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Old 09-12-2011, 08:00 AM   #121
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I've seen other discussions of "The Villages" on the forum - people seem to either love it or hate it. Takes all kinds. Golf communities, sadly, would not work for us, since we don't golf, and such places always have a subsidy for the golf course and club built into their fees.

Please allow me to add my vote, though, to those who would love to read more about your research, 2ridehd.

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I researched over 100 retirement communities. Narrowed that down to 10 with internet searches, blogs, recommendations, talking to realtors, getting the marketing literature and any other way I could get information. I visited seven of those and ended up selecting just one. Although not entirely walkable, I can visit town squares, live music 365 days a dozen places, 100 plus restaurants, doctors, all shopping and even hospitals in my golf cart. The Villages Florida. If you haven't checked it out, worth at least a visit before making a decision. Warm weather most of the year, golf, tennis, and over 2000 other clubs that will meet any interest you may have.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:41 AM   #122
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When we moved to S Florida "The Villages" was everywhere. You couldn't read anything about real estate without some mention of it - way over the top. That was at the peak of the real estate bubble. Since then it seems to have lost some of its allure and no longer is being talked up as the best thing since sliced whole wheat bread for seniors. We have never been there and know no owners or tenents, but it always as had a sort of "Timeshare' ring to us.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:27 AM   #123
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I agree with the marketing hype. However it is the only place I have ever been where the reality far exceeded the marketing hype. It is about as far from a timeshare "ring" type place as you will ever get. There is zero pressure from the sales staff to sell you a home. Zero, none, nada. When we did a life style pre-view, they introduced us to a sales person who said if you need anything, just call me. Never heard from him again until we called him on our next trip. They don't want to try and sell you a home when you visit, they want you to experience the life style. So they give you coupons for golf, movies, meals and other things and let you go out and talk to residents who already live there. It fact it's a bit of a challenge to see homes on a life style pre-view unless you attend open houses or make a specific request to do so.

There are fee's to support the golf, but for non golfers they are very reasonable. The monthly fee for executive golf, community centers, pools, softball, pickleball and all other supported activities is $135 a month. Significantly below what I found in other communities, even non golf communities. Although I did very little research on those. All other golf, championship courses, trail fees for serious golfers, is paid for by the drink but still extremely reasonable when compared to other places. There are currently 9 with build out to be 12 championship 27 hole courses and 30 executive courses, so lots of golf. But so much more. 62 pools, 30 some recreation centers 12 club houses with pool and restaurant, there own college of life long learning, summer camp for grand kids, a club for what ever interest you have. Be it riding horses, deep sea fishing, crusies, painting, photography, motorcycles, flying, bridge, dancing, over 2000 of them. So something for everyone.

I am sure it is not for everyone and each of us need the find the places that meets their requirements.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:37 AM   #124
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I agree with the marketing hype. However it is the only place I have ever been where the reality far exceeded the marketing hype. It is about as far from a timeshare "ring" type place as you will ever get. There is zero pressure from the sales staff to sell you a home. Zero, none, nada. When we did a life style pre-view, they introduced us to a sales person who said if you need anything, just call me. Never heard from him again until we called him on our next trip. They don't want to try and sell you a home when you visit, they want you to experience the life style. So they give you coupons for golf, movies, meals and other things and let you go out and talk to residents who already live there. It fact it's a bit of a challenge to see homes on a life style pre-view unless you attend open houses or make a specific request to do so.

There are fee's to support the golf, but for non golfers they are very reasonable. The monthly fee for executive golf, community centers, pools, softball, pickleball and all other supported activities is $135 a month. Significantly below what I found in other communities, even non golf communities. Although I did very little research on those. All other golf, championship courses, trail fees for serious golfers, is paid for by the drink but still extremely reasonable when compared to other places. There are currently 9 with build out to be 12 championship 27 hole courses and 30 executive courses, so lots of golf. But so much more. 62 pools, 30 some recreation centers 12 club houses with pool and restaurant, there own college of life long learning, summer camp for grand kids, a club for what ever interest you have. Be it riding horses, deep sea fishing, crusies, painting, photography, motorcycles, flying, bridge, dancing, over 2000 of them. So something for everyone.

I am sure it is not for everyone and each of us need the find the places that meets their requirements.
This sounds like a sales pitch.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:39 AM   #125
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Sorry, not intended to be a sales pitch. I will stop answering questions about it.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:41 AM   #126
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Sounds to me as though the Chamber of Commerce has you on retainer...
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:42 AM   #127
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Hmm. Funny, I didn't get that feeling at all. OP is obviously a Villages fan, also a meticulous reporter who feels the need to "set the story straight." The description doesn't sell me on The Villages, it just tells me about OP's experience with them.

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This sounds like a sales pitch.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:46 AM   #128
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We have never been there and know no owners or tenants, but it always as had a sort of "Timeshare' ring to us.
I can see the timeshare connotation, but to me it sounds more like something Disney might have created or the movie set for "The Stepford Wives".

But to each his own - paradise isn't defined the same way by everyone.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:56 AM   #129
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If you like the suburbs and planned communities when you are working/raising kids/etc, I imagine these super senior centers would sound fabulous. To those of us who ran screaming from anything resembling suburburbia and convention, they would be a prison not unlike Stepford Wives.
Give me a few hippies and colorful drunks at the local bar instead of a world where everyone looks like me.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:22 AM   #130
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Sorry, not intended to be a sales pitch. I will stop answering questions about it.
No problem. You might want to stop by the “Hi, I am…”forum here and tell us a little about yourself and any other interests you might have.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:24 AM   #131
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If you like the suburbs and planned communities when you are working/raising kids/etc, I imagine these super senior centers would sound fabulous. To those of us who ran screaming from anything resembling suburburbia and convention, they would be a prison not unlike Stepford Wives.
Give me a few hippies and colorful drunks at the local bar instead of a world where everyone looks like me.
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Old 09-12-2011, 11:47 AM   #132
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I can see the timeshare connotation, but to me it sounds more like something Disney might have created or the movie set for "The Stepford Wives".

But to each his own - paradise isn't defined the same way by everyone.

I have been to the Villages and it does look like Disney on steroids .
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:28 PM   #133
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Suspect what I really want is to live as Bilbo did in Rivendell - free to do whatever the heck he wanted, when he wanted, and there were "Elves when you want them." People when I want them - not utter solitude, and not some mad whirl of semi- compulsory activities going on all round me - that's what I'd like.

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Old 09-12-2011, 07:25 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by l2ridehd
Sorry, not intended to be a sales pitch. I will stop answering questions about it.
Ride Buddy-

Sorry to get you accused of being a pitch man for The Villages. But, I found your post very informative; just the kind of research report I was looking for; many of our criteria are the same. So, thx much.

For others on the thread, the folks I know personally who've recently bought to retire in The Villages are by no means suburban clones looking for a white bread community of sameness. In fact, they're pretty damn independent and have lived comfortably in some unusual places. So, although I've not visited The Villages yet, I will certainly do so in future, just based on their selection. And, although the lack of a beach will likely kill the deal for DW and I, one never knows.
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Old 09-12-2011, 07:48 PM   #135
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I just visited Asheville, it was on our short list. It's beautiful and fun, and if we move to NC (thinking Triangle), I am sure we will visit often. Too small for us, and too liberal, but the vibe downtown can't be beat. Almost like a mountain Berkeley, Boulder, Portland, Haight-Ashbury - places I like to visit, but would never live. I realize there's also a wealthy retired conservative crowd in Asheville too, but I noticed the city council recently had to debate whether they were socialists or not...sounded like a split decision.
The last time I visited Ashville, I took a snapshot of a typical Ashville House. The Biltmore.
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Old 09-12-2011, 08:03 PM   #136
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ldridehd,

DH and I do not play golf, but have heard about the Villages and you definitely piqued our interest. I plan to investigate a bit more and hopefully visit on down the road.

Thanks for the info.
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Old 09-13-2011, 02:00 PM   #137
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According to Outdoor magazine's October issue "THE" place to live if you're into the outdoors is Chattanooga, TN. There were 19 towns on the list and Chattanooga took #1.

We considered moving there before we moved to Vegas but the airport wasn't big enough for DH. There would be too many hops to get to clients.

It has a cute downtown, lots of civic stuff going on and the cost of living is very low.
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Old 09-13-2011, 03:04 PM   #138
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Chattanooga is a very nice town, I used to date a girl from there in college. She was a southern belle.......
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:45 PM   #139
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After traveling for the airlines I have found Minneapolis to be my favorite "affordable" city to live in. Parks are second to none of all the towns in the US. Several lakes in uptown make you feel like you are in the country. Also one of the safest biking cities in America. All parks interconnect by bike paths.

Problem is you need a second home for the winters, but from late April to early November it is perfect.
I live in Missouri, but I go to Minneapolis at least twice year. What a clean, vibrant, downtown! Ya, it's cold in winter, but they have catwalks all over the downtown, never have to go outside. One thing I would like to add about crime stats stigmatizing towns. Just like real-estate is local, so is crime. Check the area zip codes and specific areas for crime, not the city. For example, St. Louis, MO. It was rated last year as one of the top three dangerous cities. But the devil is in the details. Less than 3% of the crime is in the downtown area that people associate as being "St. Louis ". All of the crime is occurring in certain areas,(especially the north) where you would have to be a damned fool to stumble into. I feel 100% safe in that city, and I have never stumbled into those troubled areas my whole life and never will!
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Does Such a Place Exist?
Old 09-16-2011, 09:03 PM   #140
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Does Such a Place Exist?

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DH and I have been FIREd (occasionally freelance) for 3 years. In our 40s, no kids. We want to move out of the Chicago area to something a lot less cold. But at the same time, it should be culturally (& intellectually) active, diverse, urban/city-living and a very walkable neighborhood (close to restaurants, theaters, galleries, etc). And, of course, not a very high cost of living and preferably low income taxes . Willing to spend around $1500-1800 for 2bed/2ba rental.
Does such a place exist?RA
Looking at the OP and, man, these are some tough criteria!

Does such a place exist? Almost seems like the ultimate question, doesn't it?
Let's review the bidding---

A lot less cold (than Chicago)-OK, that's south of the Mason/Dixon line.

Culturally diverse-that almost certainly means a large urban center or a place lots of folks gravitate to (like Fl, Az, Ca or southern urban centers elsewhere, plus a few other select spots)

Intellectually diverse-Hmmmmm, not sure I know what this means-frankly, it's different for different folks. I lived in San Francisco, which was wonderful and which most would agree is intellectually diverse. But, I'm now living in downtown Knoxville, TN. And, it's moderately hip with a large university next to us, and we are very comfortable here; it might meet this requirement. Point is-look locally, very locally; I met bigots in SF and lots of gay folks in Knoxville; don't prejudge.

Active-If it's warmer than ChiTown, being active is a matter of will more than a matter of environment. As Nike says, 'Just do it!'

Diverse-Boy, lots of diversity here. Don't want to speculate on what else this may mean; see above.

Urban-for me, this goes with "walkable" and "close to everything" below, and really satisfies many of the criteria above. So, I'll address these criteria together. In my experience, this is very easy to find in an urban environment(large or small). Personal examples that could meet this requirement (excluding overseas locations) are: San Francisco; Downtown Knoxville; old town Pasadena, Cali; Eugene, Or; Baltimore inner harbor; selected Florida beach communities; Chattanooga; parts of DC, plus selected edge cities around DC; Seattle; selected coastal SoCal towns.

Very walkable-Above

Close to...everything-above

And, of course-CHEAP---well, aren't we easy to please?!?!
This rules out most of the coastal locations that I've experienced except Fl, and pretty much leaves one with "interior" choices. If you're sure you can live without the ocean at your doorstep (which I'm not), then it seems to me there are lots of choices. My personal experiences of Knoxville and Chattanooga can almost certainly be replicated in dozens of cities.Personally, I identify with most of these criteria, and am very interested in locals that folks think satisfy all/most of them.

GOOD HUNTING!
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