Bruce and I are experiencing two very different styles of Florida retirement. Last week we re-visited owning your own home in the Florida Keys. It is a style we have known quite well. Most people live in their own home or mobile home. This is changing, however, as more and more small, tight condos are being built. Originally the development was started for people who enjoy water sports – fishing and diving. Canals were dug to provide more water access for all the boats. Now many people live on a canal and never go out on the water. There are lots of shops and restaurants. There is also a mix of ages in the population. Because living on the water has such a huge appeal, prices for homes are very high in the Keys.
This week we are in The Villages about one hour north of Orlando. This is a huge community built by one family starting about 20 years ago (a guess) and built on old farmland. Everyone is of retirement age. There are now 25,000 single resident homes with more on the way. In addition to all these homes, there is every kind of service and recreational facility you could ever want. All of this is connected by roads and golf cart paths. Just about every person has a golf cart to get around the area. We are talking about thousands of carts. Everything is immaculately maintained. Prices are reasonable and affordable. Homes vary in size and price.
So yesterday we spent over two hours driving around the area on golf carts. Bruce and I were luckily following Tony or we would have been thoroughly lost. Today we may rent a pontoon boat on a nearly lake and tour the chain of lakes. On Sunday we are planning to go to an international polo match held at The Villages.
Yesterday we learned of a huge flea market held in a nearby town on Monday. This one has 4,000 vendors. There is both a retail and a wholesale section. It opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes at 3:00 p.m. Bruce loves flea markets so I am sure that’s where we will be. Luckily we are flying home so we can’t buy much.
Both the Keys and The Villages offer very different life styles than what we are used to on the Gunflint Trail. Bruce and I are still looking forward to returning to our own home on the Trail. Meanwhile it is great fun seeing how others live.