Active Seniors Rave About Valencia Lakes
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Leslie Farrel | Special Sections Correspondent
The active, upbeat lifestyle that adult residents
enjoy at GL Homes' Valencia
Lakes in southern Hillsborough County is unlike any other community
in the Tampa Bay area, says Valencia Lakes' lifestyle director
Cassandra Leopold. People who just come to investigate are often very
surprised by all they offer at this new community, built just for active
adults age 55 and
Resident Frank L. Cavalier, 68, completely agrees with that
"We came here because of the lifestyle itself," says Cavalier, a real
estate agent who did his homework before choosing a community in which
to live. "I went through all the new developments and found this place.
It's like being on a cruise ship, but on land. There's something to do
Cavalier and his wife, Judi, moved to Valencia Lakes in
March and he's already joined the Fishing Club and
Finance Club, and speculates he'll join the Garden Club and possibly the
Knitting Club. He's also looking forward to learning to play
pickleball, a popular
sport at Valencia Lakes. The couple especially enjoys attending the
shows GL Homes
brings to the 600-seat social hall, such as "A Neil Diamond
Tribute," "Smirnoff/Kane" and the patriotic "I Hear America Singing."
Clubs have been organized in everything from needlepoint to
photography to horseshoes. If you haven't already perfected a certain
skill, you can even take lessons. Lessons are provided in just about
everything, including Spanish, water coloring painting, sketching,
quilting, tennis and personal training.
Residents seem to agree that it's easy to meet others at Valencia
"Everybody I've met has been very nice. There are people from all
over the country here," says Cavalier, who originates from Pennsylvania.
committee of about 20 residents makes sure new folks feel at home
from day one. In addition, a party is held by GL Homes every quarter
for new and existing residents.
Leopold works hard to secure a friendly environment and makes sure a
variety of entertainment is always available. Residents themselves have a
dining event in which one household sponsors dinner for everyone on
"They've done a great job with bonding with all their neighbors,"
Judy and Michael Poorman moved to Valencia Lakes
from Connecticut three years ago. Unlike Cavalier, they did not look at
other communities and chose Valencia Lakes
strictly because of the builder's reputation, Judy Poorman says.
"I think most of GL Homes' sales occur through referrals. They build
quality homes, they stand behind them, and they're always quick to
respond. That's what we've experienced here," she says, explaining that a
former neighbor in Connecticut moved to a GL Homes community in
eastern Florida and recommended the company.
"This is really a friendly community. When you move in, you meet
people right away. Everyone is very outgoing and friendly so you don't
feel isolated," Poorman said.
Poorman has taken up pickleball, which she describes as a cross
between pingpong, badminton and racquetball. The community features four
pickleball and six tennis courts.
"My husband plays euchre on Monday nights," says Poorman, adding that
she sometimes participates in evening exercise classes. "You can do as
much as you want or as little as you want."
A few other amenities include a massage therapist on the premises,
professional ballroom dance lessons and tennis lessons. Some activities,
such as jewelry design and poker night, take place in the
27,000-square-foot clubhouse that sports a café, full fitness center,
social hall with dance floor and raised stage, card rooms, a billiards
room and an arts and crafts studio. Other amenities include tennis
courts, a resort-style swimming pool, a resistance walking pool, a spa
with steam room and sauna and pickleball courts.
Homes come in a variety of styles and run from 1,321 to 2,866 square
feet at a cost of between $154,900 and $331,900. One story and two story
homes are available, each featuring a two- or three-car garage. Each
home in Valencia
Lakes features a tile roof, paver driveway, screen covered lanai and
beautifully appointed interior with tile floors and Corian countertops.
"We'd never built a house from scratch; it was a great experience.
They were so thorough and conscientious – watching for things as
construction was going on," Poorman concludes.
Models are located at 4927 Sapphire Sound Drive in Wimauma. They are
open for viewing Saturdays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and
Fridays, noon to 5 p.m.
While GL Homes
has created nine Valencia communities on the east coast of Florida, the Valencia Lakes
in Wimauma near Sun City is the first on the west coast.
For more information, including a video tour, visit www.glhomes.com/valencia-lakes
and by calling 1-800-875-2176.