Money Talks 2011

August 24, 2011

Around this time last year I wrote about Money magazine’s choices for the 100 Best Places to Live in America and spotlighted the three Florida towns that made the 2010 list: Coral Springs (#44), Coconut Creek (#48), and Wellington (#72). 

Well, it’s that time again. Over the weekend we received the latest issue of Money magazine with its list of the 100 Best Places to Live in 2011. I was curious to see how last year’s three made out.

They didn’t.

Instead, two new Florida towns made the list.  While last year’s three were located in southeast Florida, this year’s two are in Central Florida.

#21  Hunters Creek (Population: 11,700)

Located just 15 miles south of Orlando, this is a family friendly town close enough to the theme parks, but far enough away from the traffic and crime that goes with them. The town, centered around a golf course, was basically built as a development called Hunter’s Creek in the 1980s and 1990s.  The main event here appears to be the annual Halloween haunted house. Although I’m sure it’s a lovely place, it’s just not a town in my definition of a town. Where is their old downtown? What about Main Street? Come on, is this the best Florida can do??

#97  Winter Springs  (Population:  33,700)

Located just 15 miles north of Orlando, this town is home to the University of Central Florida. Again, another new, non-cohesive “town” with no history.

The goal of this survey by  Money magazine was to “find the best combination of job opportunities, fiscal strength, top-notch schools, safe streets, good healthcare, cultural and outdoor activities, even nice weather.”

Basically, these two Florida towns feed off the job opportunities, healthcare and activities of Orlando itself. There’s a lot to be said for living near but not in a city. I guess.  But I won’t be packing my bags to move to either of them.


Money Talks

October 20, 2010

Although I cancelled most of my magazine subscriptions long ago, I still find time to read a few every month.  As always though, I’m behind and find myself just now getting to the August issue of Money magazine.  Interestingly, this issue reports on the “Best Places to Live” in America according to the Money magazine researchers. And, more importantly, the list of 100 includes three small cities in Florida.

The magic formula for determining who’s on this list includes a combination of  “job opportunities, fiscal strength, top-notch schools, low crime, good health care” and that thing they so eloquently express as “lots to do.”

Reviewing the list, I was surprised to find that all three Florida cities are located in South Florida, and all are clustered in one area.  Forgive me if I sound like a snob when it comes to down south, but I’ve always associated South Florida with crowds, traffic, and yes, extreme pretentiousness.

But back to the list.

44.  Coral Springs

Highest up, at Number 44, is Coral Springs.  I haven’t been to Coral Springs in over twenty years. My mom’s twin sister and family lived there when I was little and we visited often.  I don’t remember much about the place except that it seemed so far from the beach. So just how did it make it on to the top 100 list?  According to Money magazine, one of the highlights of Coral Springs these days is a huge Sportsplex which offers tennis courts, skate parks, ice rinks and an aquatic center even Olympic athletes drool to train in.  In other words, lots to do.  

48.  Coconut Creek

At Number 48 on the list is Coconut Creek, a stone’s throw from Coral Springs.  The claim to fame here, and an apparent uniter of community, appears to be butterflies.  With more than 150 butterfly gardens I guess it’s only fair they call themselves the “Butterfly Capital of the World.” 

72.  Wellington

Last but not least, at Number 72, is Wellington, Florida, which I have never heard of even though I’ve traveled to Palm Beach County on many occasions.  What Wellington has is horses, and not just any horses. This is an equestrian community worthy of even Prince Charles himself.

A mega sporting venue, classy horses and numerous butterflies.

No beaches, no hydric hammocks, no distinctive Floridian assets.  

Seriously, you mean not one small city or town say outside Jacksonville, or Orlando, or Tallahassee fits the criteria for this list?  I guess that’s probably a good thing.  Less crowding of the good space is worth a little less publicity.

I will have to head south one of these days to find out for myself what these places have to offer. Maybe I’ll get the chance to race Olympic swimmer Dara Torres in Coral Springs,  or be swarmed by butterflies in Coconut Creek, or watch a real polo match in Wellington.  Or maybe I’ll just  find something to really like in South Florida after all.