I have lived on or near the water all my life... the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay and countless rivers were in my back yard. When I decided to leave the Northeast, I was sure I already knew what to expect. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the differences and the incredible beauty that the Gulf side of the state of Florida has to offer.
I was lucky enough to move at the end of a cold December that year and able to ring in the New Year sitting outside under palm trees for a wonderful sunset and dinner. It was a gorgeous 75 degree day that ended up in the mid-60s as the clock struck midnight. Every day since then, I have loved every day spent here, even in the heat of the summer... it's hot in the Northeast in July, too!
If you're thinking of moving south, you won't be sorry. You'll see waterways you've never seen before, stand in the Gulf with the water up to your chest while still being able to see your toes. You'll see manatees and dolphins and brilliantly colored fish. You can get in your car for a day trip and end up in horse country (Brooksville), mouse country (Orlando and Walt Disney World!) or alligator country (pretty much anywhere!).
Let me tell you the three things I love the most:
1. The people here are wonderful. Most of the people that live in this part of Florida WANT to be here... they CHOSE Florida. They've either retired here or made a conscious decision that Florida is where they want to call home. All the people I've met are warm and inviting.
2. Living on the water is AFFORDABLE! With the many canals that wind their way into neighborhoods, your own personal boat dock can be in your backyard... just beyond your pool! Where I'm from up north, a property like that would just be a dream for some. In this area, it can be your reality.
3. I love being the vacation destination for friends and family. Believe me when I tell you that my peeps from the Northeast (and the Midwest) are DYING to get someplace warm when winter hits up there. The great thing is that the Tampa airport is close by, in an hour they can be partying with Mickey Mouse and a few hours later be relaxing with me in the pool.
I hope to see you sooner rather than later. Let me be your tour guide!