As yet another “Snowbird Season” draws to a close, newbies are no doubt planning the next trip to Florida.  Many are looking for the perfect place to winter over from all points north and cold.  I’ve lived in coastal areas for several years, and have witnessed the Snowbird Season up close and personal.  There is such a thing as a snowbird starter home. And, there’s one particular place many of them will choose a second, and eventual retirement home — The Villages.  As active senior developments have grown in popularity, The Villages is unique and absolutely fascinating.

(more…)

Watersound Origins Village Commons. All photos courtesy of Watersound Origins

Watersound Origins Village Commons (Photos: courtesy of Watersound Origins)

If renting a house at the beach  is your family vacation tradition, chances are good you are on your way, at, or planning a trip soon to the Florida Panhandle.  As Candy Evans noted in an earlier report this month, the region encompassing Destin, Panama City Beach, and South Walton is the second largest vacation rental ownership market in the country, and for good reason.

Snow white sand beaches, sea oat-covered dunes, pine forests, wetlands, and coastal dune lakes along the Scenic Coastal Highway 30A corridor of  the “Emerald Coast,” as it’s known, make for a wonderland of outdoor recreational activities in stunning natural beauty. But, especially if you are a regular, the problem with staying in touristy housing is that, well, everyone there is a tourist.

Not so three miles inland of South Walton Beach at the residential development Watersound Origins, which has just announced the opening of its second phase. Short-term rentals are banned here — it’s a community dedicated to those with a permanent commitment in mind.  And what does it have to offer? Jump to see … (more…)