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By Jane Cassie
(For Travel Writers’ Tales)

Welcome Home! The inviting greeting spans the sandstone archway to the entrance of Palm Creek Golf & RV Resort, a man-made oasis in the city of Casa Grande, Arizona. Last year was our inaugural snowbird experience at this 55-plus park. And by the end of our fun-filled stay, it truly did feel like home!

The greeting welcomes us to our home away from home

The park offers twenty-two hundred sites; an assortment of cottage homes, park models and spacious RV pads, each that boasts full hook-ups, cable TV and a large patio slab beneath a pretty palm. Even before unpacking, we've reconnected with new and old acquaintances and everyone's happy. In fact you can't pass a person on the street without getting a smile or wave.

Our home on wheels is settled for the next three months

With over a hundred and sixty-five activities a week to choose from, there's good reason for euphoria. The Activities Centre is the best place to check out the offerings and from our new residence, it's a quick bike ride away.

"I'm going to go sign up for a few things," I explain to my husband who is now settled into a chaise lounge. "I'll be back in a jiffy." But he knows the truth. He saw me stash the park calendar and highlighter into my backpack and he knows that my type A personality will soon kick into overdrive. And, that it does!

Lazy day by the pool

In addition to listing special events at the adjacent Palm Park and nearby attractions, this action-packed room has enough sign-up temptations to keep my inner child ecstatic for the entire stay. Lapidary, silver-smithing, painting and quilting, are a few that will appease my crafty side. Cardio classes, line dancing and any one of the three shimmering pools will help burn off those happy hour calories. And when it comes to ball sports, there's a gamut to choose from. Softball, tennis, lawn bowling–not to mention our favourite go-to sport, pickleball. Palm Creek is a magnet for those of us who are drawn to this popular North American sport. Its thirty-two dedicated courts that sprawl along the park's eastern border have been host to a number of annual tournaments, including the U.S Nationals for the past two Novembers. It was this park perk that originally lured us to Palm Creek. And it was last year's great play that brought us back again. I was privileged to play with an awesome group of women in an invitational play (we called ourselves the 3.75 girls) and over the three-month stint, not only did our skills strengthen but so did the bonds of friendship.

The 3.75 girls

"You're back!" The zealous greeting is followed by a big hug from Linda, one of my pickleball pals. "I hope you're leaving room on that busy slate to fit in our group," she says, glancing down at my highlighted day-timer. She knows that I will.

My passion for pickleball is clearly evident, yet over the next three months there are a number of other pastimes that become close contenders. Anchoring the west end of the main hub is the first golf tee and putting green. I'm certainly no Berg or Suggs, but I put my best swing forward while playing this 18-hole Championship Par 3. And while playing on this beautiful greenbelt that weaves throughout the park, it's easy to get sidetracked by the integrated ponds, challenging creeks and lush landscape.

I put my best swing forward while playing this 18-hole Championship Par 3

Just east of the reception centre is a breezeway that's bordered by a number of games rooms, a ballroom and various studios. As well as partaking in card nights and dances, the pottery room becomes one of my favourite hangouts. By the time we're ready to leave the park, I have more nut bowls and Christmas gifts than I'll ever need!

The pottery room becomes one of my favourite hangouts

A short jaunt from pottery is the Santan Room, where my vocal chords also get a good workout. Mary is amazing at directing the altos and sopranos then uniting us with the tenors and bases to fine tune each number. After a couple of months of practicing, the Palm Creek Chorus performs to two full-house concerts.

Jane performs with the Palm Creek Choristers

"You were radiant up there," my husband exclaims, after joining the crowd in a standing ovation on our final night. "It looks like you felt right at home." I think about his comment and reflect on our past fabulous three months at this snowbird winter camp; the friends we've made, fun we've had, comforts we've enjoyed. It may not be our permanent address, but I'm sure looking forward to coming home to Palm Creek next year.

One of the many Palm Creek sunsets


Palm Creek Golf and RV Resort

PHOTOS by Brent Cassie:
#1. The greeting welcomes us to our home away from home
#2. Our home on wheels is settled for the next three months
#3. Lazy day by the pool
#4. The 3.75 girls
#5. I put my best swing forward while playing this 18-hole Championship Par 3
#6. The pottery room becomes one of my favourite hangouts
#7. Jane performs with the Palm Creek Choristers
#8. One of the many Palm Creek sunsets

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