Moving northward we were heading toward the Villages, a well known retirement community in north central Florida. We will be there for three nights and we plan to visit two RV’ing couples we met on the road who now have homes in the Villages. One lives there fulltime while the other couple are snowbirds from Illinois.
We pulled into Three Flags RV Resort in Wildwood Florida near The Villages and set up camp. We walked over to visit our friend Jill (who had penned a blog called Two Tools and a Dream when she was RV’ing) and her new partner Roy. They had just purchased a Class B which they were trying out for the first time at Three Flags in a site near us. They invited us over to their home the next day to spend the night to give us the “insiders” view of The Villages. Awesome!
For those that don’t know The Villages is a master-planned age-restricted community which currently spans nearly 25 miles with over 115,000 people living there. The Villages is one of the most well-known and fastest-growing retirement communities. The Villages offers numerous forms of recreation with the majority of the costs paid via the monthly amenities fee of around $175.00.
The Villages operates 50 golf courses with the majority (38) of them being 9-hole courses only. They also have numerous recreation centers offering pools along with bocce, horseshoe, and shuffleboard courts, billiards, meeting rooms tennis and pickleball courts as well as theatrical and musical productions. The Villages operates 11 parks, dog parks, and fitness trails. It also offers over 2700 social clubs for residents of the area. They even have a softball complex and a Polo field.
The Villages brings in big name entertainment such as Willie Nelson and the Beach Boys. They even have nightly bands playing in each of their three town squares seven nights a week, 365 days a year. This place actually has its own TV station, newspaper, radio station and Town Centers.
Jill and Roy showed us all around taking us on a golf cart tour as well. Amazingly there are tunnels for the golf carts to go under busy roadways. That evening Jill and Roy treated us to dinner and then we checked out the rock and roll band playing in the town square where there was a big crowd enjoying dancing and libations. How great it was to experience the Villages with Jill and Roy as our guides.
Our last day we used the passes Jill got for us to take our own self guided tour. First we took a stroll at the Sharon Rose Wiechens Preserve in The Villages. This is a nice short boardwalk hike which offers a nice relaxing stroll with lots of bird activity in and along the water. Afterward we stopped in for a short visit to say hi to our friends the Parhams who just moved into The Villages this winter. Sadly Steve was out of town but we still had a great chat with Diane who gave us a tour of her new 3 bedroom villa with a glassed-in lanai. She said she and Steve were loving it there.
Our last evening we checked out another square for the nightly entertainment and happy hour. Sharon could easily see herself living in this place and while I admit it is pretty incredible it still isn’t for me. Lacking mountains and/or a beach nearby are pretty much deal breakers to me, but who knows what our future will be on the road of retirement…
NOTE: We are at Eastbank Corp of Engineer park on the Georgia/Florida border and moving west to Robertsdale Alabama for one or two nights depending upon the weather…