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Monday, April 22, 2013

Getting Around By Golf Cart

One of the things that attracted us to the Villages is the fact that you can get almost anywhere in the community by golf cart.  Shopping, restaurants, medical facilities, and recreation centers are all as accessible as the country clubs and golf courses.  The smaller roads are shared by cars, golf carts, bicycles, and pedestrians.  Along most of the larger roads, there are dedicated cart/bicycle paths or cart/bicycle lanes.  But beyond that, there are recreation trails that golf carts may use as short cuts to get from one place to another.

Many people come to the Villages, get a golf cart, and off they go without knowing the rules and how to use the system.   Golf carts are not toys, but they also are not made for road travel.  If you don't know what you are doing, you can easily tip them over and get seriously injured.  If you don't know the rules, you may find yourself in an altercation with a car, and the car will always win.  

The Life Long Learning College offers a 90 minute class called "Get There By Golf Cart," so we signed up for it.  This class talks about the rules covering what is legally a golf cart (top speed 20 mph).  If you are caught speeding in a golf cart, it means it is not legally a golf cart.  You can be charged with driving an unregistered, uninsured vehicle in addition to the speeding ticket.

The other thing the instructor talked about is the roads, paths and trails a golf cart can use around the Villages.  These are not shown on any published map, but he has created a web site that shows where all these are.  The web site is CartingTheVillages.com.  This is a great site, based on Google maps and annotated with all the recreation centers.  It clearly shows all the paths, what kind of path each is, where the tunnels are to cross busy roads, and how to get from point A to point B. 

I recommend that everyone who is new to the Villages attend this short class.  We love the golf carts, but we also love our lives and need to stay safe.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Villages Concert Band

One thing the Villages is never lacking is entertainment.   No matter what your tastes, there is something for everyone.  There are local performers and famous names (although most of the famous names we get have been around for a long time.)  Not long after returning home from our vacation, we saw a listing of Spring concerts and events in the newspaper.   We looked at tickets for Herman's Hermits and Willie Nelson, but both were sold out.  There were two local performances that we were also interested in and we did get tickets for them.

Last night we went to see the Villages Concert Band's Spring Concert at Savannah Center.  This is a group of about 100 musicians who have probably played their instruments all their lives.  Now they are retired and play for fun.  The director is a retired music educator and the associate director is a retired high school band director.  The ensemble rehearses weekly and performs 5-6 concerts a year, with all profits going to a local charity.

This is not an amateur band.  These are excellent musicians, many of whom worked as musicians or teachers prior to retirement.  They love music and it shows.  We enjoyed a wonderful evening of music including a great rendition of the 1812 Overture, American Folk Rhapsody, an Irish music medley and much more.  There was even a special performance of the Trombone Rag featuring "The P-Bones of the Villages".  This is a group of 10 musicians who play colorful plastic trombones.  I had never heard of this before but these P-Bones sound very much like brass trombones but are much less expensive and come in all kinds of colors.  They are gaining popularity with students just learning to play.

Sunday night we have tickets for another concert, but I'll save that for after we've heard them and can give them a proper review.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

I have wanted to write another post here for weeks, but have been so busy I haven't found the time.  There has been so much going on here that I've been struggling with what to talk about first.  I'll have to write several posts to cover it all, but I thought Disney World would be a good place to start.

We are very fortunate in being so close to Orlando. Every Spring there is a Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot.  We spent a day there last year and I was very much looking forward to it again this year.   This time we reserved a room at the Swan for last Saturday night so we wouldn't have to drive there and back the same day.   We love the parks but walking around for a few hours is tiring.   This way we got there Saturday afternoon in time to check in and go for a nice dinner.   The Swan is a short walk from Epcot.   After dinner we walked over to the International Gateway entrance near the World Showcase and found good seats for a concert by the Turtles.  This 60's group only had a few hits and they are quite old, but the concert was great fun anyway.  They showed a real sense of humor and made it fun for everyone.

After the concert we stayed for the fireworks, which were spectacular as always, then walked back to the Swan.  The next day we checked out and drove to the Epcot parking lot so we could go in through the main entrance.  Most of the special topiary and exhibits are on the entrance side of Epcot, not on the World Showcase side.  We spent the morning photographing the gardens and butterfly house.   It was beautiful as always, but we are not young anymore.  3-4 hours walking is our limit and we were happy to drive home Sunday afternoon.

The availability of the annual residents pass is a great benefit of living in the Villages.