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Florida Guide > Places to Visit

The Villages – Market Square and beyond

The Villages provide a fascinating insight into what can be achieved for good quality 21st century living set in a lovely environment.

Basically a number of individually named village communities for age groups of 55 and over have been set around a hub which has become the focal point for shopping, fine dining and entertainment; effectively it’s the town center.

Although the resident community may be of retirement age, visitors are warmly welcomed to enjoy the vibrancy of the Market Square and its surrounding areas and within this article we will try and give you a flavor of what is on offer.

Set in Lake County the Villages can be reached by taking US27 north to the intersection with CR466A West. After two miles take a left into Morse Boulevard and follow the signs for Lake Sumpter Landing and head for the lighthouse which can be seen to your right.

Parking is plentiful, but an unusual feature of village life is that most residents use customized golf carts as their preferred mode of transport and they outnumber cars by probably as many as ten to one.

At the time of our visit the Market Square was packed to the rafters with a live jazz quartet entertaining the throng by belting out some popular and well known numbers.

Around its periphery wooden Victorian styled buildings painted in pastel shades are a prominent feature and are home to a variety of shops, restaurants and other local businesses.

Just a stone’s throw away is the boardwalk area of Lake Sumpter Landing where visitors can walk out to Lighthouse Point accompanied by music from the 60s emanating from concealed speakers set in the flower beds.

Being an inland lake the construction of a lighthouse seems a little over the top but a short transcript at the spot reveals how the eccentric Willoughby Wagner known locally as the ‘Commodore’ was obsessed with everything nautical and built the lighthouse and became its keeper for 25 years in the early 19th century. It was said he was never happier than when there was a thunderstorm or fog rolling in, so that he could go some way to justifying its existence.

We digress. From the boardwalk area you can look across the lake to the beautifully manicured golf course beyond and, in fact, take a short boat trip around the point.

However, the highlight of the day for us was sitting by the lake with a cold beer and watching the sun go down.

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Page added on: 7 January 2011
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