up in, in what would become Lakewood Ranch’s first
neighborhood. Hall’s brother, Colby, lives with his
family in Greenbrook, also a neighborhood in Lakewood
But, memories aren’t the only reason they’re all still
“My parents believed in the founders’ vision,” Hall
says. “To be honest, my mom was not too happy when
we first got here. She literally looked at my dad, and
was like, ‘Where in the world have you brought us?’
It truly felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. All
you could see was land and cows. But, deep down she
believed what they (the founders) were telling them.
She and my Dad knew that we were becoming part of
something big. And, they were right. Lakewood Ranch
is what they all promised it would be, and then some.”
Grand visions of a four-house neighborhood becoming
a veritable resort town and the impetus for growth and
development of an entire region somehow didn’t seem
unlikely to the Halls. But, the speed with which it came
did surprise them.
“People have always flocked to Sarasota,” Hall says.
And, while the development of surrounding rural areas
was the inevitable next step in this region in the mid-
90s, no other community that cropped up during that
time took o; as quickly nor grew to the extent that
Lakewood Ranch has.
By the time Hall was ready for high school, just a
few years after they moved in, Lakewood Ranch High
School had just opened to 9th graders only. Subsequent
grades were added the following year. Hall was
enrolled in the first freshman class and
graduated from the first graduating class
at Lakewood Ranch High School. In the
summers, he and friends fished for blue
gill and bass in nearby ponds and lakes,
spent mornings and evenings on one of a
“We're all still here
for a reason,” Hall says.
“It's where we've made
our best memories.”
Off to Market
Ever have a hard time getting out to those Saturday farmers markets? They’re so lovely, but
they’re typically miles away, and, well, it’s Saturday. Lakewood Ranch planned their market
accordingly. Their goal was to make it easily accessible, make it mid-week (Wednesdays
3-7pm; December-April), and make it fun. And, they succeeded at all three.
No one ever wonders where anyone is on a Wednesday at Lakewood Ranch, because the
market is just where you go. Signs pointing to empanadas, tostadas, and pizza from local
food trucks and restaurants are placed between organic veggie stands, and free range meat
and poultry trucks. Yogis gather for weekly sunset yoga after shopping, and kids buzz from
activity to activity, roaming freely while their parents shop.
Many of the same 40 farmers and artisans who grace The Market each week, are also the
ones who supply a good portion of produce and craft foods to many Lakewood Ranch owned
restaurants and clubhouses.