The Villages

Adjacent to Recreation Plantation is The Villages, Florida. I just don’t know an easy way to explain it so here is my long version. . . .

The Villages started in the 1970s when  Harold Schwartz,  from Michigan bought the land and developed  it into a mobile home park called Orange Blossom Gardens.   He got his sons to help him and suddenly Orange Blossom Gardens was selling 500 homes a year.  They expanded the development to add more golf courses, swimming pools and amenities and renamed it The Villages. ’’When I got here in the ’80s there was 800 people and now there are 140,000 so we did something right.”   There are 81 different communities in The Villages and it’s still growing. Each community is called a village, and their number is constantly growing.  Each village is either clustered around one of 50 separate golf courses or in close proximity.   The average price for a home in the Villages in 2022 is $380,200 according to Realtor.com, well above the national average, and it keeps on rising.

One of the pluses of living in The Villages for many is that everything is easily accessible by golf cars. And they are the vehicle of choice. With over 100 miles of golf car paths including special bridges and tunnels that enable drivers to drive safely over busy main roads, this is a good thing! They are driven to the town squares, grocery stores, restaurants, and just about anywhere else,  you can’t help but see them everywhere you go in these parts.   People who live here say  “ why have a car, when we never need to leave”?  Even those who don’t play golf own golf say that.   Some of them are very unique ,  residents fix them  up to look like miniature Rolls Royces, Jeeps, fire engines, boats or whatever strikes the owner’s fancy.

The Villages has more holes of golf than any other community/facility in the world with currently 693 holes. (Mission Hills in China is second with 216 holes).   Do you think they like to golf here?  Hence all the golf cars. 

They take golf carts seriously in these parts
One of the many tunnels for golf cart use only.

There are three town squares in The Villages;  Spanish Springs Town Square, Brownwood Paddock Square and Lake Sumter Landing Market Square. Each square has free live nightly entertainment  with music and dancing from 5-9pm along with festivals and parades throughout the year.    Aside from that, these areas are surrounded by cafes, shops, and almost all kinds of eateries. All have a movie theatre, banks, doctor’s offices and financial institutes.  And of course a golf course is right there too!    These squares are the hubs of community evening activity.

Within the villages there are 13 regional recreation centers , with 31 village recreation centers  and 59 neighborhood recreation areas.  The 13 regional recreations center complex  are huge, they consist of multiple meeting rooms, exercise rooms, arts & crafts room, theater, pool and outdoor facilities such as bocce, pickleball, tennis,  shuffle board, they even have corn hole at some of them

The Village recreation centers may consist of meeting rooms, card room, billiards hall, kitchen, pool and outdoor facilities. And The Neighborhood recreation area consists  of an attached postal facility, pool, bocce court, shuffleboard court and usually a horseshoe pit.  All for the residents to use.

February 3rd was our first real visit to The Villages our good friends Bill & Barb. They were our tour guides. We were so glad they showed us around all the major parts of The Villages.

They picked us up at Recreation Plantation in the morning, took us to their beautiful house in The Villages they recently purchased, then headed out to explore. They had two golf carts so Bill drove Barb and Dave drove me to lunch at the Chicken Salad Chick for lunch so we can experience driving a cart in the streets.

It was fun driving in the street with both cars and carts! We headed back to their house to turn in the carts and get Bill’s car. Now were off once more . . .

Yes The Villages as a Polo Club and a very impressive center and facilities. I don’t know a lot about polo, other than your on a horse with a polo stick attempting  to score  by putting the  ball ball into the opposition’s goal. It was off season so the field was closed, to bad I would have lived to have seen a polo match after being here.

Barb and Bill took us to two of the thirteen regional recreations center complex’s, the 1st one was

All the regional recreation centers have a theme, this one is a tribute to the veterans. Lots of historic  memorabilia it was definitely very impressive.

The sinks were even made of gold,😂 In one of the any rooms an drumming exercise class was going on.

Then we drove out to see one of the 3 squares where the nightly entertainment takes place.

Brownwood was built to look like an early 19th century Florida cattle town.

We think they did a good job!

Then we drove to Edna’s on the Green

Just steps from Marsh View Pitch & Putt and Hogeye Pathway sits Edna’s On The Green , where we went to next.   You can bring your own lunch or dinner or get it from one of the food trucks here.  It seems like a great place to sit back and relax under the shade of majestic oak trees and listen to the music going on daily.

The 2nd Recreation Center we went to was Colony Cottage it was definitely unique, Barb described it as a bag of skittles exploding. We both thought it looked like a doll house would be furnished with all the pastels. We all agreed we wouldn’t want the job of dusting this center.

On the road again to the 2nd square Lake Sumter Landing. This square represents an old sea side town. Dave & I were here before but it was great to experience it with Bill & Barb. It was also our first time we experienced one of the many nightly bands that plays in the villages squares 365 days a year from 5-9 pm., weather permitting.

The band that played that night was Latin Ambition

We all enjoyed the band!

At some, point We got a pizza and headed back to Bill & Barb’s and left again to go to the final square.

Inside the square is Spanish Springs Bowling Lanes. The bowling alley and restaurant is really vast and decorated very appropriately. I never bowled at anywhere that was this nice!

The band that was playing that night

Many Thanks to Bill & Barb for showing us around The Villages. We had an incredible time! They showed us and told us about many things to do and see in the area. Many of which we have since been to.

Barb & Bill’s beautiful new home In The Villages

Dave in their kitchen

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