‘A place where the days are never long enough’

I am the reporter for the Community Lifestyle magazines that Breeze Newspapers publishes once a month. We highlight the amenities that are offered in different communities of Southwest Florida. For the South Fort Myers Community Lifestyles issue, Verandah was the community featured.

Verandah, Upscale Living in Old Florida Paradise

Published in  South Fort Myers Community Lifestyles Jan. 2014 issue

The Verandah, known for its professional and well-maintained golf courses, as well as “a place where the days are never long enough,” is currently undergoing renovations, providing more space for their fitness complex.

Community Association Manager Kym Bill said the Verandah has been in existence since 2003, with more than 900 homes completed out of the 1,700 that are estimated for the community.

The community, which sits comfortably on 35 percent of 1,500 developed acres, has townhouses, coach homes, small villa homes, single family homes and custom and estate homes in at least 20 different neighborhoods within the Verandah.

Jeff Jordan moved into the community in July 2004, just shortly after the first residents moved in, in April of the same year.

“It’s different than a lot of places down here,” he said. “With Verandah, it has more of the old Florida feel and style. Most of the communities have a Mediterranean feel to it.”

VerandahJordan said the community, which has spanning 100 to 200-year-old oak trees with Spanish moss hanging from them, has one side alongside the Orange River.

Director of Membership Sales Jay Severson said they have 36 holes of championship golf 0 the Old Orange course and the Whispering Oak course. One is designed by Bob Cupp, the other by Jack Nicklaus and his son Jack II.

“They are both championship golf courses, measuring more than 7,000 in length,” he said adding that the courses are for professionals to higher handicap golfers.

The community also offers dual-ended driving ranges providing golfers with a north-and south-side range.

“They can hit golf balls from either range,” he said.

The courses also offer a short game area, two practice putting greens and a full schedule of activities for golf members.

“We keep them busy during the winter months while they are here,” Severson said of the member events nine and dine, 18 and dine, men’s day and ladies day. “It is really a golf centered community.”

The full golf membership, which provides unlimited access to both golf courses, practice facilities, events, year round place, fitness center, tennis, pool, dinning and social activities, has a one-time nonrefundable joining fee of $15,000, excluding tax. Monthly dues are $583 including tax.

There is also a club membership for residents, which affords them access to fitness, tennis, pool, dining and social activities and limited golf involvement, for a one-time $2,500 nonrefundable joining fee, with monthly club dues of $106 including tax.

Members can enjoy the Verandah’s state-of-the-art fitness complex, which recently went through renovations to offer the latest and greatest in physical health and fitness. The facility doubled in size and new equipment was purchased by the new owners of the community, Kolter said.

“It’s added space as the community continues to grow and added space for additional classes,” Severson said of the complex.

The pool, also a part of the complex, recently went through renovations as well.

Bill said the pool expanded from a junior Olympic-sized pool to a resort-style pool. The newly heated oasis is filled with 150,000 gallons of well-chlorinated water.

“Our brand new resort-style pool has cabanas placed around it for enjoyment in the shade,” Severson said, adding that tropical foliage was also planted around the complex, for the perfect paradise.

Members and residents of the Verandah also have access to five fully lighted Har-Tru clay tennis courts, so residents and members can use them at night as often as they would during the day.

“We have tennis professionals and fitness director that take care of the programs” he said.

Jordan said he uses the tennis courts often.

“They are a lot easier to play on,” he said of the clay courts. “It is easier on your joints because there is a little give. It is not as jarring on your joints as playing on hard courts.”

The Verandah also has a full-service restaurant, Alligator Pear, and lounge, Jesse Fish, located in the River House.  The restaurant is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. from Oct. 1 through the end of May and is open for dinner on Wednesday and Friday nights from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

“I do expect beginning in January we will expand to Tuesday,” Severson said of dinner service.

Jordan said the River House offers inside and outside dining overlooking the beautiful and peaceful river that winds through the community.

The Verandah also offers nine-miles of walking and biking trails and boardwalks its residents and members enjoy throughout the year. A dog park also graces the grounds of the community.

“I am a runner,” Jordan said. “With nine-miles of walkways, I can always find a different place to run, so I never get bored.”

He said the very scenic routes and paths are within the community along the main roadway, in the preserves and along the Orange River.

In addition, there are also free kayaks available for residents to use along the river.

“It’s a very popular feature, especially when the grandkids come down,” Severson said. “The Verandah offers a very relaxed lifestyle with a very friendly people.”

The Verandah is at 11571 Verandah Blvd., Fort Myers, three minutes from 1-75. For further information, a complete list of amenities, or for real estate listings, call 866-694-7199 or visit Verandah.com.