Here I sit on a Saturday morning observing life in central Florida. Dave and Terry are golfing, Debbi is at work and I, well I am at a temporary office – outside the Starbucks in a “census-designated place” know as The Villages. If you haven’t heard of or visited The Villages, it is a fascinating place. It is a retirement community which covers approximately 30 sq. miles (Side Note: Burnaby is 34 sq. miles), with a population of approximately 114,000 – in 2010 it was 51,000. As of July 2014, it was the fastest growing city in the U.S. for the second year in a row.
The Villages consists of a large number of communities and three throwback town centres which are designed to reflect a far simpler, idyllic time. Think “The Music Man”. The main street in Sumter Landing is the “Old Mill Run”. Get the picture?
They have everything here – recreation centres, a hospital, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Chico Women’s Wear, Bass Shoe Outlet, Winn Dixie Groceries, theaters, over 60 restaurants and golf carts galore!
It also has people from all over the States – you can tell by the accents. However, New Jersey seems to dominate. It has been fun listening to them talk about the Jets, the Colts (Side note: Baltimore, not Indianapolis), and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sounds to me like everyone has left Pittsburgh and lives here now. (Side Note: Nothing about Donald so far though.) In an area roughly the size of Burnaby, serving approximately the population of Coquitlam, there are 32 executive golf courses – when you buy, you get free golf for life on them, and 12 18 hole championship courses. Kind of puts something into perspective, doesn’t it. Today they had a 5K run starting and finishing in the square and there seem to have been an awful lot of over 55 fit and not so fit participants.
(Side Note: There are 2 groups of approximately 10 men each just along from me. Why is it there is one Alpha’s voice you can always hear and the other 18 or so are just background noise?)
(Side note: Just saw a three wheeled motorcycle go by with a dogue de Bordeaux sitting on the back with an old time pilot’s helmet. Everybody oohed and aahed, so I guess it was unusual even for here. Sure wish I could have taken a photo for you. 🙁 Instead here is a unusual daschund/dalmation – dalmshunation?.)
I have been sitting here for an hour now and it has been a steady stream of people going by or going in to get their latte. When I got in line there was one person in front of me and by the time I had my latte, there were 6 or 7 in line and it has been that many ever since. Even Jiaxing had the odd break of motion, but not here. The retirees of America are certainly on the go.
A brief video of a few of the Old Mill Run shoppes.
Tomorrow we are off to the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida – should be good.
On the way back, this car was in front of me.
The Shoe Blog
Typical Villages Footwear.