Seeking an escape from the harsh winters of New England, my husband and I decided it was time for A Change In Latitudes and a new adventure in our lives somewhere it is warm. A more southerly place with a laid back lifestyle but still offering good restaurants and cultural events nearby.
When we sold our sweet little cottage on the lake in Naples, Maine, our intention was to spend summers at our home in New Hampshire tending our apple orchard and to find a second home to spend winters somewhere in Florida. As much as we enjoyed our years living in Key Largo and Miami, we felt south Florida had become too congested for the lifestyle we are looking forward to. With that in mind, we spent time this past summer visiting the towns of Naples, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and Vero Beach.
We decided on Vero Beach with its small town feel, beautiful beaches and parks, cultural activities and of course the mild weather. On a visit three years ago, I wrote “This small oceanfront community has all the sophistication of the Hampton’s or Nantucket without the crowds. It is laid back enough that a pair of chinos, a polo shirt and boat shoes will get you into most restaurants”.
We originally thought we would buy an existing home but after looking at what was available, we decided that having a house remodeled while living more than a thousand miles away would be too daunting even for experienced renovators like ourselves.
Our other option was to find a new house that was for sale but nothing was quite right. We saw houses by a builder that we liked but they were located in the western suburbs of Vero Beach. The area was nice but we felt it was more appropriate for young couples wanting to raise a family. By chance, we found an available lot in a gated community just five minutes from the beach and downtown Vero Beach and decided to have a new house built by the builder we liked. Less than half the size of our home in New Hampshire but twice the size of the cottage in Maine, the “easy keeper” will be perfect for just the two of us…even the small yard will be maintained by the community association.
My husband and I have often said we would never live in Florida again but the past couple of winters have made us change our minds. This week, temperatures have been below zero and in the teens, our long driveway is covered in ice and snow covers the ground. We have recently decided to live full time in the home we are having built in Vero Beach and list our New Hampshire home for sale in the next couple of months.
While it will be hard to leave our beautiful home in New England and the friends we have made here over the years, we are looking forward to what lies ahead and feel it is the right thing to do at this time in our life. We will only be a couple of hours away from our children and grandchildren who all live in south Florida and that will be nice.
Yes, we will be called “snowbirds” but it will be nice each winter to enjoy the warmth of the sun instead of looking out the window as snowdrifts cover a freshly plowed driveway and icicles form across the entire house. There will no longer be a need for a heavy duty pickup truck with a snowplow, a large tractor with a bucket, a garden tractor mounted with a snowblower and shovels to get rid of the many feet of snow that accumulates over the course of the harsh New England winters and that will be really nice.
The idea of being able to lock up our home and spend time traveling wherever we want any time of the year is something we are looking forward to. With the change in latitude, maybe there will be a change in attitude when anyone mentions winter to us in the future.