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 16 tips and places to visit during your stay at The Villages Florida.
1. Pick up a copy of The Villages Daily Sun newspaper, especially the Thursday edition with the Recreation News and schedule for the week.
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!
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.
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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
We just saw The Happy Together Tour at the #Lifeat50 AARP convention in Atlanta
We just saw The Happy Together Tour at the #Lifeat50 AARP Event in Atlanta. The Happy Together Tour includes Flo and Eddie from The Turtles, Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night, Gary Puckett and The Union Gap, Gary U.S. Bonds and Gary Lewis and The Playboys. Each singer of the 60’s performed some of his greatest hits and the next singer quickly took over without a break. So the same band played for all signers, but they were good and that was not a problem.
First out was Gary Lewis, who sounds just like he did in the day. He talked about how he started writing “Everybody loves a clown” for his dad Jerry Lewis’ birthday, but saw it could be a hit and worked it a little more to become a hit. (see my video)
Next up was Gary U.S. Bonds whom my wife thought was the best. He really had it going on. He did one of this twist songs and his come back song This Little Girl among others.
Flo and Eddie of The Turtle were a riot. They jumped around the stage with all kinds of craziness. They sang several of their hits, including Happy Together which the concert was named after. It looks like Flo and Eddie are the concert promoters.
The poster on the left has Mark Lindsay but he was not part of this performance, replaced by Gary U.S. Bonds.
Gary Puckett & the Union Cap was actually the one I most wanted to see. Gary performed “Young Girl” and “Lady Willpower” among others. Gary is turning 71 this month but he seemed to be in really good shape. I remember my parents even liking his songs in the late 60’s.
Next up was Chuck Negron of Three Dog Night, also 71. Man, “Joy to the World”, “One” and “Mama Told Me Not to Come” sounded as good as ever. He still has a booming voice.
For the curtain call each performer was brought out to sign one of his biggest hit songs with full audience participation. There is no better crowd for this tour to play than the Lifeat50+ crowd and we loved it!
So that was Friday’s entertainment but there is entertainment all three nights at Lifeat50. Thursday was several groups of Gospel Singers which was very popular and Saturday night Gloria Estefan wowed the Lifeat50 crowd at the Georgia World Congress Center.
Life@50+ is much more than just the entertainment. Frankly I think it would be impossible to see it all, so here are some things I did in addition to attending that wonderful Happy Together Tour.
The exhibition floor is huge showcasing an seemingly endless selection of services to us baby boomers. In the AARPDiscounts.com section I found AARP membership discounts available on services I already use like UPS Store and I-800Flowers.com. Most impressive to me since we Boomer love to travel, was the travel benefits. They cover all aspects of travel, a must to check out before your next trip or vacation. I did a test drive on their new next generation travel site coming out soon (maybe Jan) that’s even better.
Being an old school techie, the travel people on the floor told me I should check out the TEK Pavilion and I attended the seminar about cutting edge technologies to help us stay healthy, where entrepreneurs from 4 companies showcased their new inventions. (see my YouTube AARO playlist of these presentations). There were presentations about Buzzy – an invention to remedy unnecessary pain, Lift Labs who has an invention to help people with hand tremors, Neurotrack has an early diagnosis test for Alzheimer disease and finally Breezie has a Internet product to help people to easily get on line. I met with Jeh Kazimi of Breezie immediately after his presentation and he gave me a test drive of his creative, easy to use product. Frankly, I loved all these products and thank it is wonderful to have such a preview of what is coming.
In the morning general session I attended, I heard Bryan Popin play (amazing) then heard Whoopi Goldberg interview Tyler Perry, in the way only Whoppi can do it.
Well I could go on for awhile, but I know I did so much but there was so much more to take in. The Life@50+ events are now twice a year and the next ones will be May 8-10, 2014 in Boston and Sept 4-6, 2014 in San Diego. If you would like to visit those cities, I think Life@50+ would be a great way to do it.
We only moved into the Del Webb Community north of Atlanta not long 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!
There 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.
At 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!
4. 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.
A 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
Socialization is important to your quality of you life, especially as we age. Here are 10 tips for socialization and new friendships for baby boomers.
10 Opportunities for Socialization
Socialization is important to your quality of life, especially as we age. Some studies say it’s important in our length of life as well as quality of life. Socialization is important to your physical and mental well being.
We are not only talking about singles meeting people but couples also need socialization and outside friendships. It is healthy for the marriage. You don’t have to be retired either to benefit from these socialization tips.
So you see the need for socialization, but how do you do it, especially if you are not in the workplace anymore, the usual source of many friendships.
So I researched some ideas and then asked my Facebook friends to add to the list. Below is our group sourced list of socialization opportunities.
10 Socialization Opportunities
1. Churches – Phil, Betty Jane and a number of people mentioned church. Churches are a main source of socialization opportunities throughout life. Many churches have senior and single group activities like pot luck dinners and field trips. Betty Jane says: Bible Study Fellowship is a worldwide organization with classes that encourage discussions and participation.
2. Volunteering – my wife volunteers at the hospital and she has become friends with both the employees and other volunteers. She joined the auxiliary committee and they started having lunch meetings to discuss activities and then continued with social lunches. Now she frequently has lunch with another lady volunteer she has become friends with. Randy says: A lot of nonprofits and charities need all kinds of help. You can help out and make friends too. Kathy suggests volunteering too. Resources: AARP Volunteer and VolunteerMatch are good places to start. Or your local hospital or senior center needs volunteers.
3. Senior Centers – They are absolutely great for socialization with all the programs and activities with friendly people. There are a huge selection of activities for seniors that you can enjoy with others. For the more active, try to find an “active adult” center. Resources: See activities at senior centers.
4. Hobbies – Whatever hobby you have or want to start, there is usually a local group of people who have a passion for the same hobby. Attend local meetings, shows and conventions. The group will need members to help with activities and this a great way to meet people.
5. Clubs – Donna says: Check to see if there is a club for your favorite activity in the area. You’ll automatically have something in common with the other members. Book clubs are popular. Dance Clubs – Every larger metro area has people who like to dance. Take dance lessons and you will meet others who like dancing. Attend the dances and enjoy meeting the friendly people and you may turn into a regular dance club member. We are members of a dance club that meets every Saturday at 7pm. Resources: Meetup.com, just Goggle for your city + activity + club.
A. Sports events – A group of us have attended the Petit LeMans Race at Road Atlanta every year for the last 5 years. We look forward to this very much and start talking about it a few months before, buying tickets, checking out web sites, discussing etc. This could be a football, basketball, soccer or other games.
B. Gym / Health Club – Phil says he has a group of regulars that he sees and visits with at the health club. A health club can be a social event as much as an exercise opportunity.
C. Sports team participation – Join a bowling team, bocce ball team, golf team, walking club, even Wii-games.
The senior games or senior Olympics are great because they have something for everyone and will assign you to a team if needed. I participated last year and went to the awards banquet. We had so much fun getting our gold medal for bocce ball in the beginners level.
7. Move to a Retirement Community – New friendships can easily be made at retirement communities which have programs and activities to encourage socializing, especially at active adult communities.
8. Life long learning – classes of any type stimulate your mind as well as having interaction with fellow students and teachers. Betty Jane says continuing ed classes at your local college. Also I have taken classes at the senior center.
9. Breakfast meetings – senior groups meet at McDonalds or other local restaurants, even some grocery store cafes and other places. Larry attends the morning meetings of regulars at McDonalds.
10. YMCA – Kaye suggest this. I think your local YMCA is worth a visit and tour what’s available. These days the YMCA is very modern and resourceful.
Bonus tip: Part time jobs – work has always been the number one provider of friendships and part time work can too.
If you have any additional socialization tips, please note in the comment section below.
Thanks to Facebook friends for their suggestions for this list: Donna Hull, Kathy Woods, Randy Mitchell, Betty Jane West Reese, Kaye Swain, Phil Miller, Ann Hearn, Robin Murray, Duane Lane Smith, Larry Wehunt