Snowbirds flock south to enjoy the sunny climate

Freezing temps, sleet, snow and ice, or swaying palms, sunshine, shimmering waves and toes in the sand…which will it be? The choice was easy for a number of Minto Communities USA homeowners who now spend their winters where they can trade heavy coats, gloves and boots for t-shirts, shorts and flip flops. It was made even easier by the fact that Minto’s communities are in highly desirable locations and include a full complement of resort-style amenities that rival the finest of vacation getaways.  

Half-and-Half is a great solution for our residents from Canada

Canadians Pete and Jean Cory escape their homeland’s frigid temperatures each year by locking up their log cabin located northwest of Ottawa and heading south to their Antigua Villa home at Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach. They stay about five-and-a-half months, usually starting around late October or early November with a trip back to Canada for a family Christmas, then back to the Sunshine State in mid-April. During a brief and rare Florida cold snap during their stay this year, Jean commented, “It’s kind of cute that folks thought it was cold in Daytona. At the same time, it dropped to minus 39 degrees in Canada!”

Pete and Jean Cory, Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach residents

With travel interruptions caused by the pandemic, Pete and Jean had to alter their plans a bit but it all worked out in the end. “During the pandemic, it was getting complicated to get to Florida but we had the advantage of being able to lease our home at Latitude Margaritaville for three months. Last year, we had to fly down because of the border was closed to vehicles but we still enjoyed four months of sunshine. This year, we were able to drive down after the border reopened.”

Before buying their own sunshine state home, Jean says she and Pete tried vacation homes but notes that there is no substitute for being able to come home to their own place in Florida. “We looked all around the country from Texas to Florida but decided we really wanted to be in Daytona. It always drew us back and we were lucky to find Latitude Margaritaville. We’re definitely living the dream!”

Seasonal migration from Country Music Capital to Latitude Margaritaville

Don and Kaye Myhan, Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head residents

Don and Kaye Myhan built what they believed would be their forever home in Nashville, Tennessee — the country music capital of the world. However, they couldn’t resist the pull of another music-centric community — Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head. So, they built a second home there as a seasonal residence. The plan was to summer in Nashville and winter in South Carolina. However, what started out as a getaway soon captured their hearts with its friendly neighbors, amazing amenities and lifestyle.

Don and Kaye Myhan, Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head residents

“We bought our Latitude Margaritaville Hilton Head home in December 2019 and moved there in April 2020,” says Don. “The first time we went back to Nashville, we would hear about all of these activities going on at Latitude Margaritaville that we wanted to participate in and realized we were ingrained in that community. Don, a cellist, also plays in the Senior Hilton Head Strings Ensemble. After three weeks, we went back to Latitude Margaritaville. We love it here in the South Carolina Low Country. We love Latitude Margaritaville and we love our neighbors. When the housing market took off in late 2020, we listed our Nashville home and sold it in two days.”

Snowbirds for now…flying in for a permanent landing next year

                    Rich and Bea Maffia, The Isles of Collier Preserve residents

Rich and Bea Maffia recently moved into their new Ixora single-family home at The Isles of Collier Preserve, a Minto community in Naples, Florida. They are snowbirds for now but are planning to move to the community permanently at some point. They are all in for trading freezing temperatures and snow storms for sunshine and sipping cocktails on their lanai. 

Native New Yorkers, the couple had a home in Long Island for 30 years but decided to sell it and move to an apartment in Queens to prepare for their transition to Florida. Rich says his father was a sunshine state snowbird so he has been familiar with Florida for some time. “We’ve been tilting towards Florida for a while,” he notes.

“We started thinking about the process 15 years ago. We wanted to have a second place and explored The Isles of Collier Preserve several days in a row,” says Bea. “I feel like I’m coming home to a resort. I wake up here and have this sense of calm because of the tranquility of the community and not having to deal with the challenges of the big city.”

Rich and Bea Maffia, The Isles of Collier Preserve residents

“Being a seasonal resident first is a great way to transition,” says Rich. Meanwhile, the couple is thrilled to be settling into their new home at The Isles of Collier Preserve. ”As you drive through the gates, it’s just beautiful,” says Bea. “The architecture, the bridge and the way the community is laid out just makes you want to come in. The Isles Club is impeccable and very well thought out. Everyone is very welcoming.”

So long Rockaway Beach…Hello Daytona Beach

Gerry and Lise O’Donnell, Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach residents

Seasonal residents Gerry and Lise O’Donnell love the ocean. They now have the best of two coastal living locations. When it’s cold, these snowbirds take flight for Daytona Beach, Florida. When it’s warm, they head back to Rockaway Beach, New York.  According to Lise, “We have a home right on the Atlantic Ocean but we rented a villa at Latitude Margaritaville and fell in love.

Our son already lived here and introduced us to the community. There were 20 lots available at that time, and we picked out our favorite lot. We were definitely in the right place at the right time because all of those lots were gone within a week!”

Gerry and Lise O’Donnell, Latitude Margaritaville Daytona Beach residents


Gerry and Lise picked a Dreamsicle from Latitude Margaritaville’s Conch Cottage Collection. “We are very happy,” says Lise. “New York is beautiful in the summer but Florida is beautiful in the winter. That’s why we’re here and we love it. We have the best of both worlds.”

Gerry and Lise especially enjoy the residents-only Latitude Margaritaville Beach Club that is right on the Atlantic Ocean. “It is so beautiful,” says Lise. What does she look forward to most when she and Gerry are headed back to Florida? “The sunshine, the warm weather, the water. I love Florida. What’s so nice about owning a place is that if we want to come early or stay later, we can do that.”

These happy snowbirds clearly concur that coming home to your own private resort in the sunshine is the great escape they all look forward to at the first signs of chilly weather up north.  And their Minto communities in Florida and South Carolina definitely fulfill their dreams of fun, sun, surf and sand — all enjoyed from their own home sweet home in paradise!

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