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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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February 28, 2011

Guess What! I'm in Florida!!

A friend of mine and her husband purchased a fully furnished second home in The Villages in Florida probably a couple of years ago. She had said several times that we should go down together sometime and we agreed that cold weather would be the time. So she called me just a week or so ago to see if I could be ready to go yesterday and being always ready to go someplace new, I said yes. So here I am...

We left yesterday at 7:00 in the morning(!) with a temperature in the low 30's. We stopped in Charlotte, NC to have lunch with Peggy's son and his family at a nice restaurant where we ate outdoors. I took these pictures while we were waiting for our food...

This is the Charlotte skyline which was quite lovely...

This was right next door to the restaurant where we ate and I took it mostly because of the pink trees in bloom in the back corner and I thought the water tower was pretty neat too.

It continued to get warmer and warmer as we traveled further south.  It was amazing to see the thermometer in Peggy's car climbing up and up.  We stopped at a rest stop in South Carolina where I saw my first palm trees:

and finally reached Peggy's home around 10:00 p.m. so it was a long day.  But beautiful weather and very light traffic with no delays. 

We both slept in til around 9:00 this morning and when I got out to the living room, Peggy had opened the sliding doors onto their lanai which goes across the entire rear of the house and around one side.  The birds were singing and the men were playing golf!

This is a view from her lanai.  It really is beautiful here and I can't believe how warm it is.  Got up to 86 I think it was today.  We got ourselves up and out around 11:30 or so and went to one of the two "villages" in The Villages.  For want of a better term, this is a retirement community, but it's also a city - just for people over 55.  It has 2 radio stations, a daily newspaper, hospitals, numerous golf courses, fifty swimming pools(!), a lake, beautifully landscaped scenic areas, and everything so neat and well kept it's just kind of hard to take it all in. 

The village we went to was like a giant Easton Town Center sort of.  Lots and lots of shops - some chains, some not (at least I had never heard of them.  Lots of eateries, some business buildings, lawyers, banks, etc., but again, all beautifully maintained and with flowerboxes and landscaping everywhere.  We had lunch at a restaurant out on their terrace which overlooks a smallish lake, although big enough for boats to take people around for rides.  These are the pictures I took in that area.

And I forgot to mention the golf carts - I think all of the 85,000 residents living here must have one!  They're fun though cause they're all different and quite decorative.

This was a view from the restaurant terrace

And there were several of these boats out on the lake apparently just so the birds have somewhere to sit.  I liked that.

We took a nice stroll around part of the lake after lunch, and then headed to the grocery store and then back to the house. 

Tomorrow we're going to work around the house some in the morning and then go to the other "village" in The Villages and then Wednesday, we're heading over to Bradenton (Gulf coast side) to see a Pittsburgh Pirates spring training game!  Looking forward to that...


vrmichie said...

Guess it must be better to drive than fly cause you build up to that warm weather gradually. Looks wonderfully tropical and relaxing. Hope you have a good book or two with which to spend a long chunk of time on the lanai listening to the birds :)

Have fun. xoox

Christopher said...

It does look beautiful down there... and the weather sounds perfect! Don't forget sunblock! Your northern, hibernating winter skin won't know what to make of all that sun!

jamie said...

wow! How come "our" friend Peggy never invited me to the Florida house! It looks so green and alive! I'm definitely jealous. Have a good margarita and think of me...

Love ya,

January said...

Wow! I guess you can make up for any winter gloom during your stay - unbelievably pretty! Of course, I probably would have just stayed in North Carolina, but you know me . . .
Have fun, tell Peggy I said "Hi!", and drive a golf cart for me.

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