“Hard to describe !” Traveled to the villages and spend five interesting days. First, yes the residents are all senior citizens. Second, they are having the time of their lives.
A little house keeping to provide an over view. The villages is actually a town with a population of approximately 110,000 people. It is located around forty miles north of the Orlando airport. Apparently most of the growth has taken place over the last twenty years and looks like it will completed in no more than six years if the current growth rate continues at which time there will be no new homes built thus one would have purchase existing properties. I first heard about the villages several years ago when a friend of mine, to please his wife, made a visit. This particular friend is somewhat hard to please and I was very surprised when he came back raving about the facility and what it had offer. Over time I ran into a number of other people that had either visited or knew people that currently live there and again most of them were very positive about what the villages had to offer. My curiosity had been aroused and off I went to make my own evaluation. I was actually there approximately 4 weeks ago and purposely have delayed writing this so that my initial impression would not be tainted.
I went to the Internet got the contact information and emailed them regarding my interest in visiting. I received a response immediately making me aware that they had a package that allowed one to visit up to a week at a very tantalizing rate of $150 a day. This included one of their new homes to stay in, a golf cart and bicycles for usage, coupons for restaurants , and free golf during my visit. Pretty hard to turn down and thus off I went. I flew down on Tuesday meeting my friend Pam who lives in Cincinnati at the Orlando airport. I had rented a car at an off terminal facility which was not a particularly smart idea. We picked up the car and headed north on the Florida Turnpike going through what seemed like 500 tollbooths in approximately 40 miles and easily found the villages. As instructed we went to the reception center where we were met by a very nice lady who gave us a short orientation and took us to where we would be staying. Another surprise, the place that they had provided us very nice and much more than I had expected. We got ourselves unpacked and arranged to meet Pam’s cousin who happen to live at the villages. We met her for dinner and she kind of gave us the lay of the land and we were ready to strike our own the next day. What we didn’t know was that due to global warming the the temperature was 55° the next day.
Not deterred we bundled up got into our golf cart and started the exploration. Immediately we noticed there were a whole lot of old people just like ourselves. I told Pam it reminded me of the movie cocoon and she told me it reminded her of the movie Stepford wives. But I caught my own reflection in the glass as we walked into Panera bread Company and realized it actually looked like the old TV show “It could be you”.
They have a in daily newspaper which is published and distributed to all residents each day. The newspaper would be found in your driveway every morning around 630 or 7 AM. In addition to local news about the villages and advertisements for local businesses it was filled with events that were available for one to participate in that day. In addition there is a magazine type item that lists all of the clubs that function in the community. There must’ve been over 100 to chose from and if one couldn’t find a club that they might want to participate they likely have lived a boring life. I myself found at least seven or eight that were of interest including ham radio, dance band to play in, antique car club, softball team to name but a few. There were recreation facilities spread throughout with workout facilities, swimming pools, arts and crafts to participate in, and ongoing games such as bridge, euchre, and chess that one could participate in at anytime. There were golf courses ranging from executive to championship throughout the area. The villages is divided into smaller towns all of which have their own shopping and entertainment areas. Each area has a town square that has entertainment every evening which includes dancing, shows, flea markets, car shows and other events for the residents. We are talking sensory overload.
Pam and I were there only a few days and were unable to see everything. We talked to a number of people / nobody that had anything negative regarding their choice to reside in the villages. Most of the people he talked to had sold their homes and now resigned full-time there. I’m not too sure that I would want to live there full time but having said that I think one would want to visit several times possibly staying a month before one committed to a full time villages lifestyle.
Hey! What can I say/ I was surprised and impressed. Likely not for everyone but definitely with the exploration.