There isn’t much about Florida I want to know. Having grown up in Orlando, I feel it has been my great good fortune to have escaped the state. I don’t really like the climate, although I make exceptions for north Florida. I lived here most recently from 2003-2007 in Jacksonville. So I know all about the heat, humidity, bugs. . . and mild winters and year-round sailing, which makes the sailor-man in me smile.
What I don’t know too much about it the west coast – the “Emerald Coast” – of Florida. This is the “Big Bend” part of the Florida coast where the coast line turns left, and runs east to west instead of north to south. That’s where we are right now, in Destin/Fort Walton Beach assessing the area for an ultimate retirement location. This is still a few years into the future. My wife’s siblings (there are five siblings including Ruth) are interested in moving to a place where they can all live in the same town in their senior years. So we’re here checking it out. You can see a map of the area here.
Observations: The water quality is so different from the Chesapeake. It’s clear with no nettles. You can swim, and see where you’re going underwater. This is the land of white sand beaches, and Destin/Ft Walton has some of the most beautiful beaches in the nation. The weather is still hot, but not as bad on the coast as it would be in the interior of the state. Hurricanes are a threat, more so than in the Chesapeake area. Cost of living? Not so bad, compared to the greater Washington, DC area where we live. Culture? Well, it’s really kind of lower-Georgia, or lower-Alabama, but with an over-lay of the tourist/resort feeling. There is the Gulf to the west, and an intricate maze of waterways all throughout the area – looks like interesting exploring!
We are staying in a condo on the inlet to Chactawatchee Bay, and we can see the Gulf and the inlet from the balcony. Periodically these excursion boats (below) take passengers out to the inlet and tour about on short cruises.