"" Writer's Wanderings: The Villages In Florida - Adult Disney World?

Monday, April 03, 2017

The Villages In Florida - Adult Disney World?

If you are a retiree and have been anywhere near Florida, you've heard of The Villages. It is a 55+ age restricted development that has exploded in population and it all began as a trailer park.

In the 1970s a business man from Michigan, Harold Schwartz bought land and established the Orange Blossom mobile home park. About ten years later he lured his son, H. Gary Morse, away from his Chicago advertising firm to come and join the venture. The two built a golf course and didn't charge the residents to use it. It began to attract more people to purchasing in the park.

By 1986 they were selling homes, building more golf courses, recreation centers and even a hospital. Since then the growth has been phenomenal. And why not? The over 60 population has grown immensely with the baby-boomers and a generation to follow that.

The population in April of 2016 was said to be 156,000 and has surely grown since then as new "villages" are breaking ground. Each section of the over-all development which is about 31.2 square miles has its own town center including a recreation center where there are planned activities all day long. Golf courses abound. For the monthly fee paid by residents, they can participate on the nine hole courses. The larger courses require an additional fee.

Line dancing, Pickleball, tennis, swimming, billiards, track and field, polo, arts and crafts, music, the list goes on and on. Residents share their talents and interests with each other so the activities are quite varied and there is literally something for anyone.

Shopping is close by and oh, did I mention that the best way around The Villages is by golf cart? Maybe this is where the Disney comparison comes in because there are trails and tunnels everywhere only for golf carts so it looks like one giant amusement ride. Golf carts are personalized and may look like a Rolls Royce or a Mercedes Benz in miniature.

Houses range from $150,000 to the millions of dollars. The Villages is located 20 miles south of Ocala and 45 miles northwest of Orlando--where the real Disney World is. The difference is that the activities are for seniors at The Villages. As a matter of fact, children are only allowed to visit for 30 days.

It is clean and relatively safe from crime although there have been some nasty rumors about black market viagra. But that's only rumor, right?

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