A retiree paradise

The Villages in Florida are one of the fastest-growing Metro areas in the country.

It is a planned community designed for retirees.

There is a nearly endless assortment of amenities. There are nearly forty golf courses and more than ten championship-level golf courses. There are several courses designed by Nancy Lopez an Arnold Palmer. With over 640 holes, it is the largest single golf community. There is live entertainment offered every single day of the year. From 5PM to 9PM, all three town squares offer a unique event to enjoy. Each town square features its own theme and a variety of shops and restaurants. Everything in The Villages is nearby and accessible by way of a golf cart. There are over ninety miles of paved paths for the carts to travel. With a population of more than 132,000 residents, The Villages has three separate zip codes and covers around thirty-two square miles. Buying a home in the area can cost anywhere from one hundred thousand dollars to over a million. There are smaller neighborhoods with about one hundred homes and larger neighborhoods with over fifteen-hundred hoes. More than half of the residents pay cash for their homes. There are organized clubs for health, fitness, sports, art, dance, gardening and over twenty-five hundred options. Residents can also enroll in classes for everything from sculpting and painting to computers. The Villages was established fifty years ago and continues to draw in new residents. The community is safe, clean and provides gorgeous year round weather. It is truly a retiree paradise.

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Attending NHL games in Tampa

I know that it’s difficult to maintain a solid sheet of ice because of the heat and humidity

My husband and I are avid hockey fans and really attending NHL games. Living in the northeastern part of the country, getting to the stadium can be just about impossible. It’s necessary to brush the snow off the hood, scrape the ice off the windshield and allow the car to run with the defrost blasting for twenty minutes before pulling out of the driveway. We dress in heavy boots, sweaters, wool coats, gloves and hats. The commute can be hazardous due to blizzard conditions or icy roads. Once we park the car, the walk from the lot to the stadium is downright brutal. Temperatures below freezing, slippery pavement and the wind chill are very unpleasant. Once we make it inside, it’s a relief to remove our coats. My son moved to Tampa, Florida, a couple of years ago. Every year, for Christmas, he buys my husband and I tickets to see the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. We are delighted for an excuse to head south and escape the snow and cold. Attending a game in Tampa is a very different experience. We dress in shorts and T-shirts and make the drive to the venue with the air conditioner running. Once we find a place to park, there is a very festive atmosphere among the fans. Because of the beautiful weather, people tend to linger outdoors. There are sponsored activities and fans tailgating. Even inside the rink, it’s not necessary to wear more than a sweatshirt. I know that it’s difficult to maintain a solid sheet of ice because of the heat and humidity. However, it’s a much more enjoyable time for the fans.
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The rich history of St. Petersburg


Petersburg is a city located on the picturesque Gulf Coast in Florida.

Along with sandy beaches and a vibrant art scene, a rich history has an impact on the state. From its origin as a pioneer settlement to growing into a cultural and economic hub, the city has come a long way since the late nineteenth century. A Russian aristocrat was inspired by his original hometown of St. Petersburg and names this new city after it. A pivotal moment for the town was in 1888, when the Orange Belt Railway opened up the opportunity for commerce and development. The area was a favorite winter resort destination for wealthy northerners. The Detroit Hotel was the first luxury accommodation and drew in tourists from across the country. The warm weather and gorgeous beaches earned the name, “The Sunshine City.” A major economic and population surge happened in the 1920s. New residents moved in and invested into the area. The downtown area underwent considerable construction, showcasing Mediterranean Revival and Art Deco architecture. It was at this time that the iconic Vinoy Park Hotel was built. It stood as a symbol of the city’s prosperity. An influx of African American residents contributed to cultural diversity. The Gas Plant District, originally called “The Deuces,” was a popular African American commerce and entertainment. In 1924, the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club was founded and has become the oldest and largest of its kind in the world. St. Petersburg’s commitment to arts and culture is long-standing. The Salvador Dali Musuem showcases the most significant collection of Dali’s works outside of Europe. The Mahaffey Theater and the St. Petersburg Museum of Fine Arts are also gems of the city’s cultural dynamics.


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Trying to workout outdoors is difficult due to severe weather

The weather in Springield, Missouri, is quite unpredictable.

We experience everything from below-freezing temperatures and snow to hight heat, excess humidity, violent winds and rain.

I try to keep active and take good care of myself. I’m hoping to stay strong, healthy and in good shape as I grow older. Along with eating right, drinking plenty of water and keeping to a strict sleep schedule, I workout every morning. I devote approximately an hour to a variety of exercises. After a dedicated warmup, I make sure to incorporate high-intensity aerobics, strength training, static holds and balance exercises. While I have a small home gym set up in an unused bedroom, I prefer to take my workout outdoors. The fresh air gets me motivated. I like to go for long runs, ride my bike or even drag a yoga mat outside and jump rope. Unfortunately, the severe weather conditions in Springfield make spending time outdoors somewhat challenging. It’s difficult to know how to dress when I head out on a run. For the temperatures in the high eighties and brutal humidity, I have shorts and tank tops that wick away moisture. In the summer, I attempt to workout as early as possible to avoid the heat of the day. However, it’s not unusual to get caught in a sudden downpour. I have also invested into clothes to keep me dry when it’s raining. I have thin layers that hold in body heat for the chilly days. I worry about running in the fall because the wet leaves turn slippery. I am unable to run in the winter once there is too much snow on the ground and the temperature drops into the forties. For the majority of the year, I’m stuck inside running on the treadmill or riding the stationary bike. At least, I have a lovely view from the window.


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Places to eat in Sioux Falls

In recent years, Sioux Falls, South Dakota has steadily built a reputation as a culinary destination.

The diverse food scene appeals travelers passing through as well as locals looking for something new and fresh.

There is a wide array of restaurants offering a menu to suit every preference. Found in downtown Sioux Falls, The Market includes everything from tacos and pizza to gourmet burgers and sushi. There is a vibrant atmosphere with community seating and an enticing selection of cocktails and craft beers. For French-inspired cuisine with American flair, Bros Brasserie Americano is an upscale restaurant with unique dishes. An impressive wine list pairs well with steak frites, seafood bouillabaisse and duck confit. M.B. Haskett Delicatessen is a wonderfully casual destination. The sandwiches, soups and salads are made fresh in-house with mainly locally-sourced and high-quality ingredients. The highlights of the menu are the smoked salmon sandwich and the pastrami on rye. For Vietnamese cuisine, Jacky’s Restaurant offers delicious pho, fresh spring rolls and traditional Vietnamese coffee. As a family-owned established, the atmosphere is especially welcoming and friendly. Sanaa’s Gourmet Mediterranean provides the taste of Middle East. From hummus and falafel to kebabs and shawarma, the flavors are authentic, rich and delicious. Everyone raves about the baklava. Ode to Food and Drinks changes its menu according to seasonally available ingredients. Every visit offers something different and creative. Dishes such as pan-seared duck breast and braised short ribs showcase their commitment to sustainable food practices. There’s also a fun cocktail menu. To be sure everyone in the family finds something on the menu, Grille 26 offers pasta, seafood, steak burgers and more.


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Summer is busy in Sioux Falls

Living In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, I wait a long time for the snow melt and warmer weather to finally arrive.

Nestled in the heart of the Great Plains, the area is known for brutal winters and mild summers.

I know to make the most of the months of June, July and August. After that, the weather starts cooling off again. While the summers are short, the climate is ideal for outdoor activities available. The temperature typically ranges between the mid-seventies and low-eighties, and humidity isn’t a problem. Every summer, a trip to Falls Park is a must. With Big Sioux River flowing over gorgeous quartzite cliffs, breathtaking wateralls and vibrant green spaces, it’s the ideal spot for picnics or just relaxing. Plus, the gentle waters of Big Sioux River are ideal for paddleboarding, canoeing or kayaking. When I want to get my heart pumping, I head to one of the any bike trails that wind through the city. The Sioux Falls Greenway travels thirty miles along the riverbanks. The views are amazing and I always spot a variety of bird species. Every now and then, it’s nice to leave the hustle and bustle of regular life behind and fully embrace the outdoors The nearby state parks allow a variety of camping facilities. During the summer, the downtown streets of the city become an open-air art gallery It’s called Sculpture Walk and provides for a constantly changing collection of sculptures created by both local and international artists. There’s also plenty of outdoor concerts happening as long as the weather allows. The Sioux Falls Jazz and Blues Festival and the Festival of Cultures are a couple of events I look forward to all year. The food, music and overall atmosphere is so much fun.


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Surprised by winters in South Bend

When my husband and I purchased our home in South Bend, Indiana, we were charmed by the hardwood floors, big windows, high ceilings and wide front porch.

We loved the historical features of a home built in the late 1800’s. We were thrilled with the amount of property, privacy and gorgeous views. Coming from the northeastern part of the country, we thought we were prepared for the winter. We had no idea how difficult the house would be to heat. We also had no clue how cold and snowy it gets in South Bend. The first snowfall in early October came as an unpleasant surprise. There was several feet of snow on the ground and temperatures below freezing by Halloween. Every room in the house was freezing cold, and we spent hours everyday shoveling the walkways and driveways. We needed to get up extra early in the morning to brush snow off the vehicles, scrape ice off the windshield, clear the driveway and let the cars warm up enough to defrost the glass. By the time we returned home from work, the driveway was once again clogged with snow. Then we’d step inside, turn up the thermostat and shiver all night. I finally called around and found a professional plowing service to keep the driveway clear. I found an HVAC contractor who tested the heating system and figured out that the ductwork was the problem. Holes and leaks at the seams were allowing the majority of our heated air to escape. A duct sealing process made a huge difference in satisfaction with the furnace. In the spring, my husband and I built a garage for our vehicles. The garage is heated and allows us to start up our cars and head to work without hassle.


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Things to do in Tuscaloosa

The city of Tuscaloosa is located in the heart of Alabama and is known for exemplifying southern char.

The community is a perfect blend of culture, rich history, a vibrant college scene and beautiful landscapes.

The University of Alabama campus in Tuscaloosa offers stately buildings, a picturesque campus and the Bryant-Denny Stadium which is famous song football fans. Attending a game is an exciting experience. For fans of Alabama football, the Paul W. Bryant Museum is named after legendary coach Bear Bryant and provides an in-depth look into the history of Alabaa football. The Tuscaloosa Riverwalk is a favorite destination for locals and tourists. The scenic path follows the banks of the Black Warrior River for 4.5 miles. The parks, picnic areas and stunning views are ideal for a stroll, jog or bike ride. There is the opportunity to rent kayaks or paddleboards to enjoy the river. The city is built on an interesting historical heritage. The Alabama Museum of Natural History and the Gorgas House Museum offer insight into the state’s past. The Tuscaloosa Ampitheater brings a diversity of musical performers to the area. In close proximity to Tuscaloosa, Moundville Archaeological Park is a great chance to explore Native American history and learn about the prehistoric Native American civilization that once inhabited the area. For some fresh air and physical activity, Lake Tuscaloosa is a popular destination for fishing, picnicking and boating. There are numerous parks and trails along the lake for hiking and birdwatching, including the Tuscaloosa Arboretum and Hurricane Creek Park. For great places to eat, the city provides a mix of Southern comfort food and modern cuisine. There is Archibald’s and Dreamland Bar-B-Que along with upscale options such as River. A local specialities is a mayonnaise-based barbecue sauce.

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