If you watched FOX news on television last Saturday morning, you would have seen that Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential running mate of Mitt Romney was in The Villages. He even brought along his 78 year-old mother. The news announcers repeatedly said that The Villages is "the largest retirement community in the world." So, while I pedaled my bicycle around our neighborhood this week, I thought it would be nice to share with you what The Villages looks like from my perspective.
Let me tell you, it's growing! I can't remember when, if ever, I've seen so many houses being built at one time. And construction is non-stop. Here's a view of a nearby street. House after house being built.
This poor homeowner - where the car is in the driveway - has construction on both sides. There can be a lot of blowing concrete dust and sand to put up with.
It's really interesting to watch how quickly houses are built. That small garage on the right is for a golf cart. We don't have a golf cart garage because we have only one car and our golf cart.
Every day, rolling cantinas go to worksites selling food to construction workers. This one's a pick-up truck, but I've seen specially outfitted golf cart cantinas too.
I really admire the beautiful doors they choose for these houses.
Whenever you see a wall, as the one on the right, you know the homes within it are courtyard villas. It's interesting to see that first the walls are built, the streets are paved, given street names and signage - including speed limit signs! - the entrance is landscaped, and then home construction begins.
Here's another area of villas under construction.
Courtyard villas always have garages on the front with back yards that are entirely enclosed with walls.
The Villages even has it's own insulation printed with the slogan "Another dream comes true in The Villages. What's in your dream home?"
It's quite a sight to see so many men (and I've seen one woman too) working on a house at the same time.
See that patch on the street in front of the empty lot? Rumor has it that this is where a sink hole occurred during Tropical Storm Debby, in June. The lot shows no signs of being developed.
Since it's not permitted to put signs in yards (not even political signs or garage sale signs) it's fairly common to read words on the window of a sold home. "Sold. Welcome Ted and Linda." Sometimes you'll see a heart with the new owner's first names. Or "Another dream comes true" which also means the house has sold.
Often, one of the first things a new homeowner will do is re-landscape.
That pile is pine straw, used for mulch. Pine straw is used in all the landscaping for spec homes, but homeowners sometimes replace it with rock.
This is landscaping I admire whenever I pass by. I especially like that the homeowners had their driveway covered with brick pavers and expanded their entrance to make a sort of patio too.
This house, on a corner, had an extensive amount of landscaping done.
The house next door did the same, so it's pretty impressive.
Homes with swimming pools nearly always cover them with a bird cage and surround the area with privacy landscaping.
I like the stone retaining wall and that very pretty cluster of palms.
This is new landscaping since the palm trees are still propped up. I still don't know the names of these varieties of palms, but I sure like them!
Another newly landscaped home with a couple different palm tree varieties.
Check out the driveway too. It's very popular to have one's driveway stained with a design.
When palm trees are first planted, they're left tied up like this for a few days. I think it's for ease in watering.
I also like to check out the backs of houses. Since privacy is a concern for some homeowners, they install hedges or other plantings near their lanais. It's not permitted to construct fences. The house on the left is landscaped; the house on the right is not.
This homeowner has the right idea!
On a quiet cul de sac I came across this lovely outdoor area. That's a detached bird cage.
I added this photo to remind you that in The Villages, lots and lots of people get around on golf carts.
The house on the right was landscaped a few weeks ago. Now the neighbor to the left is doing the same.
Places I frequent are: our neighborhood rec center - Captiva...
... where there's a billards room, several large meeting rooms and a kitchen. Outdoors are a community pool (children permitted) tennis, pickleball, shuffleboard, bocce ball and corn hole courts.
At Sanibel there's an adults-only swimming pool, and our postal station where we drop off and pick up our mail. We can play shuffleboard there too.
By the time I returned home from this bike ride, as you may have noticed from the skies, rain was imminent. It has rained here daily - every afternoon - for more than two weeks now. Most recently, weather reports are about Tropical Storm Isaac that will likely become Hurricane Isaac by the time it reaches Florida next Monday... just in time for the Republican National Convention in downtown Tampa. I expect that means lots more rain for us. It's to be expected when you live in a tropical area. No worries. It's a small sacrifice for living in paradise! Linda