St. Augustine Holiday Lights Tour

The Villages Convertible Club - - - also known as the best "topsdown" club in The Villages was founded in 2009 by now president emeritus, Jim Judd.  The club is open to any resident of The Villages who owns a convertible. 

For the convertible to qualify, it must be identified as a convertible in the manufacturer's specifications, be any make, model, color, or year, and must have a fully removable or retractable top. The vehicle must be located in The Villages.

Club meetings are the second Thursday of every month (except July and August)  at 10 am in the Bradley Room, Eisenhower Recreation Center. 

To ask questions or receive more information go the Leaders page to find phone numbers or send an email or for general questions contact the club at info@thevillagescc.com 

 Click on the Membership tab above to find more details on joining the club.                                              

Save The Dates
For Details and to Register for Events go to the Members Only Page
Upcoming Events:


Valiant Air Museum &

National Police Museum

St. Augustine Nights of Lights Tour
December, 2021

Capone's Dinner and Show


The fog lifted as the start of beautiful sunshine day for a back roads trip to St Augustine. Although some found their own extemporaneous side  excursion.


A large group of club members gathered at Laurel Manor on Wednesday morning 12/8.  A long list of instructions were delivered with 3 different accommodations and 5 different parking lots in St Augustine. Everyone had their own set of driving directions depending on their final accommodations and parking.

We stopped for lunch on the way and then upon arriving in St. Augustine took a Black Raven Pirate Ship cruise followed by dinner and a trolley ride to enjoy viewing all the beautiful lights.

Don't forget to support the 50/50 Raffle at the next meeting!

We started out at Eisenhower on a sunny top down day and headed for an hour drive to Kissimmee for a matinee show of a roarin 20's speak easy show.  

After we were seated the drinks began to flow from our attentive servers Bottles and Vito.  It wasn't long before the servers started us toward the buffet line where there was plenty of food.  My plate was over flowing when I got back to the table and even with just samples I did not get to try everything on the menu.  

Soon after we finished round one of the food the show was beginning to start.  Ms. Jewel and Fingers came out told us that to fool the coppers we had to divide up in sections and we were all family (We were a good Italian family called the Ricardi's).  When pointed to we were told to say Heeeeeeeey!.  We were all made to feel like family while the servers kept the libations coming.  As part of the mystique were we suppose to be the Italian Opera Lovers Society there just to enjoy the music and food.   

As part of a surprise I arranged to be part of their skit and presented my wife of 35 years an anniversary present.  Everyone including my wife was floored when she realized that I had put things in motion to present her with a gift. It will be an event we will remember for along time.

After the show everyone came by to see her bracelet and to thank us for putting together a wonderful event.  We really enjoyed seeing the happy faces during and after the show. 

Written by Michael Mathews

See more pictures in the Gallery


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Monsta OrangeTruck Excursion
January, 2022

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A group of 50 met Wednesday morning to embark on a day long adventure. We headed out for a coffee and baked goods at the Yalaha bakery. Next we stopped at the Yahala Bootlegging Company. Many of us sampled the moonshine and came home with a bag or two filled with jams, jellies, pickles and distilled spirits. 


Next off for another 30 minute drive to the showcase Of Citrus where we boarded our 2 monsta trucks. Our bumpy ride through the citrus groves was so much fun. Drivers made it quite enjoyable. Especially one driver, Martin, who actually called the cattle to our truck from about 300 yards away. We thought it was futile until one cow started walking towards our monster truck. Short while later another and another started walking to our Monsta Truck.  The entire herd ended up beside our truck where we threw oranges to them and watch them eat. It was so much fun!


Next our driver asked who wanted to drive the giant monster truck and many of us took turns driving through the forest and wetlands on the ranch. Now that was fun!


We stopped and fed the zebras too. 

But also saw lots of wild turkeys, an Aligator. cranes, ibis, etc during our hour long excursion aboard the Monsta Truck. 


Upon debarking we were each handed our bag to pick citrus along with a map of what fruit was where.  Some preferred to top off their fruit bag or simply fill their bags with the citrus inside the store. 



St. John's Paddleboat tour


Rollin on the River!

Arriving at the Marina ahead of our group of 122 folks, Nan and Mark Leverentz (trip leaders) were there to welcome our bunch of river rats to board the Barbara Lee Paddleboat. Once aboard, the cruise director covered the safety info, introduce our service staff and crew, shared the day's agenda... but most importantly, released us to dig into their sticky buns!

Some folks took their beverage outside to listen to bits of historical and wildlife tidbits while sucking up an absolutely perfect day on the water. Others sat and listened to the entertainment provided in the main cabin, enjoying the view, and making friends as the galley was busy preparing our meals.  

A PA announcement got our river cruisers heading back to their seats to enjoy the extraordinary meals which staff served quickly.   Nan, Mark, Jan and I checked in with the tables after dinner, and all the feedback was A+ on food and service.

Mark and Nan are new to The Villages and the Convertible Club... yet didn't hesitate to jump in and do this trip. If you didn't get a chance to meet them/thank them... please do... they are fun people.

This trip (again) checked all the boxes for a great day in north Florida!

 Submitted by Steve Brown


More images will be in the Gallery 


After joining you will receive your name tags and stickers for your cars. Jan Brown has them at every meeting ready for pick up. Members can also make arrangements with Jan to pick them up at her house. If you have questions about membership, please contact our secretary and membership chair, Jan Brown:  vccjanbrown@gmail.com  or  352-633-6073. 

We have celebrities in our Club

The Convertible Club had some members honored by being interviewed by the Daily Sun about their passion for cars.  In December Greg Stickney and Cheryl Calabro were featured in the Wheels section for their 2008 Chysler Sebring.  They have trip leaders many times for the Club.  Januray Janet and Mike Weese had their day in the Sun about their 2017 Vette.  Janet and Mike have been to many events with the club along with Cheryl and Greg.  Janet helps VP of Communications Kathy Dolence with the announcements you get about trips or events with the VCC.  In February Eric and Sandy Puryear made the pages of Wheels with their 2001 BMW.  Eric and his car have been in multiple homecoming parades.  Congratulations to All! 

Here are links to the newspaper articles.  2017 Corvette

2001 BMW

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The Hudson Show Palace

"The Rat Pack Lounge"


We started out at the Eisenhower on a beautiful top down day after checking in and we got our tickets and instructions on how to get there along with what to expect upon arrival. 

After being seated we are met by our servers who are also members of the cast.  During intermission we saw the individual actors serving their designated areas and passing out desserts.  We got to complement them  on their performance and could not wait to see the rest of the performance. 

We were turned loose on the buffet line by colors given to you when you came in the door.  The food was good and in no time we were all smacking our lips and enjoying the company at our table.  

The Show is about Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. who are in heaven, but God tells them they left some unfinished business back on earth. Frank made an unfulfilled promise to Vic, the owner of the Rat Pack Lounge.  Now they have one night to make things right in order to secure their place in heaven.  They come back to earth and take over three people in the lounge.  They are there to prevent Vic from ending his life by showing him what he can really do.

The show was very entertaining.  The actors portrayed the rat pack very well.  They captured their mannerisms right down to the way Sammy shook his leg and tap danced during his routine.  

It was nice to meet the actors/singers after the show, they were very pleasant and appreciated us being there.  We had a good time and I hope the Club goes again next year. 

Written by Michael Mathews

Check out the fantastic pictures submitted to the Club in the Gallery


The Escape Game Orlando


The Villages Convertible Club traveled to Orlando Tuesday morning, June 4th, via beautiful vistas and orange groves before being locked into “rooms” at the Escape Game Orlando. 


Forty members divided into groups of 8 to work as a team to find clues to exit a series of rooms within an hour.  All five of our teams made it in time, including the Wilson-led team, who had 2 minutes and 26 seconds to spare. One team made it with only on 2 seconds still on the clock.


Written by Bruce Wolfe

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Today, we took 50 members on a beautiful day in January to Tampa for a visit to the Big Cat Rescue.  Some of the back roads were traveled and the tops came down.  The staff was very attentive to us and answered all of our questions before we started.  We were split into 3 groups and shown an informative safety video on how to behave around the animals.  It told us who the tour guides were and who brings up the rear.  I was especially pleased to see that they provided a golf cart and driver for those who could not walk for the 1.5 hr tour. 


Our tour started with the tigers and I was amazed at the size and weight of these beautiful animals.  There were many different species of felines kept and cared for at the rescue.  There are Lions, Tigers, Cougars, Leopards, Jaguar, Bobcats, Lynx, Ocelots, Savannah Cats, Servals Cats and a Siberian Lynx.  Each having a disturbing story of how they were literally rescued by Big Cats.   


Even though I have two domestic cats at home the guide taught me a thing or about feline behavior that I did not know before.  Most of the personnel who care for and give the tours are volunteers.  They have worked there a number of years and were quite well versed on the history and behavior displayed by the animals.   


When you see the pictures of the animals in cages is does not reflect the size of the area they are allow to move. These animals could not defend or feed themselves in the wild.  They are mostly animals bought as cubs and displayed to the public for petting.  When they get an unmanageable size they are discarded or destroyed.  The Rescue gets these animals after being removed from an unhealthy environment.  These are not zoo or circus animals.   

For lunch we went to Smokey Bones right around the corner and had a good meal and conversation with friends who went on the tour. 

I am posting a link to the web site for the BIG CAT RESCUE.  Go see the work they are doing.  You can support them just by gong to see these amazing animals and how they are cared for.   


Submitted by

Michael Mathews

See more pictures in the Gallery

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Three trips to the Howie Mansion

As a special note:  This trip was in demand.  So the Club put three trips together.  The Club was able to find three sets of leaders to take 50 members each day.  


(This is write up from the trip on the 23rd of January)

      Started off a little cool but all seemed enthused to be headed out to see Howie Mansion.  Some were "brave" enough to go tops down on the way there.  Most all headed home with tops down.  Tour itself was wonderful.  Learned some history about the area and about the Mansion itself.  The detail in the architecture is amazing.   


      The house was built during prohibition and Howe had a hidden Speakeasy in his basement that was accessed through a secret door.  The secret door opened up from behind a panel in a bookcase in the library.   The tour guides were very informative and helpful in answering questions and providing information on its history. 


     For the last year and a half the newest owners have been renovating the home to bring it back to its former luster.  I'd say they are doing a great job of it.  In addition to the tours, there is a 2 bedroom cottage above the garage that can be rented out any time of the year.  The home itself can be rented for weddings and other special occasions.  It would make a beautiful backdrop for weddings.  


    After the tour some folks headed to JB Boondocks, Mission Hill, or Yahala Bakery to get a bite before heading home.

Written by Debbie Lomonaco

Before you start your car...
Do you know how to adjust your mirrors?  
I learned something by watching this video.  Check it out!
Here is a link on setting up your seat and steering wheel for better operation of your car!