• Five Things to Explore in your New Town

    by Patrick Redmond | Jul 18, 2014

    5 places to visit in a new hometownAs you settle in to your new town and get to know your surroundings, there are certain places you should put at the top of your To Visit List. Not only will you be likely to encounter new friends, but you can also get a firsthand glimpse of your local culture and flavor.

    1. Farmers’ Markets: Although you’ll be restricted by season, most cities and towns have a weekly farmers’ market. Here, you can learn about the agriculture of your area and get to know some small business owners. You can also sample things like local music and artisans’ wares, since many farmers’ markets go beyond food to offer entertainment and art.

    2. Tourist Traps: Every city has them—that one tourist site or monument that it’s famous for. From the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia to the Space Needle in Seattle, there’s always a big tourist trap somewhere nearby. Even smaller towns tend to have their primary point of interest. Discover what your city’s claim to fame is and stop by for a visit. You’ll appreciate learning the history and being a part of the community.

    3. The Best Place for Coffee: Whether it’s a chain like Starbucks, an out-of-the-way diner just outside town, or this great café in the courthouse, every city has its “best” cup of coffee. Don’t believe us? Ask around—everyone will have an opinion. Make it your mission to stop by each one and sample the coffee. This is a great way to get to know both local people and local business.

    4. National or County Park: Get outside and get to know the un-touched and protected natural state of your new home. Exploring a National or County Park or protected lands can educate you on the surrounding nature, wildlife and history of the region. You can find local parks near you at a number of sites, including the National Parks Conservation Association website or Wikipedia, which has a listing by state for protected lands and parks.

    5. The Highest Elevation Point: Whether you’re a nature lover excited about taking a hike to a local peak, or if you’d rather drive up a nearby mountain and park on the cliffs overlooking the city, you should take a moment to see your new town from above. Almost all cities will have a record of the highest local point. If it’s not open to the public, look for a reasonable alternative. A trip to the top of the tallest skyscraper is also a good option. 
    • Post Move: Advice & Home care
    • Exploring a New Town
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  • Moving to Orlando: Real Estate and Top Neighborhoods

    by Patrick Redmond | Jul 17, 2014

     

    Orlando neighborhoodsBecause Orlando is such a sprawling and populated city, finding the best place to live can be a challenge. Pocket communities and closely-knit neighborhoods tend to crop up in unlikely places, but with a little research ahead of time, you should be able to find one that suits your lifestyle.

     

    > Altamonte Springs: A northern suburb of the Orlando area, Altamonte Springs offers a slice of family living with great access to the city center. Commute times are low, but the area is far enough from the urban spaces to offer good schools and low crime rates.

     

    > South Eola: If you want to live in the heart of the downtown area and enjoy city living (complete with a high level of walkability, great local shops and restaurants, and more urban lifestyle), South Eola might be a good fit. Expect to pay downtown prices and for homes to be more along the lines of condos and apartments.

     

    > Thornton Park: Offering an almost European style of scenery and construction, this family-friendly neighborhood is beautifully green and centrally located to many city amenities and businesses.

     

    > Winter Park: Located in the northern part of Orlando, Winter Park offers one of the best areas for historic homes and upscale living. Museums, Rollins College, and a great arts scene provide the center of this neighborhood, with plenty of gorgeous homes and fine dining venues to complete the scene.

     

    > College Park: This area isn’t named for a nearby college—it’s called College Park because the streets all take after famous universities. Although close to the downtown area, College Park is more affordable than many other neighborhoods, and offers a younger, more low-key approach to life.

     

    > East Orlando: Home to the University of Central Florida, this area is teeming with students, apartment-style living, and a young and hip nightlife. Although not always ideal for families looking to own their homes, you can find quite a bit of culture and activity here.

     

    > Dr. Phillips: Although this sounds more like a talk show than a city, Dr. Phillips is actually one of the most desirable neighborhoods for families. Named for the citrus magnate who owned the area, it’s close to Universal Studios but not so much that the tourist trade overtakes the family-focused neighborhoods and affordable homes.

     

    > Celebration: As the name suggests, Celebration is one of the more “Orlando-like” areas in the city, close to the theme parks and focused on fun and activity. Modeled after the historic towns of the 1900s, life here is more of a vacation than a year-round way of life. Many residents enjoy these homes as second homes or vacation homes, though you could live here all the time to take advantage of the pools, parks, and great walking trails.

     

    Because Orlando is such a diverse city, you can enjoy almost any kind of home and lifestyle you want. Urban neighborhoods that rival those in other metropolitan areas, family-friendly areas with great schools, and theme-park like vacation centers are all here to explore—and in many different price ranges.

    • Real Estate
    • Location Specific
    • Moving to Orlando
    • Moving to Florida
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  • Moving Tips: Change of Address

    by Patrick Redmond | Jul 15, 2014
    Change of Address Moving Tips

    When preparing for your relocation, notify the post office of your "change of address" 2-3 weeks prior to your move. You can visit your local post office or go online to USPS.com for all necessary forms to change your address and provide a forwarding address for any mail.
    • Moving Tips
    • Preparing to move
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  • Friday Favorites: 5 Children's Books about Moving

    by Patrick Redmond | Jul 11, 2014
    Children's Books about movingMoving to a new home (especially one that’s in a new city or state) is often hardest on the kids. Not only are they being asked to give up their friends, school, and routine, but they often don’t understand the motivations for moving or what it means for the future.

    Kid’s books about moving have a way of connecting to your young ones in ways that conversations can’t always duplicate. From your littlest ones to pre-teens who might be feeling more anger than fear, here are five books we recommend to help you all cope.

     1. Augustine: For very young kids, this picture book about Augustine the penguin (and her move from the South Pole to the North Pole) is a good way to soothe fears and feel good about the transition.

     2. The Berenstain Bears' Moving Day: A quintessential part of many of our childhoods, the Berenstain Bears have a way of breaking down fears and making even the biggest challenges seem ordinary. This one is recommended for younger audiences (3 to 7), but can help in allaying fears about things like getting to keep all your toys and staying connected with friends.

    3. National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas: This book might not help your kids deal with the emotions of moving, but it does provide a fun activity for the road. If you’ll be moving across state lines, consider a gift that allows them to look forward to the trip and learn more about the journey to your new home.

     4. Hey, New Kid!: This beginning chapter book (ages 7 to 10) helps older children deal with the struggles of fitting in at a new school. The main character in Hey, New Kid! is uprooted in the middle of the year—which is something many kids fear and can relate to when it comes to moving to a new home.

    5. Spirited Away: For older kids (and those who enjoy manga or comic books), you may want to consider an option like Spirited Away. Although this is a more fanciful tale than an instructional one, it can spark your kid’s imagination and make moving into an adventure.

    • Family Moves: Kids & Pets
    • Friday Favorites
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  • Moving to Orlando, Florida

    by Patrick Redmond | Jul 09, 2014

    Moving to OrlandoMost people view Orlando as a tourist city. Home of Walt Disney World and dozens of other theme parks and sites that make the most out of the 50 million visitors that stop by every year, Orlando is very much a city of entertainment. Families, retired couples, international travelers, those searching for sun and activity—the people who are drawn to the area come in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds.

    Of course, Orlando is also still a city where people live and work. The metropolitan area contains over two million year-round residents, many of whom include students of the University of Central Florida and employees in the booming technology industry here. Sun and theme parks might put Orlando on the map, but it’s the stable economy and great way of life that encourage residents to put down their roots.

    Living and Working in Orlando

    Although working in tourism is always a possibility in Orlando, most people who live here don’t work in connection with the theme parks. The city enjoys a strong technology industry, with engineering firms and manufacturing labs from Lockheed-Martin, Siemens, Veritas, and General Dynamics, just to name a few.

    Military technology and development is also fairly strong, and there are numerous military facilities and warfare training companies in the area. Because Orlando is also near Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and Kennedy Space Center, many of its residents are government employees. Orlando is also home to two of the ten largest hospitals in the United States, which makes this area a hub for medical research and development.

    With a foundation like this, it’s no wonder that the city enjoys a strong economy and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.

    Fun and Entertainment in Orlando

    Once you take into account all the theme parks and resorts, the Orlando region is a fairly sprawling city, with plenty of hidden pockets of activity. Once you’ve exhausted all your Disney resources, you can start to get to know the real Orlando.

    Downtown Orlando is very much a buzzing urban center with upscale neighborhoods, busy cafes, boutique shopping, and the famous Thornton Park, which promotes a feeling of community. State parks and wildlife refuges provide sprawling areas of acreage and nature, and most residents will tell you that the natural setting is one of the biggest draws here.

    You’ve also got an incredible mixture of people. Because Orlando is one of the largest landlocked cities in Florida, it has its share of retirees who want a nice, tropical place to live without the hassle of the beach. There are also nature lovers looking for an ecologically friendly way of life, and families who appreciate the year-round sunshine and educational opportunities.  

    Welcome to Orlando!

    In short, Orlando is the kind of city that offers much more depth than most people realize. While the city will always be overshadowed by its theme parks and tourist trade, most residents rarely set foot in these areas. For them, it’s about enjoying nature and all the amenities of a bustling metropolitan center. It’s about having access to health care and great technology jobs without losing out a family-focused way of life. And most of all, it’s about knowing there are many opportunities for the future.

    • Location Specific
    • Moving to Orlando
    • Moving to Florida
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