We have had the good fortune to live, work and raise a family in Gainesville for the past 36 years. My wife and I have also enjoyed being retired here for the past four years. So, what’s so great about retirement in Gainesville? Let me tell you!
Being a retired family physician, I believe that a priority in retirement is maintaining one’s health, both physical and mental. Maintaining the physical part basically means exercising, eating right, and seeking health care — preventive and curative.
Please see the Health Care section of this guide for more information about the amazing healthcare professionals and facilities in this area.
As for the exercising part, Greater Gainesville abounds with opportunities. There are numerous exercise facilities, among them the world-class Gainesville Health and Fitness Centers. My wife chooses to use the “women’s only” center in the Thornebrook area. There, she joins her group of retirees to walk several miles three times a week, in addition to enjoying classes in yoga and Pilates. The area also has opportunities, supported by our tropical climate, for golf, tennis, swimming and numerous other diversions. And, speaking of swimming, one can enjoy the unique chance to swim in the area’s numerous crystal-clear refreshing springs or travel either a short distance west to snorkel in the Gulf of Mexico or east to body surf in the Atlantic Ocean! There are multiple other activities (many of which I would place under the category of maintaining one’s mental health) available for the retiree. See other sections of this guide for details about the University of Florida Cultural Plaza-Performing Arts Center, Harn Museum, and the Florida Museum of Natural History as well as the Hippodrome Theatre, the Gainesville Community Playhouse and many others. World-class sports can be viewed at the University of Florida, where our beloved Gators are perennial national powers, not only in football and basketball but also in baseball, softball, tennis, soccer, volleyball, gymnastics and even lacrosse!
The interested retiree can continue his or her education at the University of Florida or at Santa Fe College. We have an excellent series of libraries where one can subscribe to e-books or “old dinosaurs” like me can borrow “real books.” And the semi-annual Friends of the Library (FOL) sales attract thousands of excited customers while raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to support our libraries. Of course, retirees can volunteer to work for the FOL and for innumerable other organizations and charities. For instance, my wife and I both volunteer at Haven Hospice — she is a patient-care volunteer, and I teach volunteer classes. One can also serve on many diverse, intellectually challenging boards and committees. There are a plethora of very active community service organizations.
And, for the retiree who chooses to live in a “retirement center,” there is Oak Hammock, The Village, The Atrium and others. There is a very active medical society, bar association and other professional organizations that welcome retired professionals.
Of course, I have only “scratched the surface” of what it means to be a retiree in this area.
So, welcome to Gainesville — a special place to live and work, and a great place to retire!