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A cold hating Pennsylvania man in Florida
Old 04-01-2019, 06:25 AM   #1
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A cold hating Pennsylvania man in Florida

Pennsylvania or Florida the old pooch needs her early am walk. I really donít mind because I am an early riser and it is pleasantly cool here in the mornings. I am bleary eyed but must remain a little more alert - for one there is an 8ft alligator in one of the nearby ponds and lots of little ones. The big one is quite spectacular. There are other critters about like bobcats, coyotes and snakes so I donít want the old gal getting into any trouble.

The parade of exercisers start just after sun up and for a few before. Its an impressive thing: bikers regular and recumbent, joggers and walkers lots of walkers. Their routines are established long ago during the summer when exercise happens early or you go to some mall. The club house does have a well used gym that is busy in the mornings. (And a bunch of heated pools)

One morning at around 7AM the sky was light but the sun was not up yet we hadnít cleared the driveway and a nice lady Ďwalkerí said hello to Dusty. Most people here are like Dusty amazingly friendly.

The family home we are staying in is in a Sarasota gated community. Ive been here many times but never as a retired guy looking for a change. The the villas look the same to me more then ten years after they were built. Solid cement walls with hurricane blinds they were built to withstand hurricanes and termites.

The landscaping is impressive - tended to by an army of landscapers who regularly come mow, trim and blow. Maintenance is required -if your wall gets green mold you will be notified and if you donít clean it they will. There are ponds galore with walkways and stately ornate bridges. I saw an osprey crash into the water a few feet away and come away with a tilapia. The gators fancy those tilapia too.

There are over 1000 homes in this community and many are winter homes. They stand empty during the heat of the summer. Since all the home are groomed and look similar theres no way to know which are empty. Walk the old gal at 9PM and there seems to be little life.

The first order of business after the groceries when we arrived was to get a fishing license and two plastic containers of night crawlers. I put them to good use, first dozen cast yielded 3 bass but the building breeze chased me away. I met a teenager who had caught a 8 pounder 2 days earlier. Verified by a picture on his phone. The ponds are just loaded with bass and gar. This place is a birders paradise blue heron, spoon bills, ospreys and you name it. Sitting here at the kitchen table I can hear them all. All that sun supports so much life.

Traffic is horrendous -my SIL says ďonlys for 6 months a year.Ē There are a couple of new, much discussed, traffic circles which are supposed to be safer but the old people still manage to have accidents. DW reported there was another one yesterday.

Walking back from fishing last night I saw a reckless woman with 2 kids in a fast golf cart flying over the bridges to kids delight. Had someone been on the other side of the bridge...

The skyway bridge and saltwater fishing is on my agenda but being retired means there is no rush. The pace of life behind the walls here appeals to me. Ive exercised every day..its been great.
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:50 AM   #2
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Is this your visit to The Villages you're describing?
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Old 04-01-2019, 07:10 AM   #3
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Is this your visit to The Villages you're describing?

No. The villages is in Lady Lake Florida, North of Orlando. The description is my time in a (non retirement) Gated Community in Sarasota.
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Old 04-01-2019, 07:12 AM   #4
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Is this your visit to The Villages you're describing?
The Villages are located much further North than the Sarasota gated community being described.

Edit - ah see the OP crossed with my response.
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Old 04-01-2019, 07:39 AM   #5
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That sounds great, rayinpennfl. How far in advance did you reserve the Sarasota place? Just curious for potential future adventures.
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A cold hating Pennsylvania man in Florida
Old 04-01-2019, 07:40 AM   #6
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A cold hating Pennsylvania man in Florida

The Family home was inherited by my wife and her 3 sisters some years ago...
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:43 AM   #7
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Sounds pretty nice, is it over 55 restricted or a mixed age community ?
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Old 04-01-2019, 11:42 AM   #8
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Sounds pretty nice, is it over 55 restricted or a mixed age community ?
Mixed age..
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Old 04-01-2019, 11:49 AM   #9
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Sounds like a nice change for you. Enjoy the sun!!
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:20 AM   #10
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Added some pictures IMG_0330.jpgIMG_0329.jpgIMG_0328.jpgIMG_0326.jpg
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:26 AM   #11
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Looks like a nice change of pace.
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:47 AM   #12
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Nice. Enjoy!
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Old 04-02-2019, 10:52 PM   #13
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Looks great. Good for you.

We both grew up in the snow belt....and LOTS of it. Often from November into late March.

Now, as we have aged, neither of us can stand the cold. Or the snow, or the ice. It was either get out of Dodge permanently or stay put and find someplace warm for a few months.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:48 PM   #14
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It sounds like a very nice life-style. We chose Oahu for similar reasons but it has the added advantage of no gators and no snakes - lots of dogs, however. I've heard the average dog owner has 3 dogs here. Our traffic can be horrendous as well, though neighbor Islands, not so much. Being retired, we can plan our trips around "rush hour" which I'm assuming is more or less constant in retirement areas such as Florida. Folks here (me excluded) still w*rk for a living - pity them. Retirees are the minority, so don't influence the traffic much. YMMV
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Old 04-03-2019, 01:16 PM   #15
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That sounds great, rayinpennfl. How far in advance did you reserve the Sarasota place? Just curious for potential future adventures.
I stayed in Sarasota and we reserved about 8months in advance with homeaway. But I just like to get things taken care of ahead of time.

It was BUSY! I think the level of busyness might ware on me I was only there for 11 days.

Those roundabouts...back home I trust everyone navigating them...in Sarasota, not so much.
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Old 04-03-2019, 01:17 PM   #16
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It sounds like a very nice life-style. We chose Oahu for similar reasons but it has the added advantage of no gators and no snakes - lots of dogs, however. I've heard the average dog owner has 3 dogs here. Our traffic can be horrendous as well, though neighbor Islands, not so much. Being retired, we can plan our trips around "rush hour" which I'm assuming is more or less constant in retirement areas such as Florida. Folks here (me excluded) still w*rk for a living - pity them. Retirees are the minority, so don't influence the traffic much. YMMV
Sarasota traffic is like Kona "rush hour" in February...one way in, and one way out...unless you are local, then you take the high road (or low road if in Sarasota). They were actually equally frustrating...did Kona in 2018, and Sarasota this year.
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Old 04-03-2019, 02:39 PM   #17
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Given the choice between 'busy' and warm orld/snow/ice......I would take busy and warm any day.
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Old 04-04-2019, 05:10 AM   #18
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So, what do all the Florida newbies do to insure their homes against hurricane damage?
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Old 04-04-2019, 05:28 AM   #19
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So, what do all the Florida newbies do to insure their homes against hurricane damage?
IMHO-hurricanes are a regional boogieman, much like twisters to newbie Midwesterners and earth quakes to newbie Californians.

A few areas of FL have exposure to numerous hurricanes. Most areas of FL have very limited exposure (high winds, possible flooding, but no extreme damage). Googling a FL hurricane map shows the past exposures.

I once showed a newbie Midwesterner homes to buy. He refused to look at anything without a basement (twister fears). My experience of 50 plus years in the Midwest without having experienced a tornado did nothing to calm his fears.
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Old 04-04-2019, 06:41 AM   #20
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So, what do all the Florida newbies do to insure their homes against hurricane damage?
We have hurricane insurance as part of the home insurance. IIRC, it might be mandated.
As far as actual house protection, all house built after ~2002 have to be built up to the latest hurricane standards in their area. Miami/Dade has stricter codes than standard.
As we live 1 hour from the coastline and no measured hurricane has hit our area since 1923, I stay aware of the forecasts and will evacuate as necessary but I don't get crazy over each hurricane development.
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