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  1. #1
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    Default Suggestions for family friendly accommodation please

    Where would be a good place to look for accommodation for a stay-at-home mum and her OH who will be working in the Williams Park area?

    The accommodation budget is around $1500 - 2000 per month. Mum would like to be able to join in local life, take baby to the park, have coffee with other mums and generally fit in locally. Being isolated and lonely is a big concern in a new environment.

    Dad will be working his socks off, so let's be kind to him and give him a stress-free cycle journey to work, maximum of 30 minutes

    High-rise accommodation has a terrible reputation (crime, isolation, badly built) here in the UK, which is influencing the decision towards a bungalow/chalet type accommodation. However maybe high-rise life is better in Miami with more contact between residents and more of a community spirit. Any comments about that aspect would be welcome because the high-rise appartments certainly look attractive from the internal photos.

    Many thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Well, if your husband is thinking of cycling wo work, nowhere in Miami is going to work for you. It's just not done here, and we have really only one bike lane in the city that goes much of anywhere. South Beach, it might be doable. But that is NOT a family-friendly area.

    Coconut Grove might be your best bet, if your husband's commute isn't too bad from there. You can walk a lot of places, there's some parks, and you might be able to find some mom's groups there. That part I can't tell you about. It's close enough to the City and the Beach that it's fun. As far as fitting in locally, unless you're Hispanic that's going to be extremely difficult. But you can at least make friends in a place like the Grove, even if culturally they are very different.

    Pincrest and Palmetto Bay are also very family friendly, but far from everything. Coral Gables is good for famlies and walking and whatnot as well, but very pricey.

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    Sorry to show my Miami ignorance, but where is Williams Park?

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    Senior Member GandJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Suggestions for family friendly accommodation please

    Quote Originally Posted by Jess View Post
    Sorry to show my Miami ignorance, but where is Williams Park?

    There is a Williams Park just on the east side of I-95 near Jackson Memorial Hospital (which is on the west side). This is very near, if not in Overtown. As an FYI to thistledown, Overtown was rated the 3rd most dangerous zip code in the U.S. Not a great place to hang out. Or, is there another Williams park out there?

    Glenn
    Last edited by GandJ; 11-12-2010 at 10:39 PM.

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    Default Re: Suggestions for family friendly accommodation please

    Sorry Matt, I should have explained that I'm doing a bit of legwork for my daughter and her OH, so it's not me that's moving to Miami

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meltzer View Post
    It's just not done here, and we have really only one bike lane in the city that goes much of anywhere.
    oh! That's Plan A out of the window then!

    So, South Beach is out, then if it isn't a family-friendly area.

    Coconut Grove might be your best bet ....You can walk a lot of places, there's some parks, and you might be able to find some mom's groups there. That part I can't tell you about. It's close enough to the City and the Beach that it's fun. As far as fitting in locally, unless you're Hispanic that's going to be extremely difficult. But you can at least make friends in a place like the Grove, even if culturally they are very different.

    Pincrest and Palmetto Bay are also very family friendly, but far from everything. Coral Gables is good for famlies and walking and whatnot as well, but very pricey.
    Many thanks for those suggestions, Matt. I'll pass the information on to my daughter and she can sift through the information that she has from letting agents. It's handy to be able to discard areas that won't be suitable.

    There is a Williams Park just on the east side of I-95 near Jackson Memorial Hospital (which is on the west side). This is very near, if not in Overtown. As an FYI to thistledown, Overtown was rated the 3rd most dangerous zip code in the U.S. Not a great place to hang out. Or, is there another Williams park out there?
    that's where I was thinking about, Glenn, thanks. I didn't know how else to describe the area.

    I'm off to look on Google Street!

    Thanks for the replies

  6. #6
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    You might find this map of neighborhoods useful. It rates them by quality and safety:

    http://tinyurl.com/2btpcf2

    You can zoom and pan for detail.
    (disclaimer: not mine)

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    Default Re: Suggestions for family friendly accommodation please

    Quote Originally Posted by rk View Post
    You might find this map of neighborhoods useful. It rates them by quality and safety:

    Miami-Dade County - Google Maps

    You can zoom and pan for detail.
    (disclaimer: not mine)
    That's amazing rk!! Thank you SO much for that. I notice a couple of naughty red areas each side of Coral Gables that need bearing in mind.

    I've had a look at some of the suggestions that Matt gave, and the rentals look very reasonable compared to what we are used to in the UK. The purchase prices are very good too. I don't know whether foreign nationals can buy property in the USA though.

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    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Oh man, if foreign nationals couldn't buy property in the US, Miami would be COMPLETELY screwed. I'm pretty sure half of our down down is owned by Argentinians.

    Yeah, Williams Park is NOT an area you want to live near. But the commute there from Coral Gables isn't bad if you move to the northern part of the city. Not bad from Coconut Grove either. Pinecrest or Palmetto Bay is out, though. That commute would be an hour each way if you're working normal hours.

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    Default Re: Suggestions for family friendly accommodation please

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meltzer View Post
    Oh man, if foreign nationals couldn't buy property in the US, Miami would be COMPLETELY screwed. I'm pretty sure half of our down down is owned by Argentinians.


    seriously though, the prices of property seem low compared to similar in one of our major cities. What I can't take into account is location, of course and you need to be on the spot to get a feel for that.

    Yeah, Williams Park is NOT an area you want to live near. But the commute there from Coral Gables isn't bad if you move to the northern part of the city. Not bad from Coconut Grove either. Pinecrest or Palmetto Bay is out, though. That commute would be an hour each way if you're working normal hours.
    ooh, an hour each way would be difficult. I'll mention to them about Coral Gables and Coconut Grove though.

    Many thanks

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    Preferred Member laurab's Avatar
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    I also recently had a baby and will be looking for other moms to hang with on occasion. I am in the Miami Shores area, which is very nice and family friendly. It is north of where you described her husband (what does OH mean?) is working, but I think the commute would be doable.

    LMK if your daughter wants to meet up when she gets here and perhaps go on stroller walks! I don't know a whole lot about Miami because I just moved here in Feb but I can pass on what I do know and perhaps we can find a mommy group together.

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    Thank you laurab, that's a lovely suggestion and I'll pass that on to my daughter.

    OH is what we usually call partners/husbands on UK forums (and in that strange parallel existence called Real Life ... lol), it's short for Other-Half - i.e. other half of the relationship.

    We'll have a look at the Miami Shores area too, thanks for that suggestion.

    I notice when I look at a lot of the areas on Google Streetview that there is nobody around. I suppose that fits in with what Matt says about not being a cycling type of city. I was looking at Kumquat Avenue, just out of interest because there were some properties advertised there, and there was not a single person around. Maybe it was a quiet time of day I would imagine it would be quite lonely if you were at home all day and didn't know anyone. I guess two cars would be essential then .....

  12. #12
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Hi Thistle!

    When I was in high school, my sweet heart's dad used to commute by bicycle every day from South Coral Gables to Key Biscayne and back. It is a wonder and miracle he never had an accident. Miami is one of the least biking friendly cities in the world.

    That being said ... did you know we have a train that stops right smack dab in the Civic Center, near Jackson Memorial Hospital? I'm not sure *exactly* where the OH's office is, but that is a commuting option. You could live near downtown South Miami, for example, and he could take the train to / from work and she would have a nice walkable very family friendly community. This is where I live now and I love it ... recommend 100% percent.

    There are other points along the way where the train stops in between the south and north stations, but I like South Miami the most. In this area you could probably find a nice 1 or 2 bedroom apt for $2K. A really nice townhouse across the street from me with three bedrooms, garage, etc ; was going recently for $1700.

    Coconut Grove is a good suggestion too as well as Miami Shores. Coconut Grove has a train station but Miami Shores does not.

    With a small baby, one who isn't even ready for school yet, South Beach might actually not be too bad. Mid-beach is VERY family friendly but apartments are scarcer. Both South and mid-beach are good locations to get to the Jackson area by car. For South Beach, I would recommend south of fifth street and on mid-beach staying as close as possible to 41st street on west of Indian Creek.

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    That's a lot of very useful detail Maria, thanks. You're right, too, about a very small baby. They are actually quite portable when they are young. It's when they get to tottering about that they are more difficult to manage!

    South Miami looks nice on Google Street. In fact that whole area around there looks good.

    What about west from the city centre, Fontainbleau, Timiami and Olympia Heights - around there? That looks good too, except that it was a foggy day when the Google van went round there. Either that or they hadn't cleaned the camera lens

    Thanks for all your input. My daughter and her OH are coming over to look at properties in a couple of weeks but they only have about 2 days to see what's available. It makes it easier to be able to narrow the search down to just a few areas - so thanks!

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    Just out of interest, .....
    City of Miami Bicycle Initiatives


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    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Miami is not really a "people out on the streets walking around" kind of town. It's a "people in their cars and houses" kind of town. Yeah, theres some shopping districs and whatnot with people out and about. But for the most part, it's a lot of sprawl and residential areas. So if you want a walking, close-knit feel, Miami doesn't really have it. Maybe in South Beach, but that's it.

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    Default Re: Suggestions for family friendly accommodation please

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Meltzer View Post
    Miami is not really a "people out on the streets walking around" kind of town. It's a "people in their cars and houses" kind of town.
    That's the sort of thing that's really helpful to know, thanks. It needs some thought about the potential isolation of a stay-at-home mum. Looking on Google Street, it does seem noticeable that there is nobody around on the streets.

    I'll have a look at the Travel and Recreation forum, but would it be accurate to say that people tend to socialise with work colleagues rather than neighbours?

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    Editor Matt Meltzer's Avatar
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    Yep. Matter of fact I can't name one person I even mildly socialize with that I would call a "neighbor" ever in Miami.

  18. #18
    Member Maria de los Angeles's Avatar
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    Hi thistle! If you are worried about mum's isolation then avoid all places in Fontainbleau, Tamiami and Olympia Heights area, anything west of city centre. All of that is sprawling suburb and quite "Latin" which will only add to culture shock and some language barrier issues, though some of the neighborhoods and homes there are nice. It's just not a walkable part of the county.

    Seriously, don't even bother with anything really west. The neighborhoods you want to concentrate on are South Beach, maybe mid-beach (close to 41st street), downtown Coconut Grove, downtown South Miami and downtown Coral Gables. A friend of mine who lives in Brooklyn, NY right now was thinking about moving back to Miami. She concentrated on those neighborhoods I just mentioned because that was the closest she could get to a walking city, Brooklyn-like experience. She has a young boy and a baby not yet a year old.

    Do we know where the OH's job will be? You can PM me that if you like.

    Matt has had a very different experience than me regarding Miami. I am not friendly with my current neighbors but in previous buildings we have gotten along and shared and remained connected after I moved. It all depends. And in South Miami, where I frequent local bars and restaurants, I pretty much know staff and everyone is friendly. So, you know, it's pretty much like having your local pub type experience. And everyone in this neighborhood speaks English.

    Also as a young mom, she will be going to kid-friendly parks, maybe meeting other moms their with their kids, and so on. There are also programs here where you can take your babies to play. Gymboree is one of them. There are also "mommy and me" yoga classes and such. Again, opportunities to make new friends who are doing the mommy thing. I think you should pick a neighborhood that will have access to those things.

    I went on the local bus on South Beach one morning recently after an event where I spent the night in that part of town. Everyone was so friendly and they seemed to know each other. The bus driver certainly recognized people who probably take the same bus around the same time everyday.

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    Default Re: Suggestions for family friendly accommodation please

    Quote Originally Posted by Maria de los Angeles View Post
    Hi thistle! If you are worried about mum's isolation then avoid all places in Fontainbleau, Tamiami and Olympia Heights area, anything west of city centre. All of that is sprawling suburb and quite "Latin" which will only add to culture shock and some language barrier issues, though some of the neighborhoods and homes there are nice. It's just not a walkable part of the county.
    good advice, thanks.

    The neighborhoods you want to concentrate on are South Beach, maybe mid-beach (close to 41st street), downtown Coconut Grove, downtown South Miami and downtown Coral Gables. A friend of mine who lives in Brooklyn, NY right now was thinking about moving back to Miami. She concentrated on those neighborhoods I just mentioned because that was the closest she could get to a walking city, Brooklyn-like experience.
    I believe daughter and OH are taking in a tour of appartments when they come over. I'll give them that information so that they can make a shortlist.

    Do we know where the OH's job will be? You can PM me that if you like.
    I'll PM you, because OH is at a quite sensitive point regarding the job offer

    in previous buildings we have gotten along and shared and remained connected after I moved.
    that's why I'm wondering whether a block of appartments might be better than a single house and yard out in the suburbs ...... but it's not my choice

    There are also programs here where you can take your babies to play. Gymboree is one of them. There are also "mommy and me" yoga classes and such. Again, opportunities to make new friends who are doing the mommy thing. I think you should pick a neighborhood that will have access to those things.
    now THAT is an excellent idea!!

    Thanks once again for taking the trouble to respond

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