Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Riding on the Cart Paths in The Villages

We had heard of the extensive golf cart road system that was in The Villages and we were eager to check them out. Here, Orinda is ready to go for a ride after getting some coffee at the nearby McDonald's, where it is not uncommon at all to see golf carts go through the drive through.

 The cart paths are really amazing and cover literally hundreds of miles. As a result, even thought there are over 50,000 carts in the Villages, the traffic on the paths is not bad at all. Of course, The Villages covers over 30 square miles, so these carts are spread out over quite a bit of territory. This is a typical stretch and is well over two cart widths wide, so it is easy to travel on them.

 We enjoy tooling around and enjoying the scenery, such as this view of one of the Executive golf courses. Everything is always neat, clean and beautiful. The speed limit for golf carts is 19.9 mph, which is pretty fast for a golf cart.

 Here is our "self portrait" in shadow form as we travel by some of the many flowers that line the paths. These flowers are changed several times a year and always look great. Adds a great touch to our travels in the golf cart.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Bonifay Golf Club in the Villages - and the Village of Fernandina

The Villages is home to many, many golf courses, which really interested Rick and sure enough, less than a 5 minute golf cart ride from our new house is the Bonifay Country Club. As a resident, we are automatically members in all the the country clubs (I think there are now 12 total) in The Villages, with 3 or four in our direct area. This is one of our favorites and is a beautiful spot to visit. The club consists of a nice (but casual restaurant on the right side and then a very complete golf pro shop on the left. 

 One thing that has impressed us the first time we visited The Villages and continues to impress us after moving here, is the cleanliness and beauty of the entire area. This simple entry sign is typical with the beautiful flowers surrounding it and the manicured lawn area. We have learned this is not unusual -- but is the norm for the area with the flowers being replaced several times a year.

 This is Rick's favorite part of Bonifay and that is the huge, covered porch area in the rear. Facing the golf course, this is a wonderful place to have a couple "adult beverages" and re-hash the golf round. Rick is now playing several times a week (we rotate between all the country clubs) with a couple groups of guys and having a great time. Fortunately, greens fees are quite reasonably priced for residents and their guests. Of course, there are also over 50 "executive" courses that are available at no charge to residents and are quite challenging.

Rick especially likes the great practice facilities at each club. Here is a typical putting green which is very large. While you can't really see it, directly behind this green is another, even larger green dedicated to chipping and short shots. While there seems to be no good excuse with all these practice opportunities, Rick still has challenges with putting, but is improving! He often hops in the golf cart, runs up to the club and practices for a short time. 

 Finally, near the club is the entrance to our "village" of Fernandina. Again, everything is beautifully landscaped and behind the sign is one of the swimming pools in our direct area. This one if for adult residents only -- there are other pools, just as nice for families, and special excise pools for swimming laps and the like.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

We're Back -- after some big changes!

Our last post was almost one year ago and to say the last year was full of changes would be a great understatement. We had just settled into our winter RV park in Umatilla as noted in our last post when our parents, who live close by and are the reason we spend the winter in Central Florida, ran into some serious health concerns. After a couple months of treatment and rehabilitation, it was clear that they would need to move into a residence offering more support than their current home. As a result, Rick and Orinda made the decision to come off the road and purchase a house near their new independent living facility which was located in the amazing retirement destination called The Villages in central Florida. I guess that during all the changes, the blog got lost in the shuffle (and no, contrary to the comments of a couple readers, we did not enter the Witness Protection Program - lol)

We ended up selling the motorhome (and came out OK financially since we had negotiated diligently when we bought it) and purchasing this home in The Villages:

Wow -- the room! Rick needed a GPS transponder to find out where he was for the first few days as the 2,000 sq. ft. home was about 5 times the size of the coach. Since we had virtually no furniture, our first order of business was to furnish the house, which was a lot of fun. We were very glad we had not tried to keep all the old furnishings from our South Dakota home -- they would really have been out of place in our new home. 

Moving to The Villages was a big change for us, but an exciting one!  One of our first purchases was a golf cart since everyone seems to get around the entire community by cart. This place is huge - about 30 square miles of area. We wondered if it would be a problem with that many "older folks" as you need to be over 55 years old to live here, but it has turned out great -- everyone is very friendly and happy to be here. 

There are many, many places to explore, including beautiful Lake Sumter seen here in the sunset. We learned that there are three central "town centers" offering theaters, shopping, and free entertainment -- every night. Rick and Orinda have enjoyed these which offer a fun, relaxed way to spend an evening. 

The other thing we have already learned about living here is that folks LOVE to come visit. We are an hour away from Disney and The Villages offers all kinds of things for the guests to do, including swimming, golf, shopping, etc. Oh, and grand kids and family are welcome (they don't have to be 55!). As a result, we have really enjoyed having company several times already!

Rick promises to get back to the blog and update our experiences in The Villages and with our new, much smaller, RV!