With about 3000 lifestyle groups here in The Villages, there are certainly plenty of choices of how to occupy your time.  However, in a state that is so geographically diverse as Florida, I cannot help wanting to explore from the Panhandle to the Keys.  We made one such trip during the week of July 4th.  My nephew, Christian, and his family, rented a house on a canal in Marathon, which is about half-way down the Keys.  They invited us to join them as it was a graduation trip for their oldest son.  We had never been to the Keys even though we have lived here almost nine years.  We packed up and headed south for the 6.5-hour drive.  We timed our travel to avoid the rush hours of Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami and the trip was quite enjoyable, especially when we started to see water.

Well, the whole adventure was wonderful.  We saw family, I got to do some cooking for them, and the boys fished for hours off the back of the house in the canal.  We chartered a deep-sea fishing boat for a day out of Islamorada and caught nine Mahi-Mahi.   We brought the filets to a local restaurant, and they cooked them for us four different ways and I have even more in my freezer to enjoy another day.

We also chartered another boat to go snorkeling on a protected reef.  It was a beautiful experience.  While the fish provided a colorful explosion of color and variety, I was surprised how much I enjoyed all the varieties of coral.  We also spent one day in Key West and really enjoyed the Conch Train tour.  This visit certainly primed our interest in going back for another longer visit.

The bottom line for us is that we are happy to have all the opportunities we have in The Villages, but we also appreciate having an infinite variety of things to see and do in Florida.  Whatever your interests – get out and enjoy!

Stay safe and healthy,

John Dean, Vice President