Sunday, December 15, 2013

How They Do a Christmas Parade in The Villages

There is no easy way to describe life in The Villages. That was made clear to me when we attended our very first Christmas parade here.  We arrived an hour early to find we were almost late for finding a good spot but find one we did, albeit at the very end of the route.  I was concerned that the senior citizens who were in the parade might poop out before they reached the end of the very long loop around the polo field...ha!  These are VILLAGERS!

Parade watchers came in their undecorated golf carts but with their pets decorated.

Next to Denny and me, a large group of friends set up a tail gating party.

And when the parade began, there were belly dancers and twirlers and drum corps and stilt walkers and clowns and antique cars and horses and motorcycles and Segways and golf carts galore.  Because that's how we roll in TV (The Villages.)

I've only posted a very few of the many photos I took that day, but suffice to say that Villagers know how to have fun.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A VCC Day Trip to Ice! at the Gaylord Palms Hotel

The Villages Convertible Club is all about getting out on back roads, driving with the top down to explore new and fun places.  There are always a variety of day trips and overnight trips to choose from as folks in TV (The Villages) don't like to sit around in their rocking chairs.  The trip this week was to the Ice! show at the Gaylord Palms Hotel in Kissimmee, Florida, where a storyline display of ice sculptures are created each year by a staff of ice sculptors from Harbin, China.  This year's story is Frosty the Snowman.

Now you may be wondering how an ice sculpture show can be held in the middle of Florida where the outside temperatures are in the 80s this week?  Simple.  The hotel trucks in huge air conditioning units which cools the display area to a very chilly 9 degrees Fahrenheit.  Brr!  When you purchase tickets you are told to wear long pants, shoes with covered toes, to bring gloves and a hat and to dress in layers.  After you enter the show area you are loaned a long parka and warned that your iPhone may not work inside with the cold, but that your digital cameras should.  And with that, we were off!
 All of the sculptures and decorations at the Ice! show are created from clear and dyed blocks of ice that started off as 10x20x42 inch blocks of ice, each weighing about 350 pounds.  It arrives at the hotel over a period of three weeks arriving in several truckloads.

Entering the display area through an igloo-style ice tunnel
The beginning of the story of Frosty the Snowman and how he came to life one day....

 Frosty melts away...
But he'll be back again someday....
 Some of Frosty's friends.  Exquisite carving skills.

AND there are ice slides for those of us who are still kids at heart!

 The middle section of the display is the area explaining how the ice is created, trucked in and then carved.
 One of the Chinese ice sculptors, making a set of leaves to place under the red rose currently resting atop the blue ice vase.

 And the final display is that of an exquisitely carved Nativity scene and the angel guarding the scene.
Once you leave the Ice! show you are free to wander the grounds and interior of the Gaylord Palm hotel (and of course the gift area immediately outside the exit of the Ice! show.)  Denny and I took advantage of that to look around and search for the tiny reindeer hidden in various areas as part of a giveaway scavenger hunt. There are eight restaurants/cafes/places to get a bite to eat inside and a lot to explore.  The interior is all under glass.

A stop on the way back home to pick fresh oranges and grapefruit right off the trees and Denny and I arrived home happily exhausted from all the walking and exploring.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Convertible Club Does the Mt. Dora Christmas Walk

There's nothing like going to look at Christmas lights while driving around with your top down.  (insert very big grin)

In December, one of our scheduled Convertible Club trips was to the annual Mt. Dora Christmas Walk.  The city blocks off several blocks of downtown Mt. Dora, the shops stay open late and the town has bedecked itself with lights and has a party with live bands in the streets, musical Christmas trees and lots and lots of people wandering around.  Denny and I had a great meal at a Cuban restaurant and then headed out to explore the various antique shops, boutiques and great places to have ice cream.


Jazz band.
There is a history attached to this stuff polar bear but I'm having a senior moment and can't remember it.
Musical tree with sunset over the lake included.

A rescued cockatoo that was out for some air.  A CC member who was not familiar with how hard a cockatoo can bite was pushing his luck here.
We'll have to do this again.