the American Way
If you ever start thinking about Florida retirement the first thing
you'll discover is there are a billion places you can choose in
Florida. Even if you narrow down your choices, as we did, to an
adult community you'll be faced with so many possibilities it will make
your head swim.
So there are two issues here: first, why
pick an adult community, second, why Legacy?
The answer to the first is pretty easy: if you are
retiring you want to be around like-minded individuals.
You have done the “child” thing (or never wanted to) and
while grandkids are nice to visit, you wouldn’t want them living next
to you. A gated community
with such amenities as tennis courts, swimming pools and a set of
organized activities is exactly the thing you need for your “golden”
We had considered, six or seven years earlier,
living in Celebration, the Disney themed community.
When we went to visit and I asked where the adults only section
was I was given blank stares and told it wasn’t good to isolate
yourself in your old age. Poppycock!
In my old age isolation from teenagers racing motorbikes, working
on their cars, or having loud parties down the block (all things which
took place in our old neighborhood) is exactly what I do need.
And while crime doesn’t worry me too much, it’s
nice to live in a gated area where primarily residents move around.
All in all living with adults only is a no-brainer.
There are some drawbacks to such a
community. Rules are in
place to keep you from doing anything you want, and with such structure
goes the ever present two-edged sword.
You certainly don’t want your next door neighbor painting his
house bright purple, but you’ll be damned if you have to justify what
color you’re painting your own house.
So we give up some freedoms in order to preserve the greater
I’m not thrilled about the lack of fences –
coming from the west fences are part and parcel of our way of life –
but I can deal with it. More
disturbing is getting permission for what you plant in your yard, but
since I’ll be doing this only once or so it shouldn’t be too
onerous. We’ll be good
neighbors because we want to have good neighbors.
Legacy of Leesburg
Because we don’t live in
(and couldn’t afford to spend too much time down there) nearly all of
our research had to come from the web.
Luckily there is a small but knowledgeable group of folks who are
willing to share the information they have gained in their own efforts.
By communicating with them and by looking at all the information
the various communities can provide (among them packages including floor
plans and video) we were able to narrow it down to two communities
within the Leesburg area.
We picked Leesburg because it fit within our
definition of how far from Disney World we were willing to be – no
further than around 55 minutes (which is almost exactly how far it is)
so that we would feel comfortable driving in for dinner.
We currently do this quite a bit between here and Reno, and many times during the summer we drive in every weekend to
Sparks, which is 50 minutes away, just to see a movie.
So we knew we’d be willing to go this far but no further on a
There were closer areas – Solivita was one, for
example – but nothing closer fit our other requirements, being either
too expensive, having floor plans we didn’t like, or being sold out.
We knew we definitely wanted to build our own home, from scratch,
as it would be the one time Annie and I could do this together.
Being too close to DW was also an issue, as we think we are just
about perfectly “out there”, isolated from the hustle and bustle
that is the tourist portion of central
The two candidates in this area were
and Legacy, and both had similar features.
was much larger, and the community facilities were top notch.
Legacy was a very small development, with much more modest
facilities. But there were
two things that Legacy had that
didn’t: natural gas and floor plans we liked.
We really didn’t want an all-electric home:
we’ve both grown up with gas, and once you’ve cooked with gas you
never want to do it any other way (that is, if you like to cook).
It’s also cheaper than all electric, and was just something we
But even that might have been compromised on were
it not for the fact that
just didn’t have a floor plan that grabbed us.
There were some that were decent, some we could have lived with,
but all in all there was only one plan that we really liked, that really
fit all our needs, and that was in Legacy.
Couple that with the ability to lock the price of
the home in during construction (something we couldn’t do at
Plantation) and the fact that amenities weren’t all that big a deal for Annie
and I and the decision was obvious.
After having been through the presentations (and
knowing a lot more now) I also think the home construction at Legacy is
superior to Plantation, and not by just a little. Pringle
homes are award winning for a good reason.
The communities are probably just as nice everywhere, but Legacy
was a choice we can live with.
Of course, once we knew we wanted to live at Legacy
there was just a little problem of trying to find a lot…