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Gainesville FL as a retirement location?
Old 07-19-2007, 12:51 AM   #1
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Gainesville FL as a retirement location?

I'm considering relocating to Gainesville. I can't do it right away...I have an ex-girlfriend to kick out, cats and furniture to do I knoweth not what with (hers!), and a SFH to rent or more likely sell. Ah, but then....

I've visited Gainesville a few times, and it has a lot of good points. First, it's close, about 100 miles from my present location. Big state University (U of FL Gators). First visit (yesterday) to Visitor center shows that there is a fair amount of cultural activities there. Even in July, on a weekday (Wed.), there was a fair crowd at the "Downtown" ... lots of younger college pukes, mostly caucasians; about 2/3 of the folks in a little park were which probably means it's a fairly affordable area. Very spread out city. It's in cattle country, not too near "real" tourism which might actually be a plus for a place you want to live. Gainesville has come up in a few different books on relocating/retirement cities. Well, it's a "college town," and we move on from there. Things that'd make me happy:

Nice general area: in contrast to other large FL cities, Gainesville has a lot of farm land surrounding it. Horse and cattle, mainly, AFAIK.

Large University: piss away Mommy or Daddy's trust money taking more classes. Hmmmm....music, art, electronics, Spanish language; enjoy the student body, especially those with XX chromosomes ; Sports, clubs, etc.

Cheap (?) housing available: research in progress.

Many stores: for me, book stores, cafes, (both together is a big plus).

Recreation: bike lanes and sidewalks around city.

Bus lines.

The only thing missing is a big airport (a la FLL) for the dirt-cheap trips I like to make to points south. I should scout Miami/Ft. Lauderdale just in case.
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Old 07-19-2007, 07:39 AM   #2
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I'm considering relocating to Gainesville..
I like Gainseville and would rate it high on a places-to-retire list. Not so sure that housing is cheap there anymore, but certainly cheaper than south Fla or the Tampa Bay area. I'm a little confused about your attraction to college towns while expressing concern about "lots of younger college pukes" but I'll let you sort that out .

Being inland, G'ville is hot even by Florida standards during the summer. For traveling, you'd probably fly out of Orlando much of the time. Tampa is about 2.5 hours south, big airport.

It would be a good choice IMO. Good luck.
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Old 07-19-2007, 08:09 AM   #3
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I lived in G'ville for over 17 years. Started grad school there and then stayed. Employment opportunities are limited (but if you are FIRE, who cares ) Because many grads stay you will find over educated individuals in all kinds of jobs with relatively low pay.

great access to outdoor activities, beaches are reachable but a bit of a drive, arts and other cultural entertainment are also plentiful, thanks to the univ. Health care is first rate with access to the medical school. It is well placed in that many major cities are each 2.5 hours away (Jax, Tallahassee (if you want to call that major), Tampa and Orlando.

The university and its culture dominate the town. Everything is orange and blue. Better like football (and now basketball) or at least be willing to be able to participate in general conversation. Even the grocery stores are orange and blue in the fall.

Housing is not as cheap as it was, but I don't know the impact of the recent pull back in prices. As Rich said, be aware that it is very hot and humid in the summer since it is really inland. If you want to bike or other outdoor activities, morning or evening are best, save the mid afternoon for your siesta.

It was hard to leave, and whenever I visit there are a few special places that I always try to get to.

Best of luck in your decision
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:11 AM   #4
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I really like Gainesville .My So's sons were at the Uof F so we visited a lot .The real estate is cheaper than South Florida and Orlando airport is under two hours or Jacksonville is 1hr 20 minutes . It reminds me more of New England than Florida.
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Old 07-19-2007, 12:10 PM   #5
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i also really like g-ville and also am considering it as a downsize in my future. within 20 minutes to downtown you can find a nice 3/2 on an acre for $250k. currently realtor.com shows 40 houses for sale right in town for under 200k. though i've read that while most of florida housing market is still stagnating with some areas still dropping, g-ville has either held its own or gone up. go gators.
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:19 PM   #6
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In searching for retirement housing in Charlottesvile,VA, I stumbled upon this:

"The second edition of Cities Ranked and Rated, written by authors Bert Sperling and Peter Sander and published by Frommer’s, has placed Charlottesville at #17, falling from its previous position of #1. The city guide is an update to the original book published in 2004. 400 cities in the United States and Canada are cataloged, examined, analyzed and described in the 850-page book, with Gainesville, FL receiving the new #1 ranking."



Thought about this thread and here we are.



PS - I think I remember seeing Gainesville, Fl on Cops, the TV show.



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Old 07-20-2007, 03:30 PM   #7
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I got a book from the library about Gainesville. It's more about the history of the city, its Alachua county, and the U of FL. I will skim, but probably not read. Unless I move there! I'm more interested in current amenities, of which there seem to be many. Certainly more than my present location. The book opens mentioning that Gainesville was voted best place to live by Money magazine in 1995 (book pub. date = 1997), so it has been a popular place for some time. I'm going to visit it several times (it's only about a 2 hour drive each way) and prowl around and see what I like -- or don't -- about the town.
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Old 07-20-2007, 03:39 PM   #8
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Would some of you Floridians tell me the attraction to living inland FL? Why not go all the way and live at the beach?

Ha
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Old 07-20-2007, 04:16 PM   #9
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Would some of you Floridians tell me the attraction to living inland FL? Why not go all the way and live at the beach?

Ha

Most of central Florida is just plain ugly but northern inland Florida is like living in New England ( think Quaint ,rolling hills ,farms ,college town ) without snow .Plus real estate is cheaper than the beach areas and less touristy .Living by the beach is great until Jan and we get invaded by a million snow birds .It's like one day you were living in a nice lay back town and the next minute you are living in h---.During the winter traffic is terrible ,going out to eat is impossible and half the population are tackily dressed in summer florals . Plus all the restaurants offer cheap booze to get the seniors in ( I'm talking 80-90 year olds ) so driving is challenging to say the least .
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Old 07-20-2007, 05:24 PM   #10
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Plus all the restaurants offer cheap booze to get the seniors in ( I'm talking 80-90 year olds )
Gracias Moemg, you are very simpatica and discrete.

Old Ha likes a cheap cocktail himself, and being a senior I appreciate your differentiating the truly old guys from me.

Like my Dad used to say, looking at some guy maybe a year older than himself-"Look at that old nut!"

ha
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Old 07-21-2007, 05:29 PM   #11
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Did MoeMG also mention that much of FL, especially near the coasts, is ridiculously expensive. Even inland, near the lake country (N. or Orlando? County?) I've heard that it was once a cheap, peaceful inland area and property went nuts there too. I'm still leaning towards a 1 or 2-BR condo in Gainesville, walk or bike distance to the University, cafes, and other hang-outs. Hot weather doesn't bother me (assuming I have a/c to retreat to, of course!)
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Old 07-22-2007, 08:21 AM   #12
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Did MoeMG also mention that much of FL, especially near the coasts, is ridiculously expensive. Even inland, near the lake country (N. or Orlando? County?) I've heard that it was once a cheap, peaceful inland area and property went nuts there too. I'm still leaning towards a 1 or 2-BR condo in Gainesville, walk or bike distance to the University, cafes, and other hang-outs. Hot weather doesn't bother me (assuming I have a/c to retreat to, of course!)
I'd be a little careful how close to the University I got .Lots of partying students .Unless that's what you want .
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Old 07-22-2007, 08:45 AM   #13
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Old 07-22-2007, 04:54 PM   #14
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Student apartments cluster a along the main roads and these are pretty easy to spot. For housing rentals, undergrads concentrate north of university ave. So, a few blocks of the main roads you can find quieter places.
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Old 07-24-2007, 09:42 AM   #15
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I live in Gainesville now (well, about 15-20 minutes from downtown). I think it would be a great place to ER. I moved here from DC about three years ago. I only wish I'd done it sooner. There are great people here and the university provides everything I could ever need from sporting events to concerts to libraries. There is a huge amount of outdoor activities that are either free or very inexpensive. We canoe on the springs and rivers, hike in any number of nearby state parks (many of which are national gold medal winners). There is a decent farmer's market downtown. If you'd rather not pay tuition at the university there is an absolutely phenomenal community college (Santa Fe CC). Compared to most cities, the traffic is not bad at all except for a couple spots during rush hour (and I use the term rush hour loosely).

There is just a good vibe to Gainesville. People are friendly, intelligent and laid back, not a lot of older retirees (take that how you will), and there are some great places to eat. Highway 20 construction (converting to four lanes) is almost complete, making it just about an hour to Crescent Beach/St. Augustine Beach. And you're 45 minutes from Cedar Key on the Gulf.

Yes, it is hotter than the hind wheels of hell here. Yes, it is humid beyond description. But I love it here. As for why anyone would want to live inland in Florida, I think others have sufficiently answered that. For myself, most Florida beaches bring two things I can't stand, which are, 1) tourists and 2) extremely high property tax/insurance rates. Lastly, I prefer the Southern feel of North and inland Florida to the bigger cities in central/south Florida and the coasts. Just my personal preference. Give me a cracker house on the river or on some land and I'm content.

If you have any specific questions about where to live, etc., feel free to PM me.
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Old 07-24-2007, 06:35 PM   #16
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I visited the U of FL today and apparently they don't want me! (short form: multiple bachelor degrees is discouraged). See separate rant in this column. Probably still a nice city, even if the University doesn't want your money
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