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The Eternal Honeymoon at Forest Trace of Lauderhill, Fla.

The Eternal Honeymoon Ralph and Sherliy Belford

The Eternal Honeymoon at Forest Trace of Lauderhill, Fla.

By Brandon Odoi and Stephan Benson


     When military veteran Ralph Belford met his eventual wife Cheryl, he knew that she was the one that could set his golden years on fire. Her charm, smile and grace stole his heart.  Their courtship conjured up the memory of a more famous Ralph and his television wife Alice.  Together, the Kramdens were the stars of the 1950s television hit watched by millions called The Honeymooners. Also, it just happens that Honeymooners’ star, Jackie Gleason, lived in a beautiful Inverrary home in the city of Lauderhill. 

     Known as a city of beauty, living in Lauderhill is like having a small piece of paradise.  Ralph and Cheryl Belford live in Lauderhill’s Forest Trace, a73-acre paradise and an active senior living residence and community.

     The Belfords are a newly married couple and both are former military personnel who met at the Veterans Hospital in Miami-Dade County.

     Ralph, a Veterans Hospital electrician, recalls assisting Cheryl on several hospital visits.  While ushering Cheryl to her examinations, the two talked a lot about their faith and families. 

     Their spiritual discussions were commonalities which developed into phone calls, fellowship and yes, a date.  As they shared more with each other, the two became inseparable and it was evident that their companionship had become more than a friendship, and eventually grew into a beautiful marriage.  

     The couple spent a romantic honeymoon at Bayside Hilton Hotel in Downtown Miami.  The resort grounds were beautiful, with active space but more importantly Ralph and Cheryl raved about their hotel service. Their honeymoon package included meals, spa treatment and transportation to and from select shopping and entertainment locations.

     Surprisingly, Ralph recalled, “Our memorable honeymoon experience has been matched by our change in living arrangements at Forest Trace.”Cheryl says she and Ralph heard about Forest Trace through a television commercial. The ad described Forest Trace as a luxury senior living community. It depicted Forest Trace as a place of luxury living and a lifestyle of carefree living.

     Well, Forest Trace is all of those things and so much more.  It features extravagant living, entertainment, exercising (even zumba), sports and dancing. Forest Trace bills top-name entertainers exclusively for its residents such as The Platters, Marilyn McCoo& Billy Davis, Jr. and Little Anthony & The Imperials. Meals are prepared on site and served in an exquisite community dining room, but the daily excitement of each evening is the “Happy Hour”, a social hour of complimentary cocktails with pianist, Clarence Palmer. There is housekeeping (maid service) and laundry service provided. Additionally, a concierge-styled staff arranges free transportation locally to malls, shopping centers, doctor appointments and so much more.

     Upon hearing about the outstanding amenities, the Belfords stopped listening to the commercial and made the phone call. Mrs. Belford says:”We were quite impressed with their sales approach. We felt it proved Forest Trace believe sits product is beyond reproach!”

     For Ralph and Cheryl, their visit to the community proved Forest Trace was above and beyond everything that the ad described. The living community encapsulated all of their hopes and dreams for retirement: an ETERNAL HONEYMOON!

     “We spent a day relaxing by the pool and on a private patio.  The rest of the day consisted of dancing, walking and socializing with the residents.  Forest Trace made us feel like royalty, similar to our experience at the Bayside Hilton or any other five- star hotel.  We moved in a month later”… —Ralph and Cheryl Belford.

     The Belfords say the move to Forest Trace was the “best move they ever made.”                                   Describing his apartment, Ralph was clearly in love with the layout.”It has a split floor plan that boasts two master bedrooms with a full bathroom in each.  It also allows for private entry to the screened-in patio from each bedroom.  This patio covers the width of the living room.”

     The Belfords have only cooked once or twice since moving in two months ago, even though their kitchen is equipped with a stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, garbage disposal and a family dining room.

     The couple agreed that before Forest Trace, they enjoyed dining out in some of the best restaurants.  After moving in, they found with great pleasure no difference in the culinary delights prepared and served by Forest Trace’s Chef Ken Mid-law. 

     “Here at Forest Trace, our favorite dishes are the shrimp salad and the seafood platter.  Every bite has shrimp or some other seafood in it,” said Cheryl.

     There are a number of activities to engage in on the 73-plus acres which include a 30-acre lake. Residents and guests can play free golf at the Inverrary Country Club and improve their short game on a putting green on the premises.  They can also enjoy a set of tennis or a dip in the heated Olympic-size swimming pool or immerse themselves in a good book at the library.  The artistic and creative minds can visit the arts and crafts studio, and many residents cap off a day of tranquility by relaxing in the sauna and steam rooms or exercise their options in the fitness center.

     There is true comfort when independent seniors have an active community with so many conveniences and amenities within footsteps of their apartments. Both Cheryl and Ralph agree on their favorite activities:”We like social hour, where we talk with the other residents and dance while musicians play old and new music of all genres.”

     The Belfords also enjoy recreation. “We go to the gym on our own.  Our participation varies with zumba, water aquatics, and salsa.  We also enjoy going to the malls or grocery store and attending other functions in the area via Forest Trace transportation services.”

     Everyday Cheryl and Ralph taste a piece of paradise right here on earth at Lauderhill’s Forest Trace.  It may be the best kept secret in town, an ETERNAL HONEYMOON that they will share for a lifetime.

     Learn more about Forest Trace Senior Living Community at this website,, or call (954) 578-7007.



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    About The Author

    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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