Manny and Marie invited Rich and I to come to Highland Lakes and play with their group. From here in The Villages, it's just over a 1/2 hour drive, so we headed south on 441/27 this morning and found our way(almost by ourselves!) to the Clubhouse and the Pickleball Arena!! As you
head south from The Villages 441 and 27 split, and not sure of which way to go..........I made a phone call to Manny for directions before we got lost!! And we arrived without further incident.
(this picture (compliments of Marie Cardoza) Talk about making you feel welcome! When we arrived, there was a welcome banner for us. I mean - we are just everyday pickleball players - but the folks here made us feel like celebrities. We had posted pictures of Manny and Marie previously, so we recognized both of them immediately when we arrived. There were 25 people or more that came to enjoy the game today. We were also pleasantly surprised to meet several players from Legacy, which is another active adult community that neighbors Highland Lakes.
One of the first people that we were introduced to were Joe and Marie Falcon. Unable to play, they enjoyed watching from the sidelines. The picture is of Cal Blenis (left) having to sit out for a while after a partial knee replacement along with Marie and Joe Falcon. Pickleball was introduced to Highland Lakes way back in 1993 by George Hasting, a gentleman visiting from up north and Joe and Marie were one of the first to be introduced to the game and they were the very first "leaders" of the pickleball group and responsibile for continuing the growth of the game in the community! I'm sure they are very proud of what it has become today.
Here are some pictures of their "pickleball arena", their players and Rich and I thoroughly enjoying ourselves! Here is picture from the stage. As you can see, there are four courts set up for play. The indoor noises take a little getting used to, but we acclimated to the air conditioned comfort very quickly.
Serving is Sue Clark, visiting from Legacy, and partnering with Bob Miller of Highland Lakes
Waitng for the next play is Richard Ekstrand of Highland Lakes
Here's Rich partnering with another Legacy player, Nancy Custard. Actually - Nancy is a very good player, and I think it was a little later that she and I were playing against Rich and had a really fun close game.
And here's Manny Cardoza. Rich and I played our first game against him and Marie. Can't remember the score, but I THINK we won!! Tough to remember the score when you're having fun! This is Bob Miller (left) from Legacy and Dick Mell from Highland Lakes. The first thing that Dich asked us when we met him was to guess how old he was. I'm not good at guessing anyone's age......but Dick will be 84 years old in November and still enjoys playing the game!!!
Here I am partnering with Bob Miller from Higland Lakes. I remember this one, and yes we lost. I know Rich was playing on the other side of the net!!!
Remember, we told you that Ken and Lynn Corbett from SC, introduced us to Highland Lakes? Well Lynn's MOM, is a resident there and stopped by to say hello to Rich and I before we left. Ken and Lynn were in Florida in May and spent time at her Mom's timeshare on the gulf coast. We had hoped to hook up with them, but unfortunately it didn't happen. They will be back in Florida in September, so we hope to get the opportunity to finally meet them! Here is a picture of Rich with Lynn's mom Nancy. I thought I would surprise Lynn, so I sent her this picture not long after we got home. She wrote back to say that Mom had excitedly, already called her!
Not only are the people here at Highland Lakes very friendly, the community is absolutely lovely. It is located just south of Leesburg, is resident owned and boasts all kinds of ammenities. Manny and Marie took us for a short tour of the clubhouse and adjoining fittness center and pools. The indoor pool is just beautiful and was soooooooooooo inviting after playing pickeball.
As we entered the gate to the outside pool, this couple saw my camera and stopped their lap across the pool to wave for this picture. I asked if the water was warm. Only 84 degrees! Not sure how much that would cool me off on these 95 degree afternoons. If we ever sell our home in Wesley Chapel.........this is definately a place to consider settling down in.
This posting would not be complete without a picture of our new friends Manny and Marie (M&M) Cardoza. We look forward to seeing all of the players again, perhaps sometime in September. In the meantime we have set a date for Saturday August 15th for dinner with M&M. They are taking us to a place just south of the community for Prime Rib and a bottle of wine for $25. Can't beat that! We'll let you know how good it is!
Here is another picture below, compliments of the talented Marie. This is a great group picture. If you click on this link (Highland Lakes) it will take you to their website where you can enlarge these pictures for a terriffic view. Click this link (Highland Lakes Photos) to see more pictures of the arena and players or watch the slideshow we've put on the right sidebar.