More golf carts than cars zoom along the streets at Timber Pines, an over-55 community nestled in the hills and pine groves of western Hernando County. The roads have names like Grandfather Mountain and Blue Skies Drive, and residents zip smoothly from tennis and bridge to horseshoes and home again. • "You could do something twice a day," said new resident Harriette Sharpe. "We haven't had time to be bored."
The established community has 3,452 private homes, and residents will tell you they considered many options before making their purchase. In the end it added up: the friendly people, the clubs and activities, and the fact that the amenities are resident-owned and operated.
"The prices are excellent for the value you get," said homeowner Karen Stevens. "We liked the rolling hills and trees. Plus, it's a well-established area."
To ensure a good fit, some homeowners opt to rent first. Harriette and Ray Sharpe rented for one season before taking the plunge.
"We decided we'd seen enough," said Harriette. The couple purchased a home the following season and have no regrets. Between decorating their new house and making friends, they've kept busy.
New resident Susan Krueger was first struck by the natural landscape of the community. "It's like living in a park," she said.
But it was the people that made it feel like home.
"I've never met so many friendly people," she added.
Dennis Cronin retired after working in law enforcement for 36 years and is now president of the Timber Pines Community Association. He recalled his own experience as a newcomer from New Jersey.
"We were here about five hours and the neighbors brought over brownies and cookies," he said.
Residents also appreciate the safety, structure and rules that are part of life at Timber Pines.
"We were looking for a secure and safe neighborhood," said resident Jackie Petrucci.
Realtor and resident Bruce Gresh cited the gated community's security as one of the number one reasons people move in.
"The community has three manned gates, 24 hours a day," Gresh said.
Golfer and resident Steve Bankson retired from a career as a college basketball coach.
"I always thought when I retire, I want to play 12 months year," said Bankson, a lifelong golfer.
Moving to Timber Pines has been a good fit.
"It's the number one golfing experience and the most economical you'll find anyplace," he said. "Homeowners in Timber Pines own the golf courses."
And there is much to own. There are four golf courses at Timber Pines: two 18-hole executive courses, one 18-hole championship course and a 9-hole pitch and putt course.
The community also includes lighted tennis courts, heated swimming pools, walking paths, shuffleboard courts, a country club and restaurant and a performing arts center.
Shary Lyssy Marshall can be reached at email@example.com.
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Compiled from Hernando County property appraiser records by Times researcher Will Gorham; *Jan. 1 through Feb. 28