Lessons Learned From My Stay At The Villages Florida

Lake Sumter Landing

Lessons Learned From My Visit To The Villages Florida

I made a mistake of calling The Villages in Florida a small town, according to one of my social media friends.  He said “Obviously you have not been there!”  Well I took this under advisement and just returned from a weeks stay at Lake Sumter Landing in the heart of The Villages. He was right, The Villages is a large place with 110,000 residents and 60,000 golf carts, three town squares, probably 15+ recreational centers and much more.

I had been hearing for years how much residents loved living in The Villages and I have to agree they have an attractive and somewhat unique idea. So returning from my trip I began thinking of what makes The Villages so unique. What ideas could be learned so other 55+ communities and small towns could benefit from what The Villages is doing.

Here are two ideas that struck me as unique that The Villages is doing and that might be a good idea in other places too.

1. They simply call their senior centers “recreation centers“. I like that. Everyone knows many people don’t like the name “senior” so senior centers started called themselves “adult centers” and other such names.  They are really only recreation centers.  Why not call them 55+ Recreational Centers or whatever minimum age fits.

2. The Villages are open to anyone to visit, eat, shop and use. Their three town squares have all kinds of events like the Arts and Crafts show and the Classic Car show when I visited. Families and persons of all ages were enjoying the town squares. Now the “villages” as they call the residential communities do have a security gate but the rest of The Villages is wide open. I like that.

Lake Sumter Landing Arts and Crafts
Lake Sumter Landing Arts and Crafts

I think towns could benefit from idea 1 above and just call their senior center “55+ Recreation Center”. I also think 55+ communities and small towns could benefit from more of a collaboration in joining the 55+ Community or even several 55+ Communities around a rejuvenated town square with shopping, activities, entertainment, outdoor spaces and the like. It would benefit the town and the community, which really are one and the same.

I still think, even after my visit, The Villages have a small town feeling.

Even though in total they are quite large, the three town squares certainly gave me the feeling of a small town. People greeted, acknowledged and spoke with others like they do in a small town.  Like a small town, people were relaxed and not in a big rush. The recreation centers are close by to each residential community so you are likely to meet your neighbors there. Yes, I think I still consider The Villages a small town.

Robert and Mary Ann Fowler

 

Lake Sumter Landing
Lake Sumter Landing

The Villages in Florida is a Small Town Retirement Mecca

P1000626The Villages in Florida is a great place to retire to. Many retirees have chosen The Villages to spend their lives living a fun and interesting life surrounded by their peers. Most people look forward to retirement and this small town provides the perfect place for them to retire to. It was created specifically for senior citizens to have a place where they can come together and enjoy each other’s company. In fact, there are so many people living here that are over the age of 55 that this community is one of the world’s biggest retirement communities.

Seniors who want to visit this community before deciding whether or not to make it their home can come for a vacation and stay in a fully equipped cabana. The Creekside Cabanas can be found in Lake Sumter Landing. Those who come and stay in one of the community’s cabanas will receive a golf car that they can use for the duration of their stay. Some of the recreational activities offered include tennis and golf courts, pools and fitness & recreation centers. The signature stores found in this community offer discounts and free movie tickets to visitors. These are all privileges that the community’s residents are entitled to every day.

Visitors can board a boat for a very relaxing ride that departs from Lake Sumter Landing. They can also take a tour of the town by hopping aboard the community’s trolley. There are countless exciting activities offered to residents on a regular basis such as the community’s three town squares; Brownwood Paddock, Spanish Springs Town and the Lake Sumter Landing Market Square.

Brownwood Paddock Square is designed to look like a typical cattle town in Florida. Residents and visitors can see a movie at the Barnstorm Theatre, which shows the newest Hollywood releases. It is also the home of Brownwood Paddock Square’s log cabin, where live performances take place every single night. The Spanish Springs Town Square has a southwest feel to it, which can be seen in the town square’s shops and fountains. Some of attractions found in Spanish Springs include the Church on the Square, the Rialto Theatre and Cruise-In, which is a monthly classic car show. There are many restaurants to choose from that offer both indoor and outdoor seating. Live entertainment takes place every night at the Spanish Springs Town Square as well. Lake Sumter Landing resembles an intimate seaside village. The landing’s lighthouse is a Spanish Springs landmark. Lake Sumter Landing is also where the Old Mill Playhouse movie theatre is located.

In addition to all the fun aspects of these small towns, potential residents should know that their physical, mental and spiritual health would be taken care of while living here. There are many health care and fitness facilities on site, as well as The Villages Regional Hospital, a VA outpatient clinic and the Moffitt Cancer Center. The community has a hospital dedicated to long term acute care.

The Spanish Springs Town Square holds the MVP Sports Club, which offers personal training, spas services and exercise/fitness classes. The various fitness centers found throughout the community provide residents with a place to work out with weight training machines or treadmills.

Those residents who wish to attend church while living in the community have many choices at their disposal. Some of the churches that can be found here are the Hope Lutheran Church, Temple Shalom the Chapel of Christian Faith, St. Timothy’s Catholic Church, Open Bible Lutheran Church, and the St. George Episcopal Church.

Residents who wish to keep their minds sharp can always take classes at the community’s Lifelong Learning College. Classes are offered all year long in a variety of different subjects.

Transportation throughout the community is made easy because every resident has their own golf car, which they can easily drive to any of the attractions found in this diverse community.