The Villages: The Shangri-La for Active Adults
The Villages in Ocala, Florida is nothing short of a Shangri-La for active adults. It’s a very friendly town to live in but unlike the exact meaning of Shangri-La, it’s definitely not isolated. This is a self-sustaining and charming town that promises, if not, delivers the best of retirement living.
A Friendly Hometown for Baby Boomers
As it is, The Villages is a paradise for anybody who drops by and sees the town. With its resort-like lifestyle, anybody would want to live in this happy, sunny town of Ocala, Florida. However, it is specially created, designed, and built for the baby boomers who are excitedly living the best part of their life. The current population of The Villages is about 125,000. Active adults make up more than half of its population. With the inevitable rise of the baby boomer population in the United stated, The Villages and its surrounding areas are all set to soar.
The population of the baby boomers is huge. According to the website of the United States Census Bureau, there are about 73 million baby boomers this year. Ten years from now, it will be a lot more than that. By then, all the baby boomers will reach the age of 65 and older. That’s going to be a lot of baby boomers looking out for the best retirement communities.
The Villages is one of the most popular choices, if not, the most popular one. Baby boomers can choose from the many serene communities and neighborhoods The Villages has to offer. Considered to be the world’s largest retirement area, The Villages stretch throughout three counties; Lake County, Marion County, and Sumter County. It covers about 20,000 acres of land. In spite of its huge coverage, residents can just hop into a golf cart to get to one community to another.
When it comes to recreational facilities, The Villages have it all. Championship golf courses, polo fields, swimming pools, country clubs, community centers, fitness centers, and fabulous town centers are just some of the many exciting facilities and places The Villages have to offer.
Level Up Your Game with World-Class Golf Instruction on Championship Courses
If you have been waiting to retire just so you could play all the golf that you want, then the waiting is over. You can now live and breathe golf all you want. Guess what? You get to enjoy the game for free for the rest of your life. This is the one perk that draws a lot of golf lovers to The Villages. Soon as you become a resident, you immediately have access to the large variety of courses The Villages have to offer. To be exact, The Villages boasts of 41 executive golf courses and 12 championship courses. There is also a miniature golf course.
Two of the most famous golf courses inside The Villages are located inside the Lopez Legacy Country Club and Palmer Legends Country Club. Both of which have been named after legendary golfers, Nancy Lopez and Arnold Palmer.
You can even learn how to play golf if you have been curious about it in the past. Inside The Villages are golf academies with world-class instruction. Thanks to the fun and relaxed learning atmosphere, some residents have found The Villages to be the best place to learn golf.
Enjoy The Fountain of Youth in The Spanish Springs Town Square
What’s a hometown without town centers that can add more exciting activities for the active adult? One of the most famous town centers of The Villages is the Spanish Springs Town Square. Go back in time and enjoy the picturesque Spanish setting of this town square.
The relaxing sounds and sights of the Spanish Springs are all endearing features of this town square. Legend has it that the flowing waters of the Spanish Springs in the town center are fountains of youth. Whether it is or not, the Spanish Springs Town Square is definitely the shangri-la for active adults.
Residents can shop, dine, watch movies, and enjoy some shows. There is something for everybody in the Spanish Springs Town Square.
Even opera lovers are treated to some awesome performances on the second floor of Katie Belle’s Restaurant. Homegrown talent is showcased in The Sharon Morse Performing Arts Center.
Enjoy the Beautiful Landscape of the Lake Sumter Landing Market Square
As mentioned previously, The Villages stretches out to three counties, one of which is the Lake Country. Most of the vast areas of The Villages is situated on Lake Sumter. Here, you find another one of their fabulous town squares called the Lake Sumter Landing Market Square.
The Lake Sumter Landing Market Square also offers a lot of shopping and dining options. Aside from those, residents can enjoy the scenic view of Lake Sumter. Boat rides are available for those who want to explore the area.
Back in Time in Brownwood Paddock Square
In spite of being the newest town square in The Villages, Brownwood Paddock Square takes you back in time when Florida was a cattle town.
Its unique barn-style look is reminiscent of the life of early Florida settlers. In spite of its nostalgic setting, Brownwood Paddock Square also offers a lot of exciting shopping and dining options. Residents are treated to live band performances in barn-style venues. There are movie theaters here as well.
What It’s Like Living in the Neighborhoods of The Villages?
There’s no doubt there just so much to do within The Villages. But you might wonder, what it’s actually like to live in the neighborhoods of The Villages.
Each of the neighborhoods in The Villages has its own recreational facility. However, residents can use any of the recreational facilities outside their neighborhood.
So, what’s it like living in the neighborhoods of The Villages? Well, it’s definitely going to be action-packed. You can start your day playing bocce, pickleball, or maybe even some tennis. If you’re not in the mood for some sports activities, you can check out the various social and learning activities. You are never going to run out of things to do, in or outside the neighborhoods of The Villages.
Aside from the recreational centers inside each neighborhood, there are also 17 Village Recreational Centers. So, in case the resident wants to have a change of view, he or she can just hop into a golf cart to drive off to the nearest Village Recreational Center.
There are about 80 outdoor pools in The Villages. Add to that 174 shuffleboard courts, 201 bocce ball courts, 9 softball fields, tennis courts, basketball courts, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, and bowling alleys. Pickleball is a favorite sport among active adults. The reason for this is probably because it resembles tennis but in a less strenuous manner. The court is smaller and the racquet is a lot lighter to swing. Players can approach the net without the fear of getting hit by the ball. With 202 pickleball courts in The Villages, residents can play this sport to their heart’s delight
While these are the typical recreational sports facilities in any premier adult community, The Villages offer them in abundance. There definitely won’t be any crowded facilities. Aside from the magnificent golf courses on The Villages, there are also equestrian facilities and polo fields. Since The Villages is located within 25 miles of Ocala, the horse capital of the world, it does make sense to have these facilities on site. However, it’s worth knowing that only The Villages offer such facilities on site. The active adults living in nearby communities would have to settle for the horse ranches outside their gates. Residents of The Villages also have access to state-of-the-art fitness centers. If those sports facilities aren’t enough, the residents can enjoy the serene setting of the fishing lakes. They can also stroll on the walking and biking trails.
For the active adults in The Villages, learning never stops. Residents can sign up for sewing, ceramic, arts, woodworking classes. For more formal learning, there is the Lifelong Learning College inside The Villages. There are also churches catering to various religions. The life in The Villages is devoid of boredom and worry.
All healthcare centers inside The Villages are top-notch. Residents need not worry about their healthcare since they have access to The Villages Regional Medical Center and other neighborhood healthcare centers as well.
The Homes in The Villages
When it comes to homes, there are a lot of choices in The Villages. With about 80,000 homes inside The Villages, homebuyers will have plenty of choices ranging from luxurious to cozy homes. There are also some villas to choose from. The old model home units from the 70s have been updated.
The designer homes are most popular in The Villages. They’re very spacious and come in various floor plans. The cottage ranch homes are spacious and perfect for active adults who love to have guests over.
The premier homes are the most luxurious abodes in the Villages, featuring spectacular designs and amenities. Other floor plans include patio and courtyard villas, which are perfect for seasonal and year-round living. Homes in The Villages are available on both resale and construction bases.
There’s just no way the homebuyer is going to run out of options to own or to build a dream home inside The Villages.
What Else Is There?
There’s still a lot more to say about The Villages.
- Hotels like Comfort Suits, The Waterfront Inn, and Brownwood Hotel & Spa are just some of them.
- There are banks and credit unions such as Well Fargo Bank, Suntrust, and Suncoast Credit Union; to mention a few.
Since The Villages is located within 25 miles of Ocala, the center part of Florida, getting to other major cities is not a problem at all. It just takes some easy driving to get to other Florida cities such as Orlando and Tampa.
Entertaining the grand-kids will never be a problem since it’s pretty easy to get to well-known destinations such as Disney World, Legoland, Kennedy Space Center, and SeaWorld. The white sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Coasts aren’t far as well.
There are also interesting places to visit just outside The Villages.
Just up the road about 25 miles is Ocala and its known for its many preserved parks and wildlife attractions,
- like the Dry Tortugas National Park,
- Busch Gardens,
- Sholom Park,
- Tuscawilla Park are just some of the exciting places to visit.
There are also museums such as the
- Salvadore Dali Museum
- and the Appleton Museum.
- NASCAR fans can visit the Daytona 500 International Speedway.
- These are just some of the many interesting places to see in the city of Ocala. Visiting family members will have a lot on their itinerary to do.
A Brief Background on The Villages
The Villages was once just a vision of Harold Schwartz, a Michigan-based real estate developer. He had conceptualized an active adult lifestyle full of endless possibilities. After teaming up with Al Tarrson, he had started to turn his vison into reality.
However, it was not easy for the tandem to do so. Like any success story, there were setbacks. The Villages started off as a mobile park in the late 70s. It didn’t turn out so well. The tandem broke up. Soon after, Schwartz brought in his son, H. Gary Morse. Soon as he got on board, things started to pick up slowly.
After studying various retirement communities, he had convinced his dad to add more facilities and commercial centers. His recommendation made it easy for the vision to turn into reality.
To this day, The Villages is still owned and operated by the Schwartz family. The next generation of kids, grandkids, and even great-grandkids are keeping the same vision alive.
The Villages town has become the largest active community in the U.S.
Not only are folks coming from the various states of North America, they’re also coming from the cold provinces of Canada.
With so many things to do in The Villages, who can blame the baby boomers for choosing to live here? It’s definitely every active adult’s shangri-la.