In the 1970s an inspired individual from Michigan by the name of Schwartz had a dream to establish a self-sustaining community where folks would come to retire and enjoy a millionaire’s lifestyle on a blue-collar budget. He wanted it to have everything a person would need or want during their retirement years at a price the average person could afford.
Over the last three decades he and his family have transformed a former manufactured home/trailer park consisting of a few hundred homes with an average price of $15,000 – $25,000, into a complex of 40,000 homes priced anywhere between $95,000 to over $2 Million. He named this Paradise on Earth, The Villages.
The lifestyle and amenities of The Villages entices residents, literally, from all over the world. Many of our neighbors come from Britain and Canada every year to stay their allotted 6 months with us before going home again.
When I moved to The Villages in 2003, the population was approximately 35,000 souls. As of June 2012, it was 85,000, but with home sales of 200+ per month it has increased substantially. The developers of this slice of heaven on earth anticipate an additional 12,000 homes being built in the next 5 years, culminating in a population of over 100,000+.
To take care of all these wonderful people coming to join us here the developers constantly seek to bring in more shopping outlets to outfit us; more restaurants to feed us; and additional world class health facilities to help keep us going for many years into the future.
I have heard some residents have left because there wasn’t enough to do here. Obviously, while they were here, they never left their house or read the recreational guide to discover our 40+ recreation centers, 4 fitness centers, 74 tennis courts, 100 pickle-ball courts, 50+ swimming pools, 115 bocce courts, 85+ horseshoe pits, shuffleboard courts, 2 eight-screen theaters, and lawn bowling facilities.
For those artistically talented there are many organizations on our campus with which to share your talents alongside former professional musicians and actors, or those who’ve always wanted to but never got around to it till they moved here. And then there is the dancing on our Town Squares.
Of course, if that’s not enough, a resident may choose from 12 fishing lakes; 9 softball fields that accommodate over 500 teams and 10,000 games per year; our own Polo Field with international matches; and over 1,500 various clubs anyone may join. The clubs consist of various card-game clubs; individual state clubs; clubs for enthusiasts of fishing, canoeing, ethnic dancing, biking, college alumnus, etc., etc..
And then there is the golf! You know, that activity that attracts the largest percentage of our residents. We have close to 500 total holes of golf, spread over 29 Executive 9-hole courses (which residents may play free for life), 8 twenty-seven hole Championship Courses, and 2 eighteen hole Championship Courses. And more are being built even as we speak.
In 2009 alone, over 67,000 rounds were played on our Championship Courses, and over 58,000 rounds on our Executive courses. All courses, collectively, average over 9,000 tee times each day.
We who live here are confident in knowing that if we should have a medical emergency we also have 5 Fire-Rescue Stations among on campus as well, with an average response time of 3 minutes, 56 seconds per call. That’s fantastic.
We are proud of the fact that anywhere we want to travel within The Villages we may do so in our Golf Carts of every shape, size and design. Currently there are over 40,000 Golf Carts traversing on 98+ miles of trails throughout the confines of The Villages.
It’s also notable that this retirement complex has its own television station, radio station, award-winning daily newspaper, 223-bed hospital, and, Sheriffs’ patrolmen from three different counties keep us safe, patrolling by cars, motorcycles, bicycles and golf carts.
Toss all that into a bushel basket together with an average high temperature in January of 70 degrees, and an average low of 48 degrees, and you truly have the absolute best place to live in these United States… especially with our older than normal bones, joints and thin blood. In my 10 years in The Villages I can only remember one bad winter and it only lasted 2 or 3 weeks.
So, if any reader out there is contemplating retirement and you are over 50 years of age check out some of the links I’ve provided in this article and make Florida’s Friendliest Hometown your hometown for the fall and winter years of your life. My words do not do justice to the reality of The Villages. It’s one of those ‘You’ve got to see it to believe it’ kind of places. Make it happen.
BE SURE TO CHECK ALL THE LINKS