Tallahassee, the forgotten capital of Florida, is one of those places which everyone has heard of but for which few can claim experience. Last week I was fortunate enough to gain the opportunity to check out the city for myself–and in preparation for moving down there for graduate school starting in January.

Before the trip, I tried my best to query my friends, relatives and even strangers for any anecdotal advice or experiences of Tallahassee. What this provided was zip: few people had even heard anything about the city except that it wasn’t Miami. Great. Fortunately a few people on my rugby team had visited the city for business and were able to provide me with a slight sketch. The gist of what they told me was that the summers are HOT and the city is very suburban and rural, especially compared to Boston. Armed with this I headed down with my father for three days of whirlwind exploration and research into the city and its real estate market.

So what is the city like? Tallahassee is quite rural–a surprise considering that it’s Florida’s capital–with tons of space and very little structure to break up the sprawl. Within any 5 minute drive, we probably drove by two shopping malls, three neighborhoods and a park no matter where in the city you were. Unlike most cities with a clearly delimited downtown area, shopping areas and commercial areas, Tallahassee seemed to mix all of these up with the surplus of space it has.

When I think of Florida, and most of the south for that matter, I think of flat lowlands interspersed with rivers and swamps. This only held to be half true in Tallahassee where water was always close by. The whole area is littered with springs and many parks have sprung up around the lakes and ponds that have formed. My expectations for flat land were rudely incorrect since hills were quite bountiful throughout. That was a pleasant surprise since it helps add texture to the place since your sightlines constantly change.

The people are as friendly as in any classic, southern film. In general, if you can imagine ‘southern hospitality’ then you’re on the right track.

Overall these were my first impressions of this midway capital, and I’m looking forward to my move down south. Unfortunately I neglected to take photos of the sights or scenes so that hard evidence of my trip will have to wait.