When COVID-19 hit, Christina Stanton and her husband decided to move from the Big Apple to the small but vibrant city of Tallahassee, Florida. Here, she details what it was like to move during COVID-19, and why she loves living here.
I grew up in Tallahassee in the 70’s and 80’s, graduating from Leon High School in ’87. Tallahassee was a wonderful place to grow up. When I look back, I have so many fond memories–youth programs at First Baptist Church, classes and performances at Young Actors Studio, shopping at the Governor’s Mall, concerts and dancing at the Moon and the Civic Center. My childhood was a golden time of fun, laughter, learning, and friends.
In high school a class field trip to New York City in 1986 left a deep impression on me. I decided to move there after college. I loved New York, and enjoyed a 25-year career in tourism, leading mission trips around the world for a large non-profit where my husband currently works as the CFO. In March of 2020 we celebrated our 20-year wedding anniversary, but our celebrations were short-lived.
A Move During COVID-19
By mid-March we had both contracted the coronavirus, and I was admitted to the hospital. Luckily, we both recovered, but after the virus shut down the city and I lost my tourism job, we took stock of our lives. We decided to move back to Florida.
We arrived in Tallahassee in June, feeling a bit shell-shocked by the pandemic and more than a little trepidatious about leaving our home of almost three decades. Now 51, I hadn’t lived in Tallahassee since I was 17 years old. However, I quickly set out to explore places such as Maclay Gardens, Wakulla Springs, and St. Marks, the places that enchanted me as a child.
I’ve gained a new appreciation for the beautiful natural surroundings, the canopied roads, and Tallahassee’s small-town feel. We love walking around Midtown, enjoying all the great restaurants Tallahassee offers. Antiquing, bike rides, nature walks, and scenic drives out of town fill our weekends, not to mention eating the world-famous sausages at Bradley’s Country Store.
Soon we felt compelled to put down roots, and we drove our real estate agent crazy seeing almost 60 residences! After seeing so many townhouses, apartments, and single-family homes in every neighborhood, I can attest that there’s truly something to suit everyone’s taste. I thought I’d miss New York City, but the friendliness of the locals and the high level of customer service has been a delightful surprise.
Tallahassee Healthcare & COVID-19
Our post-COVID status left us needing a lot of care, and we found the health care we received exceptional. When I first told friends up north that we planned to put down roots in my hometown, the response was “Oh, you’re going to retire and slow down.” However, even during a pandemic, we have been more social (thanks to the beautiful outdoor weather) in Tallahassee than we would have been in New York. I’ve become aware that in a non-pandemic normalcy, there is no shortage of live theatre, music, sports, golf, and entertainment.
So, my follow-up responses to them have been, “No way. My second act is just getting revved up!” We are busier than ever and looking forward to meeting more transplants just like us. My husband is working on his golf game, and I joined a community chorus. Tallahassee has a lot to offer, I know it’s the right place for us.
Christina Ray Stanton is an award-winning author of several books and articles that feature her battle with COVID-19 and surviving the 9/11 attacks. Visit www.christinaraystanton.com to learn more.