Solivita The Retirement You Dreamed Of

Rethink Retirement: Indulge In A Thrilling Active Retirement Lifestyle

Retirement doesn’t have to be sitting on the couch, watching reruns of your favorite television show. Imagine yourself looking out to a beautiful lake while painting a picture, or ceramic. Later you check out the fitness center equipped with state-of-the-art cardiovascular and strength equipment. You decide you want to play a round of golf instead.

Springtime In Solivita: Community Garden Time In Solivita!

Community Garden in Solivita – What a blast!

We recently got our first plot and decided to plant some seeds. Explored the internet for seeds and stumbled upon the Burpee Seed Catalog. What a Hoot! Seeds for every fruit and vegetable. While searching for seeds we found Direct Sow Seeds. After reading and researching we picked a few varieties to plant, provided Burpee with our address and credit card info, and in three days our seeds were in our mailbox.

Prior to moving to Florida, when planting seeds, we nurtured them under a grow light, and transplanted the plants when they were strong and the earth had turned warm. We both (Lee & Lorraine Valdes) always had fun playing in the dirt and eventually harvested some vegetables, but most of our efforts went into feeding the local rabbits, deer and birds. Who can relate? *Chuckles*

Take a look at this close-up of the community garden, it’s truly looking marvelous!

Well, it is about three weeks since the seeds hit the dirt, and already we have spinach, carrots and peppers emerging from the earth. Solivita has a great fenced in Community Garden Space with raised beds, easy access to water, fertilizer, soil and neighbors and friends to advise, share and help you water your garden plus share the bounty of fun and friendship.

On a beautiful sunny morning we had our first garden meeting. The sun has been shining and we’ve had a few showers – the best climate for healthy growing plants! I know we will not only enjoy the time spent in the garden but the fruit of our labor as well.

Off to weed the garden!

Things to do in Orlando When the Family Comes to Visit

Solivita Retirement Community Boasts Accolades

Where to Retire Magazine has named Solivita one of the country’s best master-planned communities. Solivita is celebrated, admired, and with an active 55+ Community with over 4,300 acres of great natural beauty, pristine ponds, conservation, walking and biking paths for your enjoyment, it’s easy to see why.

Solivita offers 150,000 SF of fabulous amenities designed to create an active country club lifestyle. Included in the amenities are two resort style complexes; the PALMS, and the RIVERA SPA AND FITNESS CENTER. Together these complexes include outdoor and indoor heated pools, multiple hot tubs, exercise suites with aerobics studios, highly trained coaches, cardio & exercise equipment, active dance and fitness classes, and an indoor temp controlled walking track.


Throughout the community you will find lap and splash pools, multiple hot tubs, a softball diamond, tennis courts, bocce ball courts, pickle ball courts, and horseshoe pits. Solivita is the home of two championship golf courses, waterfront restaurants, a library, a sports bar, a driving range, a lake for dragon boating and kayaking, parks and a community garden. In downtown Solivita you can explore your creative side at the sculpture and ceramics studio or enjoy movie screenings, dances, concerts and theatrical productions in the 17,000 SF Starlite Ballroom. These amenities are for your enjoyment. This is the time you worked your entire life to enjoy and Solivita is the place to enjoy your time.

Holiday Time in Solivita

Holidays in Solivita and in Florida are always fun. Not the typical fun I experienced growing up.  I must admit it is hard to skate on one of our ponds or take a sleigh ride in Kissimmee, but between the decorated golf carts, the beautiful spirit of our neighbors, the Fantastic Holiday Display on Lemon Grove, and the Christmas Tree, Menorah and the Holiday Decorations downtown, the season shines brightly in Solivita.

Our friends and neighbors seem glad to see winter arrive as it heralds in months of beautiful weather as well as the Holidays. Very different from the winter darkness and dread I experienced while living in colder climates. Sure, it was fun to ski, skate, and have an occasional snowball fight, but now that I have arrived at 55+, I am glad to have traded in my Parka for a Sundress. Now the scarf I wrap around my neck can be silk instead of wool and my boots have heels and are perfect for kicking up my feet instead of kicking snow out of my path.

The Holidays in Florida are not so focused on gift giving, but rather on sharing time with friends, neighbors and family. Adopt some new traditions, decorate your lanai, enjoy some egg nog while watering your tropical plantings, or spend a day at the beach.  Having enjoyed the holidays in the cold as well as the warmth of Florida I am enjoying the time of my life in Solivita.

Hope your Holidays are Bright and Beautiful and that you have made some new Holiday Traditions of your own. Enjoy the Blessings of the Season.

Buying a Home in Kissimmee | Bella Verde Realty 01

Life After Buying a Home In Kissimmee

After buying a home in Kissimmee, you probably are thinking that you have so much to learn about the area. While this is true, don’t stress, here’s what you need to know about life after buying a home in Kissimmee.

When buying a home, it is very important to understand the C&R portion of the HOA, Covenents and Restrictions. There can be governing rules that do not fit your lifestyle. They are designed for most, but don’t fit all. Pet restrictions, house painting etc. A strong HOA with good reserves in good standing is essential. When an HOA is run well, it limits the potential for increases and assessments for common area repairs, etc.

Property Taxes

In some areas in the Central Florida area, there are CDD’s, Community Development Districts. Community development districts (CDDs) are independent special-purpose units of government established to finance basic services within a development, including infrastructure construction, services and maintenance.
Common infrastructure improvements provided by CDDs include:
• drainage
• potable water
• sewerage
• roads and parks

This CDD is incorporated in your Property tax payment. Some Districts have large bonds that can increase the taxes substanitally.

Researching the grade of your local Schools when purchasing a home are very important. Their grade rating can be found online and an experienced realtor will obtain this information for you.

Florida has been improving the transit system for years. When you depend on transit, best to search within city boundaries for best transportation options. Florida is a vast state and driving is essential. Excellent roads get you around quickly, but not all areas are serviced with good public transportation that runs beyond working hours. Living in the Tourist Capital of the world, many occupations require off hours which could be a challenge in some rural locations. An experienced local agent should know the transit options. This is one of my first interview questions when I begin working with a new client.


The locals in Central Florida have many options, with the weather so conducive to outdoor activities, the options are vast. Concerts in the park, Theatre, large venues like the Amway Arena, just to name a few. Locally we have some exceptional museums. Of course, the dining in Central Florida is superb, entertainment of all sorts is at your doorstep. Golf is still a #1 favorite, with over 1480 golf courses in Florida, Central Florida hosts 8 of the top ten best courses. Tennis is a great favorite as well.

Celebrity Neighbors

Have any celebrities recently bought or sold in the area? Since this is a golf/tennis mecca, yes, it is home to many greats…..Tiger Woods, Larry Bird, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Capriati, John Travolta, David Cassidy, JC, Sean “P Diddy” Combs, Shaquille O’Neal, and Dennis Rodman, just to name a few!


Best Places To Experience Christmas in Kissimmee

Although the weather may not scream Christmas in Kissimmee, there is no shortage of exciting ways to celebrate this magical season. Whether you want to view amazing decorations, see a classic Christmas tale brought to life, enjoy a delicious Christmas meal, or something entirely different, you can experience all of this and more while celebrating Christmas in Kissimmee. Of course, the best part is that you do not have to freeze to death while enjoying the fun. Here are just a few of the top ways you can celebrate the holiday season.

Amazing Light Displays

What better way to celebrate Christmas in Kissimmee than by viewing mesmerizing light displays? If you only visit one place, it has to be 1642 Sunburst Way. For the past 24 years, the family has been putting up more than 60,000 lights and synchronizing them to music. (The music can be listened to on 95.1 FM.)

For more lights, stop by Gaylord Palms Resort for more than 2 million lights and acre after acre of decorations. It’s definitely a sight you will never forget.

Fun for the Entire Family

On Thursday December 18 starting at 4:00 pm, the city presents Holiday Spectacular at the Oak Street Park Community Center. This event includes plenty of treats, games, and more, including an Ugly Sweater Contest.

Located a short drive away in Harmony, the Harmony Winter Festival offers tons of fun. On December 19th, 30 tons of snow is delivered to play in. In addition, there are snow slides, craft stations, a variety of contests, face painting, and a visit from Santa Claus.

If your family is up for a short drive, Legoland® Florida presents the Christmas Bricktacular every weekend through Christmas. The entire park is festively decorated, but the 30 foot Lego Christmas tree and lifesize Lego Santa Claus are definitely the focal point.

It goes without saying that the Magic Kingdom knows how to celebrate the Christmas season. From Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parade to fireworks, character appearances, and more, this is certainly an experience the entire family will love. In addition, Epcot® features the Holidays Around the World and Candlelight Processional. This amazing event uses a celebrity narrator tell the story of Christmas and includes a 50 piece orchestra and mass choir.

An Elegant Christmas Evening

For 20 years, the Holiday Home Tour at Pinewood Estate has captured the holiday spirit with exquisite decorations. This 20 room Mediterranean mansion features everything from authentic ornaments used by the home’s original owners to dazzling handcrafted decorations that fill every available space in this gorgeous home.

The Nutcracker

What would Christmas be without The Nutcracker? ICE™ featuring The Nutcracker at Gaylord Palms Resort is spread over 20,000 square feet and includes amazing ice sculptures, a 54 foot Christmas trees, live musical events, ice slides, a visit with Santa, and more. It is a daily event through January 4, 2015.
In addition, the Florida Dance Theatre will bring this story to life on December 20 at Florida Southern College in Branscomb Auditorium in Lakeland. If you can wait until after Christmas, the world renowned Moscow Ballet will present The Great Russian Nutcracker at The Lakeland Center Youkey Theater on December 30.

Dinner Entertainment

The Pirate’s Christmas Dinner Adventure is an exciting holiday show in Orlando that includes seasonal music, amazing sets, and more that is perfect for the entire family. In addition to their other entrée options, they’ve included turkey and ham in honor of the season.

The Perfect Place for a Christmas Meal

If you prefer to let someone else cook Christmas dinner, there are plenty of options for a delicious Christmas meal in the Kissimmee area.

In Kissimmee, Eleven at Reunion Resort offers an upscale version of Christmas dinner including Herb Roasted Prime Rib, Pecan Crusted Grouper, and Chocolate Chestnut Bombay.

In Champions Gate, Trevis located in the Omni Orlando Resort will have a delicious Christmas Day brunch and dinner buffet including ham, prime rib, pork loin, and much, much more.

In Lake Mary, Winter Park, Lake Mary, and Orlando, Ruth’s Chris Steak House will serve their full menu on Christmas Day, as well as several Christmas specials.

In Celebration, Columbia Restaurant will serve their usual Spanish cuisine, as well as several traditional Christmas dishes.

In you are planning to celebrate Christmas in Kissimmee, there is no limit to the amount of fun you can have. Be sure to experience Kissimmee and the surrounding areas this holiday season!