Life In Ocala

Ocala, Florida: A City of Equine Excellence

Ocala, Florida is the site of the most beautiful equestrian estates and horse farms in the United States. The natural beauty of the area with its rich tradition of equine-centered activities makes it a place you just want to call home.

A warm welcome and greeting to all who are considering Ocala/Marion County as a place to call home. Known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” Ocala is not only a great place for equestrians; it is a great place to call home.

Ocala is not what most imagine when thinking of Florida. With all the luxuries of any large, sophisticated city, Ocala offers even more. From galloping horses running free in lush pastures, this town exceeds surface beauty. Ocala is impressive in a unique way. We are adorned with delicate canopies of cascading moss, old granddaddy Oaks that shade long stretches of hillside roadways and some of nature’s rarest, most plush landscapes. Home to miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails, challenging golf courses, natural springs providing an abundance of fresh water and clear lakes for fishing and recreation, Ocala is one of the best places to live in Florida!

I was born into real estate watching my father design and build incredible homes. I literally grew up in the real estate business. My passion is helping my clients find the property that makes their dreams come true.

I grew up with horses. I had my first horse at the age of 6 and enjoyed riding and taking care of our family cattle. I started breaking and training my own show horses until I met my husband and became involved in Thoroughbred racing that brought us to Ocala more than 30 years ago. Ocala horses are known for outrunning their pedigrees.

Ocala is not limited to Thoroughbreds. All disciplines are trained and shown in this community. Ocala is home to HITS (Horse Shows in the Sun,) Live oak International has celebrated its Silver Anniversary, the Florida Horse Park, rodeos and many other competitions.

My speciality is equestrian estates, Ocala horse farms, and luxury homes. Luxury is personal. A property doesn’t have to be large to be luxurious and inviting. Each property has its own personality. Real Estate is my passion and for me, it’s a lifestyle. When you love what you are doing, you never wake up thinking about work.

I am very fortunate to have JJ, my husband, who is very supportive of my career and a dynamic sales team of very knowledgeable, licensed assistants. We enjoy helping people find the right property. When our clients are satisfied and settled into their new home or farm, it is a thrill for us as much as it is for them.

I like to say “It is not how much you spend, but the value that is gained from money well spent.” Luxury is within your reach. If you are considering buying your dream home or selling a property, please give me a call or email to discuss. I look forward to meeting you with you.

Originally published in Discover Ocala Magazine, 2019

Marion County: Acres of Land and Nature

Marion County is a beautiful, one-of-a-kind area in the Southeast. In addition to the excellent workforce produced here, there are thousands of acres of Ocala Land, including a national forest, miles of recreational trails and waterways, three large lakes at its opposite borders, stunning horse farms, and an amazing countryside. Due to its central location in Florida, it’s not affected as much by hurricanes as the more coastal counties to the east and west. It is recognized for its affordable housing and lifestyle, making it a prime area for home buyers looking to invest in an area truly worth their money.

Local Attractions: Activities and Destinations

Appleton Museum in Ocala

Appleton Museum

Opened in 1987, the Appleton is located in Central Florida and is home to an extraordinary permanent collection of over 18,000 objects, plus an outdoor sculpture walk and garden, and a wide variety of temporary exhibitions and special events throughout the year. 

The 81,610 square-foot museum is both classical and contemporary, with clean lines and stately Italian travertine marble. The original building surrounds an idyllic interior courtyard and fountain.

The Appleton is the focal point of the Appleton Cultural Center, a complex east of downtown Ocala on Silver Springs Blvd./State Road 40, which includes the Ocala Civic Theatre, and is one of six College of Central Florida campuses.

Horse Art in Ocala

Downtown Ocala and Historic District

Downtown Ocala has a rich history full of stories. You can take a self-guided mobile walking tour through the Downtown, visiting the square, the shopping, and the history.

With twenty-two historical stops from the Ocala Fire Bell through the Mt. Zion AME Church, you will learn about the town, get some exercise, and enjoy all the new projects in the works.

Downtown Ocala is also home to theatres, museums, and find out more about where the artist of the famous Coppertone baby ad lived!

Fort King, Ocala Florida

Fort King

Fort King was a typical U.S. Army frontier fort and a noteworthy symbol of the longest and costliest war America had with its native people – the Seminole War.

Fort King is a narrative that speaks of a complicated history as relates to the occupation of the State of Florida and beyond. It is the story of a young country struggling to thrive and of native inhabitants trying to survive.

At the Fort King National Historic Landmark, history comes to life through our events and programs, heritage garden, and more. We invite you to come to explore the Fort, walk the trail, and dive into Ocala’s history! 

Ocala National Forest

Ocala National Forest

Nestled between well-known theme parks and white, sandy beaches, the jewels of the Ocala National Forest attract visitors from around the world.

A travel destination in its own right, the Ocala features more than 600 lakes and rivers where visitors enjoy swimming, fishing, snorkeling, canoeing, and boating.

From migratory birds and playful manatees to delicate freshwater springs and some of the world’s rarest plants, the Ocala is a haven for people (and animals) to escape to one of Florida’s remaining wild places. Here, opportunities abound for all to bask in the wonders of Mother Nature 365 days a year. 

Rainbow Springs State Park, Ocala

Rainbow Springs State Park

The history of Rainbow Springs dates back centuries to a time when native peoples regularly visited this lush spring.

Although the modern era has seen the land shaped by both enterprising developers and the loving hands of local volunteers, the draw of the beautifully serene park endures. When swimmers take their first dip in the sapphire-blue waters of Rainbow Springs, they become characters in a story that stretches back over 10,000 years, when humans first visited this place.

Ornamental gardens built waterfalls and sloping hills are visible reminders of the springs’ more recent past when the land was home to a mining operation and a privately owned tourist attraction.

Take a walk through lush, mossy hammocks and then cool off in the springs — it’s a time-honored tradition.

Silver Springs Park in Ocala

Fort King

For millennia, humans have been captivated by the stunning beauty and crystal clear waters of one of America’s largest springs. Experience a Silver Springs Glass Bottom Boat tour. Kayak the five-mile Silver River. Explore the Silver River Museum and Cracker Village. Camping, hiking, dining and shopping as well!

Explore one of America’s largest and best loved springs from the park’s world famous Glass Bottom Boats!

The 4,000-acre Silver Springs State Park encompasses not only the springs, but the entire 5-mile Silver River and surrounding sandhill forest. Wander among the historic structures and serene gardens surrounding the main spring, reminders of the park’s past history as a major tourist attraction. Visit the Silver River Museum. Paddle the river. Hike. Camp.

There’s plenty to do at Silver Springs State Park. 

The park also offers two restaurants and a gift shop. You can even host private functions at the park, including weddings, company events and school outings.

Joan Pletcher

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