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Weekend Getaway - Marco Island

Located approximately four hours south of the Villages of Citrus Hills, Marco Island is one of the most peaceful and romantic destinations in Florida.

This little island offers fabulous resorts as well as quiet little hideaways, beautiful beaches and exciting Gulf Coast fishing, and some of the most delicious restaurants you will find anywhere. It’s the perfect getaway location for anyone looking to spend a romantic weekend at the beach!

Places to Stay on Marco Island

When you are talking about places to stay on Marco Island, the conversation almost always has to start with the JW Marriot Marco Island Beach Resort. This vacation paradise offers the complete first class experience of Marco Island. They have their own private white sand beach, two private 18-hole golf courses, a fabulous spa, three swimming pools, 10 restaurants, and beautiful state-of-the-art guest rooms. Everything you need for a relaxing weekend getaway will be right at your fingertips here.

Another first-class choice is the Marco Beach Ocean Resort, which is a Mediterranean-themed resort that boasts a wide range of unique amenities like smoothies on the beach and the ringing of “the captain’s bell” at sunset. The hotel also offers an excellent concierge staff that will be happy to arrange dinner reservations at local restaurants or tee times at some of the best golf courses in all of Florida.

If something a little bit simpler is what you are looking for, the friendly people at The Boat House Motel are consistently ranked as one of the very best places to stay on Marco Island according to TripAdvisor. Staying at The Boat House Motel feels more like staying with old friends.

Things to do on Marco Island

Whether you plan to stay at one of the larger resorts or rent a quiet cottage, getting as close to the beach as possible is the name of the game at Marco Island, so spending time kicking back on those beautiful white sand beaches is definitely the most popular thing to do on the island. One of the best beaches around is South Marco Beach, which is a favorite for shelling and strolling along the waterfront.

Another popular way to spend your time in Marco Island is to head out on the open sea for some big- time fishing! There are dozens of local fishing charters that operate just about every day of the week, so ask your hotel staff to recommend their favorite, and you’ll be reeling in a monster in no time at all.

If you are more of a landlubber, the Marco Island Historical Museum is a great way to spend some time away from the water. This cool little museum is free to the public and offers all kinds of interesting insight into the history of the island.

Places to Eat on Marco Island

For a fairly small island, Marco Island is absolutely packed with amazing places to eat! Your first stop on at least one of the mornings you spend there should be Doreen’s Cup of Joe. This is one of the most unique and interesting coffee shops you will ever find. The breakfast menu is delicious, and the coffee is the best you will find north of Cuba.

You are also going to want to stop at The Italian Market and Deli for an afternoon treat. Both the pizza and the subs here are out of this world, and the personality is pretty outstanding too. Owners Jimmy and Susan Barney bring all of the Italian flair of a Brooklyn deli to the island, and they really don’t miss a beat!

 

 

Hidden in a little strip mall is where you will find one of the classiest restaurants on the island. Finn Bistro specializes in fresh fish that is cooked to perfection and plated in a way that makes you love the dish before you taste it. No matter what happens to be on the menu during your visit, you can be sure that it will taste terrific.

No matter what type of lodging, activities, or dining you are looking for, there really is something for everyone here on Marco Island. That’s why this is one of our top weekend getaways for anyone here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

Pop Tennis: The Newest Sport Sweeping The Nation

As you move through communities, you may have noticed more and more people playing a new type of game that appears to be part tennis and part pickleball.

While it draws inspiration from both, Pop Tennis is a completely different game that has people excited to hit the courts again.

Issues with Regular Tennis

The original game of tennis is a beautiful and artistic sport that requires years of constant practice to master. Unfortunately, many residents here are not yet masters and don’t really want to devote that kind of time to learning a new hobby. They just want something fun to occupy their time in a social and active way.

Additionally, tennis at its highest levels requires more explosive movements than many of our residents are interested in. Getting out onto the courts definitely loses some of its appeal if you are too sore to get out of bed the following day.

The Simple Solution: Pop Tennis

So, if we are looking for a way to make the game of tennis more accessible for beginners and a little easier on the range of motion for experts, how exactly would we go about doing that? It turns out that Pop Tennis is the perfect adaptation to solve both of those problems.

This “new” sport is actually just a re-branding of the sport of paddle tennis, which has been around for years. Most people had never heard of paddle tennis, or wrongly assumed it was referring to ping pong, so the sport has been re-branded and is now spreading like wildfire.

 Pop Tennis is played on regular tennis courts where the baseline is taped off to be 9 feet shorter on both sides, which makes for much less ground to cover. It is played with shorter, wooden racquets and lower compression tennis balls, but features the exact same rules as standard tennis with one exception.

That one exception is a key for beginners. Rather than having to take the time to master an overhand serve, serving in Pop Tennis is underhand, and you only get one chance, so you don’t have to worry about double faulting.

Who Plays Pop Tennis?

With shorter courts, shorter racquets, and lower compression tennis balls, it is a lot easier to maintain long rallies in Pop Tennis than it is in the standard version. This makes it a perfect alternative for anyone looking to play more as a social activity, as opposed to a serious competition.

Of course, there are also people who enjoy that serious competition but simply can’t cover the same ground that they used to. Pop Tennis is also a great option for them as it requires mostly the same skills as traditional tennis, but will end up being a whole lot easier on the knees and ankles.

Where Can I Find More Information About Pop Tennis?

If you are just looking for more information about the sport, the official Pop Tennis website is www.poptennis.com and it’s the best place to start. They have a lot of articles, pictures, and videos that explain the sport in more detail, as well as links to order the right equipment if you find yourself interested.

For those who are looking to try out the sport right here at the Villages of Citrus Hill, asking around at the Activity Center is the best place to start. 

The next time you are looking for a fun and competitive game that can occupy a few afternoon hours among friends without playing havoc on your lower back and knees, make sure you remember to give Pop Tennis a chance!

 

5 Romantic Ideas for Valentine's Day near the Villages of Citrus Hills

The most romantic day of the year is right around the corner, and if you don’t already have something planned for your significant other, you are already behind the eight ball. But don’t worry, because we have got you covered with some of the best local and not-so-local options for a romantic dinner out on the town.

Vintage on 5th, Crystal River

If you are looking to stay local and have a romantic meal, Vintage on 5th in Crystal River is going to be one of the top options on your list. This former church building has been completely renovated into a warm and inviting restaurant. And on top of the wonderful ambiance, you will also find some truly fantastic meals here.

The main focus of the menu is fresh fish and hand-cut beef, so you are going to have plenty of choices from both land and sea. There is also a delicious list of side dishes like fried green tomatoes. And in the event, that you don’t want to go all out with a formal meal, you could also opt to hang at the wine bar and order from their awesome tapas menu.

Katch Twenty Two, Lecanto

Another great new restaurant that is also close to home is Katch Twenty Two, located in Lecanto. Chef Richard Wiggins has only been operating here since 2016, but he brings with him a lifetime of experience making some of the most delicious cuisine.

Seafood is the name of the game at Katch Twenty Two, and Chef Richard puts his own unique twists on a wide range of a constantly evolving menu. No matter what you order here, you are sure to get a flavor experience that you will not soon forget.

Motor City Pasta Company, Inverness

For some couples, the only requirements for a romantic Valentine’s Day celebration is a large margherita pizza, a bottle of wine, and a great movie. If that sounds like you, then you probably already have a few bottles of wine and a Netflix subscription, so all that’s missing is a great pizza.

Located right up the road in Inverness, Motor City Pasta Company is one of the best spots for pizza in all of Citrus County, and it is close enough to the Villages of Citrus Hills that you can pick up your pie and make it home before it cools off.

La Cuisine French Restaurant, Ocala

Part of the romantic experience of a fabulous dinner date is the conversations that you will have with your partner on the way to and from the restaurant. If you would like to allow plenty of time for those conversations to percolate, a venture out to Ocala is the perfect choice, and La Cuisine French Restaurant is one of the best restaurants in town.

If you are craving a classic French dish like Duck à l'orange, you can definitely find that on Chef Patrice Perron’s menu. But there is also Hand Cut Beef Filet and Breaded Grouper on the menu.

Cuvee 103, Clearwater

Nothing says romance quite like an overnight trip to a coastal town, and if you are planning a trip like that, Cuvee 103 in Clearwater is the perfect place to make dinner reservations for that special evening.

They are running a great three course prix fix menu for Valentine’s Day that is sure to delight your taste buds, ranging from duck breast and Chilean sea bass to surf ’n turf and lobster-stuffed beef tenderloin.

Whether you are looking for something close to home or an overnight trip complete with a romantic dinner, there are more than a few fantastic choices surrounding the Villages of Citrus Hills.

In addition to all of the great restaurants surrounding our community, keep in mind that both Skyview Restaurant and The Grille are also planning fabulous menus for your Valentine’s Day celebration.

 

 

 

February Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

Just like that, the first month of 2017 is already in the books and we are rolling into February. As usual, the activities and events calendar is filled with all kinds of exciting things that are happening around our community this month. 

Whether you are interested in getting together with friends, learning something new, competing at golf or tennis, or taking advantage of one of our excellent dinner specials, we have got you covered with all of the information you need to plan out the coming month so that you don’t miss out on any of the fun! 

Social Events 

The Big Show Series is taking the leadoff spot this month with their next big performance scheduled for Thursday, February 2 when Beginnings: The Ultimate Chicago Tribute Band will be taking the stage in the Activity Center Auditorium. Tickets for this event are $33 for members and $38 for guests, and there will be show times at 6 pm and 8:15 pm.

This year’s Super Bowl will take place on Sunday, February 5, and everyone is invited to the party at the Tiki Bar to watch the Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots. The Tiki Bar will have food and drink specials ready to go for the big game, but seating is first-come, first serve, so make sure that you get there early! 

The Little Black Dress Club will be sponsoring a Valentine’s Day Fashion Show in the Hampton Room on Monday, February 13. The event starts at 11 am, and there will be a lunch served while fashions from the Inverness store Karma are modeled.

The Big Bang Team were the winners of last month’s Trivia Challenge, and the next one is scheduled for Tuesday, February 21. This month, the menu will include Sausage & Peppers and Baked Haddock.

For the second installment of the Big Show Series in February, the Activity Center Auditorium will roll out the red carpet for Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon and Gary “US” Bonds. Tickets for this event are $44 for members and $49 for guests, and that also included an opening performance by Rocky and the Rollers.

Speaking of Rocky and the Rollers, they will also be performing for the 50’s Sock Hop in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, February 28. The doors open at 6:30 pm for this party, and there will be music and dancing from 7 pm to 10 pm.  

Arts & Education 

Throughout the month of February, Dr. Joe Coffee will be continuing his Great Decisions lecture series that provides a forum for the discussion of world affairs. This event is held in the Activity Center Auditorium every Wednesday night from 6:30 pm to 8 pm.  

If you are looking to get involved with one of the many clubs here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, there will be an Activities Club Showcase on Wednesday, February 15 in the Hampton Room. Representatives from many of the various clubs will be on hand to answer any questions you might have.  

For those people who absolutely adore their pets, you are also going to want to mark down the first Saturday in March on your calendar. There will be a group of residents heading out to the Paint Your Pet event at the Crystal River Mall on that morning at 10 am.  

Golf & Tennis

If golf is your game, there is plenty of action heading your way in the month of February. The action will kick off with the Valentine’s Open on The Oaks course on Saturday, February 4.

Then the intensity will really start to heat up with the Skyview Men’s Senior, Super Senior, Legends, and Super Legends Tournament on February 6 and 7, the Citrus Hills Men’s Club Championship on February 16 and 17, and the Skyview Men’s Member-Guest Tournament on February 24 and 25.

If your game isn’t quite ready for that level of competition, you should make a point to attend on of the many free golf clinics that golf pro Wayne Larsen will be hosting throughout the month. There will be clinics for beginners on February 6, 7, and 8. Then the intermediate level clinics will be held on February 14, 21, and 28. 

If tennis is your game, you can hone your skills at the Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on February 14 at 11 am. After a few weeks of practice, you might even be ready to compete in one of the exciting tennis tournaments that are planned for March and April. 

Dinner Specials

Our friends at Skyview Restaurant will be pulling out all of the stops to serve a fabulous Valentine’s Day Dinner on Tuesday, February 14. Then they will close out the month on February 28 with a Catch of the Seas dinner that will feature a wide range of great seafood options.  

If you are heading to see the Big Show Series on Thursday, February 2, make sure you stop at The Grille first for their Big Show Buffet. They will also be having a Sweetheart Valentine’s Dinner on February 14, and a Taste of New England dinner on February 28.  

BellaVita Spa 

BellaVita Spa is also going above and beyond for the month of February. So, if you are able to find any time for yourself this month, you are surely going to want to take advantage of the Wild Rose Facial and Shellac Spa Manicure specials that they will be running all month long.

If you have any questions about any of the events happening throughout the month, don’t hesitate to contact someone at the Activity Center Service Desk. They will either be able to help you directly or put you in touch with someone who can! 

 

For all the activities and events happening around the Villages of Citrus Hills click below into the link below for our Connections Club Newsletter for February 2017. 

http://www.citrushillsgolfandcountryclub.com/userfiles/file/February%202017%20Connections_ONLINE.pdf

 

6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Spare Bedrooms

Whether you are downsizing, upsizing, or just looking to head south and avoid the cold winters, there is a good chance that you are going to find yourself with a little bit of extra space in your new home at the Villages of Citrus Hills.  

Every floor plan we offer contains at least one spare bedroom, and with many offering more than one extra bedroom and some even adding a study, many of our residents find themselves overwhelmed with space that they aren’t quite sure what to do with! 

In order to make sure that you are getting the most out of your spare bedrooms in terms of both storage and functionality, we put together a list of six great ideas that can quickly turn any extra bedroom into your new favorite room in the entire house! 

The Ultimate Home Office

The most common use for a spare bedroom these days is for a home office space. Just about everyone today has a desk and a computer, and the spare bedroom is usually the most reasonable place to set up shop. But if you want to make your home office really special, spend some time and effort tweaking all of the details to get it to function just the way you like.

Depending on how you plan on utilizing the space, this could mean anything from a larger desk and big filing cabinets to extra shelving for all of your favorite finance books and paper clip holders.  

A Space for Hobbies and Crafts

One popular twist on the home office is to create a room that is dedicated to all of the tools and supplies you need for your favorite hobbies and crafting projects. This could be as simple as an extra table set up with a few plastic bins of supplies, or it could be as elaborate as an all-out workshop.  

Whatever hobby or craft sparks your interest, having a designated place to pursue that passion is a wonderful luxury that will help you devote even more time and effort to perfecting your craft.  

Yoga and Meditation Room

Mental activities like yoga and mediation have been rapidly growing in popularity over the past few years, and having a dedicated space to work on your practice is one of the best ways to commit to that type of inner development.

While these practices don’t require much more than a simple mat on the floor, you can certainly improve the zen aspects of your spare room with some plants or a small fountain.  

Dressing Room

If you are anything like most people today, even a large walk-in closet just isn’t enough space for all of your clothing and accessories. That’s why using one of your spare bedrooms as a dressing room makes so much sense! Even if your clothing does fit in the large walk-in closet, having a room dedicated to accessories, make-up, and full-length mirrors can be a wonderful oasis when getting ready.  

Your Own Personal Library

Every serious reader has a collection of old books that can fill a few boxes. If you happen to be one of those people that has more than a few books, get those boxes out of the garage and up onto some shelves in your spare bedroom. Add in a comfortable armchair, and you’ve just created your very own library that can double as a quiet space to think! 

A Room for Guests

With all of these exciting ideas for getting the most out of your spare bedrooms, it can be easy to overlook the most obvious options like simply making the room into a place to accommodate guests. If you are going to be hosting friends and family from time to time, you want to be able to offer them comfortable accommodations, so keep that in mind when deciding on what to do with your extra bedrooms.  

Each of these six ideas can be a wonderful way to utilize the space in a spare bedroom on their own, but you are likely going to find that you want to utilize the space for more than one function. If this is the case, keep in mind that you don’t want one function to take away from the other, and make sure everyone in the house is on the same page with respect to what the room is supposed to be.  

After that, let your imagination run wild in all of that open space!

5 Weekend Getaways in Greater Florida

One of the best things about living here at the Villages of Citrus Hills is that all of the amazing tourist destinations throughout the state of Florida are just a stone’s throw away. That means that our residents have the luxury of being able to head out on a weekend getaway to all of those famous Florida destinations pretty much any time they like.  

Of course, there are so many fantastic destinations across the state that it can actually be hard to choose which one to visit first. For that reason, we put together this list of five weekend getaways that should definitely be on your list!

Key West 

If you chose the Gulf Coast because you prefer the calmer pace of life compared to the Atlantic Coast, then you will like the laid-back feel of beautiful Key West. This amazing little town is one of the fun spots in Florida, and you can get there by flying into their airport, taking a jet boat from the mainland, or driving down US Highway 1.  

Once you’re in Key West, everything revolves around Duval Street. This is where you will find plenty of shopping, dining, and more bars than you could possibly visit. There are also some really great local tours like the Hemingway Estate, as well as the beautiful Fort Zachary Taylor Historic State Park and the ultimate photo op spot at the Southernmost Point!

 For more information on this location please click on the link below.

http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/cities/key-west.html

Miami - South Beach 

If exciting nightlife is your cup of tea, then a weekend in South Beach is just what the doctor ordered! Pick any of the fabulous hotels along the famous A1A and you will be set to enjoy all that this vibrant town has to offer. 

While you are in Miami, make sure to visit the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab for some of the best stone crab claws you’ll find anywhere. You can dress up and eat in their restaurant, or go super casual and enjoy the same food over on their take-out side.

For more information on this location please click on the link below.

http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/cities/miami-beach.html

Naples 

Keeping our focus in the southern part of the state, if relaxing on the water is more your speed, then Naples will appeal to you. This is the ultimate destination for visitors who enjoy a calm and upscale atmosphere that is also accompanied by some spectacular high-end shopping.

 For more information on this location please click on the link below.

http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/cities/naples.html

Panama City Beach 

Moving up north into the panhandle area, Panama City Beach has a reputation as a spring break destination, but it is also a fabulous spot for residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills who are looking to get away for a weekend.  

This little gem features 27 miles of gorgeous white sand beaches, along with world-class golf facilities, two excellent state parks, and enough delicious restaurants to ensure that you never run out of options.

 For more information on this location please click on the link below.

http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/cities/panama-city-beach.html

Daytona Beach 

Another popular destination that certainly ranks at the top of the list of any NASCAR fan is the home of the Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach. Here you will find the amazing Daytona International Motor Speedway and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. There are also many other great attractions that make a weekend in Daytona Beach fun for everyone even when it isn’t race week.

For more information on this location please click on the link below.

http://www.visitflorida.com/en-us/cities/daytona-beach.html

 

Whether you are looking for exciting nightlife or beachfront relaxation, there is something for everyone to be found on a weekend getaway somewhere in the state of Florida. So, next time you start feeling the urge to get away, take out your Florida map and book the next trip!

Great Day Trip from the Villages of Citrus Hills to Cedar Key

With all of its unique shops and restaurants, as well as plenty of great history and wildlife attractions, Cedar Key contains all of the amenities of a great tourist town without all of the tourists!

This once-small fishing village has gradually turned itself into one of the more popular day-trip locations for Florida residents who are looking for a location that is not so tourist-focused.

Residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills can drive to Cedar Key in about an hour and fifteen minutes by taking US-41 north to Country Road 40 and then US-19 North, then turning left and taking FL-24 all the way to the coast.

The breathtaking views you will see driving from the mainland out to Cedar Key alone make the whole trip worthwhile!

Once you arrive in Cedar Key, you will definitely want to see some of the wonderful historic sites, museums, wildlife preserves and state parks.

There are also great locations for fishing and boating, as well as great small town shopping and restaurants to keep you busy for the day.

Cedar Key Historical Museum 

One of your first stops in Cedar Key should be the Cedar Key Historical Museum. Even if you aren’t curious about the interesting history of the island, you will still want to grab all of the visitor information located here to plan the rest of your day.

If you are interested in the history of Cedar Key, this great little museum will walk you through the entire history of the island including Civil War artifacts and brooms made from palmettos.

You will learn all about the town’s storied history with the railroad industry, cedar and palm products, and gulf coast seafood. 

Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Preserve

Another popular attraction in Cedar Key is the nine-mile drive through the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Preserve.

As you drive through the preserve, you can expect to see alligators, turkeys, otters, and many different types of birds. You will also want to stop near the Shell Mound Campground to see the 28-foot high mound of ancient shells. 

Seahorse Key Lighthouse 

Just south of Cedar Key is Seahorse Key, which is home to the Seahorse Key Lighthouse.

This key is only accessible by boat, and the lighthouse is only open on certain days of the year, but there are a number of tour companies in Cedar Key that will either take you past Seahorse Key or allow you to get out and look around the island.

Like everything else in this area, the lighthouse has a storied history including the pivotal role it played in the Second Seminole War and the Civil War.  

Shopping in Cedar Key

If shopping is what you are looking for, Cedar Key is perfect for that as well!

Most of the shops are on either Dock Street or Second Street, so that is the best place to start your shopping spree. You will definitely want to check out Cedar Key Canvas, Dilly Dally Gally, The Island Trading Post, and The Salty Needle Quilt Shop.

Dining in Cedar Key 

Your long day of history, wildlife, boating, and shopping will probably cause you to work up quite an appetite. That won’t be a problem though, because Cedar Key has an excellent collection of local restaurants.

One of the most popular restaurants in Cedar Key is Tony’s Seafood Restaurant, and they are known for their famous clam chowder. 

If you plan to visit Cedar Key more than once, you will also want to try eating at Kona Joe’s Island Cafe, Ken’s Cedar Keyside Diner, and the Big Deck Raw Bar. Each of these restaurants is known for putting out outstanding food accompanied by friendly service. 

As you can see, there really is something for everyone in Cedar Key.

And because it is only 75 minutes from the Villages of Citrus Hills, this might be the type of place you find yourself going back to over and over again!

January Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

Out with the old and in with the new as we have officially made our way into 2017! The new year is sure to be nothing but excitement over the course of the next 12 months, and our friends over at the Activity Center are doing everything in their power to make sure that you start out the year with a bang in January! 

With two different performances from the Big Show Series, multiple other social events and speakers, golf tournaments and clinics, and lots of great dinner specials, there is almost no end of all the activities you can participate in around the Villages of Citrus Hills this month. Let’s take a quick look at some of them. 

Social Events 

After we ring in the new year, we are going to get it started on the right foot with a performance from the legendary Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone in the Activity Center Auditorium on Thursday, January 5. Tickets for this show are going to be $44 for members and $49 for guests, and show times are set for 6 pm and 8:15 pm.  

Trivia experts will be getting together in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, January 17 for another edition of the Trivia Challenge Dinner & Game Show. Dinner this month will include Chicken Piccata and Sliced London Broil with Mushroom Sauce.  

The biggest party of the month will be the Classic Rock Dance Party happening on Tuesday, January 24 in the Hampton Room. Saratoga the Band will be rocking out all of your favorite classic rock tunes with doors opening at 6:30 pm and the music starting around 7 pm.

There will be a second performance from the Big Show Series when Paul Revere’s Raiders come to the Activity Show Auditorium on Thursday, January 26. Tickets for this show are $39 for members and $44 for guests, and they can be purchased at the Activity Center.  

Arts & Education 

Boules Wahba from Dynamic Computer Solutions will be at the Activity Center on Friday, January 13 to host another installment of Tech 101 from 10:30 and to 12:30 pm. This month, the topics will include many of the most common activities you will find yourself doing in some of the latest editions of Microsoft Windows.

There will also be another edition of the Speaker Series on Friday, January 13 with Richard K. Hurley discussing “How to Successfully Deal with the VA.” This event will take place in the Garden Room from 12 pm to 3 pm.  

A second Speaker Series event will be taking place with representatives from Michaels Floor Covering in the Activity Center Auditorium on Friday, January 27 at 4 pm. They will be discussing just about everything you ever wanted to know about different flooring options for your home.  

Golf & Tennis 

The first big golf event of 2017 will be the New Year’s Cross Country Open on Wednesday, January 7 starting at 8:30 am. If you’ve never played a cross country event before, this is a great opportunity to try out a really exciting and unique format.

The other big tournament in January will be the Men’s Ringer Tournament Major Event at Skyview on Friday, January 9 and Saturday, January 10. This will be a partner event where each team plays the best ball on each hole.  

If you are looking to improve your game in 2017, you can start by attending the Cleveland Golf Scoring Clinic on Monday, January 9 from 2 pm to 4 pm. The class is $149 per person, and everyone who attends will receive an RTX-3 Wedge.

There will also be opportunities to improve your skills at our regular Free Golf Clinics with Golf Pro Wayne Larsen. This month, the beginner clinics will take place on January 2, 3, and 4 while the intermediate clinics are scheduled for January 10, 17, and 24.  

Over at the Skyview Tennis Center, there will be a Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, January 10 at 11 am.

Dinner Specials 

One of the best ways to ring in the new year will be with the Taste of France dinner special on Tuesday, January 10 at The Grille. Diners will have their choice of entrees like Rosemary Lamb Chops, Veal Saltimbocca, and Cognac Shrimp. There will also be a special Carmel Flan dessert on the menu.

Out at the Tiki Bar, there is going to be a Winter Wonderland Buffet on Thursday, January 12. This buffet will include two different kinds of soup, as well as Beef Stroganoff and Green Bean Casserole. There will also be Warm Apple Crisp, Hot Chocolate, and a Coffee Bar. 

Over at Skyview Restaurant, you won’t want to miss their Season Celebration Buffet that is scheduled for Tuesday, January 17. This delicious meal will include all kinds of high-end hors d’oeuvres, as well as a salad bar, carving station, and pasta station.

Then on Tuesday, January 31, Skyview Restaurant will be hosting a four course Italian Wine Dinner where each of the delicious Italian foods is paired with a complementary wine that is straight from Italy. Tickets for this dinner are $65 per person and it will also include entertainment by Italian singer Humberto Zambrano.

In the event that you happen to find some time to pamper yourself in the first month of the new year, Bella Vita Spa is offering specials.  They will be doing Vitamin A Micro Peel Facials and a Vanilla Wild Plum Ultimate Spa Pedicure throughout the entire month, so make sure to put that on your to-do list as well and have a great month!

 

This is just a taste of what is happening in the month of January.  For a complete overview please visit our website and click on the Connections page.

 

 

 

 

5 Places to Take Your Holiday Guests in Citrus County

One of our favorite things about living in Citrus County is that there is an endless amount of things to see and do.  There is always something happening right here in the Villages of Citrus Hills, and there are just as many fun attractions throughout the rest of the county.  

All of these attractions and activities are great for those of us who call Citrus County home, but they can be a little overwhelming for those who are just visiting with us for a short time. For that reason, we thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of the top five places everyone must see while visiting in Citrus County.  

5. Fort Island Gulf Beach 

Fort Island Gulf Beach is one of those places that you probably say, “We should come here more often,” just about every time you visit. It has beautiful white sand beaches, public restrooms, and a great boardwalk overlooking the water.

When your guests visit the Gulf Coast of Florida, they are definitely going to want to SEE the Gulf Coast. This is the perfect way for them to see it right here in Citrus County, and it’s also an extremely relaxing way to spend a day. 

4. The Withlacoochee State Trail 

Bicycling is a fun way to show your guests a good time outdoors, making the most of our great Florida weather. There are lots of trails to choose from around Citrus County, but the Withlacoochee State Trail is the one that is a must-see attraction. 

This is a perfect place for cyclists of all skill levels. You can take your time and cruise just a few miles, or push the envelope and explore all 46 miles of former train tracks. 

3. Rainbow River Tubing 

If your visitors are looking for something a little more adventurous that is still a great representation of life in Citrus County, taking them tubing on the Rainbow River is a perfect way to spend an afternoon.

Tubing is popular and with the beautiful forecast for the next week it will be the kind of experience that your visitors will be sure to tell everyone back home about! Kayaking or canoeing is another way to see the beautiful Rainbow River if the tubing is not of interest. 

2. Downtown Inverness 

Whether your guests are interested in history, shopping, or great food, there is something for everyone to enjoy just a few miles away in downtown Inverness.

Every tour of Inverness should start at the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum, but you might also want to explore the local shopping or grab some takeout food and head to Fort Cooper State Park for a picnic lunch.  

1. Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park 

A lot of people who visit Florida want to get to the beach, which we addressed with number five on this list. But the main interest for many who visit Citrus County specifically is to see live manatees, and the best place to do that is Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park!

Visitors can get up close and personal with live manatees from the underwater observatory. They can also learn a lot more about these local mammals from the information sessions held regularly at the park.  

Among each of these five attractions, you will definitely show your guests some of the very best highlights of Citrus County. And if you haven’t been to all of these places yourself, what are you waiting for?

10 Food Ideas That Will Make Your Home a Hit This Holiday Season

The holiday hosting season has officially arrived, and whether you are hosting your friends, family, or coworkers, everyone wants their holiday party to have that one amazing food item that everyone is still talking about at the next party.  

Luckily, thanks to all of our amazing friends, we don’t have any shortage of great ideas when it comes to foods that are perfect for those holiday parties. 

We’ve broken it down into the four holiday food groups: appetizers, entrees, desserts, and cocktails! 

Appetizers 

Our first appetizer is a modern take on the classic meatball appetizer. You used to be able to blow your guests away with a traditional Swedish Meatball, but it takes a little more than that these days, and this Crock-Pot Cranberry Orange Meatball recipe has exactly what it takes.

Chips and dip are another staple of any holiday party, but this Holiday Wreath Taco Ring takes that basic concept to a whole new level. Scrap the chips altogether and start dipping these little slices of stuffed taco bread into homemade guacamole and your guests are sure to be impressed.

A perfect fit for any holiday party is a tray of bacon wrapped chestnuts. There’s a song dedicated to chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but they must have just been out of bacon, because this is the way your guests really want chestnuts prepared!

Entrees

Moving on to the main course, cranberries are one of the most festive holiday ingredients that you can include with any dish, and this version of balsamic roasted chicken mixes them with some fresh thyme for an absolutely amazing flavor combination.

Another tried and true holiday entree is a classic prime rib. Try a version with lots of garlic and rosemary, and then balance it out with a delicious horseradish cream sauce.

Desserts 

They say that presentation is 90% of taste, and if that is true then this amazing Gingerbread Trifle will surely impress everyone when it comes time for dessert. With layers of different berries stacked between layers of ginger bread and homemade whipped cream, this stunning dessert is almost too pretty to eat!

Another adorable dessert idea that is really easy to pull off are these little strawberry and whipped cream Santas. They might not be enough of a dessert on their own, but they are the perfect complement to any other desserts you might have planned.

Speaking of complementing your desserts, nothing does that job quite like a gourmet hot cocoa bar. Just set out a few bowls of accessories that your guests can add to their hot cocoa and they will surely still be talking about it at the next party!

Cocktails 

Having your own featured cocktail is another great way to set your holiday party apart from all the other ones this season. One of the simplest options is to dress up a classic vodka and cranberry with a bit of club soda and then some fresh cranberries and rosemary. All of a sudden, that simple drink looks instead like something out of a magazine.

If you prefer to make your cocktails in large batches, this Sparkling Cranberry Vodka Punch is another way to dress up the classic vodka and cranberry juice. This time, we’re adding some ginger ale and lemonade to make it into a punch and then garnishing with lemons, cranberries, and fresh mint leaves.

The most important ingredient for any holiday party is always going to be having the right people there, but once you have that in place, the next step is to impress them with something amazing. This list of ten unique food items should have you well on your way as far as that is concerned.  

Happy holidays!

 

 

5 Vacationers Club Trips You Won't Want to Miss

There is nothing like a good vacation to help you recharge your batteries and relax your mind. And whether you are looking for a short day trip or a long cruise, the Citrus Hills Vacationer’s Club is always working on something exciting that will fit your needs. They are currently planning five amazing trips for this spring that you definitely won’t want to miss! 

Valentine’s Cruise 

Looking for a special trip to take with your significant other this Valentine’s Day season? Well, the Vacationers Club has got you covered with a five-night cruise through the Western Caribbean. Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas will depart from Tampa on Saturday, February 11 and then head for stops in Key West and Cozumel.

This amazing adventure will give you the opportunity to get away for the most romantic week of the year, and what could be more romantic than spending a day in Key West followed by a day in Mexico! 

Ringling Museum Day Trip 

Also, taking place on Saturday, February 11 will be the Vacationer’s Club day trip to Sarasota to visit The Ringling Circus Museum. This is the ultimate experience for anyone who grew up as a fan of the amazing Ringling Brothers circus.

If you have never been to the museum before, it is one of the most amazing tributes to the circus that you will find anywhere. The large estate houses an art museum, circus museum, the famous Ringling Mansion, and the historic Asolo Theater.  

Wicked Day Trip 

Another day trip this February is the trip to the Straz Performing Arts Center in Tampa on Saturday, February 25 for a performance of Wicked. As one of the most popular and captivating musicals in recent years, Wicked is an amazing experience that you simply don’t want to miss.

Tickets for this trip are $155 per person, which includes a ticket to the show and round-trip transportation. There will also be a brief stop for lunch before the 2 pm show.

Three Days in Savannah 

As much as we love heading south and cruising around the Caribbean, it’s hard to ignore the amazing places like Savannah, Georgia that are just north of us. The Vacationer’s Club is planning a three day, two-night excursion to this beautiful and historic city from March 21 to March 23.

Tickets for this trip are $689 per person, and that includes two nights at the Staybridge Inn and Suites. Also included are two dinners, three breakfast meals, a trolley tour of Savannah’s Historic District, an evening show at the Savannah Theater, a tour of Tybee Island, a tour of the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum, and an optional tour of Bonaventure Cemetery.  

All-Inclusive Cruise to Cuba 

If a visit to Cuba has long been on your bucket list, March 24 is the date that you want to mark on your calendar. That is the date that the Vacationer’s Club will be embarking on a seven-night cruise to Cuba that leaves from Montego Bay, Jamaica. The ship will then be making stops in Santiago de Cuba, Havana, Punta Frances, and Cienfuegos.

There are inside and outside cabins available for this trip, with inside cabins priced at $2125 per person and outside cabins priced at $2285 per person. There are also balcony and suite cabins available upon request.  

Whether you are looking for a simple day trip to see a show in Tampa or you want to get on a cruise ship and sail the high seas, the Citrus Hills Vacationer’s Club has something interesting planned for you. Make sure you book your tickets soon so that you don’t miss out on these great opportunities. 

The Manatees are Back for the Winter

There are dozens of reasons why Florida is a great place to live, but one of the top reasons has to be that the weather is nice and warm during the winter months.

Many of our friends and neighbors here in the Villages of Citrus Hills go north for the summer only to come running back at the first sign of winter.

Ironically, our local manatee population demonstrates the exact same behavior!

West Indian Manatees are extremely popular animals in Citrus County due to our year round population of them, which gets especially large during the winter months.

Despite their enormous size, these sea mammals have relatively little body fat and require warm water in order to survive. For that reason, they tend to migrate to the warm spring waters such as Crystal River and Homosassa Springs during the winter months. 

Another way that manatees are similar to our snowbird friends and neighbors is that once they find a place they like, they will return to the same spot year after year. It is not uncommon for a mother and her calf to go their separate ways out at sea for the entire summer and then be spotted hanging out together in their usual winter habitat the following year. 

As the manatees begin to migrate back towards our local springs for the winter, now is a great time to be planning your next manatee encounter. Whether you are looking to swim alongside the manatees, kayak near them, or observe them from dry land, there are great places to do all of those in Crystal River and Homosassa Springs!

Crystal River

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The best places to see manatees in the Crystal River area are Three Sisters Springs and the Kings Bay Manatee Sanctuary. Both of these places are best accessed by boat, but you can only get so close. In order to get up close and personal you will have to be in a kayak or canoe.

There are also a number of tour companies that operate out of the Crystal River area that specialize in manatee tours. These companies can take you right up to the popular manatee areas and many will instruct you on swimming right along with the manatees!

Homosassa Springs 

If you are looking to learn more about manatees, Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is the best place in the region. There is a daily educational program that gives visitors some background on manatees including their history and the rehabilitation efforts that are conducted at the park. 

The Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park also has what they call the “Fish Bowl,” which is an underwater viewing area similar to what you would expect to find at an aquarium. This gives visitors the chance to get up close and personal with manatees without even getting wet!

Tampa Electric Company 

Because manatees are attracted to warm waters, they also tend to be attracted to power plants. One really interesting place to observe them is from the Tampa Electric Company near the mouth of the Hillsborough River. The warm water that the power plant discharges into the river is like a magnet for manatees, and the company has built a visitor center, overlook, and walkway for visitors to observe this phenomenon. 

Whether you prefer to break out your kayak and meet the manatees in their natural environment in Crystal River or stay on dry land and observe them from a distance at Homosassa Springs or the Tampa Electric Company power plant, make sure you take some time to get out and see these amazing sea mammals near the Villages of Citrus Hills this winter.

Sale Prices on Showcase Homes Available in Brentwood - Limited Time Offer

Amherst 2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $290,055

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Cromwell 2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $291,231

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A cozy neighborhood that's comfortable and inviting, with friendly neighbors and ample amenities – that’s how residents characterize Brentwood of Citrus Hills. It’s a neighborhood that’s not too big, but a size that feels just right. Here you’ll find a sense of community where sensible stylish homes, scenic views and a convenient Nature Coast location come together to form a way of life that’s a pure pleasure.  

Like the neighborhood of Terra Vista, residents here enjoy the many amenities of the Citrus Hills Golf and Country Club.  In addition, there is a challenging nine-hole golf course, fitness center and heated outdoor pool within the gates of Brentwood.

Amherst

Amherst

Our Move-In ready Showcase Homes are perfect for those who have sold their homes, or know their homes will sell quickly and are ready to relocate, or those looking for a new home without going through the construction process.

Cromwell

Cromwell

These finely crafted new homes feature our time-tested floor plans and popular designs. Loaded with extras that people love, our Showcase Homes also offer standard features that are considered upgrades at other communities. For value, luxury, and style our Showcase Homes should be seen and considered.

 

A LIFESTYLE CONSULTANT CAN ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS.  

CALL TODAY! 800-511-0814 OR SCHEDULE A TIME TO VISIT US.

December Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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Just as we were starting to get used to 2016, the entire year has flown by and it’s time to start thinking about 2017. But even though the new year is right around the corner, there is still plenty of time to have some fun with all of the great events that our friends at the Activity Center have planned for the month of December.  

You might be looking for your favorite regular events like the Shabbat Dinner Club, Coffee and Canvas, the Free Beginners Tennis Clinic, or you might be more interested in once-a-year festivities like our annual New Year’s Eve party. Either way, we’ve got you covered with a packed calendar this month! 

Social Events 

We will kick off the holiday season with a festive holiday party at Skyview Restaurant from 6 pm to 9 pm on Tuesday, December 13. The party will feature a fabulous menu that starts with an Artisan Cheese and Fruit Display and ends with some amazing seasonal desserts. There will also be live music provided by our good friend Charlie De.

The Shabbat Dinner Club will be getting together on Friday, December 23 in the Garden Room at The Grille where the doors will be opening at 5:30 pm and dinner will be served at 6:15 pm. This month, diners will have the option of choosing from Chicken Piccata or Stuffed Tilapia Bercy.

The biggest party of the year will be the New Year’s Eve Celebration in the Hampton Room on December 31. This is a formal affair where black ties are optional, but the fun is mandatory! The evening will feature a fabulous dinner of Prime Rib and Napa Chicken, as well as professional DJs, a live band, and a live feed of “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” in Times Square. 

Arts & Education Activities 

The speaker series will be back on Monday, December 5 at 1 pm in the Activity Center. This month, our guests will be B.J. Darvis from the UF/Citrus Cooperative Extension and Steven Davis who is the Citrus County Florida Yards and Neighbors Coordinator. Our guests will be discussing how to maintain your yards using Florida-friendly landscaping techniques.

Local artist Vanessa Fuller-Brown is at the Activity Center on Tuesday, December 6 for another installment of Coffee & Canvas. This month, the class will be working on replicating Georgia O’Keeffe’s “White Calla Lilies on Red.” If you have never been to a Coffee & Canvas event before, this is a great time of year to start. For just $60, members will be provided will all the supplies they need to recreate this classic painting.  

Golf & Tennis 

Vendors representing Ping, Callaway, Wilson, Cleveland, Mizuno, Cobra, and Taylor Made will all be on hand for Demo Day at the Skyview Driving Range on Saturday, December 3 from 9:30 am to 3 pm. This is a great opportunity for golfers of all skill levels to try out some of the latest and greatest equipment, and even preorder some items that haven’t hit the market yet!

You can learn how to really put those new clubs to use by attending any of the Free Golf Clinics that are planned for the month of December. Golf Pro Wayne Larson will be instructing beginner golfers on December 5, 6, and 7. Then intermediate golfers will be invited to attend on December 13, 20, and 27. All clinics start at 11 am.  

Ready to put those new golf skills to work? Skyview will be hosting their Husband & Wife Championship on Monday, December 5. Then they will be having their annual Cross Country Golf Tournament, which is an absolute blast to participate in, on Friday, December 16.

The Oaks Course will be hosting the St. Nick Open on Saturday, December 10. This shotgun start tournament benefits Toys for Tots, and everyone attending is invited to bring an unwrapped toy to donate.

Dinner Specials 

As if you weren’t already going to have too much food to eat over the holiday season, there are also some amazing dinner specials lined up at each of our restaurants this month. Sunday Brunch will be back at Skyview Restaurant on December 18, and then you won’t want to miss out on their Brazilian Steakhouse Night on December 27.

The Tiki Bar will be hosting a Caribbean Christmas Buffet on Thursday, December 15 from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm. The island-style menu will feature Coconut Garlic Shrimp, West Indian-Style Chicken with Sauce Cien, Curried Goat, and lots of Caribbean sides. There will be live music from Steel of the Night.  

The Grille is having “A Taste of Asia” on December 6 that will give you the opportunity to try a wide range of Asian cuisine. They will also be hosting a fabulous New Year’s Eve dinner with entree selections of Blackened Scallops, Prime Rib, Surf & Turf, Stuffed Chicken, Ahi Tuna, and more!

Should you happen to find some time for yourself this month, you might want to make an appointment at BellaVita Spa, where the specials this month include a Cinnamon Enzyme Exfoliation Treatment, a Cranberry Spa Pedicure, and a Holiday Escape Massage. Any of those three choices would be an excellent way to finish out a wonderful year here at the Villages of Citrus Hills!

 

 

 

 

Withlacoochee State Forest Just Minutes From the Villages of Citrus Hills

Located just a short drive from the Villages of Citrus Hills is Withlacoochee State Forest, the third largest forest in Florida. The Citrus Tract is 41,222 acres and provides a tremendous number of opportunities for Citrus Hills residents to get out and enjoy their wonderful natural environment.

Like most state parks and forests, Withlacoochee State Forest has all the amenities that you would expect to find; camping, fishing, boating, and hiking. But in addition to those activities, there are also areas devoted to off-road motorcycle and ATV riding and horseback riding.

Here are just a few of the highlights of Withlacoochee State Forest and Citrus County that make living here a great outdoor adventure!

Camping & Boating 

There are many camping locations throughout Withlacoochee State Forest. Some of the most popular areas are Holder Mine Recreation Area, Mutual Mine Recreation Area, and Tillis Hill Recreation Area.

There are also many locations throughout the forest that are devoted to canoeing. The Withlacoochee South River, which flows directly through the forest, contains many points for canoes to enter or exit. Depending on the start and stop points, canoe enthusiasts can plan trips ranging from 3 miles all the way up to 14.4 miles.

Croom Motorcycle Area

The Croom Motorcycle Area at Withlacoochee State Forest is a haven for dirt bike and ATV riders. This 2600-acre facility offers courses and trails for riders of all skill levels. There is also a training area for riders who are just getting their feet wet. More experienced riders will enjoy the rougher trails that have been left as natural as possible.

The motorcycle park is open every day from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Riders who are looking to stay near the park for an extended period of time will be delighted to find that there is a campground here as well. 

Withlacoochee State Trail

The Withlacoochee State Trail is currently the longest rail-trail in the state of Florida. The trail was originally part of Henry Plant’s railroad that ran from Croom to Inverness. Over the years, the rail line was part of the Atlantic Coast Line, the Seaboard Coast Line, and CSX Transportation. In 1989, CSX Transportation sold the line to the state of Florida so that it could be paved as part of their Rails to Trails program.

The current trail runs from Citrus Springs down to within six miles of Dade City, for a total of 46 miles. The trail takes its visitors through everything from suburbs, to small towns, to historic landmarks. The trail is popular for walking, biking, and skating. It also has areas where horseback riding is available. There are many locations along the trail that feature a wide variety of dining and hotel accommodations.

The Florida Trailtrotter Program

Withlacoochee State Forest contains two different horse trails that are featured in The Florida Trailtrotter Program. The Bear Head Hammock Horse Trail is 8.4 miles long, and the Little River Ranch Trail is 8 miles long.

According to the Trailtrotter Program, one of the best ways to experience the natural beauty of the state parks and forests in Florida is on horseback.

The Florida State Forest Trailwalker Program

The Florida State Forest Trailwalker Program encourages Florida residents and visitors to experience the natural beauty of the state by exploring a number of different trails throughout each of the state forests.

There are a total of nine different trails in Withlacoochee State Forest that are part of the Trailwalker Program. There are a number of shorter trails like Mud Spring, McKethan Lake, Hog Island, Johnson Pond, and Oxbow that are all less than 2 miles long. There are also some longer trails like Richloam South, which is 12.3 miles long!

Whether you are looking for fast-paced dirt bike action, slow-paced canoe trails, or the experience of horseback riding through a natural environment, there are plenty of options available in Withlacoochee State Forest and along the Withlacoochee State Trail.

Considering its close proximity to Citrus Hills, it’s easy to see why this is a very popular outdoor destination for our residents.

 

 

Stretch it Out: Yoga Studios Near the Villages of Citrus Hills

If you’ve never been to a yoga class before, it might seem like one of those hip exercise trends that come and go over the years. But once you experience your first vinyasa flow class and make it all the way through to the relaxing shavasana pose, you will no doubt be hooked.  

Yoga offers a powerful, low-impact workout that promotes personal growth along with physical development. It is great for treating chronic pains like lower back pain, arthritis, headaches, and even carpal tunnel syndrome. At the same time, yoga students are able to use movements and breathing to produce all kinds of emotional and spiritual developments too! 

Luckily, we are fortunate enough to be virtually surrounded by yoga studios!

 Yoga Classes at BellaVita Spa & Fitness Center 

The first place to find a great yoga class close to the Villages of Citrus Hills is right in our very own BellaVita Spa & Fitness Center. Here you will find basic yoga, power yoga, and restorative yoga on the class schedule each and every week.

The basic yoga classes are taught by Nancy and Sheila, and they focus on stretching and breathing as they work through the entire body. These classes are great for beginners, but the instructors are also able to offer more challenging positions for experienced students.

If you are looking for more of a meditative experience, Cindy’s restorative yoga class offers a yin yoga style that focuses more on deep stretches that are held for longer periods of time. These classes are known to have an amazing impact on your mental state.  

Citrus Yoga & Fitness 

If the class times at BellaVita don’t fit your schedule, an alternative for yoga near the Villages of Citrus Hills is Citrus Yoga & Fitness located on Meadowcrest Blvd. in Crystal River. 

There are a total of six different instructors here that offer classes for all levels of yoga throughout the week, and those classes can be paid for on a per class or per month basis.

The ladies at Citrus Yoga are a fantastic resource for anyone who has never tried yoga before. Even if you aren’t sure about taking one of their classes, they will still be happy to help you understand exactly what benefits you can expect from a regular yoga practice.

Pure Elements Yoga and Wellness Center 

Another great choice in Crystal River is Pure Elements Yoga and Wellness Center located right off of Highway 19. Their focus is on using yoga as a treatment to bridge the gap between conventional medicine and alternative therapies.

Classes here are scheduled every Monday and Wednesday evening, so if the morning classes at other studios don’t work for you this is a great alternative.  

Inverness Yoga & Wellness Center 

One of the best resources for all things yoga near the Villages of Citrus Hills is the Inverness Yoga & Wellness Center. Here you will find a very full schedule that offers multiple classes to choose from on just about every day of the week. You can pay for those classes one at a time, or take advantage of their monthly rate.

In addition to yoga classes, you will also learn about stress workshops, yoga retreats, and teacher training for when you are ready to take your yoga practice to the next level.  

No matter which studio you find most interesting, adding a regular yoga practice to your life will dramatically change you from the inside out. So, contact one of these great studios or just head over to a class at BellaVita and start working on your downward dog!

Weekend Golf Getaways: 5 Destinations to Put on Your List

Golf is one of the reasons that people choose to live here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. We have four pristine courses located right in the community, and our members also have access to a fifth course at Ocala National as well.  

Despite the vast amount of golfing that is available right here in the community, we are also surrounded by other fabulous golf destinations across the state of Florida. You could probably be perfectly happy playing our courses almost every day, but you might also want to plan a few weekend trips each year to see some of the other amazing golf destinations located within a few hours of the Villages of Citrus Hills.  

If you are thinking about putting together a golf-themed bucket list for your time here in Florida, these are five of the destinations we think everyone should start with.  

Jacksonville 

The city of Jacksonville might not exactly bring to mind visions of a fabulous golf vacation, but there are plenty of unbelievable courses surrounding this underrated Florida golf destination.

Just down the road from Jacksonville in Ponte Vedra Beach is where you will find the iconic TPC Sawgrass. This is THE course that every golfer dreams about, and they offer lots of great vacation getaway packages that include the opportunity to try your hand at sticking a tee shot onto their famous island green on the 17th hole.  

Daytona Beach 

Working our way down the Atlantic Coast a bit, you will find that in addition to being a favorite destination for many NASCAR fans, Daytona Beach is also filled with several stunning golf courses designed by some of the best in the business.  

The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, and the two golf courses at LPGA International Golf Club should not be missed.  

The Jones Course, designed by Rees Jones, is a traditional links-style 7,088-yard design where you'll enjoy strategic mounding, numerous expanses of sand bunkers, natural marsh areas, beautiful lakes and undulating greens. 

The Hills course, designed by Arthur Hills, is a classic at 6,984 yards. Hills used the area’s natural setting to create a masterpiece in playability and variety featuring natural wetlands, narrow pine corridors, small greens and strategically placed water hazards. 

Orlando 

Just a bit southwest of Daytona Beach, and only a little over an hour from the Village of Citrus Hills, is the city of Orlando. Everyone knows Orlando as the theme park capital of the world, but not as many people realize that those theme parks are surrounded by some of the best golf courses in the entire world.

Some of the most popular public courses here include Celebration Golf Club, Highlands Reserve Golf Club, Mystic Dunes Golf Club, Stoneybrook West Golf Club, and Windermere Country Club. But those are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the seemingly endless amount of courses in Orlando.  

West Palm Beach 

Heading a further south along Florida’s Atlantic Coast, the PGA National Resort and Spa located in Palm Beach Gardens is a first-class luxury golf experience. If you are looking for the type of golf getaway that has you feeling like a tour pro, this is the place to start.

If the first-class prices at the PGA National Resort and Spa are a little steep for your game, you can find similar views for a fraction of the cost over at the Palm Beach Par 3 Course. This unique course sits right between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intercostal Waterway, and it can be played for about $50.  

Naples 

If you prefer to stay on the Gulf Coast of Florida, heading down to Naples is the weekend golf getaway that should be at the top of your list.  

This is another place where you will find more golf courses than you could possibly play in one trip, but The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club and LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort are two that make for an excellent place to start.

You could spend weeks in any of these five destinations and not even come close to playing all of the golf courses available to the public, and we haven’t even gotten into some of the more obscure destinations.  

So, while we are proud to stack the courses here at the Villages of Citrus Hills up against any in the world, there are also plenty of fun getaways you can plan across the state of Florida. 

Sushi for Days: Nearby Sushi Restaurants

Over the past decade, sushi has been one of the fastest growing cuisines for people who like to eat out on a regular basis. Sushi is delicious, and is typically on the healthy side of the food spectrum, and if you know what you are doing it doesn’t have to cost a fortune either! 

Whether you prefer the flavors of raw salmon and tuna, crunchy tempura battered shrimp, or just a simple California Roll, there are multiple choices for getting sushi within a short drive of the Villages of Citrus Hills.  

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Sushi-O is a unique experience that takes the time to think of new ways to incorporate a number of different local ingredients in with their traditional Japanese flavors. You will find them in a little plaza off of West Norvell Bryant Highway in Lecanto.

Zesty Edamame Salad

Zesty Edamame Salad

An entire page of the menu is devoted to their impressive selection of specialty rolls, where you will find classics like the Kamikaze Roll and Rainbow Roll. They also have some creative twists on the classics like their Tempura Philly Roll. 

If you’re looking for sushi in the Crystal River area, Ginger Asian Bistro is the first place you are going to want to stop. They’re located on Highway 19 and offer a great mix of Chinese and Japanese cuisine.  

Part of the massive menu includes a long list of specialty rolls. Try their Crystal River Roll, which includes shrimp tempura with avocado. 

Ginger Asian Bistro also has excellent lunch specials. Take your pick of two or three classic rolls along with soup or salad.

Fuji Asian Bistro, Homosassa 

Located along Suncoast Blvd in Homosassa, Fuji Asian Bistro is the real deal when it comes to Asian-style seafood here in Citrus County. Their menu features a dynamic selection of Chinese, Thai, and Japanese cuisine where you will find plenty of great sushi.

Szechuan Snapper

Szechuan Snapper

If you are looking to try something outside the box, their Gator Roll is one of the best sellers on the menu! And if you are heading out with someone who isn’t a sushi fan, the sweet and sour chicken here is excellent as well.  

Three More Options in Ocala

If you are on a serious quest to find the best sushi around, you will also want to plan a few trips out to Ocala. There you will find three fantastic options in Asian Pop, Edo Sushi & Japanese Steakhouse, and Grace Sushi.

Each of these restaurants offer a slightly different type of atmosphere, but at their core they are all built around serving up some of the most delicious sushi rolls you have ever tried.

With three great choices, right here in Citrus County, and three more in nearby Ocala, the sushi lovers of Citrus Hills are well-equipped to dine on their favorite combinations of raw and fried seafood pretty much every day of the week if they like.

 

 

Enjoy!

 

How to Get the Most Out of Living So Close to Disney World

Many people who choose to move to the Villages of Citrus Hills do so because of the great weather, reasonable cost of living, and overwhelming number of options for golfing. But the fact that Walt Disney World is located only an hour and a half away is definitely a factor that many residents come to appreciate over the years.  

There is simply no other attraction on the planet that is quite like Disney World. Whether you visit the parks with grandchildren, grown children, or as an adult couple, there is a never-ending and always-changing collection of things to see and do that will take your breath away time and time again.  

In order to help you get the most out of the fact that you will be living right up the road from the theme park destination that people travel to from around the world, we put together six key tips that particularly apply to local residents.  

Invest in an Annual Pass 

Disney World goes out of its way to take care of Florida residents by offering annual passes that come at steep discounts to purchasing tickets at the gate. Locals can purchase a “Weekday Pass” for as little as $13.66 per person each month.

If you want access on the weekends too, that price goes up to a little over $25 per person, which is still a huge discount for anyone who plans to visit more than a few times each year. 

Take Advantage of the Off-Season 

Since Disney World is such a kid-focused destination, most families tend to visit during the summer months when school is out. But since you are planning to live here all year, you will have the advantage of enjoying the parks during the winter months when the crowds are much lighter.  

Some of the best times to visit the park are in the fall right after the new school year starts, during the holiday season from Thanksgiving to Christmas, and right after the New Year and into early February.  

Stay On-Site Once in a While 

Living just a short car ride away means that you have the luxury of driving down for the day and then heading home at night. But you are definitely doing yourself a disservice if you don’t make it a point to stay at the parks at least a few times every year.

Disney World is the gold standard for every measure of service and customer satisfaction, and the onsite hotels are no exception. Staying in the onsite hotels also adds even more “magic” to the Disney World experience.

Learn Which Rides Differ from Park Hours 

As a local resident who takes advantage of the great deals Disney offers on annual passes, you are going to get to know each of the parks a lot better than most of the people who are only able to visit once every few years.

Using your “insider” information to your advantage, take note of which rides open and close at times that are different from the main park gates. You might also want to keep notes on which rides have longer lines at different times of the day.  

There’s an App for That 

Whether or not you bother to keep your own notes, you can have access to lots of great notes that other people have collected over the years by taking some time to download all of great Disney World apps that work as virtual tour guides.

There are literally dozens of these apps available for iPhone and Android, so take some time to search for the best ones and you will be amazed at how they enhance your Disney experience.  

There’s More Than Just Disney

It’s also important to remember that there is even more to the Orlando theme park scene than the four major Disney parks. You might also want to make plans to explore SeaWorld Orlando, LEGOLAND, and Universal Studios throughout the year.

Whether you are looking to spoil your grandkids or happen to be a kid-at-heart yourself, there is no limit to the fun and excitement you can find at Walt Disney World, just a short drive away from the Villages of Citrus Hills. 

 

Make sure that you do everything you can to take advantage of living so close to this magical destination.

November Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

Just like that, the summer months have faded into our memories and the holidays are right around the corner. In addition to all of the regular monthly events and activities that are usually on the calendar, we also have quite a few seasonal things to get excited about here in the month of November.  

Whether you are interested in getting together with friends to enjoy a show, learning something new, taking down one of the big golf tournaments, or just grabbing a great bite to eat, the Villages of Citrus Hills has got you covered this month! 

Social Events 

The first big social event of November will be “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”, sponsored by The Vacationers Club. This hysterical murder mystery will have you at the edge of your seat throughout the entire evening on Saturday, November 12 at The Straz Center for the Performing Arts.  

This month’s Trivia Challenge will be held on Tuesday, November 15 in the Hampton Room. As always, the doors will open at 5:30 pm with dinner being served at 5:45 pm and the contest starting at 6:30 pm.

The Shabbat Dinner Club will be back on Friday, November 18. This month, dinner will include your choice of Beef Brisket or Bourbon Salmon, and each choice will be paired with soup, vegetables, potatoes, and Carrot Cake.

Members who are looking for a great day trip will want to reserve their tickets to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, November 27. Tickets are available at the Activity Center and they include round trip transportation, a pregame tailgate party, and a ticket to the game.

Arts & Education 

DocTalk will be back on Monday, November 7 at 1pm in the Activity Center Auditorium. Dr. Nishit Choksi will be discussing “Physicians Insights on Heart Conditions,” which should be very helpful for anyone struggling with a heart condition.  

There will also be a new Wednesday lecture series with Dr. Joe Coffey discussing the “Challenges Facing the New President.” No matter who is elected, we can all agree that they have a mammoth task ahead of them!

Local artist Vanessa Fuller-Brown will be instructing members on replicating Vincent Van Gogh’s “Mulberry Tree” at this month’s Coffee & Canvas event on Wednesday, November 9 starting at 10:30 am.

In order to help our members get a better grasp on new technology, there will be a Tech 101 seminar and workshop on Thursday, November 10 and Friday, November 11 in the Activity Center Card Room. This entire event will be focused on “The Do’s & Don’ts of Windows 10.” 

The Activity Center will also be hosting a Vacationers Club meeting on November 14 and a meet and greet event with The Greener Side Haven Animal Shelter on November 30. 

Golf & Tennis 

As the weather is cooling down, the golf is definitely heating up at all of the courses across the community. The first big event this month will be a 2-Day Major Men’s Better Ball Tournament on Monday, November 7 and Tuesday, November 8.

You should also mark your calendars for the Giving Thanks Pro Shop Scramble on November 12, the Ladies’ Citrus Cup Championship on November 18, and a VIP Championship Event on November 28.  

In addition to all of those big tournaments, you are also going to want to make a note that December 3 will be the next Demo Day at the Skyview Driving Range.

At the Skyview Tennis Center, there will be a Free Beginners Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, November 8. Then the Skyview Mixed Doubles Championship Tournament and Burger Bash is scheduled for the weekend of Friday, November 18 through Sunday, November 20.

Dinner Specials 

Two dinner specials that you definitely don’t want to miss at Skyview Restaurant this month will be the Fall Harvest Wine Dinner on Tuesday, November 15, and the New England Clambake on Tuesday, November 29.

Then there will be Thanksgiving specials at both Skyview Restaurant and The Grille on Thursday, November 24. Skyview Restaurant will be serving a sit-down Thanksgiving Dinner, while The Grille will be offering a buffet-style meal.  

The Grille will also be serving a Comfort Food Buffet on Thursday, November 3 and a Taste of Italy meal on Tuesday, November 22, so you will want to mark those on your calendar as well!  

Spa Specials

In between prepping for the holidays and attending all of these fantastic events and activities, you might also want to take advantage of the Hot Stone Swedish Massages and Peppermint Patty Spa Pedicures that are going to be on special at BellaVita Spa all month long.

 

It looks like you have an exciting, fun-filled month ahead of you!