add chat to your website

Spring Fitness: 7 BellaVita Classes You Should Try This Spring

Spring has officially arrived here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, and that means it’s the perfect time of year to be thinking about fitness and exercise. If you are looking to ramp up your workout schedule in the coming months, the BellaVita Spa & Fitness Center has a class schedule that can fit just about anyone’s exercise style and schedule.

All of the classes at BellaVita are absolutely free for members to attend, but are restricted to members only. They are usually about an hour long, and most don’t require you to bring anything other than a pair of shoes and a positive attitude…and there are even some where you won’t need the shoes!

If you would like to expand your exercise horizons this spring, we have picked out seven interesting classes that you might want to consider!

Aquacise

If joint pain has prevented you from doing any type of aerobic exercise in the past, you absolutely have to try aquacise. This is a shallow water exercise class that takes place in the pool to limit the impact and stress on your joints. All fitness levels are welcome for this one, and all you need to bring is a bathing suit.

Group Circuit Training

For some people, the social aspect of exercising is just as important as the physical aspect. If you happen to be one of those people, you will fit right in at the Group Circuit Training class. Members participating in this class enjoy the upbeat music pulsing in the background as they make their way through a series of strength training and cardiovascular machines that are designed to provide a full body workout.

Line Dancing

Not all exercise has to feel like exercise. One of the exciting classes you will find at BellaVita are the line dancing sessions, which are available for beginners, intermediate, and advanced dancers. It doesn’t matter if you have two left feet or have been dancing for years, instructor Pam Hall will be sure to get the absolute best out of you once you are out on her dance floor!

Spinning

Riding a stationary bike was never very much fun back in the day. Most of us had one in our basement that just sat around collecting dust. But since the concept of spinning has injected new life into those bikes, everyone loves participating in this great cardio workout. Make sure you bring a towel for this one, because you are definitely going to work up a sweat!

Tai Chi

This ancient Chinese practice uses rhythmic exercises to tone and strengthen muscles. As a tremendous side benefit, Tai Chi does an amazing job at reducing stress. It is also known for increasing flexibility, energy, and relaxation, so what’s not to like, right?

Yoga

Speaking of stretching and relaxation, there are multiple types of yoga classes happening at BellaVita throughout the week. Members can participate in Gentle & Healing Yoga, Restorative Yoga, or Classic Yoga for beginners. No matter what stage you are at in your practice, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yoga at BellaVita.

Zumba

If you are looking for a more upbeat form of aerobic exercise, it doesn’t get any better than Zumba. These high-energy classes feature motivating music and unique dance moves that let you get a workout in while having a blast. This is also a fun way to get to know some of your neighbors in a positive environment.

BellaVita Spa & Fitness Center offers an astounding number of different exercise classes that take place throughout the week. For the most updated schedule of classes, check out their page on the Club Happenings website, or just swing by BellaVita in person and pick up a copy. Have fun!

Fish Fridays: 5 Local Seafood Restaurants to Visit During Lent

No matter what your religious affiliation, almost everyone can appreciate a good fish fry. And while many religions require a meatless diet on Fridays during forty days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, just as many non-religious people participate in the tradition simply because seafood is delicious.

The restaurants within the Villages of Citrus Hills have great seafood entrees available every Friday. There are also many great restaurants in Citrus County serving a great fish Friday, so we’ve pulled together a list of five seafood restaurants for you to try.  

There are so many in our area we’ll probably have to do a listing every month.

Seafood Seller & Cafe

The Seafood Seller & Cafe has a casual atmosphere and is located inside the Crystal River Mall, where they anchor the food court. They stay one of the most popular seafood restaurants in all of Citrus County.

If you’ve never visited before, you will not believe the quality of the food that can be found at the mall! One of the signature items to try is the Blue Crab Balls, but everything on the menu is fantastic. Other popular selections include the Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos, Blackened Grouper Dinner, Oyster Po Boy Sandwiches, and Crawfish!

Peck’s Old Port Cove

If you like your seafood to come with a view, Peck’s Old Port Cove at the end of the scenic Ozello Trail is the perfect destination. Here you can pull up a chair overlooking the water of Crystal Bay right in the heart of Crystal River Preserve State Park.

Soft Shell Blue crabs are one of the specialties here, and Peck’s does an appreciable job of sautéing them in plenty of butter. They also serve a delicious fried seafood platter.

Stumpknockers on the River

Another renowned fish spot in Citrus County is Stumpknockers on the River. This locally owned restaurant sits right on the Withlacoochee River, and their most popular specialty is the Fried Catfish Dinner. There are many Lent-friendly entrees on their menu, like the Peel & Eat Shrimp, Stuffed Flounder, and the Fab 4, which features shrimp, scallops, mussels, and crab legs.

Dan’s Clam Stand

Many people make the mistake of assuming that fried fish is all that there is to eat on Fridays during Lent, but that definitely isn’t the case. At Dan’s Clam Stand, shellfish is their passion. Here you will find amazing deep fried shrimp and clams and wonderful conch fritters.

Katch Twenty-Two

Another common misconception about the Lent season is that the seafood has to be fried and served in an ultra-casual environment. If you are looking to buck that trend and go for something a bit elegant, Katch Twenty-Two is one of Citrus County’s premier seafood restaurants. There is a wide range of options on Chef Richard’s constantly evolving menu, but amazing seafood dishes are always a feature that takes advantage of our location along the Gulf Coast.

The Lenten season stretches out for a total of seven Fridays during the months of March and April this year, but it doesn’t even have to be a Friday during Lent for you to enjoy one of these excellent local seafood restaurants. No matter when you plan to visit, make sure you are hungry when you do

Spring Training 2017 - 6 Teams to Watch Nearby

Spring is one of the busiest times of the year for many of the communities that surround the Villages of Citrus Hills.

We have the pleasure of being located close to the Spring Training homes of six different Major League Baseball teams, so if you are looking for a fun way to spend a day before those teams head north for the summer, here is a little background on each of the six teams you can visit.

New York Yankees - Tampa

The past few seasons have not been kind to the Yankees, but their current rebuild is likely to produce a number of interesting stories to watch at their Spring Training home in Tampa this year. Gone are Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann, which will make room for up-and-comers like catcher Gary Sanchez, who burst onto the scene last year, and first base prospect Greg Bird, who hopes to follow in Sanchez’s footsteps this year.

The Yankees were also active on the free agent market bringing in talented veterans like Aroldis Chapman, Matt Holiday, and Chris Carter, so there should be plenty of pieces to complement the pinstriped youth movement.

Toronto Blue Jays - Dunedin

Last year was supposed to be the year that the Blue Jays returned to the World Series, but those dreams were derailed by the Cleveland Indians in the American League Championship series. Unfortunately for Blue Jays fans, just getting back to the playoffs is going to be difficult this year after losing Edwin Encarnacion, Michael Saunders, Brett Cecil, Joaquin Benoit, and R.A. Dickey all to free agency.

The team that will be taking the field in Toronto is definitely going to have a lot less firepower this year, but they still have an extremely deep pitching staff. Watching how those arms come around this spring will be able to tell us a lot about what to expect from the Blue Jays in 2017.

Philadelphia Phillies - Clearwater

This is the first spring training in Clearwater without Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in more than a decade. There hasn’t been much winning for the Phillies in recent years, but things are looking better and better as many of the team’s young prospects like Odubel Herrera have started to produce.

In addition to all of the great young talent the Phillies will be working with this year, they have also added proven commodities like Clay Buchholz, Howie Kendrick, Michael Saunders, and Joaquin Benoit through various trades and free agency.

Detroit Tigers - Lakeland

After failing to make the playoffs last season, many experts expected the Detroit Tigers to tear apart their entire roster and start from scratch with a complete rebuild. But as the winter wore on, it became clear that the upper management in Detroit was going to take one more shot with their core in 2017.

Many of the regular Tigers like Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Ian Kinsler, and J.D. Martinez are back in Lakeland this spring getting ready to take one last shot at getting to the World Series together.

Pittsburgh Pirates - Bradenton

Much like the Detroit Tigers, the Pittsburgh Pirates are a team that is bringing back the same roster that failed to make the playoffs last year. But the difference between the two clubs is that the team that makes its spring home in Bradenton is much younger.

Star outfielder Andrew McCutchen had a terrible 2016 campaign, and has been dealing with trade rumors all winter long, but he is still on the Pirates roster and might come into the season with a massive chip on his shoulder. Combine that with all of the young talent that fills out the rest of the lineup and there is plenty to watch out for in Bradenton.

Baltimore Orioles - Sarasota

ed-smith-stadium-2.jpg

The Baltimore Orioles had a fantastic year in 2016, but they fell just short at the end and lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card Game. Since then, the O’s have said goodbye to catcher Matt Wieters, as well as Pedro Alvarez, Steve Pearce, Yovani Gallardo, Nolan Reimold, Michael Born, and Vance Worley.

With all of those subtractions, this is going to be a much different lineup in 2017. But the core of sluggers Manny Machado, Chris Davis, and Mark Trumbo is still intact. New to the Orioles this year are outfielder Seth Smith and catcher Willington Castillo.

Whether you are a baseball junkie or just looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon, Spring Training games are always relatively inexpensive to attend and can be lots of fun if you know a little bit about what the teams are likely to be working on when you see them.

With this little bit of background, you should be able to have a great time at any of the local games over the next few weeks!

Enjoying a Fabulous Weekend in Winter Park

Winter Park is known for the wild peacocks that roam the old McKean estate.  

Winter Park is known for the wild peacocks that roam the old McKean estate.

 

Located about 15 minutes north of Orlando and a little over 90 minutes from the Villages of Citrus Hills, the town of Winter Park often gets overlooked as a weekend getaway destination. However, if you are looking for a great place to enjoy the arts, history and fine dining, it doesn’t get much better than Winter Park.

Places to Stay in Winter Park 

The Alfond Inn

The Alfond Inn

When looking for a place to stay in Winter Park, The Alfond Inn should definitely be the top option on your list. This boutique hotel offers an interesting experience for art lovers, as the walls of the hotel are decorated with pieces from the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, which we will get to in a few minutes.

In addition to being an art lover’s dream, The Alfond Inn is also pet friendly, and they offer a number of different packages that include such things as bicycle rentals, boat tour tickets, and picnic lunches to enjoy in one of the local parks.

Park Plaza Hotel

Park Plaza Hotel

While we can’t say enough about The Alfond Inn, staying at the Park Plaza Hotel is also a wonderful experience. The history of this hotel dates back to 1922, so there is plenty to appreciate here as well.

Things to Do in Winter Park

One of the first stops for anyone spending time in Winter Park is the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. At the Morse Museum, visitors can spend a day exploring a massive collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Morse Museum

Morse Museum

The museum’s permanent collection includes jewelry, pottery, paintings, and different glass works that were designed by Tiffany throughout his career. One of the interesting exhibits you will find here is the chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Located on the campus of Rollins College, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum contains more than 5,000 historic paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs.  Highlights in the Cornell Museum collection include 30 Bloomsbury Group paintings and drawings, and 156 photographs taken by Andy Warhol.

Another place worth a visit in Winter Park is the Kraft Azalea Park. This 11-acre park is the perfect setting for spending a relaxing afternoon outdoors. There are trails and a boat dock if you are into that sort of thing, but most of the people who visit this beautiful green space prefer to simply sit on one of the many benches and enjoy their surroundings.

Scenic Boat Tour

Scenic Boat Tour

Last but not least, the highly-rated Scenic Boat Tour should be near the top of your “To Do” list. This hour-long guided cruise takes passengers through three of the seven lakes and two, narrow manmade canals on the tranquil Winter Park chain of lakes. In addition to the various wildlife, plants, flowers, and trees you’ll encounter along the way, you’ll also see opulent private homes and exquisite estates as you cruise along the shoreline.

Places to Eat in Winter Park

There are dozens of great places to eat in Winter Park, but Prato is one of the few places that has something for everyone. This casual Italian restaurant is all about simplicity, and it doesn’t hurt that they offer seating with a view on their patio. Whether you choose the pizza, pasta, or the Veal Marsala, everything is delicious at Prato.

Prato

Prato

If you are in the mood for unique dining, Bosphorus Turkish Cuisine offers an experience that you will not soon forget. Visitors who are new to Turkish food should definitely consider the Mixed Grill for Two, which allows them to try a variety of chicken and lamb dishes.

Another choice is The Wine Room that offers a classy atmosphere and a tapas menu that will have your mouth watering. And with a name like “The Wine Room,” you know that they are going to have the perfect wine to pair with just about anything you choose to order.

The Wine Room

The Wine Room

With two very unique hotels for lodging, plenty of parks and museums to explore, and some of the best dining you will find anywhere, Winter Park has everything you need for a fabulous weekend getaway. A lot of times people looking to get away in Florida are going to more well-known destinations, this is one that you can have all to yourself!

 

Local Attractions: The Historic Valerie Theatre in Inverness

While most of the buildings you see here at the Villages of Citrus Hills are brand new and state-of-the-art, we are literally surrounded by Old Florida towns that are overflowing with historical significance. One popular local attraction that specializes in taking visitors back in time is the amazing Valerie Theatre in Inverness.

Whether you are attending a live performance or viewing a classic film, the Valerie is one of the most breathtaking theaters you will find anywhere. Located right in the heart of downtown Inverness, the theatre holds a special place in the hearts of just about everyone who lives nearby.

About the Valerie Theatre

The Valerie Theatre was originally built by Pearl G. Maddox between the years of 1926 and 1927. The theatre specialized in showing the silent films that were popular at the time, and admission costs were typically 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for children. The first film ever shown there was The Only Woman back in 1927.

When movies with sound became popular, Herbert Pittman from Clearwater leased the theatre and installed the necessary technology. Aside from the short time that it was closed for reconstruction after a devastating fire in 1939, the Valerie Theatre operated all the way up until 1987.

In 2009, the building was purchased by the city of Inverness and the entire facility was renovated to create the brand-new Valerie Theatre Cultural Center, which celebrated its grand opening in 2015 and hosts concerts, plays, and movies today.

Events at the Valerie Theatre

feb-movies.jpg

If you are a fan of classic films starring brilliant actors like Humphrey Bogart, Gene Kelly, and Paul Newman, then the Valerie Theatre is definitely a place that you will be visiting frequently. They show an iconic film each and every Sunday afternoon at 3 pm.

In the month of March Footloose, Dial M for Murder, The Sting, and Singin’ in the Rain will be featured.

There are also a number of exciting live performances that will be gracing the stage of the Valerie Theatre in the coming months. The current schedule lists an upcoming performance by local jazz artist Johny Carlsson on March 25, and four members of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra that are known locally as The Valerie String Quartet on April 29.

Valerie Theatre Information

If you are interested in attending a show at the Valerie Theatre, you can purchase your tickets online right from their website. Tickets are also available at the theatre box office, which is open every Thursday through Sunday from 12 pm to 4 pm.

When the date of your show arrives, you can feel comfortable knowing that the dress code at the Valerie Theatre is extremely casual. In most cases, jeans and tennis shoes are considered appropriate attire. And there is always plenty of free parking in the municipal parking lots just off of Courthouse Square.

If you are looking for a great dinner option for before or after a show, you might want to check out one of the excellent nearby restaurants like Little Italy of Inverness Deli, Motor City Pasta Company, or Pine Street Pub.

There aren’t many places you can go where you will find the combination of entertainment and historical significance that you get at the Valerie Theatre in Inverness. So, the next time you are looking for some great entertainment, make sure you check out their website to see what is playing at the Valerie!

March Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

The month of March is known for unpredictable weather in some parts of the country, but here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, the only thing we have to worry about this month is making sure we remember to set all of our clocks forward an hour on Sunday, March 12!

Other than that, we are all set for another fantastic month filled with fantastic events and activities.

Social Events

The first big event of the month will be the Vacationers Club trip to Tampa to see the Tampa Bay Lightning host the New York Rangers on Monday, March 6. There are two seating options available, both include round-trip transportation to the game.

The last Big Show Series event of the year will be held on Tuesday, March 14 in the Activity Center Auditorium. If you are a fan of the Beatles, and particularly Paul McCartney, you will be absolutely blown away by the way that The McCartney Years are able to replicate the McCartney that you remember.

Another fun event that is planned for the month of March is the Party at Gatsby’s in the Hampton Room on Thursday, March 16. Blair Crimmins & The Hookers will be rocking out all of your favorite ragtime hits, and there will be coffee, desserts, and light appetizers served.

The Shabbat Dinner Club will be back in action on Friday, March 24 in the Garden Room at The Grille. Dinner for this event will include your choice of Sliced Sirloin with Mushroom Sauce or Broiled Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce along with side dishes and Key Lime Pie for dessert.

If you thought that the monthly Trivia Challenge was a good time, you won’t believe how much fun we are going to have at the Interactive Game Show Night and Dinner event on Thursday, March 30. There will be a professional game show host on hand to conduct Citrus Hills’ versions of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Jeopardy, Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, Hollywood Squares, and Deal or No Deal.

Arts & Education

We mentioned last month that you don’t want to miss out on the Paint Your Pet Party at the Crystal River Mall on Saturday, March 4. Residents will be provided with transportation to the event, food and drinks at the event, and all the necessary supplies for a ticket price of $72.

Amy Southgate from Royal Caribbean will be the guest speaker at the quarterly Citrus Hills Vacationers Club meeting on March 23 at 11 am. She will be discussing an upcoming cruise leaving from Boston, as well as their newest monster ship “Oasis of the Seas.”

Dr. Chris Reudink from Pa-C of Citrus Orthopedic & Joint Institute will be speaking at the Wellness Wednesday event on Wednesday, March 29 at 2 pm. The topic of this discussion will be Non-Surgical Patient Care for Spine Health.

Golf & Tennis

The golf month will kick off with the Four-Leaf Clover Open on Saturday, March 4 on The Oaks course. Then, the 2017 Skyview Ladies’ Club Championship will be held on March 8 and 9. And if you are looking to improve your game, Golf Pro Wayne Larsen will be hosting free clinics for beginners on March 6-8, and free clinics for intermediate golfers on March 14, 21, and 28.

The Free Beginner Tennis Clinic will be held on March 14 this month, which will be just in time to get you ready for the Men’s and Women’s Club Doubles Championship on March 10-12. There will also be a Tennis Burger Bash mixed doubles event on March 30.

Dinner Specials

St. Patrick’s Day is on Friday, March 17, and both Skyview Restaurant and The Grille have big specials planned for the occasion. Skyview Restaurant will be serving Corned Beef & Cabbage, Baked Scallop Pie, Bangers & Mash, and Stout Braised Lamb Shank, while The Grille is going to be cooking up Corned Beef & Cabbage, Braised Lamb Shank, Black & Tan Pork, Scallop Pie, and Irish Steak.

As if that wasn’t appetizing enough, Skyview Restaurant is also planning a Clambake special for March 9, a Brazilian Steakhouse Night on March 14, and a Napa Valley Wine Dinner on March 28. Then over at The Grille, there will be a Red-Carpet Night special on March 9 and a Taste of the Pacific Rim special on March 28.

In addition to all of these scheduled activities, you should also make some time this month to stop by BellaVita Spa, where they will be running Spring Forward Facial and Springtime Serenity specials all month long. As usual, if you have questions about any of the activities or events happening this month, be sure to contact the Activity Center Service Desk for more information!

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 March 2017.

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

 

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

02-kayaks-crowd-three-sisters-springs-670.jpg

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

*****Sale Price valid through 12/31/16 - $275,055*****

 

Amherst 2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $281,711

*****Sale Price valid through 12/31/16 - $266,711*****

 

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

*****Sale Price valid through 12/31/16 - $276,231*****

 

Cromwell 2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $295,601

*****Sale Price valid through 12/31/16 - $280,601*****

 

Cromwell 2 Beds, Study, 2 Baths $304,635

*****Sale Price valid through 12/31/16 - $289,635*****

 

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

December.jpg

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!