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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Movin' On Up

The population of Palm Coast was approximately 37,000 when I showed up in 2003.

If you want to go further back, I have friends who remember the only gas station in town was an Exxon. The particular Exxon is no longer there, but Palm Coast has more gas stations, and more people to go around. Today, the population is approximately 77,000 but it still holds that “everybody knows your name” quality. Perhaps this very sense of community is what keeps the people coming.

Moving to Palm Coast as a kid
, entering the 8th grade, the cusp of one of the most important periods of a life, was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. Of course, I didn’t see it that way at the time. New Jersey was home and going as south as Florida was a culture shock. There was so much greenery! And where were the towering buildings and bumper to bumper traffic jams?

My mind didn’t start to change until high school. At the time, there was only one high school and the city was rapidly growing. I graduated with over 600 students, the largest in the school’s history up until that point. It was here where I discovered my love for writing. Once I figured it out, there was more than one teacher backing me up, making sure my skills were honed. I’m sure I would’ve met influential teachers in New Jersey, hadn’t I moved, but I would’ve never met THOSE teachers. My time in the Flagler County school system was invaluable.

In the time since 2003, I discovered Palm Coast’s strategic geographical placement. Jacksonville to the north, Orlando to the south, Tampa not so far away if you needed it. I could go to a superstar or local’s concert with friends and still be back and rested for the next day. Historical St. Augustine and legendary Daytona Beach are even closer, providing more native and hole in the wall scenes, allowing for the genuine feel of Florida.

If you want to know the true nature of Palm Coast, the defining attribute is balance.

You can find your night out on the town at the European Village with live music and a few drinks.

There’s the quiet day at a park with numerous walking and bike trails. You’re only a few miles away from the beach at any given moment. People spend years moving place to place trying to find all these things, but here it’s all rolled into one.

We’re still growing. There’s another high school now and more middle/elementary schools. The state of the art Epic movie theater just opened up. There are tennis clubs, genuine New York pizza parlors everywhere you look, dock your boat, go check out an art gallery, everything hipster and old school all at once.

Recently, I had the opportunity to leave to finish my degree.  Instead, I chose to stay and attend Flagler College.

Why? It’s simple. I found myself here. Palm Coast, the people in it, and the surrounding areas enabled me to find what I needed. If life takes me elsewhere in the future, I’ll be equipped because of the strong start I was given here and it’s not even over yet. Are you looking for somewhere to see your kids get the right beginning, or just find your own way?

Do it here!

Lauren Mack is an aspiring writer, blogger, and overall enthusiast of brainstorms. Home is in Palm Coast, FL, where she works a customer service job for magazine subscriptions. When she isn’t helping you out on the phone, Lauren attends Flagler College where she majors in English and dabbles in Communications. In Lauren’s downtime she labors away, hopefully, at a novel and can be found observing things on her blog) or dashing about on Twitter.

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