Boomers: What To Do While Visiting The Villages in Florida

Thousands of people visit The Villages in Florida each year, some staying with relatives, some visiting on the Lifestyle Preview Plan like we just did and many others renting a home in The Villages.

There is something to do everyday that every baby boomer will find fun. Here are some tips and places to visit during your stay.

1. Pick up a copy of The Villages Daily Sun newspaper, especially the Thursday edition with the Recreation News and schedule for the week.

Sumter Square The Villages
Sumter Square

2. Visit and walk around all three town squares,  Lake Sumter Landing which borders Lake Sumter and has a Florida seaport theme and is located centrally.  There is the original town square of Spanish Springs on the South side. The newest town square of Brownwood with a wild west theme is on the North side.  All three town squares are very walkable and have restaurants, shops and a movie theater. Also there is live entertainment in each square every night of the year!

town square
town square

3. Take a Guided Trolley Tour. Leaves from the sales office at Lake Sumter Landing every day, usually each hour but call ahead.

boat tour at Lake Sumter
boat tour at Lake Sumter

4. Take a Boat Ride of Lake Sumter. It’s only a few minutes but has an interesting and funny guide to narrate.

5. Schedule a Tee Time on the many golf courses in The Villages by visiting TheVillages.net or just call the Sales Office.

6. Enjoy a dinner at some of the wonderful restaurants in The Villages, many located close by the town squares or in the Professional Plazas and Shopping Centers. We loved the Athens NY Restaurant in Spanish Springs and in Lake Sumter Landing we loved Toojay’s Gourmet Deli, City Fire on the Square, and Thai Rudy which was our favorite.

7. Go for a walk in this very walkable place. You feel safe no matter where you go. The squares are a good place to start and all the side streets off the squares, The Villages Parks, along any of the roads and even in the communities. This will give you a good idea of life in The Villages too.

talking in The Villages
talking in The Villages

8. Talk with people, whether they are residents or visitors, everyone is friendly and glad to tell you about life in The Villages or how they are liking their visit.

9. Visit a weekend special event, held every weekend in the town squares and sometimes at the Polo Fields or other venues. A Classic Car Show, a Hobby Craft Show and a Horse Pull was happening when we visited.

10. Visit the Recreation Centers.  A fun and interesting one to visit is the Eisenhower Recreation Center which is decorated by military veterans and their families.

The Villages radio station
The Villages radio station

11. Listen to WVLG Radio, 640MA radio, which is The Villages own radio station.  Awesome music especially in the evenings.

12. Of course you can watch The Villages TV channel also for events and activities.

13, Go to happy hour. It starts at 11:30AM, no kidding. Two for one.

Pickellball in The Villages
Pickleball in The Villages

14. Play Outdoor Games. bocce, pickleball, tennis, shuffleboard, or numerous other outdoor games. You won’t have trouble finding people to play with.

15. Play Indoor Games,. cards of all sorts, board games, you name it, it’s available.

golf carts at The Villages
golf carts at The Villages

16. Drive a golf cart. Tour the 55+ communities in The Villages, visit your town square or just go to the grocery store. There are 60,000 golf carts in The Villages! A golf cart probably comes with your rental, if not, you can rent one.

We only stayed one week and enjoy a little of all the above. I can only imagine staying a month or two like many visitors do.  Or better yet, maybe move to The Villages and make it your home. That’s what a lot of Baby Boomer visitors come around to doing. Be forewarned!

The Villages Daily Sun Online

 

 

The Villages attire
The Villages attire

 

Boomers Turn Age 70

We baby boomers are turning age 70!! Can you believe it?

Boomers have never been this old. How do you act when you are 70?  I submit, just like we did in our 60’s.  No, not the 1960’s, even though I think that would be fun. Nothing has really changed by turning 70, right?

Well yes, a few things are changing. Not over night, but there are signs.

If you have delayed taking your social security, now finally you get to take your full social security check that has been growing.  We thought this day would never come.  Wow, that is going to be nice and well needed for many of us.

Also at age 70 1/2 we must take our RMD, required minimum distributions from our IRA’s.

So we start drawing our social security benefit and we must start taking annual distributions from our IRAs almost at the same time.  Well I think most of us at age 70 are ready for both and have no disagreements with those requirements.

Many boomers vowed never to retire or they couldn’t retire. Guess what, many were forced into retirement because of health reasons or maybe a job layoff.

If you retired in your 60s, then most likely you are now comfortable with your retirement. You have a comfortable routine and do the things you would like to do with your time. Many boomers that are retired, love spending time with their grand children. Some even move across the country to be closer to them.

Around this time (age 70) we or our spouses are dealing with some critical illnesses of some sort, be it diabetes, a stroke, heart attack, mobility problems etc. and we are most likely making room on our schedules for doctor visits.

Most likely a few of our friends have dementia problems starting or maybe advanced. We have two close friends in that boat.

A friend or two most likely has already lost their long time spouse to death.

More than a few of our high school or college school mates have died.

We spend some time on our medicare insurance don’t we.  Donut holes and open enrollments we know well.

Having been involved in recent years with a senior center and now living in a Del Webb Active Adult Community, I have a lot of friends that are in their 70s, thus are older than us older boomers.  Encouragingly lots of them are active, like to travel, have sharp minds and love to socialize.

We will be travelling through out our 70’s and dare I say 80’s. If we have the means, we don’t mind spending it on travel.

Racewalking
Racewalking

Some take up senior games and become senior athletes.

I have noticed now we don’t even mind being called a senior, even though we still don’t refer to ourselves with that title. We don’t mind the senior discounts, do we.

So another chapter in our lives is unfolding and for the most part we seem to be adjusting quite well.

So we have a lot to look forward to. Some of us are moving to active adult communities, or small towns or even to the city for retirement.

The future is not bleak as long as you have a positive attitude, your health and get out and participate in some activities with folks you like.

Even when you have some health problems, a can do positive attitude sure can go a long ways overcoming those obstacles.

They say at age 70 we only have 15 more years to live, on average. Let’s make the most of it.

Bucket List Travel


Bucket List Travel Can Improve Your Health, Broaden your Perspective, Even Lead You Into New Careers

If travel is something you long for, I encourage you to do it. Don’t let fears or worries stop you.

Study after study reveals that travel is good for us. It’s good for the body and good for the mind. It lowers stress, strengthens relationships and gives you memories for a lifetime.

Whether you like natural beauty (think rivers, mountains, beaches, waterfalls), cultural experiences (think museums, concert halls, art galleries), or historical sites (think battle grounds or presidential libraries), traveling to these places can enrich and enlarge your life in numerous ways.

Want to be amazed? Fascinated? Awed? Travel somewhere you’ve dreamed about but never actually been. Or, return to someplace wonderful you visited decades back and feel the wonder anew.

My husband, Al, and I began to travel in earnest after we were involved in a serious automobile accident in 2012. That wreck brought home to us how fragile life is. How it can be snatched away in a moment, in the blink of an eye. We decided to stop putting off our travel dreams.

Since then we’ve cruised through the Panama Canal, visited the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, ridden on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, cruised the Mediterranean, driven the Blue Ridge Parkway, and cruised the Mississippi River on an honest-to-goodness steam-powered paddle-wheeler.  Next spring, we’ll cruise the fjords of Norway.

We’ve been pleased to learn that travel is associated with lower rates of heart disease, reduced risk of depression, as well as increased brain development. Yes, our brains can develop even at our “seasoned” ages.

Activities such as touring a museum, finding your way through an unfamiliar town,  walking along the beach have positive mental, physical and social benefits.

Traveling develops new skills. And that increases confidence.

When we travel and meet people from unfamiliar cultures, we may find new ways of looking at life. And that can give us a different perspective on things. We may find ourselves growing intellectually and emotionally.

Because travel often includes walking, we may find ourselves actually getting in better shape. We may even lose weight and gain muscle as we hike, stroll, walk or amble about.

Escaping the every-day, if only for a weekend, can energize and renew us.

Travel is fun.

And you never know where your travels will take you. Al and I have made friends we never would have met otherwise. And we found our travels so amazing, that we began to write about them.

So travel has turned us into authors. We write travel memoirs, filling them with all the wit, wisdom, discoveries and surprises we experience on our journeys.            This year, we’re publishing three books about a trip we took in 2014.

Color_Cover_Promo_72dpi copy

 

Cruising the Mediterranean, describes our adventures in  Amsterdam, Venice, Athens, Istanbul and other places. It was named an Amazon #1 best seller in the senior travel category.

Indie Book Reviewers say that the book is “…full of adventure and life and great advice on traveling.”

 

 

FindingOur second book, Finding Ourselves in Venice, Florence, Rome & Barcelona,  was also named a #1 best seller in the senior travel category. In addition, Amazon named it the #1 Hot New Release in Venice travel guides.

In this book, we visit local markets, famous sites, and quiet out-of-the way neighborhoods, staying in Airbnb apartments and using Barcelona’s hop-on hop-off bus to show us around.

Rick Bava, author of In Search of the Baby Boom Generation, said this  about the book: “The beauty of these wonderful places shines through every page.  I recommend it for Baby Boomers and others whose hearts long to travel. You’ll feel like you’re right there…”

And we have a third book, coming out soon: Cruising the Atlantic, Our Epic Journey from Barcelona to Miami.

          I tell you this to underscore how travel can take you places you never dreamed of. Who would have imagined that a wreck caused by a texting driver slamming full speed into us would result in our becoming travel memoir authors sharing our trips with readers around the world?

But there you have it. We’re either writing about a trip, planning a trip, or we’re on a trip, enjoying all the benefits of travel.

At our age, we have the time for travel and we have more money for travel than we had as young adults. Still, we are careful with our travel funds, and try to get the most value for our dollars.

If you have a travel dream, I encourage you to take it.  Travel now, while you can. The Internet can make the trip easier than ever. Nearly every city, state or national park has a website where you can check out tours, lodging, points of interest, even maps of the area.

Do some online exploring, plan with care, fuel your sense of adventure, trigger your imagination, then make your dreams come true.

Al and Sunny Lockwood have traveled by foot, car, rail, air and cruise ship. Everywhere they go, they capture unforgettable moments — Al with his camera and Sunny with her reporter’s notebook.  Their work has been published in magazines and newspapers. This photograph was taken in an Athens coffee shop, when Al and Sunny ducked inside to escape a sudden downpour.  You can contact the Lockwoods at  sunnyandallockwood@gmail.com

 

 

 

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A Passion For An Active Life

We only moved into the Del Webb Community north of Atlanta two weeks ago but I already have noticed something interesting. People are really passionate about their activities.

For example, I attended a meeting of each of these clubs where the passion was on display with the members. They really get into it, going into details beyond what I thought. The degree of passion and zest they have for these activities was surprising. The club members could be professionals in these activities but in most cases they are doing it not for money but because they love doing it. They give their attention, time and resources to these activities to be the best they can be.

Here are the clubs I attended during the first two weeks.

1. Photographers – Ralph the instructor is a professional photographer and resident. Before the meeting,  the members were gathering around Ralph who was showing them the coffee table book he had just published of his photos of this trip to Iceland. The professional quality book was great and had wonderful photos. Wow!

Boomer PhotographerThere were 12 members present and they had an assignment the week before to photograph a subject (old log cabin nearby) and then to edit the image using the editing software they had been learning. Ralph used a slide projector to show the images and it was explained how they were edited. Suggestions were made for other edits and improvements. The members were really into it!

2. Coin Collecting – Next up I attended the Coin Collectors meeting. A resident who was a former stock broker showed us a list of coins he just had Hertiage Coins auction off. The list totaled $90,000 in value. These were his duplicates. Several interesting tips were discussed included how to get an appraisal to donate your collection to a charity rather than selling and then donating the money, an update on the coin market including demographic changes affecting it, avoid cleaning coins and more. One member had some inherited gold coins and suggestions were given as to how to value them.

medal collectingAt the end of the meeting I was chatting with some members about other things we collect.  I told them about my collection of Nineteenth Century Exposition Medals.

A fellow told us about his collection of antique movie posters which was on display in a show in Wisconsin.  These members really get into it!

 

3. Dancing – Mary Ann and I started the beginner line dancing class which follows the intermediate class and the advanced class. Getting to class early we watched the intermediate class finish up and they were good! The members then took off their dancing shoes and put of their street shoes. They were laughing and excited even after an hour of dancing. Later I spoke with a neighbor who is a member of this ballroom dancing club. When I told him we were learning the Waltz line dance he wanted to know the song we danced to and when I was not forthcoming with the answer he suggested three waltz songs, actually singing two of them to help me remember. These members really get into it!

Book Free To Fly4. Writers Group – This may be the most interesting group I attended. Three days ago I attended the writers group and at the coffee pot before the meeting, I met fellow resident William Cassill who recently released his first book, which tells the true story of a remarkable friendship between a mallard duck and a snow goose. “Free To Fly” is about his experiences while running a Vermont country inn with his wife. I had just read about this book. Wow.

 

The meeting included about 9 residents and all were writers, authors of books or writing a book. One resident owns a books store and showed us several books she had published or help publish including information on the publishing companies and cost. A member passed out three of her short stories to be reviewed. The group is looking to start a web site to display their writings and books and I shared some ideas with them. I have been spending some time thinking about web site ideas to share in our next meeting.

Boomer AuthorsA member suggested the group take the on-line course “Start Writing  Fiction” and the members including me agreed to start this course and share our first short story with the class next meeting. The Writers Group meets every Thursday from 9:30am until 11am. I was surprised they meet every week, but I see that this is a very active group. These members really get into it!

These are only 4 clubs out of nearly 100 clubs at The Village at Deaton Creek. I can see right now that you cannot possibility do it all. But it is exciting to know choosing the clubs that really interest me will give the opportunity to get involved like these folks do with something I am passionate about.

This is going to be fun! That is why we moved here.
Robert and Mary Ann Fowler