Ocala/Florida peeps..questions, need some feedback
So... DH and I are thinking about the relocate/retirement process and have settled on/around Ocala. I've done the h/j thing, dabbled in eventing, foxhunted and am now riding dressage. In a perfect world, we keep the Kentucky farm (since we make our own hay).
Other than what I see in the glossy real estate ads and see from the freeway as I drive by, I know NOTHING about that area at all, except it's way warmer in the winter than it is here.
My husband is nearing retirement age, I'm a bit younger. I still have a nursing license, and would likely continue to work. Where would you stay away from, how often do you mow the grass, how easy is it to find someone to do "check on/ type things in our absence?
Get me started. We're looking to have a place by spring, decent house, small barn, fence, 10-20 acres. We aren't uber rich, don't have to be close to HITS, I like shade trees, and near roads or places to hack out as well would be great.
Ocala is the ultimate beautiful place in Florida. Green, lots of those old Florida oak trees, the kind with moss hanging. A real horse area. And the cost of property is reasonable, esp on the outskirts.
Nursing jobs are available, some specialties are easier to find jobs in than others.
During spring and summer, rainy season, you will have to mow once to twice a week, depending on the grass, rain, how perfect you want it, etc.
Summers are hot and humid, about 90's for 4 months, then wonderful for 8. During this time when it's hot, I ride after 6pm. My horses have a fan in their stall, no blanket in the winter.
Florida is the most horse-friendly place I've lived, and has the most trail riding areas that I've ever been around.
You should really come down for a week and check things out. Ocala town is bustling. The outskirts and nearby towns are real country.
You really can't tell what you're getting in those glossy ads. They never tell you the cons.
Well there are three Hospitals in Ocala, plus Shands at University of Florida just 30 minutes away. If you do the hospital nursing scene then countless doctors offices because of the retirement communities.
Farms are for sale everywhere I'm sure you can find exactly what you want.
--Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity--
We just built our retirement home in Morristown which is outside of Ocala. We built in Steeplechase which is all 5 acre sites with homes and horse barns. We have direct access to the Goethe Forest for trail riding. Most of the people are drivers or endurance riders. It is a great little community in between Ocala and Gainesville.
You will love Ocala I have 10 acres and grow my own hay. It is coastal, but not like what you see at the feed stores. I actually got compliments about my hay from a well respected vet. He didn't believe me when I said it was coastal. Growing the hay also qualifies for an ag tax exemption. I have someone who comes in and cuts it, and we split it. The grass that doesn't get hayed, like around the house and barn, you'll be mowing every 4-5 days during the summer.
I guess the only thing I wish I'd known in advance is that I took a job at a hospital in a unit for sick newborns. I wish I knew that it would be 50% drug withdrawel, very stressful , the crying all night long multiplied. Oh yea, and the number of people down here that are missing teeth!
you will love ocala. i live just nw west of ocala in williston. half way between gainesville and ocala. 20-25 each way. have a 30 acre farm, and hack on the roads all the time, very user friendly.small town, couple of stop lights, tow grocery stores, feed store,beautiful house with small pool, really nice barn, equipment barn, dressage ring, gated. really nice. will be more than happy to give you contact info.it does get hot, but during the summer you ride early or late, it satys light till after 9 during the summer,so no big deal.
I relocated to central Florida from northern Ohio a year or so ago. I knew a bit more of what I was getting into, having wintered here - that quickly turned into "lets move"!
I can't honestly think of much I miss - maybe the 3 nice fall days and the first snowfall. Its hot, but if you aren't a professional riding a bunch of horses, its not awful...
I can't think of much that surprised me down here - except the fee that they charge to register your cars the first time...one little car, one trailer-puller cost me close to $1000.
Ocala is great.
I'd look in the NW area of the county. It is a farmland preserve area (altho be sure and check out any pootential limerock mining areas - very controversial), it's beautiful and rolling country. I live in the SE area, near Belleview - smaller farms and developments.
There are lots of opportunities for nurses here - lots of retirees in various planned communities, the biggest is The Villages south of Ocala, but there are all around Ocala. Driving really changes in the winter.
Life is relaxed and casual. Jeans are OK in almost any restaurant. Some culture (getting better every year), and close enough to Tampa, Orlando, and G'ville to take advantage.
VERY conservative in nature - I register Republican so I can vote in the primaries..... get ready for growth in this area to explode, since most of Florida's economy is driven by building houses (I have lived here most of my life). Marion County is no exception, and I fear the horse interests will have to fight hard to keep the charm we all know and love. But enough politics.
You will find hay to be more expensive. THere are great tack shops, though, and a nice equine community, for whatever discipline you dabble in, and however seriously you choose to dabble. Really nice people in general.
There are lots of farms and lands available right now, for good prices.
Pick one of the realtors in town. Try United Realty - my friend Carol Rike works there, she is a dressage rider..... or Greg and Carla Lord, or Equus properties. Just about any realtor has access to the MLS listings.
My best advice, tho, is to get here and drive around and see whaere in the area you would like to be. The best horse trails are in the far north of the county (some Water Mgt land), and the Cross FLorida Greenway, which runs east to west across Florida just south of town. the Florida Horse Park is part of the Greenways system.
Sorry is this seemed sort of scattered - it is really just train of thought typing!
and very helpful. We're going to plan a trip down there to scout around. Sounds nice. As an aside, if we keep the Kentucky farm, we square bale 40 acres at least once during the summer. I end up, seriously giving several hundred bales a year to the cattle farmer that I split with. Would there be a market for nice, I mean really nice grass hay? These guys almost ALWAYS have way more than they use, they sometimes just use it for erosion control when they have too much. Just a little thought that some of you guys will want to be my new best friends.
Here's my perfect farm. Nice 3 bdrm house. Large trees. 10-20 acres. 4-6 stall barn. Dressage arena. Neighborhood/roads alright to hack on. Nothing fancy, just a working place. I've determined I don't want boarders, just neighborhood show/train with friends. Big trees would be nice. Less than 15 minutes to a grocery and gas, 35 or 40 mins to civilization nice, but not important.
I do NOT want to hear a major freeway from my porch.
And as to folks missing teeth, at the risk of offending many,
I do live in Kentucky, and that's all I'm gonna say about that.
My sister says if it weren't for sweat pants, half the women in this state would be bare-assed naked.
you just descibed the farm around the corner from me that is for sale. nice house, bigger barn than you want, plenty of big grand daddy oaks, lots of shade and all back roads. 25 min to gainesville or ocala. 10 minutes maybe to gas station and grocery stores
I wish someone had told me how EXPENSIVE it is here. Property taxes are just absurd, groceries are more expensive, feed and hay are just insane. And the bugs are bad year-round, to the point where mosquitos will make big clouds in front of lights. Grass does not grow year-round, maybe 5 months out of the year. Traffic is awful around any decent-sized cities. It can take 2 hours to get through Orlando if you hit construction, even without it being rush hour.
hampton, i don't think it that pricey here compared to some places. i guess it depends where you are coming from. my taxes are not too bad for 30 acres and i am marion county, around 1500.00= 1700.00 per year.but then again i came from atlanta! and i think groceries are the same pretty much everywhere, it is all going up no matter where you live.