Not that I was ever considering it. I’ve only seen snow a half-dozen times in my almost 59 years and only once (Paradise, Mt. Rainier) was there even enough to make a snowball.
But others might be considering a move to Minnesota, especially those already living in the Great White North. Why? Because Money magazine’s annual list of “100 best” small towns to live in has been overcome with Minnesota mania.
Coming in at number one as “best of the best” is Eden Prairie, Minnesota. But wait…there’s more! Five of the top 20 are in Minnesota.
Having an enquiring mind, I perused the list to see how many Florida cities made it. After all, we have white sand beaches (hey, what’s a few tar balls?), plenty of sun, no state income tax, probably as many golf courses as hospitals, etc. I’m thinking if Minnesota has five of the “best” then Florida warrants at least a dozen.
But nooooo….. There are just three worthy Florida cities, if you believe Money magazine. And those three that did make the list are not appealing to those of us who know Florida. They are: Coral Springs, Coconut Creek, and Wellington.
Those first two are bedroom communities in the Ft. Lauderdale area of the Miami / Ft. Lauderdale / West Palm Beach megalopolis. A perfect example of the concrete jungle that south Florida has become and which is the basis for a state constitutional amendment on the November ballot to require the public to vote on a land use change. (More on that in an upcoming post.)
Wellington is in adjacent Palm Beach County. It’s population is 88% white with a median income of $82,000 (compared to $47,800 statewide). Of course. Wellington’s claims to fame are its equestrian and polo events. Of course. Wellington is the type of bedroom community I lived in when I was growing up.
I’ve lived in Florida since 1970 and have seen most of the state from over 25 years of business and pleasure travel. I’ve been from Century (north of Pensacola on the Alabama state line) to Fernandina Beach (on the east coast near the Georgia state line) and down the east coast to Key West. Along the west coast from Naples through the likes of places like Steinhatchee (fine fried mullet). And all through central Florida too, including hell holes like Belle Glade (highest HIV rate in the state), quaint towns like Eustis… you name it.
With one exception, there’s no way I’d consider living south of about Ocala. The one exception would be the Tampa Bay area. But all I’d do is consider it. Because South Florida is Paradise lost.
I’m puzzled by what Money’s definition of a “small city” is. Some of those “small” cities have populations over 200,000. Not what I’d call small. About 100,000 is the maximum for me to consider a city “small.”
Also, I’d exclude bedroom communities with a “small” population but which are adjacent to a major city. If you can’t tell where one city ends and another begins, other than from a “Welcome” sign, then the technicality of a separate political jurisdiction does nothing to ameliorate the reality that you’re in one megalopolis. (Pinellas County is one of the smallest counties, with just 280 square miles of land, but has 25 cities which form one giant urban mess.)
I can think of a “small” Florida city that meets my criteria: St. Augustine. A population less than 20,000. The closest “big” city is Jacksonville, a good 30 miles with a lot of “nothing” in between except billboards enticing you to the two outlet malls at the Interstate gateway to the “Oldest City” (founded 42 years before Jamestown).
So despite Money’s rankings, there’s no way I’m moving to Minnesota. You move there!