add chat to your website

10 Reasons Why Retirement is Awesome!

Couple in Sunset.jpg

1. You get to decide what to do every day. Unlike the predictability of your former life (work, dinner, TV, sleep, repeat), now you get to decide each day’s structure.

2. There's time to give back. Many retirees find it enormously rewarding to volunteer their skills to worthy charitable organizations, whether it's the Lions Club, animal shelters, the food pantry or a community college.

3. Travel, travel, travel. Almost everyone's bucket list includes a trip to some special place, from the Pyramids or the Great Wall of China to the Grand Canyon.

4. Catch up on TV and movies you've always wanted to see. Maybe you were too busy with your career and kids to follow some of the great directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Woody Allen and Robert Altman. Now you have time to go on Netflix, Amazon or even borrow CDs from the library.

5. You can still work part time. Just because you're retired doesn't mean you can't work part time. A lot of people carry over assignments from their old company, while others parlay their personal interests into a moneymaking venture.

6. Spend more time with family and grandchildren. Spending time together helps to form lasting connections between family members. Relish the opportunity of this time to create deep and wonderful memories that last a lifetime.

7. You can sleep whenever you want. Retirement isn’t about sleeping, it’s about recharging when you need it, not just when you can fit it in.

8. Senior discounts are yours for the asking! Take advantage of your age and experience with substantial savings. Google “Senior discounts” to get an idea of what’s available.

9. There's no pressure, no stress and no problems. It's the freedom that retirees appreciate so much: Freedom from the pressure to get ahead at work, get your child into college and keep up with the neighbors.

10. You now have the time to do nothing. Finally, there's time to enjoy the pleasure of sitting on the back deck and soaking up the atmosphere, reflecting on your life and enjoying the cool breezes across your face

Top 10 Reasons to Live in Citrus County

citrus county map.gif

As any resident of the Villages of Citrus Hills will happily tell you, there are hundreds of great reasons to choose Citrus County as your retirement destination. Depending on your own personal interests, there are a number of different things about our community that might excite you.

To help make sure that you don't miss the most important reasons to head our way, we have put together a list of the top 10 reasons to live in Citrus County!

10. Great Healthcare

CM Logo.jpg

 

One of the reasons to live in Citrus County that often goes overlooked is the fact that we have an outstanding network of healthcare providers.

Seven Rivers Medical Group.jpg

Between Citrus Memorial Health System and Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center, you won't believe the quality of care that is available here, should you ever need it.

 

9. Close to Major Cities…

Walt Disney World.jpg

Because we’re situated just over an hour from both Orlando and Tampa, there are big-city amenities associated with both of those cities that are available to residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills.

This is great to know for things like catching shows, shopping, or attending professional sporting events, but it can be an even bigger deal if you need to fly out of one of the international airports in those cities.

8. …Not Too Close Though

While many of our residents think nothing of driving to Orlando or to Tampa for a day, we are also located far enough away that you don't have to worry about any of the stress that comes with city living. Like big-city traffic.

88. Terrain.jpg

7. Fantastic Golf Courses

One amenity that Citrus County residents are not lacking is quality golf courses. In addition to the excellent courses here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, there are also more than a dozen other public and private courses to choose from in the area.

6. Beautiful Local Parks

Being "just far enough" from the big cities goes hand-in-hand with the number of local, state, and national parks you will find throughout Citrus County. Whether you are looking for a great picnic spot, a place to relax on the beach, or a walk through the woods, you will never run out of quality options here.

5. Rich History

logo-Citrus-County-Historical-Society.jpg

Many of our local parks also boast impressive history that tells the incredible story of the area. But in addition to the local parks, you will also find lots of history in downtown areas like Inverness and Crystal River, as well as in our local museums. 

 

4. The Nature Coast

Another thing our residents love about all of the local parks in Citrus County is the amazing amount of wildlife you can find there. We are located right in the heart of Florida's "Nature Coast," so there is never a shortage of wildlife to be seen, especially if you are passionate about birding.

3. Wide Array of Dining Options

You can find a single great restaurant in just about any town across the country, but here in Citrus County we are proud of the fact that we have an incredibly wide range of excellent restaurants. No matter what style of food you are looking for, you can find someone making it right here.

2. Pristine Waterways

CWard2015-05659.jpg

Between the Withlacoochee River, Crystal River, Kings Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico, there are more waterways to explore in and around Citrus County that most people know what to do with. Whether you are passionate about kayaking, fishing, or just heading out for a cruise, there is always something happening on the waterways around the Villages of Citrus Hills.

 

1. The Manatees

As much as we love to brag about the rest of the wildlife you will find throughout Citrus County, our biggest selling point is that we are the only place in Florida where you can swim along with giant manatees right in their natural habitat. 

Kayak Manatee in Springs.jpg

Between Homosassa Springs and Three Sisters Springs, manatees make their homes here in Citrus County and our residents love to stop by to appreciate them.

As we said before, this list is just the tip of the iceberg as far as reasons you might choose to live in Citrus County. Come on down and see for yourself!

February Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

february-calendar-heading-clipart-46.jpg

It feels like every month flies by as we enjoy life here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, and the month of February is the shortest one of them all. So, if you thought that January came and went quickly this year, don't blink or you might miss February altogether.

Despite that, the great people at the Activity Center still have lots of exciting activities and events planned for us. Let's take a quick look at some of the ones that you are going to want to make sure to put on your calendar.

Social Events

COMEDY  2017 18 Email Lucas Bohn.jpg

The 2018 Show Series is in full swing this month. You can catch a comedy performance from Lucas Bohn on Tuesday, February 6 and a spectacular concert from Lou Christie on Thursday, February 8.

Then, later in the month, you can catch Bertie Higgins on Tuesday, February 13 and The Grass Roots on Thursday, February 22.

The regular Shabbat Dinner will be held in the Garden Room on Friday, February 23. This month, the menu will feature Baked Haddock or Chicken Piccata paired with a Tossed Salad, Glazed Baby Carrots, Oven-Roasted Potatoes, and Challah Bread.

Rocky and Rollers Sock Hop Feb 2018 EB(1).jpg

The big party that everyone is going to be talking about is the Sock Hop scheduled to happen at the end of the month on Wednesday, February 28 in the Hampton Room. Rocky & the Rollers will be performing live music for a night of fun and dancing, and anyone heading to the party can get 10% off of a dinner entree at The Grille that evening.

Hockey fans looking to plan ahead will want to take note that The Vacationers Club is planning a trip to see the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, March 6. You can get more information and purchase tickets at the Activity Center.

Art & Education

Anyone wanting to learn more about all of the different clubs that exist throughout our community is encouraged to attend the Activity Club Showcase in the Activity Center Auditorium on Sunday, February 11 from 1-4 pm. There will be more than 50 of our clubs represented at the event, which makes it the perfect opportunity for you to get more information about the ones you have been thinking about joining!

Lunch and Learn Feb 2018 EB(1).jpg

Lunch & Learn is back on Monday, February 26 with a fascinating guest in Lisa Didier, who will be discussing "The History of Forensic Science." In addition to a great speaker, this event will also feature Harvest Chicken Salads for lunch.

Golf & Tennis

Valentine's Mixer Feb 2018 EB.jpg

The Oaks course will be celebrating the month of February in the right way with a Valentine's Mixer event scheduled for Saturday, February 3.

That event will be the perfect warm-up for the Men's Senior, Super Senior, Legends, and Super Legends Club Championship at Skyview on February 5 and 6. And that major golf event will be followed by the 2018 Citrus Hills Men's Club Championship on February 15 and 16.

If you are looking for a more casual golfing environment, you might want to check out the "Newbie" Nine-Hole Golf League. This crew meets on The Meadows course every Thursday afternoon at 3 pm, and golfers of all skill levels are welcome.

In addition to practicing your game in the "Newbie" Nine-Hole Golf League, you can also participate in the Free Golf Clinics with Mary Slinkard. She will be helping beginners on February 5, 6, and 7. Then she will be back to work with intermediate golfers on February 13, 20, and 27.

There will be a Free Beginner Tennis Clinic at the Skyview Tennis Center on February 13 at 11 am. This could be a great time to get into tennis because there is a big Spring Break Round Robin planned for early March.

Dinner Specials

Valentines Day Dinner Skyview Feb 2018 EB(3).jpg

Valentine's Day is the biggest holiday of the month, and Skyview will be celebrating with a romantic meal for two on Wednesday, February 14. There will also be a delicious a la carte menu for those wanting to celebrate Valentine's Day at The Grille.

Super Bowl Feb 2018 EB(2).jpg

The other big day this month is the Super Bowl, which is happening on Sunday, February 4. The Tiki Bar is definitely the place to be for the big game, and they are going to be having all kinds of fun along with a fantastic tailgate menu.

In addition to all of the big holiday meals, Skyview will be hosting a Shrimp Fest Buffet on Tuesday, February 6. Then they will be bringing us a Taste of New Orleans on Tuesday, February 20 and a Turkey Buffet on Thursday, February 22.

BellaVita Spa

And don’t forget to save time for yourself at BellaVita Spa this month.

Tea Tree Peppermint Facial.jpg

Take advantage of the February specials like the Rose Petal Facial and the Exotic Mango Ultimate Spa Pedicure.

Just make sure you don't put it off too long because this month is going to go fast!

New Year, New Home

2018.jpg

The new year has finally arrived, and what better way to celebrate it than with a brand-new home! If you are the type of person who is ready to make a dramatic change in a hurry, one of the move-in ready showcase homes available at the Villages of Citrus Hills might be the perfect fit for you.

Before we take a look at the details of what types of floor plans and neighborhoods are currently available, let's first take a few minutes to review some of the reasons that opting for a move-in ready home might be a better fit than building your Citrus Hills home from scratch.

Advantages of Move-In Ready Homes

The most significant advantage to choosing to purchase a move-in ready showcase home here at the Village of Citrus Hills is that you won't have to waste any time waiting for your new home to be built. With everything already finished, there simply aren't any construction delays or unforeseen complications to worry about.

Another advantage to choosing a move-in ready showcase home is that you won't have to bother with making any decisions about what features you want in your home. In many cases, some of the best features that we offer here at the Villages of Citrus Hills will already be included in those homes.

Available Move-In Ready Homes

There are currently two Amherst floor plan homes available in the Brentwood neighborhood. These two-bedroom, two-bathroom homes have a total of 2,420 square feet with 1,666 square feet of living feet. They offer a large great room with an attached kitchen and breakfast nook area, as well as a great master suite.

Amherst

Amherst

The Brentwood neighborhood also has three move-in ready showcase homes modeling The Cromwell floor plan. This layout is actually quite similar to the Amherst floor plan, but with 2,620 total square feet and 1,798 square feet of living space, everything here is just a little bit bigger than it is in the Amherst and has a dining room.

Cromwell

Cromwell

If you have a bigger budget and are looking for a deal on a slightly bigger home, you might want to check out some of the move-in ready showcase homes in the Terra Vista neighborhood. Here you will find three Fairmont floor plans, which are also two-bedroom, two-bathroom homes, but everything is just a little bit more spacious.

There is also a special floor plan in the Citrus Hills neighborhood that is an absolute must-see. Whether you have the budget for this one or not, you have to check it out just to appreciate the amazing possibilities here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

2018 is sure to bring a host of exciting possibilities to anyone who is willing to pursue them. If you have always dreamed of moving to Florida, these move-in ready showcase homes can be the perfect opportunity to make that dream a reality before we get too far into the new year!

Click on the link below to view details and pricing on our Showcase Homes.

https://www.citrushills.com/showcase-homes

 

January Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

feature_january-feat1.jpg

Happy New Year! We have officially closed the door on 2017 and opened a new one with endless possibilities in 2018. There is no telling what the coming year will hold for each of us, but one thing that we do know for sure is that the good folks at the Activity Center are going to have the calendar packed with great events and activities each month.

We're starting the year off right with a January calendar that is filled with everything from classic rock concerts to CPR certification classes. Let's take a look into the calendar and highlight some of the events and activities that you won't want to miss.

Show Series Lineup

Big Show EMAIL Free Falling.jpg

The Activity Center is going to kick off the year by hosting Free Fallin: A Tribute to Tom Petty for a live concert on Saturday, January 6. Then, another amazing concert featuring Hollywood Nights: The Ultimate Tribute to Bob Seger on Thursday, January 11.

The Comedy Cabaret Series will bring comedian George Casey to the Hampton Room on Tuesday, January 9, and Franc D'Ambrosio will be singing Broadway hits in the Activity Center Auditorium on Thursday, January 18 as part of the Special Performances Series.

Social Events

Tasty Trivia Tuesday will be back in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, January 16 for an exciting night of dinner and trivia. This month, there will also be a special raffle where one member will receive a season pass to the 2018-2019 Big Show Series.

The Garden Room will be hosting another Shabbat Dinner on Friday, January 19. This month, the meal will feature Broiled Salmon with Sherry Shallot Cream Sauce or Sliced Sirloin with Mushroom Sauce.

Woodstock Revival Jan 2018 EB.jpg

And at the end of the month we will have the Woodstock Revival Party happening in the Hampton Room on Wednesday, January 31. There will be a cash bar and light appetizers at 6:30 pm followed by a live performance from Petrina & the Flashback Band starting at 7 pm.

Arts & Education

Lunch & Learn will be back on Monday, January 8 with a Healthy Cooking Demonstration from The Grove Health & Rehabilitation. The lunch menu will feature a beet salad with goat cheese and orange vinaigrette, as well as turkey sausage spaghetti with zucchini noodles.

Professional artists from Paint the Town Citrus will be hosting the Craftea Art Workshop in the Activity Center on Monday, January 22. There will be a great selection of coffees and teas, and everyone attending will be supplied with everything they need to create their own masterpiece.

The Activity Center will also be hosting a Free CPR Certification Class on Wednesday, January 24 at 6 pm and an AARP Smart Driver Course on Saturday, January 27 at 9 am.

Golf & Tennis

A brand-new year of golf will kick off on Saturday, January 6 with the New Year's Cross Country Open. If you've never played one of these exciting cross-country events, make 2018 the year that you start!

Ladies Winter Invitational Jan 2018 EB(1).jpg

There will also be some more serious golf tournaments happening later in the month with the Men's Ringer Tournament Major Event on Monday, January 8 and Tuesday, January 9, the Ladies' Winter Invitational on Friday, January 12, and the Ladies' Citrus Cup Championship on Friday, January 19.

If you are looking to improve your game before making the leap to serious competition, you might want to think about attending one of the Free Golf Clinics scheduled for the month of January. PGA Teaching Pro Mary Slinkard will be helping beginners on January 8, 9, and 10. Then she will be back to teach intermediate golfers on January 16, 23, and 30.

And if one of your New Year's Resolutions is to hit the tennis court, you can start with the Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, January 9 at 11 am.

Dinner Specials

Skyview Lobster Night Jan 2018 EB.jpg

Skyview Restaurant will be right back at it with amazing dinner specials for the new year starting with Asian Night on Thursday, January 4. They will also be having Lobster Night on Thursday, January 11 and a delicious Turkey Buffet on Tuesday, January 23.

Over at The Grille, January is going to be a month full of free extras on Sundays! Anyone who purchases two entrees there will receive a free appetizer on January 7, a free dessert on January 14, a free bottle of wine on January 21, and a free appetizer on January 28.

The Tiki Bar will be hosting a block party for the Hamptons POA neighborhood on Tuesday, January 30.

Winter Mint Massage.jpg

And you must pamper yourself in between all the excitement this month.  BellaVita Spa is offering a Winter Mint Massage and a Vanilla Almond Spa Pedicure that will be the key to starting your new year off on the right foot.

 

Happy New Year

5 Decisions to Help Decide Which Floor Plan is Right for You

The+Chadwick+Floor+Plan.jpg

Deciding to retire to a new home here at the Village of Citrus Hills is one of the best decisions a person can make. But that decision is also going to lead to some additional choices. One of the most significant follow-up decisions that you are going to have to make is choosing which floor plan is the perfect fit for your family.

There are an incredible number of options, and all of them come with popular features like open floor plans, spacious lanais, and stunning master suites. However, there is a subtle difference between each selection that can really improve the quality of your life here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

To help you find the perfect floor plan for your Florida lifestyle, we have put together five simple decisions that will help you identify exactly which option is right for you.

Do You Want to Mess with Maintenance?

One of the biggest differences between the floor plans here at the Villages of Citrus Hills is that some options include exterior maintenance and others leave that work to the new homeowners.

If you don’t enjoy yard work, you will love the freedom that comes with our Care-Free Home. Residents in these properties never have to worry about any exterior maintenance on their properties, so they can spend more of their free time enjoying our activities and events.

How Many Bedrooms Do You Really Need?

The most obvious difference between many of the floor plan options is the number of bedrooms. Having extra bedrooms can be great if you need space for hosting guests or setting up your own craft room, but too much space will end up being more hassle than it's worth in the long run, so be careful not to go overboard.

Some of our nicer floor plans include entire guest suites, which could be a great choice if you plan on having friends and family visit on a regular basis.

Do You Need a Separate Dining Space?

IMG_1015HDR.jpg

Another feature that often ends up as wasted space is having a separate dining room. Our floor plans have a number of different dining room layouts, and some are more isolated than others.If you expect to have formal meals, this could be a nice feature. However, if you are the type of family that prefers to eat in the kitchen or in front of the TV, a separate formal dining room probably isn't necessary.

 

How Will You Use Your Kitchen?

14 Kitchen.jpg

The kitchen is another area of the home that varies quite a bit between floor plans. While all of the floor plans are going to have an open kitchen, the look and feel of those kitchens are quite different.

People who spend a lot of time cooking in their kitchens are going to require a lot more than people who just use the kitchen for the refrigerator and the microwave, so make sure that the kitchen in the floor plan you choose is going to fit your lifestyle. 

 

How Much Outdoor Space Do You Want?

All of the floor plans here at the Villages of Citrus Hills come with a fabulous outdoor space. But the size of those spaces can vary pretty dramatically depending on the specific floor plan you are looking at. Residents who expect to spend a large portion of their time outside often gravitate towards the floor plans with larger lanais.

HD - St. James-28.jpg

No matter what floor plan you choose to go with here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, you are almost certainly going to be impressed with the end result. However, finding the perfect floor plan for your family could be the difference between a good retirement and a great one. Choose wisely!

November Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

november.jpg

The first ten months of 2017 have flown right by us and we are now heading into the holiday season here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. November is typically a month where the activities calendar lightens up a bit, but that is simply not the case this year.

Between all of the social events, arts and education activities, golf and tennis tournaments, and dinner specials, there is something for residents to get excited about just about every single day throughout the month. Let's take a closer look at some of the exiting activities and events you won't want to miss.

Social Events

Fans of the monthly Trivia Challenge will want to check out the brand new Extreme Jukebox event happening in the Hampton Room on Thursday, November 9. There will be a live host leading a game that combines elements of bingo, karaoke, and "Name That Tune."

Veterans Day Dance Nov 2017 EB.jpg

We will be celebrating Veterans Day with a Veterans Day Dance in the Hampton Room on Saturday, November 11. There will be a dinner featuring Bourbon Salmon and Sliced Prime Rib followed by live music from Lisa Beck of Solid Rock.

Our Second Annual Car & Truck Show will be taking place in the Activity Center Parking Lot on Sunday, November 12 from 9 am to 3 pm. This will be a great chance for everyone to get out and enjoy the fall weather while appreciating some of the coolest rides you will find here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

Anyone who enjoys the Extreme Jukebox event will also want to attend this month's Trivia Challenge on Tuesday, November 21 in the Hampton Room. Dinner this month will feature Boursin Stuffed Chicken Breast.

Travel-Thanksgiving St John 2017 email.jpg

If you would like to join a group of people in getting away for Thanksgiving Day, the Citrus Hills Vacationers Club is planning a Thanksgiving Dinner Cruise for Thursday, November 23. We will be heading east to Sanford to board a classic paddleboat for lunch and live entertainment.

Arts & Education

Dr. Joe Coffey will be leading a weekly lecture series on the relationship between the United States and China starting on Wednesday, November 1 and running through Wednesday, December 13. Each of the lectures will take place in the Activity Center Card Room from 4:30 pm to 6 pm.

Local author Linda Tillis will be hosting a Book Reading and Q&A Session at the Coffee Shop on Friday, November 3 from 12:30 pm to 2 pm. Guests at this event can take advantage of a great coffee and croissant special as well!

The Lunch & Learn series will be back on Monday, November 6 with U.S. Air Force Veteran Joe Romiti speaking about patriotism, the history of our country's flag, and the importance of the Pledge of Allegiance. Lunch for this event will include an Open-Faced Hot Turkey Sandwich with Mashed Potatoes and Cranberry Sauce.  This event will be taking place in the Garden Room.

Holiday Boutique 2017 EB.jpg

More than 50 local craft vendors will be setting up in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, November 28 for the 13th Annual Holiday Boutique. There will be all kinds of great gift ideas to choose from, which makes this the perfect time to start your Christmas shopping for the year!

Golf & Tennis

Veterans Day Nov 2017 EB(1).jpg

Competitive golfers will be lining up to have some fun participating in the Veterans Day Scramble at Skyview on Saturday, November 11. They will also be heading over to The Oaks course for the Pro Shop Open on Saturday, November 18.

If you are new to golf, you might want to join the Newbie Nine Hole League that plays on The Meadows course every Thursday at 3 pm. And you can also get plenty of advice on your golf game at one of Mary Slinkard's Free Golf Clinics scheduled throughout the month.

The Skyview Tennis Center will be a busy place this month with their Burger Bash Tennis Social scheduled for Sunday, November 5, a Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, November 14, and a Tennis Taco Fest right around the corner on December 3.

Dinner Specials

Thanksgiving Dinner Skyview Nov 2017 EB.jpg

Skyview Restaurant and The Grille will both be having Thanksgiving Dinner Specials on Thursday, November 23. Skyview will be serving entrees like a Roast Turkey Platter and New York Strip Steak, and The Grille will be having a traditional Thanksgiving Buffet. Both restaurants will be serving from 12 pm to 5 pm and reservations will be required.

In addition to their Thanksgiving Dinner Special, Skyview Restaurant will also be hosting a Wine for the Holidays Tasting on Tuesday, November 7, and a European Pub Night on Tuesday, November 21.

Fall Harvest Taste of Elegance Nov 2017 EB(4).jpg

Over at The Grille, there will be a Fall Harvest Dinner on Thursday, November 2, a Family Feast of Comfort Food on Sunday, November 12, and a Taste of the Southwest on Thursday, November 16.

BellaVita Spa & Fitness

Pumpkin Facial.jpg

If you manage to find some time for yourself during the month of November, you might want to head over to BellaVita Spa to take advantage of their Cranberry Orange Massage and Pumpkin Enzyme Facial specials.

And, as if all of that still wasn't enough, start marking your December calendars for the Holiday Tree Lighting on December 5 and make your reservations for the New Year’s Eve Party in the Hampton Room!

For a complete listing of all the events and activities for the month of November, click below.

http://www.citrushillsgolfandcountryclub.com/userfiles/file/November%202017%20Connections%20ONLINE.pdf

 

 

American Diners: 5-Restaurants in Citrus County for a Delicious Classic Meal

Everyone loves comfort food, and no one does comfort food quite like the classic American diner. Here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, we have the good fortune of being surrounded by an incredible selection of local diners.

If you are looking for a place that serves the best of your breakfast, lunch, and dinner favorites and is willing to put sausage gravy on just about everything, we have five perfect places that are guaranteed to keep your belly full for a price that won't break the bank.

Grannie's Restaurant - Crystal River

Grannies.jpg

When we’re talking about diners in Citrus County, the conversation pretty much HAS to start with Grannie's Restaurant in Crystal River.  

This place isn't set up to impress you with fancy bells and whistles. It's a basic brick building with a simple sign on the outside. Inside, it's just a basic counter service diner with a few tables. But when the food comes out at Grannie's, everyone's mouth will be watering.

Breakfast is the name of the game here, so you will definitely want to try the sausage gravy and smoked ham. However, Grannie's also puts out some delicious lunch options. Their fried catfish lunch is outstanding.

 

Sara's Diner - Crystal River

Saras.jpg

Located just down the road from Grannie's is another diner that is a Citrus County staple. Sara's Diner has a similar look to Grannie's on the inside with counter seating and a few tables, but the lunch food is the big attraction here.   The reuben is one of the most popular items on the menu here, and it stands up to the hype as one of the best sandwiches you will find in Crystal River. Sara's also serves an excellent turkey club, and the chop steak dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy will surely fill you up.

Breakfast Station - Multiple Locations

Breakfast Station 1.jpg

Most people don't include chain restaurants when they’re talking about diners, but Breakfast Station has done such a good job of staying true to the classic diner experience that you honestly wouldn't know they have ten stores across central Florida. Residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills have their pick between three locations in Citrus County: Beverly Hills, Crystal River, and Homosassa.

 

As for the food at Breakfast Station, they deliver a consistent quality that continues to impress customers. Railroad Yard Omelets are probably the most popular choice here, but they also serve traditional breakfasts, as well as some not-so-traditional dishes like the Grand Junction, which is a breaded chicken filet on a biscuit smothered in sausage gravy.

Sugarmill Restaurant - Homosassa

While most of our local diners close for the day around 3 pm, the Sugarmill Restaurant in Homosassa stays open for dinner as well. This is where you can find classic diner-style dinners like chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes, chop steak sandwiches, and chicken parmesan with spaghetti.

The omelets are all spectacular, and the home fries might be the best in Citrus County.

The Front Porch - Dunnellon

Front Porch.png

Since they advertise themselves as a "Restaurant & Pie Shop," you can probably guess what the big selling point is at The Front Porch in Dunnellon. If you are in the mood for a slice of pie, this is the place you want to be. 

They also have a wonderful breakfast menu and the lunch menu is also a big attraction with delicious soups and a Cuban Melt that will make you feel like you've been whisked off to Havana.

Make a point to try all five!  Enjoy!

Getting Ready for the 2017-2018 Big Show Series

As we wind down the end of the summer months and make our way into the fall and winter seasons, it is important to remember that the Big Show Series is right around the corner. Starting in November and running through the end of March, there will be nine outstanding performances to look forward to during the 2017-2018 Big Show Series at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

As with all of the outstanding Big Show Series performances, these events will take place in the Activity Center Auditorium with show times at 6 pm and 8:15 pm on the night of each show! Make sure that you get your tickets well in advance because the acts that are coming to visit the Villages of Citrus Hills this year are surely going to pack the house!

Let's take a quick look at each of the nine performances that will comprise the 2017-2018 Big Show Series.

7 Bridges - The Ultimate Eagles Experience

7Bridges.jpg

 

Eagles fans will not want to miss their chance to see this outstanding tribute band on Tuesday, November 14. They are based in Nashville, Tennessee, but will be making the trip down to Florida to perform classic Eagles hits like "Heartache Tonight," "Life in the Fast Lane," and "Hotel California."

 

 

  Willy, Waylon, and Johnny Cash as The Highwaymen

Another popular tribute band that will be performing at the Villages of Citrus Hills this year is a take on the country music and southern rock supergroup known as The Highwaymen that originally included Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson. This version of the band features individual tributes to Willie, Waylon, and Johnny that will have you singing their southern classics all night long on Thursday, November 30.

The Buckinghams

TheBuckinghams2.jpg

 

Formed all the way back in 1966, The Buckinghams have seen just about everything the music business has to offer through six different decades. Original founding members Carl Giammarese and Nick Fortuna are still delivering passionate performances around the country, and they will be performing their hits like "Kind of a Drag" and "Don't You Care" at the Activity Center Auditorium on Thursday, December 14.

 

Hollywood Nights - The Ultimate Tribute to Bob Seger

On Thursday, January 11, true rock and roll fans at the Villages of Citrus Hills will be delighted by one of the most authentic tribute bands touring today, Hollywood Nights. Featuring Rick Murphy as Bob Seger and backed by his own version of The Silver Bullet Band, this performance will be filled with all of the classic Bob Seger hits.

Jeff Cook & The Allstar Goodtime Band

After the legendary country band Alabama retired from rocking arenas around the country, lead guitar Jeff Cook decided to continue his career performing with The Allstar Goodtime Band. On Thursday, January 25, they will be bringing their edgy mix of country, rock, and soul to the Villages of Citrus Hills.

Lou Christie

images.jpg

Lou Christie is another musician who has been making hits since the 1960s. He is still performing around the country and will be coming to Citrus Hills on Thursday, February 8. In addition to watching Lou perform some of his classic hits like "Lightnin' Strikes," "Two Faces Have I," and "I'm Gonna Make You Mine," this event will also feature an opening performance from Rocky and the Rollers.

The Grass Roots

Famous for hits like "Midnight Confessions," "Let's Live for Today," and "Sooner or Later," The Grass Roots is another legendary band that has been making music for the past six decades. They will be performing at the Activity Center Auditorium on Thursday, February 22.

The Flamingos featuring Terry Johnson

download.jpg

On Thursday, March 8 we will be hosting The Flamingos featuring Terry Johnson. This hall of fame doo-wop group is originally from Chicago, and they are responsible for hits like "I Only Have Eyes for You," "Lovers Never Say Goodbye," and "Rio Amore."

 

 

Johnny Contardo, Johnny Tillotson, & Ron Dante

This unique combination of oldies and rock and roll will take the stage in the Activity Center Auditorium on Thursday, March 22 and delight the audience with performances of a wide range of hits from "Poetry in Motion" to "Sugar, Sugar." There will also be an opening performance from Rocky and the Rollers!

October Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

October.png

Just like that, the calendar is changing again, and we are making our way into the fourth quarter of the year. It feels like the whole year has flown by, but we certainly have had a lot of fun here at the Villages of Citrus Hills so far in 2017.

If you thought the calendar was filled with fun activities over the past few months, you are going to be astounded by what the month of October has to offer. We are officially into autumn, and that means that we have lots of pumpkin-spiced fall events planned throughout the entire month!

Social Events

This month's Trivia Challenge will be a special Halloween edition in the Hampton Room on Thursday, October 17. Dinner will include Bourbon Salmon and Cheddar Cheese Stuffed Chicken, and there will also be a costume contest for anyone who wants to participate.

Shabbat Dinner October 2017 EB.jpg

The Shabbat Dinner Club will have their monthly dinner on Friday, October 27 in the Garden Room. The meal will feature a choice of Pan-Seared Salmon or Chicken Marsala, and it will be a great opportunity to get to know some of your neighbors on a more personal level.

Residents who are really looking to get into the fall spirit will want to make sure they make reservations for the trip to The Pickin' Patch in Dunnellon on Saturday, October 28. This quaint little farm is a must visit for anyone who loves pumpkin patches, and there will also be a stop at The Front Porch for lunch on the way back.

The Citrus Hills Vacationers club is always planning a few months ahead, and right now they are taking reservations for anyone who wants to attend Tampa Bay Lightning games on December 7 and March 6. Tickets for each game include round-trip transportation, and they can be purchased by calling the Activity Center.

Arts & Entertainment

On Tuesday, October 10, the Speaker Series will be hosting The Crime Prevention Task Force for a discussion on "Helping Citizens Be Aware." The workshop will take place in the Activity Center at 1 pm.

Sign Painting Oct 2017 EB.jpg

All of our crafters will want to be sure to attend the Sign Painting Workshop in the Activity Center on Wednesday, October 11 from 2 pm to 5 pm. Heavenly Colors will be bringing everything you need to create a beautiful sign to hang in your home, so the only thing that you need to bring is your creativity.

Lunch & Learn will be back on Tuesday, October 24 in the Garden Room. This month, guest speaker Ann Marie Simonelli will be discussing how we can work the idea of healthy aging into our everyday lives. There will be a delicious chicken salad lunch served as well.

Golf & Tennis

Ghost Open Oct 2017 EB.jpg

Golf is definitely going to be heating up this month with the Citrus Hills Ghost Open on October 7, the 2017 Skyview Men's Club Championship scheduled for October 23 and 24, and the Citrus Hills Couples Championship on October 27.

In addition to those big tournaments, there will be a Taylor Made Demo Day at Skyview on October 12 from 9 am to 2 pm. You can also get some help to improve your game at the Free Golf Clinics with Mary Slinkard on October 2, 3, and 4 for beginners, and October 10, 17, and 24 for intermediate golfers.

Over at the Skyview Tennis Center, there will be a Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, October 10 at 11 am. After improving your skills this month, you will be ready to go for the Burger Bash Tennis Social scheduled for November 5.

Dinner Specials

The Tiki Bar will be hosting Alfresco Starry Night on Thursday, October 12. Guests that evening will have their choice of Seared Nebraska Trout, Hazelnut-Crusted Duck Breast, Filet Mignon, or Tuscany Shrimp Pasta. There will also be live entertainment to enjoy from Snap Dare.

Brewvival Oct 2017 EB(2).jpg

The big event at Skyview Restaurant will be Brewvival on Tuesday, October 24 from 5 pm to 8 pm. This dinner and beer tasting event will feature a delicious five-course meal where each course is perfectly paired with a different specialty beer.

We are now well into the NFL season, and no matter who you root for, all football fans are welcome on Sundays at the Tiki Bar. There are great food and drink specials from 1 pm to 8 pm every week, and thanks to Direct TV's NFL Sunday Ticket, all of the games are available!

Spa & Fitness

Pumpkin Facial.jpg

Our friends over at BellaVita Spa have also gotten into the fall spirit. They will be having Pumpkin Spice Oil Massage and Pumpkin Facial specials throughout the entire month of October. So, if you happen to find yourself with some free time between all of the activities and events this month, make an appointment to pamper yourself!

 

 

For the full schedule of all the activities and events for October please click into the link below for our Connections Newsletter.

http://www.citrushillsgolfandcountryclub.com/userfiles/file/October%202017%20Connections%20ONLINE.pdf

 

 

The Villages of Citrus Hills and Hurricane Irma

The Villages of Citrus Hills after Hurricane Irma

The Villages of Citrus Hills after Hurricane Irma

In case you were wondering the Villages of Citrus Hills survived Hurricane Irma. We recognize how very fortunate we were; and our hearts and thoughts go out to those who suffered, and continue to suffer, from such catastrophic damage in the Caribbean and south Florida.

The worst of the storm struck Citrus County early Monday morning the 11th. Here at Terra Vista we had no loss of power, no flooding and no property damage. Because we sit on one of the highest points in Florida, flooding is never an issue at Citrus Hills. Irma was unusual in that it travelled south to north over the entire state. Past hurricanes have not had the prolonged effect of Irma, usually crossing the state at some point, making for a shorter duration.

But the good news is everyone is safe and sound, all of our incredible amenities are in full operation, and the sunshine has reappeared in all its glory! Now we look forward to the beautiful fall weather that is fast approaching. We invite you to come by for a visit and see our spectacular community for yourself and enjoy our wonderful weather.

September Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

September.jpg

While most residents here at the Villages of Citrus Hills don't have to worry about back to school shopping, the end of summer does represent a return to our normal routine here throughout the community. Many of our friends that head north during the warmer months will be returning soon, and the activities calendar is overflowing with fun ideas to keep all of us busy in the coming month of September.

Whether you are looking for social events to interact with friends, arts and education activities that are sure to stimulate your mind, exercise through golf and tennis, or just a great meal to enjoy, the September calendar has a lot for you to explore. Let's take a closer look at some of the activities and events happening around the community this month!

Social Events

Summer Bazaar and Ice Cream Social Sept 2017 EB.jpg

The first big event of September will be the Summer Bazaar & Ice Cream Social at the Activity Center from 1 pm to 5 pm on Friday, September 8. DJ Benny Cruz will be playing music poolside, and there will also be several local vendors selling products inside…not to mention plenty of homemade ice cream!

Another poolside event that you won't want to miss will be the Flicks & Floats night on Friday, September 15. This month, the movie is Sully. As usual, there will be plenty of refreshments available, including buttery popcorn. Just make sure that you remember to bring your favorite float!

This month's Trivia Challenge will be held on Tuesday, September 19 in the Hampton Room. In addition to the thrilling battle of the minds, there will also be a dinner that includes Roast Pork with Cinnamon Apple Glaze and Beef Stroganoff.

White Party Summer Social Sept 2017 EB.jpg

On Thursday, September 28, the entire community will be on hand for the White Party Summer Social. This will be the unofficial end of the summer here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, and everyone is encouraged to come wearing all white and enjoy music and drinks by the pool.

If you are looking to attend some sporting events, the Activity Center is planning a trip to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New York Giants on Sunday, October 1. You can also reserve your tickets for the trips the Vacationers Club is planning to see the Tampa Bay Lightning on December 7 and March 6. 

Arts & Education

The Citrus Hills Vacationers Club will be sponsoring a trip to Clearwater to see Mama Won't Fly on Saturday, September 16. Tickets for this event are $85 per person, and that includes round-trip transportation, lunch before the show, and a ticket to the performance.

Guest speaker Steven K. Davis will be speaking about how we can attract wildlife to our gardens for this month's Lunch & Learn event, which will be held in the Garden Room on Tuesday, September 26. Lunch for this event will include a Harvest Chicken Salad and Cheesecake with Melba Sauce for dessert.

Vacationers Club Meeting Sept 2017 EB.jpg

The Citrus Hills Vacationers Club will be having their regular monthly meeting on Wednesday, September 27 at 4:30 pm in the Activity Center Auditorium. Davis Holmwood from Amadeus River Cruises will be speaking about some amazing cruises along the Black Sea in Europe.

Golf & Tennis

September is typically a month where the best golfers in our community spend their time getting ready for all the big tournaments and events scheduled for the month of October. One great way to get your game ready for those events is to participate in a free clinic with Golf Pro Wayne Larsen. This month, Wayne will be holding beginner clinics on September 4, 5, and 6 and then intermediate clinics on September 12, 19, and 26.

And if watching the US Open has you itching to get out on the tennis court, one of the best ways to start is to attend the Free Beginner Tennis Clinic at the Skyview Tennis Center on September 12 at 11 am.  The only thing required to participate is a pair of tennis shoes!

Dinner Specials

Both Skyview Restaurant and The Grille will be putting together special meals to celebrate Labor Day on Monday, September 4. Skyview Restaurant will be serving a BBQ menu that features St. Louis Style Ribs and Flame-Grilled London Broil, while out at The Grille you can find a buffet of Flank Steak, Spicy Lemon Shrimp, and Split Roasted Chicken.

Wine Tasting Charles Smith Wines Sept 2017 EB.jpg

Skyview Restaurant is also planning a Wine Tasting event for September 12 and a Hawaiian Luau for September 26. Then there will be an Irish Night event at The Grille on September 14 and an End of Summer Cookout at the Tiki Bar on September 21.

We are also right around the corner from a brand-new NFL season, and football fans will want to be sure they make it to the Tiki Bar for drink, appetizer, and food specials on every football Sunday.

Chocolate Almond Spa Pedi.jpg

With all the activities and events happening this month, you might have a hard time finding any time for yourself. But if you’re able to, take advantage of the Chocolate Almond Spa Pedicure special that BellaVita Spa is running all month long!

 

Enjoy Your September!

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Season Preview

buccaneers_logo_full_detail.png

With Raymond James Stadium in Tampa just about an hour and a half away, a lot of our residents consider the Bucs their adoptive NFL team.

After posting a 9-7 record last season and just missing the playoffs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers reloaded with some impressive talent on the offensive side of the ball over the offseason, and are looking like they will be one of the more exciting teams in the explosive NFC south this year.

That new level of excitement is likely what attracted the producers at HBO to choose the Bucs to be the featured team on this year's edition of their Hard Knocks show, which began airing on August 8. The show will provide all of us with an inside look at this year's team, but first let's take a look at some of the key things they did to improve this offseason.

The Bucs Are Getting Offensive

ht_jameis_winston_kb_131205_16x9_992.jpg

Everything in the Buccaneers offense revolves around the playmaking ability of quarterback Jameis Winston. Last year, we saw both sides of that coin with Winston accounting for some unbelievable highlight reel plays, as well as more than a few ugly interceptions.

 

There is no reason not to expect Winston to take another dramatic step forward this year and hopefully establish himself on the level of the other quarterbacks in his division, which just happens to be three pro bowlers in Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, and Drew Brees.

Jameis found his groove with wide receiver Mike Evans last season, and that led to Evans being the most targeted wideout in the entire league. That trend was likely to continue no matter what, but the Buccaneers should be able to scheme more opportunities for Evans after adding free agent wide receiver DeSean Jackson to start opposite him. This will give Winston two dynamic big play receivers and should lead to one of the best offenses the fans in Tampa have ever seen.

OJ Howard.jpg

In order to improve the passing game even further, the Bucs spent their first-round pick on tight end O.J. Howard out of Alabama. While receiving tight end Cameron Brate is still going to be around for red zone packages, Howard is more of a dual threat player that can catch the ball, and should also be able to open up some holes for running back Doug Martin when he returns after the three games remaining on his suspension.

Don't Get So Defensive

With the Buccaneers focusing most of their offseason efforts on upgrading their offensive weapons, they did very little to improve what was a middle of the road defense last season.

Two improvements that they did make were signing defensive lineman Chris Baker from the Redskins and safety J.J. Wilcox from the Cowboys. Those moves should add some depth, but any real improvement in this defensive unit is going to have to come from young stars like linebacker Kwon Alexander and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves taking big steps forward.

buccaneers-mike-smith-defensive-coordinator-feature.jpg

While they didn't make many moves on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, perhaps the most significant move was defensive coordinator Mike Smith's decision to return and sign an extension instead of taking a head coaching job elsewhere. Coach Smith has a proven track record of getting the most out of his players, and he should have no problem shaping this defense into a formidable unit by the end of the season. 

The Lonely Kicker

ap_buccaneers_bengals_football.jpg

Following their first preseason game, the Bucs officially cut ties with kicker and former second round pick Robert Aguayo. After struggling through most of his rookie year, Aguayo was not looking much better in his sophomore camp, and the front office decided that they would be more comfortable with veteran Nick Folk.

In addition to playing in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are also staring down the barrel of a daunting non-division schedule that features matchups with the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers, and New York Giants. If they are going to evolve into a playoff team this year, they are going to have to prove that they can score on some of the best defenses in the league while slowing down some of the best offenses.

Fortunately, they appear to have just enough tools to do both!

Home Walkthrough: The St. Christopher

With features like a wide-open floor plan, a huge master suite, and a kitchen fit for just about any chef, it’s clear right from the start that the St. Christopher measures up to the level of quality you have come to expect from the Villages of Citrus Hills.

This two-bedroom, two-bathroom boasts just short of 2,000 square feet of living space that could not be more perfectly configured. Let's head inside one of the newest floor plans available at the Villages of Citrus Hills and take a look around!

Entering the St. Christopher

The primary entrance to the St. Christopher is right between the two-car garage and guest bedroom. As you make your way through the front door, you will find yourself in a small entryway with the dining room off to one side and the guest bedroom and bathroom off to the other side.  

Before heading straight back into the great room, let's take a quick detour into the guest bedroom to appreciate the way the curved front of the house creates a bay window feel that makes this room unique.

 

 

 

There is also a study area just behind the guest bedroom and guest bathroom that will be the perfect place to create your own private library or crafting area. You could also choose to utilize this space as more of an extension of the great room. 

 

 

The Heart of the St. Christopher

The heart of the St. Christopher is the massive space in the center of the house that includes the great room, kitchen, and breakfast nook. The great room in our model pictured here includes an impressive built-in section along one wall that will be the perfect focal point for hanging a large flat screen TV.

 

That TV will be visible from everywhere in the great room, as well as the kitchen and breakfast nook, so the enormous island separating the kitchen from the great room will likely become the true center of the home. Enjoying your morning coffee will always be a treat as you gaze out the back windows looking at the optional screened-in lanai and pool.

 

The Master Suite

Just off the back of the great room is where you will find the entrance to your new master suite. That entrance takes you right into the master bedroom, which is a long, rectangle shape with windows looking out into the back yard. Making your way through the master suite, you will find a short hallway with his and hers closets on either side that leads right into the master bathroom.

The master bathroom in the St. Christopher is truly an oasis where you will find his and hers sinks and one of the most spectacular showers you have ever seen. This amazing shower features floor to ceiling tile that will take your breath away every time you step into it.

With two unique bedrooms, lots of space in the great room and kitchen, and a fabulous backyard space, the St. Christopher delivers value on multiple levels. That makes it a welcome addition to the collection of homes available at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

August Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

August2012.jpg

The hot and sticky month of August has arrived, but the activities and events calendar here at the Villages of Citrus Hills is packed with plenty of cool things to do throughout the month.

Whether you are looking for exciting social events, fun opportunities to learn, clinics for improving your golf or tennis game, or just a great meal with friends, we have got you covered with everything happening around the community this month. Let's take a closer look at some of the exciting activities and events coming your way in the month of August!

Social Events

Mopar August 2017 EB.jpg

The August social events will kick off with the Citrus Hills Cruise-In on Friday, August 11 in the Tiki Bar parking lot. Sponsored by the Citrus MOPARS, this event is completely free to attend, and will feature all of the very best muscle and sports cars from around the community.

The next edition of our monthly Trivia Challenge will be held on Tuesday, August 15 in the Hampton Room. This month, the dinner menu will include Baked Haddock, Chicken Parmesan, Penne Pasta with Garlic, and lots of veggie and dessert options. Dinner starts at 5:45 pm and the trivia fun will follow around 6:30 pm.

It wouldn't be summer in the Villages of Citrus Hills without a Flicks & Floats party at the Activity Center Pool. This month's movie night is set for Friday, August 18, and the movie will be The Accountant starring Ben Affleck as a brilliant but lethal numbers wizard.

There will be plenty of buttery popcorn available, but you can also get 10% off of a meal at Skyview Restaurant or The Grille by showing your tickets for this event!

The biggest party of the summer will definitely be the 10th Annual Copacabana Night on Friday, August 25 in the Hampton Room. This year, the event will feature a menu of Cuban Pulled Pork, Chicken and Red Peppers in Garlic Wine Sauce, and some delicious sides.

There will also be salsa lessons and a live orchestra, so this is one summer party that you don't want to miss out on.

Arts & Education

The new Coffee Shop will be holding an Interactive Reading event on Tuesday, August 8 from 12:30 pm to 2 pm. Local author Ronnie Allen will be present for a group reading of her first novel, Gemini: The Sign Behind the Crime. There will also be a Q&A and book signing after the reading.

On Saturday, August 12, the Citrus Hills Vacationers Club will be taking a group trip down to Tampa to see Motown The Musical at the Straz Performing Arts Center. Tickets to this event are $125 and include orchestra seating and round-trip transportation to the event.

The Citrus Hills Vacationers Club is also planning a trip to St. Petersburg to see The Chihuly Glass Collection by artist Dale Chihuly at The Morean Arts Center. In addition to exploring the glassblowing exhibit, there will be plenty of time to venture out and see other popular St. Petersburg attractions.

There will be a Lunch & Learn event in the Garden Room on Thursday, August 31 at 12:30 pm with guest speaker Lisa Dider discussing American Madams (1870-1910). Lunch for this talk will include a Caprese Chicken Sandwich and Pasta Salad, followed by a slice of Strawberry Cloud Cake.

Golf & Tennis

The big golf event of August will be the Southern-Sky Two Person Championship that will start at Skyview at Terra Vista on Saturday, August 26 and conclude at Southern Hills Plantation Club on Sunday, August 27. If you would like to participate in this unique pairs tournament that covers two different courses, you must register with the Skyview Pro Shop by August 14.

If you are looking to improve your golf game during the month, you should definitely make a point to attend Golf Pro Wayne Larsen's Free Golf Clinics. This month, Wayne will be working with beginners on August 7, 8, and 9. Then he will be back to work with intermediate golfers on August 15, 22, and 29.

Anyone looking to learn the basics of tennis is welcome to attend the Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, August 8 at 11 am. As always, the only thing required to attend this clinic is a pair of tennis shoes. The Skyview Tennis Center will be happy to loan you a racket for the clinic.

Dinner Specials

 Skyview Restaurant has some exciting Tuesday night dinner specials planned for the month of August. You won't want to miss their Greek Night on August 12 or the Asian Feast on August 29.

 

Both dinners are scheduled to start at 5 pm and run through 8 pm.

It's all about mixers over at the Tiki Bar, and they will be mixing it up this month with block parties for Cambridge Greens on August 3, Canterbury Lakes on August 17, and Celina Hills on August 31. They will also be hosting a Singles Social Happy Hour on Tuesday, August 29 from 4 pm to 6 pm.

If those mixers and the warm weather aren't enough to get you to the Tiki Bar this month, you might want to visit for their Beers Around the World special on Thursday, August 24 or the Fantasy of Flights Wine Night on Tuesday, August 29.

Citrus Surprise Pedi  2017.jpg

 

If you are interested in pampering yourself, you might want to try a Citrus Surprise Spa Pedicure at the BellaVita Spa.

 

With all of the exciting things happening around our community during the month of August, there is absolutely no reason not to get out of the house and have some fun!

Visiting Dinosaur World in Tampa

Many benefits come with living just north of a city like Tampa, and one such benefit is that residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills never have to worry about finding fun and exciting activities to keep visiting children occupied. Whether we are talking about kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, or just good friends, one of the coolest places to take any visiting children is Dinosaur World.

This awe-inspiring 20-acre facility is located just east of Tampa in Plant City, which is also known for hosting the Florida Strawberry Festival each and every March. Here you will find more than 200 life-sized dinosaur models, as well as an overwhelming amount of educational information on all things prehistoric.

Getting to Dinosaur World

The fastest way to get to Dinosaur world is to take US-41 south towards Tampa and then use US-98 to connect to I-75 and continue heading south. As I-75 makes its way down towards the city, you will exit onto I-4 heading east towards Plant City. 

Dinosaur World is located just off of exit 17, shortly before Plant City.

The Dinosaur World Experience

Children absolutely love Dinosaur World, and a big reason for that is that the facility offers an astounding number of activities to keep them occupied throughout their time at the park.

But before heading to those activities, you might want to take them through the Prehistoric Museum. Here they can see things like dinosaur eggs and raptor claws, as well as a number of other unique artifacts. The Prehistoric Museum also includes the Animatronics Exhibit, where visitors can see life-sized dinosaurs that come to life with sounds and movements.

The Exploration Cave is another educational adventure where children get to interact with a real-life paleontologist who will act as their tour guide as they move through a massive cave, dig site, and workstation. Then, when the kids are ready to get their hands dirty, they can participate in activities like the Fossil Dig, Dino Gem Excavation, and the Bone Yard!

With ticket prices of $16.95 for adults, $14.95 for seniors, and $11.95 for kids, it's actually hard not to get your money's worth with all of the great things to see and do at Dinosaur World.

 

http://dinosaurworld.com/florida/

Dining Near Dinosaur World - Fred's Southern Kitchen

Dinosaur World encourages visitors to bring coolers packed with their own preferences for food and snacks, but if you are looking for a great restaurant located nearby, just about everyone will enjoy a meal from Fred's Southern Kitchen. Actually, a trip to Fred's for some "Slow Food, Fast" might be worth the drive even if you aren't heading to Dinosaur World!

The buffet-style menu here always contains Jack Black Oak Smoked Pork Ribs, Golden Fried Chicken, Crispy Catfish, Grilled Tilapia, Fresh Vegetables & Casseroles, and Skillet Cornbread. On top of that, there is a rotating list of Daily Entree Specials, as well as a Salad Table and a Dessert Table. And don't forget that all kids 10 and under eat for free on Mondays and Tuesdays!

Since Dinosaur World is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, you could plan your trip on any Monday or Tuesday and include a free meal for the kids at Fred's Southern Kitchen. But even if those days don't work with your schedule, both places are always going to deliver a fantastic experience that is perfect for the whole family!

The Henry B. Plant Museum in Tampa

Located just a bit west of Downtown Tampa, The Henry B. Plant Museum is one of the most beautiful museums you will ever see.

Originally constructed as one of the most elegant hotels in all of Florida, this mind-blowing property is sometimes referred to as "Florida's Original Magic Kingdom," and there is definitely good reason for that.

Henry B. Plant

In order to better appreciate the specific details of the museum, we first have to understand the man himself. Henry B. Plant was born in 1819 in Branford, Connecticut. Following the Civil War, he saw tremendous potential in connecting the south via railroad, and set out to build an empire doing just that.

As he continued to grow his southern railroad empire, Plant expanded further and further into Florida. When his railroad finally made its way to Tampa, the city exploded with growth and has never looked back.

The Tampa Bay Hotel

After connecting the city of Tampa to the rest of the world with his railroads, Plant's next major project would be the construction of the fabulous Tampa Bay Hotel.

Because his vision for the hotel was so far beyond what anyone considered reasonable, he could not find any investors to partner with on the project and ended up footing the entire $2.5 million bill himself. He then kicked in another $500,000 to furnish the property after it was constructed.

After Plant's death, the city of Tampa continued operating the hotel for about 30 years before turning it into a museum and giving a significant portion of the grounds to the University of Tampa in 1933.

Henry B. Plant Museum                                                                                   

With all of the history that went into creating the Tampa Bay Hotel, the building itself is worth the trip. However, the large portion of the first floor that acts as the Henry B. Plant Museum offers even more insight into what life might have been like at the hotel during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

In addition to all of the artifacts that are part of the museum's permanent collection, there are also a number of temporary exhibits that make their way through the museum.

This year, visitors have the pleasure of viewing an exhibit dedicated to the dining experiences of the museum during its peak years. There are detailed explanations of the type of meals served, the required dress for those meals, and some of the unique dining customs of the time.

Dining Near the Museum

Spending a day at the Henry B. Plant Museum learning about what it was like to attend a fancy dinner in the early 1900s is a good way to work up an appetite. Luckily, there are quite a few excellent restaurants located right by the museum.

If the idea of learning about high-end dining gets you excited to experience your own fancy dinner, you will want to make a reservation at Mise En Place for the perfect conclusion to your trip to Tampa. This is one of the best restaurants in the city, and it just happens to be located near the museum. Just be sure to keep in mind they are closed Sunday and Monday.

For those looking for more casual dining, TamPiz has delicious pizza in a relaxed setting and is located nearby.

 

A 2minute walk from the museum is another historic building originally built in 1891 as the stable for the Tampa Bay Hotel.  It has gone through many transformations over the years and is now the home to the Oxford Exchange. 

 

 

 

It is a European-inspired space featuring a restaurant, bookstore, coffeehouse & shop with decor & gifts. 

 

Whether you are passionate about the history of Tampa or just looking for something different to do on a rainy day, the Henry B. Plant Museum is only 90 minutes from the Villages of Citrus Hills and offers over 100 years worth of local history, not to mention the fact that the building itself is stunning. Visiting the museum and having a great meal afterwards is just one more way to enjoy the fact that we are located so close to the city of Tampa.

Weekend Trip to America's Best Beach

Everyone knows that Florida's Gulf Coast has some of the most spectacular beaches in the world, but Dr. Stephen Leatherman aka “Dr. Beach” drove that point home last month when he named Siesta Beach on Siesta Key just south of Sarasota as the top beach in America this year.

Residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills will be pleased to know that the best beach in the country is located just 2.5 hours south of their community, which makes for a perfect day trip or weekend getaway. If you are looking to check out the pristine white sand and clear blue water of Siesta Beach, we have all the information you need to plan an enjoyable trip.

Where to Stay Near Siesta Beach 

The Capri at Siesta

The Capri at Siesta

According to TripAdvisor, the number one hotel on Siesta Key is The Capri at Siesta, located right on the most beautiful beach in the country. This charming boutique hotel offers everything from simple studio rooms to suites and villas, and all of the prices are surprisingly reasonable considering the popularity of their location.  Staying at The Capri will get you right into the heart of the action without breaking the bank.

 

Another popular option located right on the beach is Tropical Beach Resorts, where you can park your car right in front of your room and then never bother to use it for the entire length of your stay. Much like The Capri, Tropical Beach Resorts gets high marks for service, friendliness, and cleanliness. It also won't cost you an arm and a leg to stay here for the weekend.

If you are thinking about spending more than a weekend in Siesta Key, you might also want to consider one of the many vacation rentals available all over the island. These often end up being a better deal if you are planning to stay for a week or more, and there are plenty of options to choose from.

 

What to Do Near Siesta Beach

As you might expect, just about everything revolves around the beautiful beaches in Siesta Key. In addition to the stunning Siesta Beach, you can also explore Crescent Beach and Turtle Beach, which are equally beautiful but often get less tourist traffic.

No matter which beach you prefer, you are never far from a parasailing adventure on Siesta Key, which is an excellent way to get a great view of the island.  Snorkeling, windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, jet skis, boat tours, and deep-sea fishing are also popular in the area.

There are dozens of local tour companies that offer all kinds of water activities, so just ask your hotel concierge to recommend one, and you can get right down to business.

 

If you are looking for great shopping on Siesta Key, you are definitely going to want to stop at The Gallery. Here you will find all kinds of unique gifts, clothing, and hand-made jewelry.

 

Where to Eat Near Siesta Beach

When you are spending your time relaxing on Siesta Beach, you might be tempted to grab a bite from the Siesta Sun Deck right on the beach, but there are many more options located on the northern end of the island if you are willing to stroll up the beach to Ocean Boulevard.

3.14 Pi is a local favorite for anyone looking to grab some gourmet pizza, delicious wings, and a cold craft beer. All of their pizzas are fantastic, but you can never go wrong with the 3.14 Siesta Pi or the Beach Bum Pi.

Siesta-Key-Oyster-Bar-restaurant-Sarasota-Florida.jpg

Another casual option is the Siesta Key Oyster Bar, where you will find all of the shellfish and frozen cocktails you could ever desire. They have a great happy hour special from 3-6 pm every single day with half off oysters and crawfish boils.

One of our favorite spots for dinner on Siesta Key is The Cottage, where you will find a fantastic tapas menu featuring          excellent seafood items like Wonton Tuna Tacos, Black Mussels, and Peruvian Ceviche.

 

Not only is Siesta Beach the best beach in the country, but it is also located on a beautiful island, filled with great places to stay, and surrounded by excellent local restaurants. If you are looking for a reason to start planning your next getaway, this is it! See you at the beach!

July Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

As we roll right into the dog days of summer, you might catch yourself feeling like you don't want to leave the house. But that is a big mistake here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, because our activities calendar for the month of July features a great list of fun and exciting things to do across the community.

So, before you resign yourself to spending the next month indoors, make sure you put some of these great events on your calendar and RSVP with the Activity Center!

Social Events

Smarty Jones was the big winner at last month's Trivia Challenge, but that title will be up for grabs again on Tuesday, July 18 in the Hampton Room. Dinner for this month's event will feature London Broil Topped with Béarnaise Sauce, Chicken Marsala Oven Roasted Potatoes, Veggies, and Dessert!

There will be another Flicks & Floats night at the Activity Center Pool on Friday, July 21. This month, the feature film is Me Before You. Showtime is 8:30 pm, and there will be plenty of buttery popcorn for everyone!

Our friends over at the Tiki Bar have a number of different social events planned for the coming month. They will be hosting an Illinois Happy Hour on July 27 from 4 pm to 6 pm. Then they will also be hosting block parties for the Belmont Hills Neighborhood on Thursday, July 6 and for all the Brentwood Neighborhoods on Thursday, July 20.

Arts & Education

The Citrus Hills Vacationers Club is planning a group trip to The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art on Saturday, July 22. In addition to taking in all that the museum has to offer, there will also be time for shopping in Winter Park!

The Vacationers Club is also planning a trip to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts to see Motown The Musical in August, so you will also want to mark that on your calendar and be sure to reserve your tickets as soon as possible.

Golf & Tennis

The big golf event for July will be the Stars & Stripes Open at Skyview on Tuesday, July 4. This tournament will feature men's, ladies', and mixed foursomes competing with 3 best balls on red flag holes, 2 best balls on blue flag holes, and 1 best ball on white flag holes.

Many of the serious golfers in our community will spend their summer working to improve their game, and a great way to do that is to participate in one of the free clinics with Golf Pro Wayne Larsen. This month, Wayne will be hosting beginner clinics on July 10, 11, and 12. Then he will move on to intermediate clinics on July 11, 18, and 25.

July is also a great month to practice your tennis game, and you can learn all of the basics at the Free Beginner Tennis Clinic at the Skyview Tennis Center on Tuesday, July 11 at 11 am.

Dinner Specials

You definitely don't want to miss the Patriotic Buffet that Skyview Restaurant has planned for Tuesday, July 4. The buffet entrees will include Memphis Blue Ribs, Honey Barbecued Chicken, and Firecracker Grilled Salmon with Tropical Fruit Salad.

Two other festive holiday celebrations that you should note on your calendars this month are the Thanksgiving in July dinner at Skyview Restaurant on Tuesday, July 18 and the Christmas in July dinner at The Grille on Tuesday, July 25. Both specials are set to include all of the holiday classics you might expect!

The Grille will also be hosting a Taste of Cuba dinner on Thursday, July 27 from 5 pm to 8 pm. This meal will include Spicy Black Bean Soup, Cuban Chicken and Rice, and Red Snapper.

If you are looking to pamper yourself during the month of July, BellaVita has got you covered with Detox Stem Cell Facial Treatment and Massagarita specials.

 

Whether you are looking for social interaction, exposure to the arts, a little competition, a great meal, or just some quiet spa time, there are plenty of options to keep everyone busy here at the Villages of Citrus Hills this month. Make sure you don't miss out on any of the action!

Day Trip: Cape Canaveral

The Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral is one of the top ten most popular attractions in all of Florida. But this coastal town also offers plenty of other reasons to visit for the day. When you combine those exciting attractions with all of the great restaurants here, there is no reason not to schedule a day trip to experience Cape Canaveral.

Getting to Cape Canaveral

Getting to Cape Canaveral from the Villages of Citrus Hills takes just a touch more than two hours. The easiest path by car is to take Florida's Turnpike towards Orlando like you are going to the airport, then head east on 528 until you hit the Atlantic Coast.

Towards the very end of your trip, you will notice that 528 leads you right onto A1A, which means that you are about to arrive at your destination.

The Cape Canaveral Experience

The most popular attraction in Cape Canaveral is the Kennedy Space Center. People come from all over the world to take part in the astronaut experiences you will find throughout the museum and in the live tours available here. In addition to the space center itself, Cape Canaveral is also home to the Air Force Space & Missile History Center and the Astronaut Memorial Planetarium and Observatory.

But just focusing on the aerospace experience would be selling beautiful Cape Canaveral short. Another extremely popular local attraction is the Brevard Zoo, which sits on 75 acres of land and contains more than 650 different animals from all over the world. Animal lovers will also be thrilled to experience the Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science, where they can learn about animals of the past like the Woolly Mammoth and Saber-toothed Cat.

One of the most scenic attractions you will find in Cape Canaveral is the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse, which is located right on the Cape Canaveral Air Force Base. In 2016, the base started offering a three-hour tour on Fridays and Saturdays that includes the chance to explore the lighthouse first-hand.

Still looking for more to experience in Cape Canaveral? Don't forget about the Canaveral National Seashore, which contains 24 miles of undeveloped seashore. This area is filled with trails to explore the local wildlife and foliage, but many visitors also enjoy simply sitting on one of the few beaches that aren't surrounded by development.

Cape Canaveral Dining

Just as you would expect from a popular coastal town, there are plenty of great places to eat in Cape Canaveral. If you are looking for a quick bite for breakfast or lunch, there are some great cafes like Cafe Monte Carlo, Vargas Cafe, Euro Kafe' Etcetera, and Southern Charm Cafe to choose from, and they all offer their own unique twists on local cuisine.

One of our favorite cafe-style seafood restaurants in the area is Crackers Island Grille, where you will find a cozy little dining room and a great outdoor seating area. Mahi Tacos are the signature item here, and they are good enough to merit the trip East all by themselves.

 

Another fine family owned restaurant is the Sage Bistro.  Every unique creation from the kitchen is made from scratch and all the fish served is freshly caught.

 

The Kennedy Space Center is always the first thing that comes to mind when we think of Cape Canaveral, and it is well worth the drive all by itself. But this great Atlantic coastal town also offers a wide range of other attractions, as well as some of the best cafes you will find anywhere in Florida. So, the next time you are looking to get away for a day, head east past Orlando and visit Cape Canaveral.

The following link is full of information for your next visit.

https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/

 

The Next:  Rocket Launch: July 2, 2017 7:30 PM | SpaceX Falcon 9 Intelsat 35e