As Sharon and I are about to enter our third year of full-timing in our motorhome we often talk about what we would like to do at the end of the road. Now, don’t get any ideas as we are still having a wonderful time traveling all over our beautiful country! However one of the main reasons we began RV travel was to search for the next “retirement spot” suited to our lifestyle.
When we landed in Florida our first year, we quickly fell in love with the state, especially the southern coastal areas. Now that we are visiting in and around Bonita Springs Florida for the second time in the last two years we decided to go check out one of the local retirement communities, Del Webb. It is located in its own town of Ave Maria but our GPS recognized it as existing in the town of Immokalee, Florida.
This short 30 minute drive from either Bonita Springs or Naples enters into a community in the middle of what was once farmland. Del Webb has communities all over the USA and the one we visited here is still in early development as there were many new homes under construction. We were hoping to be able to tour one of the smaller homes to see if we like their size. Given that the past 3 years has had us living in 400 square feet in the RV, we have come to the conclusion that 1200 square feet or less should be more than adequate for our post RV life.
We did look into a few larger homes but had no opportunity to tour and get a feel for what the smaller ones would be like. We drove around the neighborhood streets noticing how clean and beautifully manicured they were as they should be since the HOA fees are rather high. There are also additional annual fees as well as hefty upfront charges when buying here. There was a golf course on the property with at least one alligator lounging on the shore of the adjacent waterway. The neighborhood also had a massive and impressive "Oasis" club with a huge pool, hot tub, party areas, craft rooms, full gym, etc. It also looked brand new. All throughout the neighborhood and to the town center were huge, wide walk/bike paths. We saw several couples biking on this sunny day.
We next drove over to the Ave Maria town center built around a beautiful, unique and large Catholic Church. Across the street is Ave Maria University, a private Catholic University in its 10th year accommodating 1200 students. We noticed that although small, the university also had very nice sports facilities. There were quaint little shops in the town center but also lots and lots of vacancies as this project began just before the housing bubble burst. As we walked all around the center we saw a mixture of younger and older people enjoying the outdoor seating. I must admit that most everyone we saw seemed to be smiling and really enjoying their day, There were even isolated wetland areas for seeing wildlife. We even spotted a couple of glossy Ibis… Perhaps a community such as this could be in our future…. who knows???