For Don and Susan Veatch, Margaritaville is more than just a state of mind.
Acting like “Parrotheads” — the chilled out, Hawaiian-shirt-wearing fan nation equivalent to Deadheads — the couple, 62 and 60, respectively, had camped out so they could be first in line for the object of their devotion, singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffett.
But they weren’t queuing up for concert tickets or his latest CD. They were waiting for sales to open at the Buffett-branded Latitude Margaritaville development here for people 55 and older.
“It was like a big party, with a band playing and free pizza for everyone in line,” Susan Veatch said.
In this pastel paradise, Key West-inspired houses are being built along streets linked to lyrics of Buffett’s 1977 hit “Margaritaville.”
Once it opens, you can live on Flip Flop Court, Coral Reef Way or St. Somewhere Drive. You can take your dog to the Barkaritaville pet spa; work out in the Fins Up! Fitness Center or the Paradise Pool; take classes or do a little work at the Workin’ and Playin’ Center; see shows at the Last Mango Theater; or dance at a nightly outdoor concert at the band shell in the Latitude Town Square.
And, yes, you can get a Cheeseburger in Paradise at the Latitude Bar & Chill restaurant and a margarita at the poolside Changes in Attitude bar.
While Latitude Margaritaville sounds 100 percent laid back, Buffett himself is clearly driven. In addition to his empire of resort hotels and array of products to sell, Buffett’s first Broadway musical is opening, along with two of a possible chain of active-adult communities this year. And, oh yes, the 71-year-old musician is going on tour with his band.
“To quote a line from a song I wrote with Mac MacAnally, ‘These days I am up about the time I used to go to bed,’” Buffett said in an email. “Well, that could be a little exaggerated, but that is what writers do. I have always been an early riser, and even more so these days.
“A usual daily routine for me is rising around 6 a.m.,” he adds. “I find it the best time to work, be it creative projects or business projects; but it’s one or the other. It’s too distracting to try and skip around. I’ll finish up around 9 a.m. and then get some kind of exercise, preferably outside. It all depends on the weather. Before whatever I do, be it paddling, surfing, swimming, biking or playing tennis, stretching is absolutely a requirement at my age. That gets me to lunch and a nap. After napping seems to be a good time for me to catch up on calls and emails.”
That lifestyle is just what Latitudes buyers hope to replicate — at least the outdoor activity and the napping.