After a lifetime of hard work, careful planning and prudent decisions, you’re finally free to think about where you want to live the next phase of your life.

And you’re in luck. As you consider the factors that appeal to you in a relocation destination, you’ve happened upon a wonderful choice that fits all your priorities — Tallahassee, Florida.

Tallahassee invites you to come here and enjoy the best of your life.

“Aging In Place” Homes Offer Necessary Features

by Neil P. Ryder, CRS, GRI, SFR, e-PRO


Editor’s Note: Most relocating Boomers today are as physically active as they were in their 40s.  But when planning for a retirement home, Boomers can add resale value – and also plan thoughtfully for their own future – by considering how to make their home serve them well throughout their lives.  In many cases, taking a few simple steps during construction can keep your home “livable” into your 80s or 90s. Our Guest Blogger, Tallahassee Real Estate Broker Neil Ryder, walks us through those steps.


In early 2012, Larry Baxter, Bureau Chief of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, asked for help in developing a universal code for Aging in Place (AIP) for the state of Florida (see Florida P.36).  It would be a code that all Florida Builders could use throughout the state.  He proposed building a “spec” home that incorporated these AIP codes/features to see what worked, and what didn’t.  After months of planning, the build for 3336 Harbor Club Drive in Tallahassee began in mid-summer 2012 and was completed with great fanfare and a press conference in fall 2012. Since that time, we have represented three builders building eight different AIP houses; six are sold and occupied and two are currently under construction.  This includes our second, lower price-point home (at $189,900 currently on the market) which we are just breaking ground on.

AIP features – not to be confused with handicapped accessibility, although they have some common elements – are:

  • Zero grade transition from the exterior and garage into the house
  • Wider hallways and doorways
  • Drawers in all kitchen base cabinets
  • Front controls on stove-tops, wall-mount ovens and dual drawer dishwashers
  • Curb-less, roll-in showers
  • Benches and/or folding seats in the showers with adjacent shower controls and shower wands
  • Comfort-height toilets
  • Grab bars, or blocking for future grab bars, in showers, WC rooms and other appropriate locations
  • Electrical outlets raised to 24” above finished floors (AFF)
  • Thermostats and peep-holes lowered to wheelchair height (optional)

It only makes sense to include some of these features in a new home.  Life can change in an instant and it will surely change over time.  These features combined with all the amenities for seniors in Tallahassee make Choosing Tallahassee and Neil Ryder Realty, Inc. the logical choice.

Neil Ryder AIP bottom blog

Shop Downtown, Midtown and beyond

Whether you’re a fashionista or a collector of sorts, Tallahassee can suit your shopping needs.

The fashion scene is driven with offerings from dozens of local boutiques and shops. From Downtown to Midtown to Killearn, you can have your choice of vintage or couture.

Downtown, there’s Sick Boy Vintage, Avant Garb, Olde Fields Clothing Co. and a variety of shops in Railroad Square Art Park.

In Midtown, there’s Cole Couture, Divas and Devils House of Style, Narcissus Mix, Vocelles and other unique, locally owned stores. Over at Lake Ella, there are The Cottages, with fashion finds at Quarter Moon Imports and more great finds at several speciality shops.

In Northeast Tallahassee, shops offer a mix of apparel, home decor, gifts and jewelry at places like Ten Thousand Villages and Pink Narcissus. And don’t forget about Lofty Pursuits, where you can find lots games and toys, and get a tasty frozen treat as well.

If it’s not fashion but functionality you seek, Tallahassee offers up several sports shops such as Capital City Runners on Thomasville Road and Shaw’s Athletics in Market Square.

There is also a hefty assortment of outdoor markets such as the Downtown MarketPlace, Southside Farmers Market, Killearn Farmers Market and the Tallahassee Farmers Market — offering fresh produce and arts and crafts items.

Not to mention the two malls, Governor’s Square Mall and the Tallahassee Mall.

Here are a few shopping centers you can try:

– Betton Place, 1950 Thomasville Road

– Carriage Gate Center, 3425 Thomasville Road

– The Cottages at Lake Ella, 1621 N. Monroe St.

– The Festival, 2765 Capital Circle N.E.

– Gallery at Market Street, 1460 Market St.

– Governor’s Marketplace, 1514 Governor’s Square Blvd.

– Manor@Midtown, 1122 Thomasville Road

– Market Square, 1514 Timberlane Road

– The Pavilions at Market Street, 1410 Market St.

– Railroad Square Art Park, 567 Industrial Drive

– The Verandas, 1355 Market St.

– Village Commons, 1400 Village Square Blvd.

And, of course, we can’t forget the two big malls:

n Governor’s Square, 1500 Apalachee Parkway

n Tallahassee Mall, 2415 N. Monroe St.

Elizabeth Mack is the Tallahassee Democrat’s business and downtown reporter and writes two columns in the Local Section. She also hosts a weekly entertainment show on called Limelight Live.

This city has staying power

See, it started this way:

In 1823, members of the two-year-old Florida territorial legislature said “We can’t keep meeting like this.” One year in St. Augustine, one year in Pensacola.

The 400-mile, two-weeks-or-more journey between Florida’s only two cities was killing the delegates. So they designated two men to find a place in the middle that could serve as the territorial capital.

John Lee Williams set out from Pensacola, and Dr. William Simmons left from St. Augustine. They met at a small waterfall in the rolling, red clay hills of present-day Leon County and chose a nearby hill as the seat of government.

That’s how Tallahassee came to be — leaving out Spanish explorers, Apalachee Indians and Andrew Jackson’s army, who had previously inhabited the area. Our name, Tallahassee, is an Indian word for “old fields” or “old town.”

We almost didn’t make it to statehood in 1845. In the 1830s, we were a den of iniquity, where gambling, drinking and gunfights led Ralph Waldo Emerson to label us a town of “desperadoes and speculators.” In 1841, a yellow fever epidemic killed about half of the town’s 800 citizens. In 1843, a fire destroyed almost every downtown building. But we elected a reform-minded city council (led by Thomas Jefferson’s grandson) to bring law and order; we buried the yellow fever dead in the Old City Cemetery; and we set up shops in the downtown Chain of Parks until new brick buildings could be constructed.

Always, Tallahassee had resiliency.

Certainly, we’ve been helped by being the seat of government in what is now the fourth most populous state in the nation. In 1851, the Legislature created the West Florida Seminary, which became today’s Florida State University.

In 1887, the Legislature approved a state normal school, which became today’s Florida A&M University. Between the universities and the annual legislative session, we’ve survived many an economic downturn.

We even got a little help from the federal government during World War II, when it established the Dale Mabry Air Base for pilot training.

That’s not to say we haven’t endured rough patches.

Tallahassee was a plantation society in the antebellum days and as late as the 1950s census, blacks out-numbered whites. But it took a while to knock down the Jim Crow laws that treated blacks as second-class citizens. In 1956, a bus boycott started the civil rights ball rolling. That was followed by lunch counter sit-ins, theater protests and eventually school desegregation. Today, Tallahassee is proud of its diversity, which currently includes a black mayor and a black city manager.

In 1967, some legislators wanted to move the capital to Orlando — and thus steal our reason for being. We made a few adjustments to make ourselves more palatable to legislators, like reinstating liquor sales after a 60-year prohibition and inaugurating the Springtime Tallahassee festival to advertise our charms.

And in 1977, construction was completed on a new, 22-story Capitol, an investment that pretty much sealed our fate as the forever capital.

In some quarters, we are most famous for football. The legendary Jake Gaither led FAMU to seven black national championships. The legendary Bobby Bowden led FSU to two national championships.

We cherish many elements of our past.

After we built a new Capitol, people rallied to save the old Capitol, which today is a museum. We have 95 miles of canopy roads, which is our term for the tree-shaded roads into the county where cotton merchants used to bring their cotton.

We are also greeting the future with the past: Next year, construction on Cascades Park will be completed. That slice of downtown is where long ago there was a small cascade or waterfall that so charmed founders Williams and Simmons that they chose this spot for Florida’s capital.

The cascade is long gone. But the city remains.

And it’s a good one.


Discover the ‘Other Florida’

In her iconic collection of essays titled “The Other Florida,” author Gloria Jahoda famously described Tallahassee as “200 miles from anywhere else.”

True as far as big cities go. But that doesn’t mean Jahoda was putting down her adopted home or the folks who populate its surrounding counties. As the so-called “poet of the people of North Florida,” she was fascinated by their small-town Southern lifestyle.

From Apalachicola oyster shuckers to piney woods turpentine tappers, her stories focused on a slice of the Sunshine State’s pre-Disney side that even then was under siege.

Theme parks and party beaches still haven’t taken over the no-longer Forgotten Coast since Jahoda died some 30 years ago. There might be a few more paved roads and stilt houses now, even a neatly manicured golf course or two. But the Other Florida is still here. And it’s well worth a visit.

Take St. George Island, an hour-and-a-half to a two-hour drive along U.S. 98, where sun and surf and sugar-white sand add up to one of the state’s most pristine seascapes. Or Wakulla Springs, only a few miles south of Tallahassee and home to browsing manatees, really big gators and the longest and deepest freshwater cave system in the world.

Just over the Georgia state line, the Rose City of Thomasville boasts a killer historic district, really tasty Farmer’s Market and a nationally renowned rose festival dating to the 1920s. Its downtown Victorian Christmas decorations are pretty special, too.

Heading west along U.S. 84, small towns draw big crowds with such decidedly folksy affairs as Whigham’s annual Rattlesnake Roundup, Cairo’s Antique Car Rally, Calvary’s Mule Day, Swine Time in Climax and the two-week-long National Peanut Festival outside Dothan, Ala.

The timeless delights of King Neptune’s pantry are the draw in quaintly coastal Apalachicola ­— once the third largest Gulf port between Key West and Mexico — with turn-away attendance at its two-day Seafood Festival in November.

Panacea’s Blue Crab Festival each May is another chance to feast on the crunchy crustaceans, while Sopchoppy’s suprisingly spectacular Fourth of July fireworks display ranks right up with black bears, tupelo honey and its April Worm Gruntin’ Festival (a strangely effective way of coaxing fishing-bait worms out of the ground once featured in National Geographic) as local attractions.

Closer to home, Bradley’s Country Store in northern Leon County celebrates its pioneer heritage with an 18th-century encampment on Presidents Day and a Country Fun Day in November.

A local legend since 1910 for home-cooked grits and pork sausage ­— as well as such frontier Florida delicacies as cracklings, liver pudding and hogshead cheese ­— Bradley’s tin-roofed general store and 16 outbuildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Even though neighboring Gadsden County’s once world-class shade tobacco fields now raise mostly tomatoes and nursery stock, Havana’s cigar-wrapping plants live on as upscale antique shops and gourmet restaurants.

Quincy’s Leaf Theater, Gadsden Art Center (displaying the works of painter Dean Mitchell, wood sculptor Mark Lindquist and other nationally recognized artists), along with the Quincyfest Blues and Barbecue Festival offer more reasons for its designation as an All American city.

And while Jefferson County may no longer lead the nation in the production of watermelon seeds, for the past 62 years it has continued to celebrate the big green melon and its succulent red fruit with a May festival that fills Monticello’s downtown streets.

All things considered, there’s more to be said for the Other Florida than nasty bugs and lots of trees. It may be 200 miles from anywhere else, but it’s still worth a visit.