Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Visiting Lake Weir and our Final Days in The Villages

Eaton's Beach

After mass and grocery shopping on Sunday, we decided to go for a drive around Lake Weir, and check out Eaton’s Beach.  Make made plans to meet Mark & Janie at 5pm at the restaurant at Eaton’s Beach, and we set out in the Jeep with the top down . . . it was a beautiful day!

We stopped at a couple of county parks on Lake Weir, where there were small beaches and a large boat launch.


It’s a nice lake . . . and I guess there must not be too many alligators, since there are swimming areas.  But, you know what they say about water in Florida!












We arrived at the restaurant about a half hour early, put our names in for a table, and walked out on the pier to enjoy the view.

View from the Tiki Hut

It looks like a nice beach for families with small kids,

Swimming Area

and a popular lake for watersports – we saw people water-skiing, and riding jet skis.

Rental Boats











There were plenty of people enjoying this beautiful afternoon at the beach!

Volleyball & the Pier

It's a pretty nice beach











Mark & Janie arrived right at 5pm, and about 15 minutes later we were seated at a table on the back patio, overlooking the beach and lake – great view!

Enjoying the beach

Tom spotted this guy driving his truck right out into the water to load his boat on the trailer . . . who needs a boat launch!?!


We enjoyed a delicious dinner, and great company!  Thanks for meeting up with us, guys!  We’ve really enjoyed hanging out with you this last month!

Mark & Janie

As our days wind down here in central Florida, we’re making our plans for the drive north, and trying to make plans for the summer.  Still have some work to do there!

On Monday, Tom saw a crew of guys washing a couple of motorhomes in the RV Park, and he watched their progress and talked to them for awhile.  He was impressed with their work, so we hired them to wash and detail our motorhome and Jeep on Tuesday.  It’ll be nice and clean for our drive on Thursday!

The crew arrived by 10am on Tuesday.

Cleaning Crew

They got right to work, giving the motorhome and Jeep a thorough cleaning.












I don’t think the Jeep has ever been this clean before!

The Jeep got a spa treatment, too!

They were very detailed, and no inch was left untouched!













Every inch of the RV was cleaned and polished

They did a great job and we were really happy with the results!  3 guys, 4 hours, $300 . . . pretty great value!

So shiny!

Looking good!

All done and it looks great!

Looking Good!

Now we’re ready to pack up and move north!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Brownwood–the newest area of The Villages


Stage at Paddock Square in Brownwood


There was one more area of The Villages that we hadn’t been to yet, so on Friday we met up with Mark and Janie for another tour.

First, they took us to see their Villa Home, which they maintain as a rental property.  The Villas are more like condos – with less square footage and smaller yards, but still really nice, especially as a rental.




From there, we made our way down to Brownwood, which is the newest Town Square area – it’s marketed as Old Florida with a touch of Michigan.  All the streets are named after cites in Michigan.

Riding in style!

The town square is not quite full yet, but it’s really cute, with a country theme – even the movie theatre,

Cool Theatre

and the sales office.

Sales Center at Brownwood

Cow theme











The recreation center in this area is the Eisenhower Recreation Center,

Eisenhower Recreation Center

and that was our next destination.

Eisenhower Recreation Center

As I think I mentioned before, each recreation center has a theme – this one is military-themed, and it’s stunning. 



All branches of the Armed Forces are represented, but as a Navy Mom, I found myself continuously drawn to the Navy memorabilia.



As you walk through the front door, your eyes are drawn to the life-sized models of service men and women on display on the 2nd level.


In the Lobby

Ike Sailor


We recently found out that Nicolas will be assigned to the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier when he completes his training next month, so it was particularly emotional for me to see the many bits of “Ike” memorabilia.

I need one of these!

He needs to get me one of those buttons!

CVN69 – Nicolas’ ship

There it is - Nicolas' Ship



Each Room in the recreation center was filled with military memorabilia, all of which was donated by residents of The Villages.

Navy Uniform Brochures

Lots of memorabilia












Even the chairs are cool!











It was like walking through a museum, so beautiful . . . even the furniture stayed in the military theme!



This Japanese flag was captured at Iwo Jima, and was signed by each of the service members who were there.

Japanese Flag captured at Iwo Jima

The floor in the main ballroom was really beautiful!

Decorative Inlay in the wood floor

The recreation center is named for President Eisenhower, and there are portraits of him throughout,

President Eisenhower

as well as bits and pieces of his life.  He was a painter, and painted these portraits of Washington and Lincoln.

Presidential Portraits

We really enjoyed our visit to this recreation center, and are glad Mark & Janie included it in our tour.

Our last stop of the day was the Rohan Recreation Center. 

We checked out the outdoor areas first.  Like all of the recreation centers, there is a pool and various sports fields,

Bocci Ball

Bocci Courts

Pickleball Courts (Check out the height of those fences, Bryce – even you probably wouldn’t hit over the top of those!)

Pickleball Courts

and an outdoor fitness center.

Tom and Mark had to try out a few of the machines!

Outdoor Fitness Center

Mark & Tom trying it out











This looks like trouble!!

Two hamsters on a wheel

Next up was the rowing machine.

Rowing Machine

Tom made it look easy, but Mark  said he was going to feel this one the next day!!

Mark says he's going to feel this tomorrow!

The theme of this recreation center is the history of The Villages.  As you walk in the front door, your eye is drawn to the ceiling, where there is a huge mural of the community.

Murals on the ceiling

Ceiling Mural











Displays throughout this recreation center chronicle the development of The Villages – from a single 55+ mobile home park to the 35 square mile all-encompassing retirement paradise . . . which is continuing to expand!

The founding families

Founding Family

In the ballroom, we studied the annual aerial photographs that show how the community has grown and filled in over the years.  It was really interesting to see.

While Mark & I studied the photos, Tom and Janie were taking a break!

Taking a break

That wrapped up a long afternoon of touring, and we were all starving!  It was well past dinner time!  We headed over to Sumter Landing for dinner, where the Mini Cooper Car Club was having a car show.

While we waited for our table, we checked out the little cars!

Mini Cooper Club in the Square












One that embraces its British heritage, and a couple of vintage Minis.

British version



Vintage 1967

We enjoyed a delicious dinner, and called it a night after that – it was another great day in The Villages!