Where to Retire Magazine Names Verandah Among America's 100 Best Master-Planned Communities

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Verandah has been named one of the best master-planned communities in America for retirement. The 1,456-acre community, located along the Orange River in Fort Myers, was featured in Where to Retire magazine's summer cover story, "America's 100 Best Master-Planned Communities."

Verandah has been named one of the best master-planned communities in America for retirement. The 1,456-acre community, located along the Orange River in Fort Myers, was featured in Where to Retire magazine's summer cover story, "America's 100 Best Master-Planned Communities."

Verandah was selected by magazine editors, who whittled down hundreds of potential candidates during a nine-month selection process. "Your community is among an elite group of developments that offer today's retirees a well-rounded, active lifestyle," wrote Publisher Karen Northridge in a letter to Bonita Bay Group announcing Verandah's inclusion.

The article, published in the July/August 2007 issue, praised Verandah's natural setting, its emphasis on preservation and green building, its choice of homes, and amenities that support an active lifestyle, including nine miles of walkways, paths and fitness trails, a tennis and fitness center, canoe/kayak livery and two golf courses.

"Set along the Orange River, it evokes a feeling of natural Florida, with old oak hammocks veiled in moss and even a community treehouse," the article said.

The article also played up Verandah's certification as Florida's first green land development and noted more than two-thirds of the community is devoted to open spaces, including 500 acres of nature preserves, lakes, parks, wetlands, golf courses and a riverfront conservation buffer - a feeling heightened by a scenic shot of Verandah's River House, located on a bend in the Orange River.

Verandah residents Pat and Don Terry told the magazine they enjoy the community's laid-back atmosphere, a growing circle of friends that includes other young active retirees, and River Village, a campus of individual buildings located under a canopy of trees along the river.

"Where to Retire applauds the positive impact that each of our 100 Best has made on the economic health of the towns and cities in which they are located," wrote Northridge. "All of the communities are leaders in providing a high quality of life to those who are embarking on new adventures in retirement."

Where to Retire is considered America's foremost authority on retirement locations. Now in its 15th year, it reaches more than 500,000 readers.

Bonita Bay Group is developing Verandah, which received the Florida Association of Realtors' 2006 Environmental (ENVY) Award for a residential community that demonstrates great care in preserving Florida's unique environment, and was named the Lee Building Industry Association's 2005 Community of the Year. The community opened for sales in February 2003 and was named Florida's first green land development two months later by the Florida Green Building Coalition. Each single-family model home at Verandah has been constructed to meet the coalition's requirements for green home certification, and residents have the ability to choose construction and feature options that conserve natural resources, improve indoor air quality and reduce energy consumption.

Verandah's single-family homebuilders are offering increased energy efficiency through Florida Power & Light Company's BuildSmart® program. Structured wiring is being built into each home to facilitate always-on, high-speed Internet access, as well as a wide range of options for home automation.

Verandah's amenities at River Village include the Golf House pro shop; Oak Park with the community treehouse and playground; the Boat House, featuring Blossom's community grill, a canoe and kayak livery and multi-level decks overlooking the river; tennis and fitness center; and the River House, featuring Jesse Fish lounge, the 120-seat Alligator Pear restaurant, and the open-air River Terrace overlooking the river.

Old Orange, Verandah's first 18-hole championship golf course, designed by award-winning golf course architect Bob Cupp, was inspired by the spectacular oak trees throughout the site. Whispering Oak, Verandah's second 18-hole championship golf course, designed by Jack Nicklaus and Jack Nicklaus II, opened in early 2007.

Verandah offers estate, custom and traditional single-family homes, villas and coach homes with home and homesite packages priced from the $300,000s to more than $1 million.

The Verandah Sales Center is located two miles east of I-75 on State Road 80. For more information, visit Verandah.com or call 866-314-2839.

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Jennifer Laderer

Tina Matte
Gravina, Smith & Matte
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