This year, for our Mid-Winter Vacation, we decided to visit my parents in Florida. They retired this past year to a 55+ community in central Florida called The Villages.
The best way to describe where my parents live is a Disneyland for adults, well adults over 55. It's a cluster of inter-connected neighborhoods (each called a village - all with catchy names) with 24 Executive Golf Courses and 9 Championship Country Club Golf Courses with 27 holes each. My parents happen to live on the Kenya Course of:
Mind you, the Villages also have a plethora of pools - Country Club, Sport, Recreation, and Family Pools. Plus, lots of rec centers, two bowling alleys, and courts - tennis, pickleball, bocce, and shuffleboard - as far as the eye can see. Also, they have happy hour in every restaurant (including ones that do not serve alcohol) daily for three or more hours.
Since, this is a huge community, I didn't think I'd have any problems driving in and getting food. The night we drove in, we wanted to stop at the store to pick up some gluten-free beer and snacks just to have at my parents' home. As we were driving in, my parents told us about a new supermarket. They were told it was just like Whole Foods - called Fresh Market.
Let me tell you. It wasn't at all like Whole Foods. I think 7-11 had more of a selection of gf goodies then Fresh Market. One or two gluten-free mixes. No gluten-free snacks. Not even any Nut-Thins or Glutino Pretzels! But, there was nice looking produce and a popular cheese/butcher area. I ended up finding a six pack of Redbridge and some candy that Ant likes. So we drove a little farther down the road and came upon Our family is a huge fan of Publix. Excellent selection. Great Prices. And the bagger will bring out your groceries - which can be uncomfortable when you are at a Publix in a 55+ community and he's older than your dad and insists on bringing your bags to your car, where your dad is sitting. I digress.
At Publix, I was able to pick up some Nut-Thins, Glutino Pretzels, some awesome Publix Brand bubble bath for the wee one. Plus, I spied copies of Living Without at the check out. While I was ringing up, my cashier told me that they are getting more and more gluten-free products and they are going to start to carry some GF baked goods. Also, my parents picked up a guide to gf shopping at Publix, too!
One day, when we were out and about, I ended up getting glutened (future blog post) while in one of The Villages' squares - Lake Sumter Landing. I had Ant drive me to the nearest grocery store to get my savior, Immodium (remember only Multi-Symptom Chewable and A-D Caplets are GF). We ended up at:
I like Sweetbay. Clean, great produce and I can reach the top shelf without standing on my tip toes. I picked up the Immodium and some Ginger Ale. Since I was a "man on a mission", I wasn't able to peruse the GF section. At the check out, I was able to send fresh baked cookies to our troops.
One night, Ant and I were driving around, slightly annoyed that everything closes early outside of New York. We ended up at a Walmart.
If there was a Walmart fan club we'd be a part of it. Walmart had everything we were looking for - allergy meds for the wee one, socks for Ant, a dvd of Toy Story, some new mixes from Gluten-Free Pantry, Redbridge, and Pamela's Cookies. I also think part of our Walmart love is the fact we don't live near one. Walmart isn't found in New York City in any of the boroughs...*sigh*
What's coming up next in my Florida Round Up? Eating in The Villages.