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Continued: For Florida's happy Minnesotans, it takes a village

There’s a lot more traffic — tying up roads and golf cart paths alike — and a lot more new faces than there were when the Solomonsons moved in a decade ago.

“Ninety-nine percent of the people we talk to in The Villages say ‘We love it here,’ ” Bob Solomonson said, raising his voice over a saxophone solo a musician was belting out for the patio patrons around him. “One percent say ‘It’s too busy.’ And you talk to them a little while longer, and it’s because they miss their grandkids.”

So some leave, but in an average day, 20 newcomers move to The Villages to take their place.

Welcome boards in the recreation centers list each day’s newcomers by name and home state. A board on a recent Tuesday showed almost two dozen new names, including one more couple from Minnesota.

A happy retirement isn’t a competition. But if it was, the Minnesota Club would be medalists.

At the end of another busy day, the Kruses headed out to hear a friend’s blues band perform at McCall’s tavern. The band fired up, the crowd jumped to their feet.

Time to dance.

 

Jennifer Brooks • 612-673-4008

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  • Pam Nelson, originally of Vadnais Heights, wore a sign at The Villages’ Minnesota Club meeting.

  • Kathie Gregorich, originally from Duluth, waved goodbye after the Minnesota Club’s picnic on April 21 in The Villages, Fla. Meetings will start up again in the fall once the snowbirds return.

  • The Villages

    The Villages, population 101,000, is America’s fastest-growing community. You must be at least 19 to live in the gated retirement community and older than 55 to buy a house.

    The Villages boasts:

    63 recreation centers

    11 country clubs

    100 tennis courts

    1 polo stadium

    By the numbers:

    540: Holes of golf in The Villages (soon to increase to 630), more than in any other community in the world

    300: New residents a month

    900: Members of the Minnesota Club at The Villages

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