Disney Fake and Simultaneously Fabulously Gorgeous
A lot of The Villages are studio quality fakery. Behind this gazebo, you can see “La Reina” hotel – actually there’s an LA Fitness or something on the second floor and on the first floor is a sales and information center (one of like half a dozen) for people who want to move to The Villages. And still, there’s a Historical Plackard in front, like in front of the Henry B. Plant Museum or the Columbia, which says like “Here’s where Teddy Roosevelt launched his invasion of Cuba.” Except the one in The Villages is fake. Because it describes a time before that building – or for that matter anyone – lived there.
There’s actually a bridge that goes over Avenida Central (pronounced cen-tr-AL; like Spanish, I guess?) designed to look like the below stone work. However, the cracks and exposed bricks are just painted on. Is that a relevant complaint? But anyways, the bridge goes over this major road to ferry Golf Carts from the new side to the older parts of The Villages. Which is pretty cool I suppose.
And over in that older part of The Villages are some pretty standard 1950s communities. Except, at one point, coming around the bend in the road atop a hill, there’s a pretty fantastic site. The hill slopes down to a park and lake where people are playing Frisbee and walking their dogs and picnicking and in the distance from the hill the sun sets behind some large, old trees and the domed steeple of the Catholic church juts above the tree line. I’ve only ever seen that in Europe. Who’d have thought we had it in Florida?
Surrounding much of The Villages are pastoral farmland. Lots of cattle lazily grazing under old oaks with impressive canopies. Some gorgeous rolling fields probably used for fodder. And yes, there’s a massive construction effort underway in The Villages to expand it from a population of 80,000 now to 125,000, which the family-owned community promises to be the hard cap.
Everything in the southern quarter of the map that’s white or tan is under development and uninhabited. Everything north of what’s visible is poverty. What I jokingly proded my parents about as “they keep the colored and the white trash on the other side of the wall (Oh yeah, there are some walls, which seem to only be there to keep out the coloreds and…etc.). Everything west of 301 is also inhabited as is everything south of 466A at the bottom.
The only pasture land – the rolling hills that I’ve already needlessly hyped – that hasn’t been destroyed is that pocket in the upper left of the map. At what point does what drew people here become consumed by the desire to be part of God’s Country? When does the desire to squeeze people into land near pastures and grazing cattle and God’s country fuel the kind of residential expansion that eventually obliterates all the nearby “God’s Country” and all you’re left with is Pembroke Pines, FL except with an age limit and golf carts.
And now, what you’ve all been waiting for. Stories about stupid old people culture.