Friday, February 7, 2014

A Trip Not Soon to be Forgotten

This past October, Hubby and I planned a trip to The Villages, Florida to be taken on Jan. 30th.  We had talked of going to Florida during the month of January for years and decided this would be the year that we did just that.  Hubby's sister and BIL decided they would meet us there.  We would be traveling from NE Louisiana and they would be coming from the Atlanta area.  We began anticipating this trip and once the holidays were over, we could hardly wait.
We decided that we would leave on Tuesday the 28th and just mozy along and arrive by noon on Thursday, the day our reservation began.  A week prior to our leaving we starting looking at the weather and it looked rather concerning but we were quite certain that it would not be that big of a deal and we were leaving in plenty of time anyway. ~big laugh~
 We pulled out of our driveway around 10:30 and headed towards Jackson, MS.  All was just perfect until then.  In Jackson everything changed.  What you see in the above photos is what we dealt with for the remainder of the trip.  We made it to Hattiesburg, MS around 6:00 that evening and that would normally be about a 4 hour trip for us.  We drove on solid ice all the way there and thankfully Tommy is a patience, patience man and safety is #1 with him.  I won't bore you with all the details of the rest of our hairy trip there but we did NOT arrive at our villa until exactly midnight on the 30th.  One whole day of our time there gone!!!  What should have been about a 13 hour trip turned into about a 27 hour trip.
Our Villa
But, once we arrived, we tried to forget what we had been through and get into a "Florida state of mind" and enjoy ourselves.
First thing we did was check into extending our stay for an extra day to make up for the day we missed and amazingly, they were able to do that.  This is the busiest season for The Villages and we were barely able to get reservations back in Oct.  
The above photo is the sales office of The Villages and one of the most beautiful buildings we have ever been in.  It is styled after The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.  There are 3 town squares in The Villages and we stayed in  Lake Sumter Landing .
The Villages is a golf cart city. We had never seen so many golf carts in our lives and, as you can see, the sky's the limit as to their design.  Many folks only use golf carts!

The Villages, to us, was like entering a bubble, completely isolated from the outside world.  It covers around 58 square miles and there are around 110,000 folks, all 55 years old and older, living there.  Absolutely anything and everything you could ever need, want or desire is there.
 Each and every evening at 7:00 there is entertainment and dancing in each of the town squares.  We went a couple of evenings and it was amazing to watch some of those folks dance and it is obviously enjoyed by many of the residents there.
There are endless things to do, from physical activities to handcrafts.  There are 18 golf courses!!  So, no one should have any reason to be bored. There is fabulous shopping, and restaurants of every description.  There are Villas, Patio Homes, Designer Homes and Premier Homes.  Prices start at around $225,000 and go up to well over a million dollars.
We were guests at The Villages and were assigned a rep that gave us the "grand tour" and while she was a real estate agent with The Villages, she was never pushy.  She was so informative and we thoroughly enjoyed our time with her.  We were just in awe of the entire place!
A license plate on one of the golf carts ~so funny~
We had a most enjoyable time on our visit there and I would give it high recommendations as a place to visit for sure.  But, as to being a permanent resident there, well, it's not for us.  I would tire of only being with "older" adults.  I enjoy all ages of folks and interacting with them.  But, it's different strokes for different folks and the folks there certainly were a happy bunch.
I am happy to report that our return trip was uneventful and we drove straight home in about 13 hours.  A hard day of travel but we were ready to get home.  It's been cloudy and very cold since we got home and after enjoying the Florida weather, we are more than ready for Spring!!!!
Lea
Lea

Hi there! My name is Lea. I've been wife to the best Hubby for 44 years....Mom to a son and daughter....CiCi to 4 precious Grans....lover of family and friends....enjoy laughter and a good time....shopper....picture taking maniac....maker of delicious fudge....organizational enthusiast....memory maker....Southern Belle...and most importantly.....a Child of the King! Welcome to my little corner!

12 comments:

  1. Good morning! Welcome back! There is no place like home that's for sure! I did follow some of the harrowing stories on your drive out on Facebook. I imagine you were never so glad to get someplace in your life...goodness! But looks like a wonderful time once you were finally there. I think I might be like you...a wonderful place to visit, but don't know if it is somewhere I could live. And again like you, I enjoy all ages. Well, enjoy your week-end!

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  2. While living in a self-contained community does have some appeal, I'm like you, I just don't think I could live there permanently. But as I've mentioned before, my dad has friends who live there and love it. My parents wintered there a couple of winters when my mom was still living, and we visited.

    Glad you made it there safely and enjoyed your visit.

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  3. One of my friend's inlaws live there. Hubs and I are with you though, we know we do not want a 55 and up only community. I think young families around help keep you young : ) Glad you made it there safely!

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  4. Of course who could have ever predicated that kind of weather in that area! Sorry you had to drive through that. That being said, OMG it looks like an amazing place. I definitely need to check it out the next time I'm in Florida. Glad you had such a wonderful time.

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  5. What a drive you must have had, the south really had a bad time with that storm. We have friends who live there, he was a golfer, but I'm like you I want to be surrounded by folks of all ages. It does sound like a nice place to vacation though. Glad you made it back safe and sound.

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  6. Leah, Thanks so much for this blog post! We drove right past The Villages on the Interstate (twice!) a few weeks ago while we were in Florida, so I was very interested in what you would have to say. I also was very curious how you fared with that awful weather. Very good post!

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  7. WOW! The trip to Florida sounds brutal, but glad you made it...eventually. And glad you had a nice time! A vacation sounds wonderful!!!

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  8. I'm glad you got home safely. It looks very beautiful at The Villages. However, I'm with you about living permanently in a place with all retirees. For a short time, Greg and I lived in Sun City and didn't like it one bit. Too many older people in one place! I love older people but I like a mix of young and old. I think it keeps you young at heart. And I do think many of the younger ones need some of us older people. :)

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

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  9. We live about 30 minutes away from The Villages and have lived here all my life. We watched it go up from nothing and are completely in AWE of the place. We sometimes go for dinner there because they have chain restaurants we don't have!! I think it is a fun place to walk through but I would not want to live there.

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  10. It sounds like the trip, minus the getting there, was everything you had hoped for. I am so glad you were able to spend this time with family and especially away from some of this cold weather.

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  11. Oh my what fun and beauty. It took a bit to get there but the time there looked wonderful. I agree I don't think it would be for me - but how wonderful for them to treat you so lovely! ♥

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  12. Sounds like maybe you could've gotten there faster on foot!

    Glad you had a great time once you finally arrived. A blessed getaway from the routine. The golf carts are a hoot, and I am with you on not wanting to live in a place that's only for "older" folks.

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So glad you stopped by and hope you enjoyed your visit. I love your comments and read each and every one of them and I always try to reply to them. Blessings to you this day!