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Following Up with the Gilliams: Golfers Loving Lakeside

May 23, 2022

Residents of Lakeside at Waterman Village have begun moving into their luxurious waterside homes. They can finally experience the Lakeside maintenance-free lifestyle alongside their welcoming neighbors. The Gilliams, a couple we interviewed in 2021, had the opportunity to experience Lakeside at Waterman Village in full after they moved into our lovely community in early February of 2022. Hear from Michelle and Jeff, and learn why they’re loving life at Lakeside.

The couple’s retirement plans

Michelle and Jeff were originally from New Jersey but retired to Florida about 15 years ago. “We had the 10 plan – 10 years in our home, 10 years in a 55+ community and 10 years in a retirement community like Lakeside,” Michelle said. However, the two ended up staying in their original home five years longer than their original plan. Because of this, they became interested in “eliminating the middle section,” she added. The two researched many retirement communities in Florida and found their home at Lakeside. “We wanted to enjoy life and not have the stress and responsibility of maintaining our home,” Jeff said. Moving to a community like Lakeside that offers progressive/multi-levels of living on one convenient campus helped ease the Gilliams’ minds in case their needs ever change. Plus, with Lakeside at Waterman Village’s amazing amenities, location and active, maintenance-free lifestyle, Michelle and Jeff felt that the community is “more like a resort. Our neighbor says, ‘It’s like I’m on a cruise.’ It’s incredible.”

Jeff and Michelle: Downsizing into Lakeside

Michelle said that the couple downsized by approximately 50 percent. “We came from a 2,700 square foot home to a little under 1,400 square feet. The amazing thing is we’re learning we don’t need all that space. The space that we have is comfortable.”

When determining what furniture the two should bring to their new home, Michelle and Jeff quickly realized that they needed to optimize their space. So, the two shopped local stores and worked with a designer to help create their ideal home. The two wanted a more contemporary look for their home and to use their second bedroom as a guest room. Michelle said, “It’s very important to us to have friends come over and spend the night. While we have plenty of friends on Waterman Village’s campus, we also have some off-campus that we love to see.” Even as the couple moved into their Merlin garden home, they continued to downsize their belongings. “We have a couple of cartons in the garage we’re taking for donation. How many appetizer plate sets do you need?” Michelle mused.

Michelle said also she was excited to create an office in their cozy den. In her office, her desk “faces the front of the house. I get to see everybody that goes down the streets and we’ve enjoyed watching our new neighbors move into the community.”

Michelle and Jeff are excited for when they are fully unpacked. The two still need to hang art on their walls and place their knick-knacks throughout the home, “things that give you the warm and fuzzies,” Michelle described.

The couple’s favorite activities

One of Jeff and Michelle’s favorite hobbies is visiting the 18-hole golf course. Jeff said, “The two of us are playing at least once a week. Sometimes we play with two other people who have moved into the community. The course itself is quite nice. It’s in good condition and is enjoyable to play.” In fact, the two recently participated in a resident golf tournament. “It was a nine-hole scramble with staff and residents,” Jeff said.

In addition to playing golf, Jeff and Michelle are eager to take advantage of the amenities available at Waterman Village. Thanks to a bridge constructed between Lakeside and Waterman Village, residents can easily travel between the campuses to enjoy different dining and amenities.

When it’s time to come home and relax, Michelle and Jeff enjoy spending time on their porch. “We’ve gotten very comfortable sitting on the lanai watching the wild turkeys,” Michelle said.

Jeff and Michelle are looking forward to the continued additions to the community, such as the opening of the state-of-the-art fitness center. “Previously, on days where we weren’t playing golf, we visited our local fitness center. So, we’re looking forward to when it opens,” Jeff said. They’re also looking forward to taking advantage of the many offerings of Mount Dora, such as the festivals hosted throughout the year. “We’re only about one and a half miles from the center of town, so you can walk there,” Michelle said.

Delicious dining opportunities

One thing that the couple is very excited about is the fabulous on-campus dining experiences. They said the highlight of their day is “…going to dinner. We have all these restaurants here, plus you meet your friends. It’s so social,” Michelle said. Recently, they had the opportunity to dine at Lakeside’s new restaurant, Savor. “It was incredible. I’m looking forward to trying the fish dishes served at this restaurant. In fact, we have a reservation soon with another couple to try the crab cakes.” The two have also enjoyed the Bistro on the Waterman Village campus. But Michelle admitted that her favorite dish served at Lakeside is the turkey.

Michelle said the couple made “the best decision” to live at Lakeside. “One of the things that drew us to Waterman Village was the fact everyone we met before we signed papers was so nice,” she elaborated. “Everyone that’s moved in is on the same page as us. It’s not like moving into a subdivision, where maybe your next-door neighbor drops by to say hello. Truly, everyone at the community is so warm and welcoming.”

If you’re interested in becoming a part of this active and retirement community in Mount Dora where you can retire with luxury, peace of mind and plenty of engaging opportunities, contact us at 352-385-1120. Our community is nearly full, so be sure to call today!

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