state, and I have a good springer friend in Jupiter. Enjoy! The Ocean there isn’t really very Mediterranean, but it’s nice enough.
Dana, Lexington says
We lived in Baton Rouge for many years before moving to Lexington. We would often head east along the coast for vacation – white sugar sand beaches start just past Mobile Bay and continue all along the Gulf Coast of Florida. A lot of beautiful beaches and small towns, and a few cities like Pensacola. The kids would play in the water even in January!
Mary Ellen Moore says
My nephew moved from Seattle to the US island of St Croix. It’s beautiful with beaches everywhere and plenty of housing with a full range of prices. They seem to get hit with fewer hurricanes than Florida and the island isn’t sinking, nor are there sinkholes opening up sucking down homes, roads and all the rest of the infrastructure. I suggest you go there for your obviously NECESSARY vacation. You go through Florida to get there anyway. Please regenerate your energy before making any big decisions. You and Gordon have become very important to me and I want you healthy and happy.
Most of the comments here are spot on. One thing I would mention is that the southeast Florida counties have the worst traffic in the state. I live in Orlando area and while it’s bad here, it’s still not as bad as there. In addition, I think the gulf coast side has much better beaches. Also, if you are willing to drive a bit, the areas just west of I 75 in Sarasota and manatee counties are still a bit rural and you can get a bit more house for the same money.
Maybe you can look at yarn projects, too, if you’re feeling burnt out of writing. I was sick of my work and went back to knitting to give me something more fun to do and playing with new yarn and making things in pretty colors made me feel happier.
Colleen Thorsen says
I grew up in the West Palm Beach area. It’s great. I love Jupiter! My favorite beach: http://discover.pbcgov.org/parks/Locations/Loggerhead.aspx
Go see the turtles at the marine life center. Eat at the Breakers.
We have traveled all over due to the Air Force, and I love south Florida. It is expensive, and a little more populated than I care for, but it is a great place to live.
Wendy S says
So check out Cape San Blas, Florida a peninsula (water on 3 sides) on the gulf. My sister goes every spring for over 20 years, and I’ve gone many times. So far, low population, they don’t get the crazy party goers over Easter and spring break. We go at Easter and busy is pretty mild. Gorgeous beaches, beautiful condos. You could rent a condo for a week looking out over the gulf and check surrounding areas. I think if you just search for Cape San Blas, you’ll see the condos for rent and plenty of pictures. If I could, I’d live there over winter months. Sigh. Someday.
Come check out the beaches of North Carolina….here’s a neighborhood where you can still buy a lot for about $100K and build your dream home. It’s on the intra-coastal waterway and has a private beach access about a 20 minute drive away. https://www.stjamesplantation.com/
Look up the crime rates for each area you are interested in. You can count on allergies year round because something is always blooming, poisonous bugs, spiders, snakes, even the caterpillars are poisonous, and humidity with heat so bad you can’t breathe outside the house for weeks, and the algae blooms on the beaches can make you deathly ill.
We found a beautiful cat in our yard dying from a snake bite. A huge red tail hawk swooped down and snagged a neighbor’s dog, he had to fight for his dog. They both have wounds and stitches.
Hurricanes, power outages, and flooding are always something to look forward to. Last year only one or two insurance companies would insure homes in Florida so you can imagine the price is sky high. And the HOAs..omg!
I am not trying to be nasty here, just the facts. The medical care here is 20 years behind the West coast and I am a nurse. Do not check into a hospital here without a family member staying with you around the clock. And good luck finding a primary care physician.
Vacation here once a year late winter or early spring. You will think it is paradise and have happy memories. Search around for awhile for a wonderful area. Maybe lease a house for a year before you buy. Become a snow bird but Florida? Really?
This is a bit much. Let’s clear some things up. Gordon was born in Florida. We have both spent considerable time in Florida all over the state during various times of year. We know the state very well.
I would really appreciate if you didn’t issue orders in your comments to me. I don’t react well to people who do that. I realize that you must think I am a small child who doesn’t understand the basics of moving a house, choosing the right area, or doing preliminary research, but I assure you, I have moved 12 times since I was 16 years old and I am quite capable of taking care of it.
Melissa B says
I’m so excited for you all in your move and focus on the two of you! My cousin moved from Sarasota to Johnson City Tennessee to retire and then moved back near Sarasota as she just missed Florida and the people were friendlier. I ‘ve got a huge wonderlust per se so when the kids are done with College I’m hoping I can convince Hubby to travel and us work remotely and rent places for long term stays etc. Y’all get some rest and thanks for the blog and your books! They are fabulous to read and I am always amazed and in awe at their creativity. Cheers!
Alexis N says
Florida sounds like a great compromise. No point of spending money on something you don’t love 100%.
Besides you would have grown to loath the house on the 3 acres. It takes a special kind of person to tolerate being told what they are allowed to do with their own property.
When I hear Florida, all I can think of are all the news stories that start, “A Florida man…” and then ends with something crazy. But think of all the good stories you’ll get if that’s where you end up.
I humbly submit the state of Virginia. Some interesting homes with all kinds of character, near the beach and less hurricanes.
Idk about allergies it just depends on what he’s allergic to.
I have nightmares about Florida hurricanes but am less worried in VA beach idk if it’s exposure of what.
But if Gordan is from Florida I’m sure it’s part homesickness too. I’ve been all over. Love Texas and Maine… but i always return to Virginia
Katherine Nobles says
We lived in NOVA for 25 years. Traffic, mold, allergies, mosquitoes. And then snow! But it’s the longest I ever lived anywhere. Every place in the US has pluses and minuses, doesn’t it?
Cindy Montalbano says
I have lived on Long Island in New York, in Southern Arizona, Southern California, North and South Carolina, Idaho and in Northern Florida ( Atlantic Beach Jacksonville area). I have traveled extensively all over the entire country and there are very few states that I have not visited. I liked Atlantic Beach -Jacksonville Beach the best. I agree with you that dated communities are the absolute worst, as are any neighborhoods that have Community rules, restrictions and regulations. St Augustine Beach in Florida is not far from Jacksonville and it is absolutely gorgeous. The Atlantic coast is phenomenal there and the beach is by far the best in the country. The weather is beautiful pretty much all year round. Even in the summer when it’s 95 it doesn’t feel so hot because you’re right on the water. The key is to stay within a mile or so of the ocean. If you go farther Inland it’s incredibly humid and hot. However living right on the water means that you have your neighbors living close by but the houses are gorgeous so there is that ????
I really like the St Augustine area (up and down the coast a bit) as well. The beaches are not crowded and, while not the white sand perfection of the Destin /Ft Walton Beach area, are perfect for long walks and great for boogie boarding/ sand castle building…. generally a MUCH more relaxed vibe than further south.
For the record- I grew up and lived in NEW MEXICO for 30 years, but have since traveled the world with the Air Force and have seen some amazing beaches in Hawaii, Vietnam and Thailand… St Augustine area still has some of the most livable IMHO.
You can move to Greece whenever you want! I’d love to have you all as my neighbor! And feed you all the greek cuisine you love! Plus my summer house is close to the sea!
Rhyn Gabriel says
I know nothing of Florida and admire the way the two of you work as a team in all aspects of your lives, not just in your writing. I look forward to the next instalment in this saga. Although, I confess that as someone who HATES moving, I cannot even begin to conceptualise that you are going to move again in such a short space. I admit there was a phase in my life where I moved every 6 months for a ridiculous span of time. But that was renting, which is a little different. May the right place materialise before you both.
Well, I disagree with your view on gated communities as we recently retired and moved to one in Florida and LOVE it. We don’t play golf but like all the options we have for activities. While we looked my husband ( an engineer) went to NOAA and mapped the path of every hurricane over the last 100 yrs. He found the lower 1/3rd of Florida the most affected. So Florida was OK but not the lower 1/3. Also be aware if rising sea levels with climate change. Many coastal communities are already being impacted. Finally, consider central Florida. The Ocala area has gorgeous horse estates and homes with some room and you are about 90 mins to a beach on either side. It has higher elevation and is actually an evacuation destination city.
Bewear what you wish for hehe, we moved to a small town on the sea, and live across the street from the beach, wich is great for rasing small children, my husband says that he dreamed of living on the sea, but now summer is our beasy season and we rarely have time to go, only in the evening with the boys, wich is still pretty awesome, but it is not what he expected. The wind is almost constant, the humidity is hi and his back is killing him, and the people are.. well small town. On the plus side there is no traffic, commute, air pollution, and crime, and the boys are outdoors often, so happy house shopping and I wish you find what you are looking for 🙂
Debi Majo says
I’ve been looking at houses and different cities and even though I put “No HOA” on the app’s filter, it seems that’s all I get! I think I will just stay here but do some serious remodeling?
Pollyanna Hopson says
I am not a realtor, but I really do believe Texas is the best. so I look at Trulia ( which I know is not the best, But) and I found this right on the beach on Mustang Island.
You do know that if your fans didn’t love you so much, you wouldn’t be getting somuch unsolicited help.
My husband moved to the Jupiter area in the mid seventies. I moved there in 2002. It was a great place and still is in some ways, but the small town feel is gone. Last Thanksgiving, my husband saw Justin Bieber driving down the main street in Jupiter. It’s insanely expensive but there are a lot of nice neighborhoods and lots of nice things to do…beaches are wonderful and so easy to get to and enjoy. If you are looking for maybe something a little quieter and low key with good beach access, I would also recommend Hobe Sound. It’s about 20 minutes north of Jupiter and the flood of development isn’t as intense, yet.
opps, I read Jupiter as sarcasm like the the planet!
Love from the UK
(cccccold windswept beaches, but no hurricanes and less nutters with guns though still a few social and ideological cockups and Brexit )
I hope you find a happy landing place wherever you go!
I follow an Instagram feed called “cheapoldhouses”. Their “mother site” Circa Old Houses has this one in Jacksonville that looks kind of fabulous:
Oh boy. This is a nightmare. The plumbing is likely ancient, the house is definitely not hurricane proof, and the wiring most likely won’t support modern lifestyle. I mean it’s pretty in that Southern tastefully dilapidated way, but I bet you a building inspector would run away screaming.
I will readily admit to enjoying renovation/restoration projects (and not living in a hurricane zone). 🙂
Just keep in mind… hurricanes. We get hit here (sw louisiana) so often it almost becomes routine. Florida gets hit a lot more than we do. 🙁 The ocean is wonderful, though, and Florida fruit is nice. Hre it seems like everyone has satsuma trees and the abundance of home grown oranges in early winter is super nice. My aunt anf u cle used to live in Miami and though they loved in a neighborhood with manicured lawns, theirs was a magical yard full of lush trees. My mom remembers a visit when they made a version of orange marmalade from the kumkwat yeild of one of their trees.
My best friend also lived in the jacksonville area for a while and loved it.
Good luck with the house hunt, And i have to agree, the thought of Home Owner Associations makes me break out in hives.
How about the Low Country? Or Port Aransas? Both beautiful and without the problems of Florida.
Angela T says
My in-laws love Tampa Bay (they’re in Lutz)! Whenever we go to visit, we love the weather and the surrounding area on the West Coast of Florida. My parents are out in New Smyrna / Daytona Beach area as snowbirds (rest of the time in Vermont to get the mountains and snow for winter sports) – which I grew up visiting since my grandmother lived there, and I love that area as well. It does sound like the hurricanes are a little less bad in the Tampa area, though, since there’s a bit of a sheltering effect because of the bay/inlet impact on weather conditions (such that it lessens a storm’s effects once it gets further inland). My father also loved the North Carolina beach areas – especially because he loved scuba diving the wrecks in the area, but my mom just loved Florida and the communities there. Good Luck in your search!! If you’re looking for a realtor in Tampa – my in-laws have a family member who did awesome in finding them a house that wasn’t cookie cutter, wasn’t in a gated community, but was still awesome and beautiful/big/Mediterranean in feel. And all while they were still located in Albany finishing out their research jobs while my stepfather-in-law was about to retire. I don’t think they ever actually saw the house before they bought it, but it turned out to be awesome – and actually slightly bigger than their old house in Albany – but almost all on one level so it was easier on the knees (my MIL has severe arthritis). Anyway, lmk if you’re looking for a realtor recommendation in the area, since he’s the nephew of my stepfather-in-law’s sister-in-law, so he’s extended family. I’m glad you guys are figuring out your next chapter!
This is the second time in two days that someone I follow online has indicated a move to Florida is in their future! Happy house hunting! I very much miss living near the ocean.
Gated communities suck the life out of the residents.
Priscilla Mixon says
I miss living in Florida, and I only live about 20 miles north of the AL/FL line. 🙂
Hope you check out the NW Florida Emerald Coast area. It has absolutely the most beautiful beaches, although I am biased, as I grew up there. But the sugar white sand and the emerald green water do something good to my soul. 🙂
I agree with you about the HOAs. My sister is an interior designer and, for a while, worked for an HOA for a while on their design board. She had so many stories about how people were so petty about the height or color or style of something in their neighbors yards. Turned me off HOAs as well.
Happy house looking!
Joe Ellett says
As several previous posts have implied, it’s not the gate that’s the problem; it’s the HOA, and those abound even in non-gated communities. All the best in finding something that works for you that’s 100% yours to own and control.
Doing the happy dance that you are once again looking at Florida.
Have you checked out Citrus County? We have Manatees! And a Beach! The best part is that we are about 2 hours from Gainesville, Orlando and Tampa. The perfect distance from the city.
I loved my fruit trees in Florida! I had 3 orange trees, a loquat, and planted a mulberry (had never had them before, tasty), an avacado (had my first one from the tree last year), a fig and 4 blueberry bushes. I believe yards should have an edible portion! Yes, I made orange juice and marmalade! We put in a smallish pond with fountain and had frog serenades every night in the summer, a snapping turtle found its way back there last summer. We also had a couple of snakes that came through on occasion, an absolutely gorgeous gopher snake, it moved in when my neighbors garbage brought in palm rats (they cut a gorgeous nightblooming jasmine down off our fence, because that was what was attracting the rats yeah right). I loved living in the center of the State and being missed by hurricanes, but only being an hour and a half drive to either coast. Sorry about the Orlando associations. I don’t like it because of the traffic and commercialism. I left Ocala in part because it is growing (gated communities) and the traffic has boomed in the last 5 years. Too many crazy drivers and constant sirens. I figured out I loved the dream of Florida, but the constant heat and lack of seasons just wasn’t for me. I hope you find a great new town!
London Cat says
Sanibel Islands is probably too remote for you but pretty amazing for all the natural loot that washes up everyday on the beach! Really family friendly community and laid back!
Louise Achey says
I know this is long and more personal, so you don’t have to post it. I just wanted to offer some help to Gordon. When I’m not at my day job as a pharmacist, I’m sharing tips on staying safe when taking medicines and supplements on my website, http://www.TheMedicationInsider.com.
Having allergies is no fun. Perhaps one of these tips will make your life easier until you can move to a place where your allergies won’t bother you.
From my 40 years as a pharmacist, I remember the days when we had far fewer options to relieve symptoms of “hay fever” or allergic rhinitis. Today we have steroid nasal sprays and non-sedating antihistamines, but back 30 years ago, while some folks could take the same antihistamine all year long, others found that after a few months their medicine would stop working. Most of the time they could fix that just by switching to another antihistamine, until, several months later, THAT medicine would quit working, too!
But here’s the weird thing. If you stayed off your old antihistamine for several months, when you restarted it, it started working again! Back then, it wasn’t unusual for people with year-round allergies to cycle through 2 or 3 different antihistamines over the course of a year, taking each one for 3-6 months at a time.
Today, newer antihistamines like Claritin® (loratadine), Allegra® (fexofenadine) and Zyrtec (cetirizine) have 3 major advantages over those older medicines: they rarely cause drowsiness, you only have to take them once a day, and they rarely quit working on you. But rarely doesn’t mean never. It’s possible that you could improve your allergy symptoms just by switching your current antihistamine to a different one.
Sudafed® did a big switch a few years ago, and now contains phenylephrine instead of pseudoephedrine, as Sudafed PE®. If you have switched to the over-the-counter Sudafed® PE or other decongestant that you find on the shelf these days, you could be suffering needlessly, because that stuff doesn’t work! The federal government restricted pseudoephedrine to behind the pharmacy counter because it is widely used for methamphetamine manufacturing. Phenylephrine is the weak substitute on the shelf in its place, which is only 1/3 as potent as pseudoephedrine. If you need serious allergy relief, it’s worth it to go to the pharmacy counter and ask for a product with pseudoephedrine.
You might consider giving Actifed® or its generic, triprolidine/pseudoephedrine a try. This is my personal favorite antihistamine and decongestant combination. It works GREAT for both a stuffy AND a runny nose at the same time, and is inexpensive. Because it contains the original formula of Sudafed®, you’ll need to ask for it at the pharmacy counter, and because it’s an older medicine, it’s not commonly available, so you’ll probably need to go to an independent pharmacy and ask them to special order it for you. I never leave home without it.
One last tip: you can also ease allergy symptoms by desensitizing yourself to what you’re allergic to. If your allergies are from plant-based pollens, eating local raw honey could help. The trick is to get locally sourced honey, usually available at your local farmer’s market. One teaspoonful 1-3 times daily is the suggested dose.
I hope this helps.
If you go to Jupiter, check out Little Moir’s Food Shack (and their second location Leftovers Cafe) – it’s delicious!
Kear Anne says
My parents live in Florida in a little town called Yankeetown (I kid you not), near Crystal River. Name aside, this place is amazing because it’s where the manatees come in!!!! They love it and I love to visit.
Ah. Read this after the other post. Then you should absolutely move to Florida. My childhood was spent in New Mexico, and 40 years later, 21 of them in Atlanta, I only feel like HOME when I’m in the New Mexico desert.