Patty and John Dudzik never planned to spend more than two or three months a year in their John’s Island villa. After an extensive renovation, it was move-in ready by the end of December 2019, and the couple from Connecticut was looking forward to escaping winter’s snow and sleet, then heading back north in time to see azaleas and dogwoods burst into full bloom.
At least that was the plan.
Then came the coronavirus and with it orders to shelter in place. No traveling via plane, train or automobile, which translated to a Florida spring, then summer and eventually a fall back home in New England.
For two people who tend to look on the bright side, the positives of staying in place have far outweighed the negatives. “We’ve been here most of the year, and with John not planning to return to the office until June, this is where we’ll be,” says Patty, a cheerful lilt to her voice as she reflects on the way things have turned out and the house-hunting journey that led them to Vero Beach, John’s Island and a villa built in the ’80s.
“We actually spent about five years visiting places like Jupiter, North Palm Beach, Delray; we even went over to the west coast and spent time in Naples and Boca Grande. We were interested in finding a place that was welcoming, one that felt like a self-sustaining community, and one where we would feel at home,” Patty says.
While each place the couple visited offered plenty of positives, there was still that special something missing, so they decided to keep looking.