If you would’ve told me at the beginning of 2020 that not only would there be a global pandemic, but my husband and I would decide (during said pandemic) to pick up and move our lives to the beach, I wouldn’t have believed you!
Well, here we are at the end of August 2020 and I am going on week 3 of making Jacksonville feel like home. My husband and I decided at the start of this year that we wanted a change for our future family, and moving to Florida kept coming up. We both have some sort of roots in Florida— with some of my extended family being in Panama City and Tallahassee, and John’s family also in Panama City and frequenting Seaside— but we weren’t sure we wanted to move all the way to the Gulf side. It took many nights of googling things like “Great places to raise a family in Florida” and “Cities with the best job market in Florida” to start considering Jacksonville, and I am so thankful we did. I remember when all of this started seeing commercials constantly about moving to Jacksonville on television and thinking “okay wow this is weird!”
We took a long weekend in the early spring to vacation and house / job hunt and absolutely fell in love. Jacksonville is HUGE, but doesn’t feel overwhelming. It takes about 2 hours to get from one end of Jacksonville to the other, which was a pull for me as a wedding photographer and seeing all of the opportunities to market in so many different places. We love how downtown looks almost like a little Chicago with big buildings sitting on the edge of the river (you have to check this out at night!), but can drive ten minutes outside of downtown and it feels nothing like a big city. Moving out of such a big football town that is Athens, GA, we were kind of bummed to leave the fun atmosphere that having a sports team brings to a city. But moving here, we are equally excited to get involved with the Jacksonville Jaguars and anticipate just as much electricity during the fall. There are so many (and I mean SO many) beautiful places that we have already found to shop, eat, go to the beach, or just explore around the city. We live about 25 minutes south of downtown Jacksonville in an area called Mandarin and I couldn’t be more thankful to have the St. Johns river literally in the back of our neighborhood. I cannot express how refreshing it is to live so close to the water! As someone who airs on the side of the coast in my interior design, moving in and decorating our home has been so much fun— especially since our neighborhood has a huge pond that our house backs up to. Small things like having a palm tree in our yard or getting to hit the beach in the evenings and look for shells to bring home has been a God wink that I didn’t know I needed.
Jacksonville’s atmosphere feels homey and obviously beachy, but still residential. The move here has been easier than expected after meeting so many sweet people in our neighborhood, at a church we are visiting, and random places we are beginning to frequent. Plus, I am pretty sure everywhere in Jacksonville is 20 minutes or less from a Trader Joes, a TJ Maxx and a Target and for that, I am GRATEFUL! 😉 It’s really been such a perfect fit for John and I and our golden retriever, Benji, and I can’t wait to continue to plant our roots here. I imagine we will inch our way closer to the beach the longer we live here, and I have my eyes set on Ponte Vedra, where John currently works. We truly could not have done this move without our realtor-friend back in Georgia and our Jacksonville realtor.
There truly are so many realtors to choose from down here, but if you want someone that is specifically Jacksonville-based, focused on historic homes (we didn’t buy a historic home this time, but they are beautiful!), and very knowledgeable about the home buying and/or selling process, then Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty, Erin E. King might be for you! When we were looking at homes, we noticed how beautiful Jacksonville was and the homes for sale in Ortega, as well as the other historic areas, blew us away! Seeing all of the different neighborhoods in Jacksonville was a great way to get to know the city, too. If you are interested in chatting with Erin King about historic real estate in Jacksonville, you will be in good hands. He is a Ramsey Endorsed Local Real Estate Provider. A Ramsey Endorsed Local Provider is a 3rd party affiliation that Erin is (and should be) extremely proud of. In addition, he is also a Best of Zillow® REALTOR® and was featured as a 2017 “Rising Star” by Jacksonville Real Producers Magazine.
While we will still be in Georgia a ton, we are so excited to have our family and friends come visit our Florida home, and maybe convince them to move here too. 🙂
A few local businesses I have already fallen in love with:
Julington Creek Fish Camp for amazing seafood and atmosphere https://julingtoncreekfishcamp.com/
MerleBurl Market is an antique Shop that has great furniture and candles https://merleburlmarket.com/
Villa Decor & Design is a beautiful interior design shop https://www.villadecordesignstyle.com/
A special occasion dinner spot on the river at The Chart House https://www.chart-house.com/location/chart-house-jacksonville-fl/
A cute, delicious coffee house to work in http://purabeancoffeeco.com/#