A Winter Migration To Florida?


Greetings from Port St. Lucie, FL! While winter refuses to give up here in the northeast, we decided to head down south and spend a week in the warm weather and sunshine.

Less than an hour from the West Palm Beach airport, Port St. Lucie West is a community that didn’t even exist 25 years ago. Staying at a property within PGA Village, we are less than a mile from 95 and right off a main thoroughfare, Port St. Lucie West Boulevard.
Every road and every piece of property are lined with magnificent palm trees that make you smile and remind you of the tropical climate they grow in. While traversing the neighborhood in late March, marveling at the 81-degree temperature, you come to a stark realization—remove the palm trees from the equation and you are in Massapequa or any Long Island town in early July.

Instead of cruising Port St. Lucie West Boulevard, it could easily be Sunrise Highway, only all the stores have a pink or almond color to them. There’s a Panera Bread and a Chipotle to go along with almost any fast food restaurant you can think of. Every half-mile you pass a Walmart Superstore with a food mart. The giant shopping centers are no different than Tanger outlets—every major retailer has a superstore out here and nobody seems to be going out of business. Have you been to the Sunrise, I mean Westfield Mall, on a Tuesday night recently? Can’t choose between Home Depot and Lowes? In Port St. Lucie, they are right across the boulevard from each other.

Don’t get me wrong, once you are ensconced within the confines of your development, you know you are not in Kansas anymore. It’s quiet, it’s lovely and everyone is very friendly. I can’t tell you how many permanently relocated Long Islanders we have run into that proceeded to tout chapter and verse about how much better life is down here. Invariably, they all cite the winter weather as the mitigating factor for relocation.

We have visited with friends that live in gated, 55-and-over communities out in Suffolk, and they love the freedom of never having to mow their lawns again. They have made numerous friendships with their fellow residents and enjoy the comradery of their club house and common pool area. They have become social again and are enjoying their new lives.

But up here on Long Island, you still have December, January and February to deal with. Apparently, that winter nonsense has now been extended into March. Whatever happened to coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb? But down here, it’s June, July and August 10 months out of the year. I’m sure the humidity is brutal in July and August in Florida, but wouldn’t you trade that for what we have been going through up here for the last few weeks? Isn’t that why man invented air conditioning and in-ground pools?

Other than little 3-inch anoles clinging to the walls and ceilings outside of your residence, I haven’t encountered anything that has made me cringe or trigger my bug-a-phobia. Granted it’s only been 72 hours, but so far, so good. Not sure I would sit outside at night without the protection of a screened-in porch, but you get the picture.

I understand that spending only a few days anywhere that’s not home is not a true barometer for everyday life and that summers on Long Island are hard to beat. I also know that wearing a bathing suit and swimming in an outdoor pool in February or March is just not possible in the northeast, no matter how much you believe in global warming.

I’ve often said that there seems to be a law that adults of a certain age are required to retire to Florida. Our parents’ generation mostly followed the same pattern—born in Brooklyn, migrate to Long Island, retire to Florida. Maybe that’s not such a bad idea? After all, the Mets are down here for a few months every year…

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