In response to a picture and article I shared in a recent Health Tip, Kathy wrote me the following:
“It’s freezing up here in Minnesota — This looks so inviting. We are just looking into the Florida moving thing. It looks like you are enjoying your new place. Are you in a Condo or Patio home that you can have this situation? Thanks for the great containers. Now I will be more willing to leave our frigid Minnesota. It will be nice to hear how you found your new home. “
Following was my response to Kathy’s letter:
Most of my life I spent in the cold North Country! I remember back on December 25-26, 1947 (I think that was the date), when I was 13 years old, we had 26 inches of snow in Yonkers, New York, the day after Christmas. Yonkers was the city in which I was born and raised. I remember the cold weather in Chicago, Illinois and the cold winds off the lake when I was attending Moody.
I remember when I was on staff at Jack Wyrtzen’s Word of Life Camp in Schroon Lake, New York when it went down to 40 degrees BELOW ZERO and it didn’t go above zero for a week and we were shoveling the deep snow off the roofs. We had two seasons there – winter and July. July was the only month without a frost.
I remember when I was pastoring the Bible Baptist Church in Friendship, New York, where we got the lake effect snows off of Lake Erie. Buffalo, New York, which was less than an hour away, averaged 100 inches of snow a winter and we weren’t much below that amount in Friendship.
Yes, during my lifetime I have had my share of snow and cold.
After my pastorate in Friendship, New York, the Lord opened the door for me to pastor the Faith Baptist Church in Trenton, North Carolina. That was my first time living in the south and the winters were quite mild in comparison. But then in 1970 I was back in New York State where I started and pastored the Greater Glens Falls Bible Baptist Church in Hudson Falls, New York and I was back in the long, cold, snowy winters.
In 1976, while pastoring that church in Hudson Falls I was diagnosed with colon cancer. In an effort to find help in obtaining a natural cure for my colon cancer I ended up – guess where? In Bonita Springs, FLORIDA at the Shangri-la Health Resort as lecturer and was in charge of their organic gardens. After I healed myself of colon cancer I began Hallelujah Acres in Tennessee in 1992 and then moved Hallelujah Acres to North Carolina in 1997 where our headquarters remains to this day.
In my younger days the cold didn’t bother me much, but as the years accumulated I appreciated less and less the long, cold, and snowy winters. I kept remembering the winter warmth of my years at the Shangri-La in Florida and I had a desire to return to a warmer climate. So in my late 70’s I bought a home in St. Augustine where we wintered for a few years while still holding seminars in the southeastern U.S.
Then just before I hit my 80th birthday we built our dream home in – guess where? St. Augustine, Florida and I gave my last Health Seminar the first Saturday of November, 2014 just after moving into our new home.
Now a little about where we now live – St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest city in the United States! It’s over 500 years old – and there is lots of history here and a lot to see including the Fountain of Youth. Average yearly temperatures are 75 for the high and 61 for the low with the average daily January temperatures high 65 and low 46. July’s high is 89 and low 73. Average rainfall is 48 inches.
Summer temperatures are tempered by sea breezes and St. Augustine has so many beautiful nearby beaches where we can cool off in the Atlantic Ocean. Some believe that St. Augustine has the most perfect temperature and weather in the United States.
You asked if our home was a condo or a patio home. Our home is not a condo – though we have condos and retirement villages here. We have a beautiful private home with a wonderful patio in the back of the house that overlooks a small lake where we have all kinds of wildlife – especially ocean birds and ducks of all kinds along with all the song birds and humming birds, and lots of cardinals.
Most of the homes in the area are three bedrooms with two baths and a two car garage. Prices for a 3-bedroom, 2-bath, and 2 car garage home average in the low to mid $200,000 range. For a 4 or 5 bedroom home with 3 baths the price is in the upper $200’s.
We had beautiful fall leaf colors this past fall. The leaves have now fallen and the trees are already budded with their new leaves – and it is only mid-January. Spring arrives in late February and that is when I start planting my grow boxes again for the next crops. In fact, the local Home Depot has just received their first tomato and pepper plants for the new growing season.
Groceries (Publix) and banks are within easy walking distance of our home. Publix has a nice selection of organic foods and sells 25 lbs of Bunny Luv organic carrots for $15.99 year round. The beach is only 3 miles from our home and we try to walk several miles barefoot along the ocean most afternoons on nice days as well as several miles in our community on lighted sidewalks most evenings.
Church is very important to us and there is a nice selection. The church we attend is less than 10 minutes from our home. At our church we have lots of friends and a wonderful pastor. Within 10-15 minutes of our home are all the big stores for shopping in downtown St. Augustine, and in Jacksonville, just 30 miles to our north, you can find just about anything you might be looking for. Travel to Jacksonville is a very easy drive up I-95. Jacksonville offers all kinds of shopping, including two Sweet Tomato restaurants (over 100-item salad bars), a Whole Foods, Sam’s, Costco, and a Trader Joe’s, which are our favorite stores. There is no state income tax in Florida and there is a home exemption for senior citizens, and heating costs in winter are very low.
I must say, this is the best place I have ever lived in my life.
Warm climate, no snow or cold winters (and I don’t miss them), beautiful year round green foliage – including lots of palm trees (one in the front yard of our home, as you can see the photo), little traffic and no potholes, no hi-rise condominiums (the tallest building allowed in the city or along the beach is 3 stories), convenience, low cost of living, year-round gardening, and lots of friends.
And we have two vegan restaurants – one within 5 minutes and the other 10 minutes from our home. What a wonderful place to spend our senior years.
I turn 81 years old on February 12 – still in good health and enjoying life to the fullest after being on the Hallelujah Diet for almost half of my life. And the next life promises to be even better than the present one! Who could ask for anything more!
~ George Malkmus