Longtime Miami residents Stuart and Nancy Iliffe wound up at the Florida community of the Villages of Citrus Hills through a slip of fate—and now they’re living the dream.
“It was an accident, believe it or not,” Nancy says, laughing. “We never expected to retire. We lived in Miami—we’ve been married for 37 years—and we never even thought about retiring. It’s so hectic there, we were so busy … then we took a trip with another couple to Disney World. Our kids were gone—we thought, let’s go and enjoy it ourselves.”
Close to Home But Worlds Apart
While they were at Disney, the other couple suggested that the Iliffes join them for lunch at a nearby community, where the husband’s sister was planning to move. The Iliffes agreed. “When we looked at the numbers, and what the difference was going to be in our living expenses, we thought—wow, we could retire right now.”
Back home, the Iliffes were doing some online research, and came upon the Villages of Citrus Hills. “We decided to come and have a look. As we were driving in, we said, ‘We’re not buying, we’re not buying, we’re not buying. It’s just a look-see,” Nancy says. “Well, we drove out with a lot.”
Nancy knew her way around Florida real estate—she’d been a real estate agent for over 40 years. She wasn’t easy to impress, but the Villages of Citrus Hills managed to do just that. “The minute we drove in, those big magnolia trees and the hills … it’s a beautifully designed property,” she says. “I’ve worked with developers for years, and I’m very familiar with construction and property sales. We were able to get exactly what we wanted. We went to a model, liked it very much, took the design home to our own architect, and made little tweaks and changes. For a price, we able to retire comfortably.”
Must Have Golf
Nancy’s husband, Stuart, was in the golf business, and it had become a hobby as well as a profession. “He was the distributor for Titleist for South America, the Caribbean, and Mexico for many years,” Nancy says. “He’s a good golfer, and it’s important to him.” The two wanted to retire in a place where they weren’t going to have to sacrifice their lifestyle, and knew that they couldn’t afford to do that in Miami. At Citrus Hills, however, they could live the retirement of their dreams.
“We just joined the club here, with a full membership. My husband is playing golf three days a week. He’s played everywhere, even in the U.S. Senior Amateur twice, and he says this is a really nice facility,” Nancy says. “We can’t be happier with what we’ve done.”
The Pace at Citrus Hills
Retirement definitely hasn’t slowed the Iliffes down. “We’re always busy with something. Tonight we have Trivial Pursuit with friends,” Nancy says. “I’m playing golf, which I haven’t done in years—I’m playing nine holes with three girls in our neighborhood, which I love. I’m picking up bridge again, which I really like. And I just joined the Newcomers Club—in June, I’m going on a beginners’ kayaking trip on the Rainbow River.”
Citrus Hills‘ sense of community has also made a big impression on the couple.
“We’re all transplanted from somewhere else, and everyone on our street is so welcoming. We’re like family already, and we’ve only been here permanently for six months,” says Nancy, who loves to entertain and recently hosted a dinner party for 16 at the couple’s Citrus Hills home. “We’re really overwhelmed with it — it’s so enjoyable.”