On Top of the World, a 55+ community in Ocala, Florida has attracted the attention of active adults around the country (and even from Canada). It’s quickly becoming one of the most desirable neighborhoods for a diverse group of people.
Many homeowners are full-time residents who have relocated to Florida for retirement. Others are the famous “snowbirds” who arrive in Florida every winter and stay until their northern hometowns thaw out. With work-from-home situations now the norm, many new buyers are also finding they don’t have to wait until they retire to buy a new home in a community like On Top of the World.
With new and resale homes available in prices that range from less than $100,000 to the low $400s, there are lots of reasons to love On Top of the World. We’re taking a look at the top seven things that attract people to this Central Florida paradise.
1. Size Matters and OTOW Is Huge
Residents who love a large community will find themselves right at home in this sprawling, 13,000-acre series of residential neighborhoods. By the time construction is complete, there will be 10,000 homes in this community, making it the second-largest in Florida and second only to The Villages.
It’s like living in more than a community; homeowners feel like they’re creating homes in a large town or a small city. The size provides opportunities to meet a lot of different people and engage in many social activities and local events. Nearly 200 clubs are available to residents, covering interests that include fitness, golf, art, dancing, chess, and politics. There’s also a club for snowbirds and one for singles.
The community includes gathering spaces such as The Commons, where there’s an ice cream shop, a deli, and a weekly farmer's market. At Circle Square Commons, residents will find the Town Square, which offers live entertainment on weekend evenings.
2. Smart Homes for Tech-Savvy Residents
These days, it’s nearly impossible to stay off the grid, and who would want to? At On Top of the World, residents have access to Smart Home Technology that’s making life a lot easier and more enjoyable. New construction buyers can request an Amazon package that links Alexa to devices and systems that provide enhanced connectivity.
New homebuyers can install a collection of 10 devices that work together through Amazon’s Smart Home system, which includes digital personal assistant Alexa. Basic home management tasks are automated, and the smart devices can manage the thermostat, music and entertainment, lights, and security. Most commands can be voice-activated or pre-programmed, so residents don’t have to remember to turn on the outside lights. It’s easy to use security cameras to see who's at the front door, and residents can even set the coffee pot to begin working its magic every morning.
3. Recent Renovations for Fitness and Golf
On Top of the World was named 55places’ Community of the Year in 2019, and one of the reasons it was awarded the title is the innovative upgrades made to the Arbor Fitness Center, the golf clubhouse, and The Links Golf Course.
Renovations are the key to keeping up with the shifting needs and priorities of existing and new residents. According to Fitness Director Cammy Dennis: “The leadership of On Top of the World has a keen understanding of the shifting retirement landscape. At On Top of the World, we are ‘rewiring retiring.’ We not only provide beautiful, high-quality homes, we also offer a wealth of wellness opportunities that support a relevant and meaningful engagement with life’s later years.”
The upgrades were well-received, and residents enjoy playing on a modern, challenging golf course in their community; it means hitting the links without really leaving home.
4. Unique Amenities Like an R/C Airplane Flying Field
Swimming pools are cool, and at this point, nearly all 55+ communities have a pickleball court. But what residents really love about their OTOW community is the unique selection of amenities. One such amenity is the R/C airplane flying field, which is hard to find in other neighborhoods.
The private R/C flying field covers 14 acres and includes a 600 foot by 150-foot grass runway. There’s even a pavilion where spectators can watch the action. The beauty of this particular field is that it was developed by residents about 20 years ago. The model aircraft club now has over 100 members. There’s a training program, monthly events, and plenty of space for hobbyists to build and fly their own model planes.
5. Practicing Environmental Responsibility and Sustainability
Environmental stewardship is also a priority at On Top of the World, and residents can feel good about leaving a lower carbon footprint. From landscaping to homebuilding materials, the community ensures that residents can feel good about where they live.
All homes and amenities are purposefully built to preserve local habitats for endangered animals, birds, and plants. In 2012, the community was awarded an Environmental Stewardship Award, and in 2015, they received a Community of Excellence Award. More than 400 acres of the community are preserved as natural conservation lands, protecting the habitat of gopher tortoises, Florida scrub jays, and burrowing owls.
6. Choose From Nearly 100 Floor Plans
Residents and new homebuyers appreciate the diversity of single-family and attached homes that are available. For those hoping to have a low-maintenance lifestyle in their new home, there’s the Villa Series, with attached homes that offer 1,092 to 1,856 square feet, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached one- or two-car garage. There are 15 floor plans in this series alone, some of which have dens.
When buyers are seeking single-family homes, there are a number of models offering two to three bedrooms, two or three bathrooms, and attached garages that have room for three cars and a golf cart. Between 1,220 and 3,039 square feet are available with diverse floor plans that include den and office space, outdoor patios, open layouts, and spacious master suites that include walk-in closets and generous bathroom space.
Move-in ready homes are available, or buyers can work with builders to develop the customized home of their dreams.
7. Location, Location, Location: Ocala, FL
It’s hard to beat living in Ocala. The region manages to strike the perfect blend of scenic rural beauty and cosmopolitan cityscape. There are acres of horse farms as well as modern museums and art galleries. Residents can go hiking, camping, horseback riding, or rafting at the dozens of state parks nearby or the sprawling Ocala National Forest. They can also visit the Appleton Museum of Art and enjoy fine dining at La Cuisine or Ipanema SteakHouse.
Ocala has golf, freshwater lakes, first magnitude springs, shopping, and theater. While residents can still avoid the cold and snow of the winter months in the north, there’s enough of a seasonal change to make the cool mornings in December and the sunny afternoons in February pleasant and enjoyable.