I was on my way down there when I met my husband and then had a baby....
Hi Everybody! I know that many of you will wonder or ask why I didn't follow the pinned directions and go to VINow for this question... but I'm looking for a bit more than just a typical vacation. Please let me explain...
I was literally in the middle of selling everything and I was about to schedule a shipping pod for my car when I met my husband, things turned upside down, and my move to STX was suddenly interrupted. (He and my now 3 year old are totally worth it, btw!) My hubs has always known that STX is where I want to be...
I want to plan a week down there this summer, but I don't want to end up doing all the touristy things that give us zero sense of real life on the island. I want my husband to see that he would love island life so tourist traps won't help my cause... This is where I need your help. What would you all (as locals) recommend for us to do and go see? If you had someone visiting that you wanted to move down there with you, what would you show them that is off of the beaten path? Are there any good 'hole in the wall" places we just have to try?
(the hubs and I hate being tourists and would much rather hang with the locals if they'll have us.)
We're super laid back people pretty much up for anything and we'll have a super chill 4 year old in tow.
I can't thank you all enough for the help in keeping my dream of being an islander alive and helping me plant the seeds of island life into my husband. <3
Go to the post office to ship something back home. Go into a bank and talk about the possibility of opening an account. Find 2 or 3 dinners/desserts you want to make and see if you can find everything you need at 1 store. Go to home depot with a project that in mind and see if they have everything you need. Go to the movies. Go to Kmart and see if they have your brand of toiletries.
There's my take on what you should do on your Pre-Move Visit. The idea of the PMV is you and your hubby to get a feel for what island life is like. So, first, you should keep the sightseeing and tourist type activities (staying at a resort, beach time, boating, swimming and even drinking exotic cocktails) to a minimum. After all once you live here you won't be doing much of that in your everyday life. Instead find a short term condo rental (preferably not on the beach unless beach front living is within your everyday living budget) and do everyday chores like housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping, visit the different utility companies to get a feel for electricity, cable TV, telephone, cell phone, and internet costs and what it is like dealing with their respective office staffs. Visit the DMV to see what's involved in registering a car, check out housing costs and housing neighborhoods to see what your housing budget will get you. Look at employment opportunities, check out schools, drive around during normal rush hours to get a feel for what commuting will be like. In short, do the same everyday chores you now do.
Don't worry about those "off the beaten path and hole in the wall places" you'll discover them as you learn more about the island.
Good luck following your dream.
The PMV stuff is certainly a must for a serious consideration for a move. But a lot of the of the touristy things we have are not your typical tourist traps. Sure, you can avoid the rum factory tours, the beer drinking pigs and the duty free shops. But we have lots of historical sites, the rain forest, old architecture, hiking, beaches, arboretum, etc.
It doesn't hurt to do some of the stuff you may be doing in your free time once you are a resident in between all that household shopping, home projects, and fun visits to government, utility, and insurance company offices. A lot of that setting up house stuff like utilities can be done by researching web sites and making phone calls before you even get on island. Also good to spend time figuring out housing, house or condo rentals/rates/locations.
You'll probably want to visit a school or few as well. Maybe check out a clinic or a doctors office. Your little one will need a health card of sorts to be in daycare or school. Maybe you can just schedule that while you are down and get it done. We don't have individual health care plans here. So hopefully you are willing to pay out of pocket for those expenses or get a job where its offered. If you happen to be an expat, I believe there are some options available.
All good suggestions mentioned. Living the 'simple' life sure can eat up a lot of time!