May 22, 2017

Babcock Ranch inspires active living

By: Vicki Parsons - IT

Submitted by Hall+Media Strategies Inc. 4:05 a.m. ET May 20, 2017

The band shell on the edge of Lake Babcock is a great place to make friends while getting fit

The band shell on the edge of Lake Babcock is a great place to make friends while getting fit.(Photo: Submitted)

BABCOCK RANCH — From miles of trails, lakes and an activities calendar jam-packed with weekly, quarterly and annual events, the new eco-centric town of Babcock Ranch provides boundless opportunities for residents and visitors to immerse themselves in an active, healthy lifestyle.

Located off State Road 31, north of the Lee County Civic Center, the solar-powered town being built by Kitson & Partners will include 19,500 homes, nearly 50,000 residents and six million square feet of commercial space. When pioneer residents begin settling into homes in the Lake Timber neighborhood later this year, they’ll discover a downtown district already vibrant with daily activity.

“The great thing about Babcock Ranch is that you don’t have to live here to be part of what we’re doing,” said Syd Kitson, chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners. “We’re creating a real hometown, an inviting place where people from all around the area can connect with nature and with each other.”

A variety of classes in Founder’s Square are open to any and everyone who wants to get fit. From paddleboard yoga to boot camp, activities director Michelle Churchill aims to provide a diverse menu of fitness activities for all ages and interests.

“Working out can and should be something to look forward to – not a chore to be avoided,” Churchill said. “It’s not just about healthy living. It’s about connections, being part of an experience that builds lasting friendships.”

Organized activities currently on the calendar include a Strength and Conditioning class every Tuesday at 10 a.m. that incorporates muscular strength and endurance workouts follows the weekly cardio sessions. Bring your own mat or hand weights if you have them for a total body workout suitable for all ability levels. Wednesday mornings starting in mid-June, early-rising running enthusiasts can gather at 6:30 am for a weekly “Run at the Ranch.”At 5:15 p.m. each Wednesday, Churchill leads a full body workout at the Founder’s Square band shell. The free class includes cardio workout to music and uses resistance tubes and body weight exercises to increase core strength. Saturday mornings boast a series of free classes starting with Boot Camp at 8:30 a.m. to burn calories while improving agility, flexibility and coordination. Meditation and Yoga classes start at 10 a.m. each Saturday at the band shell, and the weekly Paddleboard Yoga class launches at 11 a.m. If you don’t have your own paddleboard, you can rent one from Curry Creek Outfitters for $5.

If you prefer to chart your own path to fitness, the staff at Curry Creek Outfitters is ready to help. Rent a kayak or canoe, or grab a fishing pole and hike (or bike) up to the fishing dock on Sunset Lake. The first two of many Zagster bike share stations planned for Babcock make it easy to grab a bike for an hour or a full day of exploration using an app on your smartphone.

“Bikes are a great way to test drive the active lifestyle our new town has to offer,” said Michael Serfozo, retail operations manager for Babcock Ranch.

For those who don’t want to ride solo, grab a friend and pedal out in a bright red Surrey complete with canopy.

“It’s amazing to see people really embracing the Babcock lifestyle,” Serfozo said. “They come in a bit hesitant and leave saying ‘wow, what a concept.”

Two couples, who recently stopped by Curry Creek Outfitters on their way to visit model homes, are a great example. When Serfozo offered to let them take the Surreys out for a spin, the two women were eager but had to talk their husbands into the adventure. A few hours later, peels of laughter heralded their return.

“They pedaled around checking out every model home and along the way discovered the most attractive thing we have to offer,” Serfozo said. “Good old fashioned fun.”

Fun is what keeps people coming back. And there’s much more to come. The five miles of trails now open is the start of a trail network that will extend over 50 miles when completed. This summer, Lake Babcock will double in size.

“Most people don’t realize that just beyond the shore line they currently see on the far side of Lake Babcock is essentially a ‘land bridge’ separating it from another lake of equal size,” Serfozo explained.  “Once that strip of land is removed, I think people will be excited to get out on the water and explore.”

To facilitate more ambitious water adventures, Curry Creek Outfitters is adding canoes and an electric powered tour boat to its offerings. The 22-foot, 12-passenger boat is another of the environmentally friendly alternatives for future residents to get around Babcock Ranch, eventually ferrying residents from neighborhoods around the lake into Founder’s Square and back.

Dining options at Babcock Ranch will also expand this summer with the opening of Slater’s Provisions and Goods and Square Scoops Ice Cream on the south side of Founder’s Square. Starting June 13, the 9 a.m.Tuesday slot will feature a free Mom & Me Fitness Class where moms, dads and extended family members can enjoy an all-around body workout with their little ones. Weekly Aqua Fit classes will meet at the Lake House pool in Lake Timber starting July 10 at 10:30 a.m.

A variety of monthly and quarterly activities are setting the stage for lasting hometown traditions at Babcock Ranch. The first annual Founder’s Festival in March attracted more than 20,000 people for a first-look at this new hometown in the making. Dogs had their day at Babcock in April, competing in a broad variety of categories during “Bark in the Park.”The Spring Picnic on May 20, featured a full day of family fun. Events in the works include a Bike Day, a Kayak Regatta and Oktoberfest.

Curry Creek Outfitters

Hop on a Surry at Curry Creek Outfitters or sign up for the Zagster bike share program to discover the fun side of active living. (Photo: Submitted)