and trompe l'oeil around every corner:
On Lake Sumter (a man-made lake), there is even a fake lighthouse!
That is to say the designers behind The Villages are great at faking it. For the most part, this is fairly benign, and even a little fun (although it can at times be a bit creepy).
But here's an instance of something really sinister: it's essentially a fake gated community. Since most of The Villages is served by State and County roads, The Villages can't be a gated community, since you cannot deny access to a public road to non-residents.
Here's how The Villages gets around this. It starts with a sign that reads "The Villages Residential Entrance."
Next to the sign is a gate and security hut:
Notice that the lane on the right is for residents while the lane on the left--nearest the security booth--is for visitors.
Again, this is a public road. How can this exist?
Basically, the whole thing is an elaborate hoax meant to make outsiders think it's a gated community (and thereby turn around): the gate opens automatically regardless of what lane you're in, and the guard has no authority to deny access to anyone (although he could presumably alert The Villages security to the infiltration of anyone who might look like they don't belong).