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Community Spotlight

July Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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As we roll into the dog days of summer here in 2018, we are going to get every bit of the hot and humid weather that Florida is known for! This makes it very easy to spend most of our time at home enjoying the modern luxury of air conditioning, but it can also make us feel just a bit antisocial.

In order to counteract that, the great team at the Activity Center has put together another full calendar of events that will keep you engaged with your friends and neighbors throughout the month of July. Let's take a few minutes to break down some of the exciting events happening around the Villages of Citrus Hills this month.

Social Events

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The first social event of the month will be an informational meeting for the Ka Nalu Nui Paddle Club at BellaVita Spa and Fitness Center from 8 am to 12 pm on Wednesday, July 11. If you have ever wanted to learn more about standup paddle boarding, paddle tours of local waterways, or the excitement of dragonboat racing, this is your chance to get involved.

On Thursday, July 12, there will be a Name That Tune Game Show and Dance happening in the Hampton Room. This event will be based on the classic game show that we all loved, and it will be followed by a fun evening of drinks and dancing.

Tasty Trivia Tuesday is back in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, July 17. This month, the dinner buffet will include Tossed Salad, Pot Roast, Chicken Maryland, Glazed Baby Carrots, Parsley Steamed Red Bliss Potatoes, Rolls, and Chocolate Mousse for dessert.

Motivational speaker Gayle Cohen will be hosting a musically interactive seminar and luncheon in the Hampton Room on Wednesday, July 25. She will use her 35-year career to demonstrate how music has the power to heal mind, body, and soul.

Sports & Recreation

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Competitive golfers won't want to miss the Stars & Stripes Tournament at Skyview on Wednesday, July 4 or the Firecracker Open at the Citrus Hills Course on Saturday, July 7. Both events will have an 8:30 am shotgun start.

And if your golf game isn't quite ready for a big tournament, you might want to consider attending one of the Free Golf Clinics hosted by Golf Pro Wayne Larsen this month. Wayne will be working with beginners on July 9, 10, and 11. Then he will be back to work with intermediate golfers on July 17, 24, and 31.

This month's Free Beginner Tennis Clinic will be held on Tuesday, July 10 at the Skyview Tennis Center starting at 10 am. The clinic is geared towards complete novices, and you don't even need to own a racket to come learn about the game with us.

Dinner Specials 

The Fourth of July holiday is all about enjoying a great cookout, and the people at Skyview Restaurant and The Grille are going to be offering up just that this year.

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Skyview will be serving a lunch buffet with Memphis Blue Ribs, Honey Barbecued Chicken, and Firecracker Grilled Salmon. Then, The Grille will be taking the evening shift with dinner entrees like Spicy Honey Glazed Chicken Breast, Grilled Sirloin with Corn and Black Bean Salsa, and Pulled Pork with Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce.

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You'll also want to plan on attending Italian Night at Skyview Restaurant on July 31, which will include entree options like Veal Parmesan, Shrimp Scampi, Chicken Giardino, Salmon Piccata, and Eggplant Parmesan.

And if you find yourself craving some chicken wings this month, make sure you remember that the Tiki Bar will be having 30 cent wings on special for "Wing Wednesday" every Wednesday in July.

BellaVita Spa and Fitness

And if you just need some pampering, book yourself an appointment for one of the specials this month at the spa.

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You can choose between the Seaside Therapy Spa Pedicure with Epsom salts and a marine cooling mask, or, the Summer Serenity Swedish Massage with essential oils to melt any stress away. 

 

For a look at a complete listing of all the activities and events this month at the Villages of Citrus Hills please click on the link below.

http://www.citrushillsgolfandcountryclub.com/userfiles/file/July%202018%20Connections%20ONLINE.pdf

 

Have a Wonderful July!

Cruising the Key West Express Out of Fort Myers

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Key West is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Florida but getting there by traveling down US Highway 1 is a long journey that makes it just a bit too far away for quick trips. However, there is a speedboat shuttle service operating out of Fort Myers that changes all of that!

The Key West Express

The Key West Express is a high-speed catamaran that takes passengers back and forth from Fort Myers to Key West just about every day. The boat can reach speeds as high as 40 miles per hour, which will cover the distance between the mainland and the keys in about three and a half hours.

You can structure your tickets on the Key West Express to accommodate a trip of just about any length you like. Some people prefer just to go down and enjoy the island for a quick day trip, while others opt to spend a few days in paradise before making their return trip. The world is your oyster.

Grabbing the Discount

If you are looking to experience the Key West Express on the cheap, they offer an excellent discount for anyone who purchases their tickets online at least eight days before they venture out on the open seas.

This will bring the cost of a round-trip ticket down from $155 for adults and $145 for seniors to $140 on weekends and $125 if you travel on a weekday. For the most up-to-date information click on the link below.

https://www.keywestexpress.net/

Enjoying Key West

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One of the most beautiful things about Key West is that you will never have a hard time looking for something fun to do there! If it is your first trip to the island, we recommend taking either the Conch Train Tour or the Trolley Tour to get an idea of what areas you might like to explore further. From there, you  can choose to spend your time relaxing on beautiful beaches, devouring exciting history, or strolling up and down Duval Street.

If the beach is your preferred way to pass the time, you have your choice between Smathers Beach, Higgs Beach, and Fort Zachary Taylor. Each of these destinations offers a slightly different experience and taking one of the tours will be a great help in deciding which is right for you.

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For the history buffs, we highly recommend taking the time to enjoy tours of the Hemingway House and the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. Both of these attractions will impress you with their attention to detail and impressive artifacts.

 

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Finally, making your way up and down Duval Street should include stops at famous spots like The Smallest Bar, Sloppy Joe's, and Margaritaville. After that, be sure to venture off Duval a bit as well. You will find that a thriving foodie community has sprouted in Key West over the past few years and there are some amazing chefs working just off of the main drag.

 

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Whether you prefer to spend your time relaxing on the beach, learning about the history of a unique island paradise, or partying on Duval Street, having the ability to get to Key West quickly is a game changer for Florida residents and tourists.

 

 

The Key West Express makes a great day trip for anyone who is already in Fort Myers, but it might be a bit of a journey for residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills to pull off in one day. By planning your trip to include a stay in Fort Myers as well, you can enjoy two amazing Florida towns in one getaway!

May Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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In the stock market, there is a commonly repeated phrase that advises investors to "sell in May and go away." Here in Florida, we experience a similar phenomenon during this late spring season when many of our friends and neighbors pack up their things and head north for the summer. But for those of us who plan on sticking around, the folks at the Activity Center are still hard at work coming up with fun things to keep us busy throughout the month.

During the month of May, residents at the Villages of Citrus Hills will have the opportunity to stay busy with a wide range of fun activities.  From a dance party, a baseball game, to golf tournaments, dinner specials, and amazing opportunities to pamper ourselves at the spa. No matter what type of activity or event you are looking for, there is definitely something on the calendar to keep you active!

Social Events 

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One of the bigger social events of the month will be Dance Night with Second Slice on Wednesday, May 9 in the Hampton Room.

This four-piece band will have you up on your feet all night long. 

There will also be a cash bar starting at 6:30 pm before the band hits the stage from 7 pm to 10 pm.

The Shabbat Dinner Club will be celebrating the end of their season with a Shabbat Cocktail Party from 5 pm to 7 pm in the Garden Room on Friday, May 11. In true Shabbat style, there will be plenty of great food here with an over-the-top hors d'oeuvres table, trays of Boursin Stuffed Mushrooms, Sesame Chicken Fingers, and Spinach Phyllo Triangles. There will also be a pasta bar that you won't want to miss.

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The Tiki Bar is hosting a Music Trivia Night on Thursday, May 24. If you are passionate about music, you won't want to miss this fun evening hosted by James Brocato of Brocato Entertainment. 

                                                           James will be performing from 5 pm to 7 pm before hosting the trivia portion of the evening from 7 pm to 8 pm.

Golf & Tennis

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Casual golfers will want to mark their calendars for the Cinco de Mayo Open on Saturday, May 5 and the Memorial Day Tournament on Monday, May 28. The Cinco de Mayo Open will be held on The Oaks course, and the Memorial Day Tournament will be held over at Skyview. Both will have divisions for men's, ladies', and mixed, and the Cinco de Mayo Open will also have a "Couples Only" division.

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The stakes will be a little more serious at the Men's A/D-B/C Better Ball Tournament at Skyview on Monday, May 7 and Tuesday, May 8.

All Skyview Men's members are invited to participate, and teams will be assigned by the pro shop based on handicaps. For this event, everyone will be hitting from the white tees.

The summer months are also an excellent time to work on your tennis game over at the Skyview Tennis Center. There will be a Free Beginner Tennis Clinic held there on Tuesday, May 8 at 11 am. Whether you are completely starting from scratch or just looking to improve your skills, everyone is welcome to participate. Rackets are available to borrow if needed. 

Dinner Specials 

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In addition to being Cinco de Mayo, Saturday, May 5 is also Kentucky Derby Day this year! In order to celebrate, Skyview Restaurant will be featuring Mint Juleps and encouraging everyone to wear their best Derby Day attire in their bar area from 5 pm to 7 pm. There will also be a Kentucky Derby party out at the Tiki Bar that will feature Mint Juleps along with Margaritas and Mexican food for the combined holiday.

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Sunday, May 13 is Mother's Day, and Skyview Restaurant is celebrating with spectacular a la carte dinners including Prime Rib, Seafood Stuffed Flounder, and Filet Bordelaise from 12 pm to 5 pm.

                                                            There will also be a Mother's Day Buffet over at The Grille from 12 pm to 5 pm.

Skyview Restaurant and The Grille will both be featuring over-the-top specials for Memorial Day on Monday, May 28.  The Skyview Restaurant Menu will be more grill-oriented with Grilled New York Strip Steaks, Barbecue Chicken, and St. Louis Style Ribs. And they'll be cooking low and slow at The Grille before serving up Fireball Whiskey Baby Back Ribs and Smoked Brisket.

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In addition to all of the group events and activities happening throughout the Villages of Citrus Hills this month, there will also be some exciting ways to pamper yourself at the BellaVita Spa if you happen to find some quiet time.

They will be running specials on Pure Love Hot Stone Massages and Island Dream Spa Pedicures all month long.

So, whether your goal is to get out and have a blast with friends, hit the golf course or tennis court, or enjoy some delicious meals, we have got you covered pretty much all month long here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. The only question left to answer is how you are going to fit all of this fun into your personal schedule!

The Mermaids & Margaritas Festival

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Located just west of downtown Crystal River is the peaceful Fort Island Gulf State Park. But that beautiful beach is going to be anything but relaxing on Saturday, April 14 during the Mermaids and Margaritas Festival from 12 pm to 8 pm.

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This all-day festival was created by "The Mertailor" Eric Ducharme, who has been selling the best swimmable mermaid tails on the market since 2009. Along with a great selection of mermaid apparel, the festival will also feature three local bands, lots of amazing food, and enough margaritas to make Jimmy Buffett jealous. 

 

The Mermaid Contests

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When you attend a festival that is sponsored by a company that makes swimmable mermaid tails, you can certainly expect to find plenty of people dressed up as mermaids. Those people will be competing in a Mermaid Costume Contest sponsored by MezMerEyes starting at 2 pm.

There will also be a Ms. Mermaid and Mr. Merman contest held later in the day at 5 pm.

The Live Music

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This fun-filled festival will kick off with live music right at 12 pm when The TJ Brown Band takes the stage. He might not be a Florida native, but Thomas Junior (T.J.) Brown has been a Florida resident since he was nine years old, and his version of country music feels well-grounded in our local Florida culture.

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Following The TJ Brown Band, the parrot heads will be out for The Landsharks. This Jimmy Buffett tribute band has toured all over Florida while holding down a steady two-year gig playing at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in Orlando. Add a Hawaiian shirt and a margarita to your mermaid tail and you will fit right in with this crowd!

After the Ms. Mermaid and Mr. Merman contest, Homosassa native Ashley Young will take the stage to perform for her hometown residents. After spending time in both Nashville and New York City, Ashley is on the move again and will be singing all over Florida for much of the summer. 

The Food

Spending the day at the beach can be a real blast, but you are going to get hungry at some point! Fortunately, there are plenty of Citrus County businesses that will be on hand to help you out.

When you are ready for a meal, you'll be able to choose between pizza from Light My Fire Mobile Pizza Co., tacos and rice bowls from Riviera Mexican Cantina, seafood from Dan's Clam Shack, and all kinds of bar and grill food from Dawg House Dogs & Grill, Inc.

If you're just looking for something to munch on in between meals, there will also be snacks available from Kona Ice of Citrus County, Lynn's Ice Cream, Calypso Concessions, Tropical Acai Bowls, and Pop Fusions Gourmet Ice Pops.

The Booze

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With all of the exciting festivities planned for the Mermaids & Margaritas Festival, it's easy to forget about the margaritas part of the event. But don't worry, because Riviera Cantina will make sure to remind you that they will be selling those margaritas all day.

There will also be beer and wine for sale. Visitors can choose from Budweiser, Bud Light, Landshark, Bud Light Straw-Ber-Ritas, Bud Light Lime-a-Ritas, and Bud Light Mong-o-Ritas, as well as a selection of merlot, cabernet, and white zinfandel.

Getting to the Party

One important thing that every mermaid and merman planning to attend the event needs to know is that there will be no parking available at Fort Island Gulf Beach. Everyone attending will need to park at the lot on the corner of US-19 and Fort Island Trail, across from the Winn Dixie Plaza and Clawdaddy's.

There will be a free shuttle taking people back and forth out to the beach from this free parking lot.

No matter how serious you are about your mermaid costume, just about everyone could benefit from just a little bit more glitter in their lives. So, grab your tail, and we'll see you at Fort Island Gulf Beach on April 14!

Weekend Getaway: Port St. Lucie

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Residents here at the Villages of Citrus Hills often start out their wish list of weekend getaways with popular Florida tourist destinations like Orlando, Daytona Beach, Miami, and Key West. But after exploring many of the most popular destinations across the state, they often find that it is the little towns in between that are the real hidden gems.

Port St. Lucie is one of those places.

Located along what is known as "The Treasure Coast," Port St. Lucie sits on the Atlantic side of Florida just north of West Palm Beach and about three hours south of Daytona Beach. If you are looking for a weekend getaway filled with affordable hotels, stunning golf courses, and delicious dining, this is the hidden gem that you have been looking for.

Where to Stay in Port St. Lucie

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Whether you are planning on golfing or not, the best place to stay in Port St. Lucie is definitely the Sheraton PGA Vacation Resort Villas. This fabulous facility will have you feeling like you are staying at a tropical resort for a price that is comparable to (and often cheaper than) the nearby Holiday Inn Express.

All of the rooms at the Sheraton are either one-bedroom or two-bedroom villas that come complete with separate living areas, kitchenettes, and even dining tables, so you will feel right at home here. The resort also offers an elegant outdoor pool, access to fishing in the St. Lucie River, and a full staff of experts who will be available to help you book your tee times at local golf courses.

What to Do in Port St. Lucie

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With over 30 beautiful golf courses to choose from, there is no beating around the bush about the fact that you are going to be bringing your clubs to Port St. Lucie. And, the PGA Courses are at the top of just about every golfer's list for a weekend round. But in addition to those championship-level PGA courses, visitors will also find places like Legacy Golf & Tennis Club and Hammock Creek Golf Club to be up to their standards.

If you happen to find time outside of golfing, we also recommend hitting the local waterways in Port St. Lucie. Whether you prefer to rent a fishing boat out on the St. Lucie River or to relax in the sand during low tide at Walton Rocks Beach, there is something so soothing about the water on a weekend getaway that will make you feel like all is right with the world.

Where to Eat in Port St. Lucie

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The culinary scene in Port St. Lucie offers selections from around the world. If you are looking for a unique dining experience, you might want to try making a reservation at Fernando's Dockside Grille for Portuguese and Mediterranean cuisine or Machu Picchu Restaurant for a Peruvian meal.

But if that international flair isn't quite your style, there are also plenty of classic American options like Buffalo Chophouse, where you will find a full range of traditional steak and seafood dishes.

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For a casual meal in a fun environment, it's hard to beat a good Irish pub, and that is precisely what you will find at Shindig Irish Restaurant & Pub. Their menu features all of the classic Irish dishes like Fish & Chips, Bangers & Mash, and Shepherd's Pie, but they also have plenty of Florida seafood options, as well as a selection of American pub food.

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And for a quick meal on the go, it doesn't get any better than Taco Dive. This self-described "hole in the wall" uses nothing but fresh ingredients to create some of the most interesting tacos you will find anywhere. The classics like steak, pork, chicken, and beef are all good here, but don't sleep on the BLT Dive Style taco that features Applewood bacon, fried egg, pimento cheese, arugula, and tomato!

We certainly don't blame you if you prefer to start your weekend getaway wish list by checking out some of Florida's best tourist hotspots. But make sure that you keep the golfers' paradise of Port St. Lucie on your list as well because this is one of the best-kept secrets in all of Florida!

 

Visiting Dunedin: Craft Beer and Open-Air Markets

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To the average person, the little towns that exist along the Gulf Coast might look to be interchangeable. But to those of us who make a habit of visiting these towns regularly, each one has its own personality that has developed over the years. In Dunedin, that personality is built around an impressive lineup of craft breweries and a fabulous open-air farmers' market.

Located just west of Tampa and north of St. Petersburg, Dunedin is about an hour and a half away from the Villages of Citrus Hills. That makes it a perfect destination for a quick day trip, but there is also enough excitement here to turn that day trip into a weekend getaway if you like!

Touring the Dunedin Breweries

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With eight different breweries operating in Dunedin, there is never a shortage of fantastic craft beers to sample. And having that many breweries in such a small area has created a unique opportunity to participate in walking tours that visit multiple options on the same trip.

One of the most iconic choices is Dunedin Brewery, which was the very first microbrewery in all of Florida. There’s a lot of history to enjoy here, but the brewing equipment and the beer it produces all utilize modern technology to create an amazing variety of products.

Two others that should be on your brewery tour list are 7th Sun Brewing Company and Woodwright Brewing Company. 7th Sun is known for making killer IPAs and sour beers, and Woodwright is attached to a woodworking shop that has created just about everything in their tasting room.

In addition to these three breweries, visitors to Dunedin should also check out Cueni Brewing Co., Soggy Bottom Brewing, and Caledonia Brewing. Each offers a slightly different twist on tastings, tours, and taprooms, so make sure you plan to visit as many as possible. 

Dunedin Downtown Market

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Another popular reason to visit Dunedin is the weekly open-air market that is filled with more than 60 vendors selling everything from basic produce to fully cooked meals and everything in between.

The Dunedin Downtown Market takes place every Friday and Saturday from November through the end of May, and then just on Saturday through the end of June. It is located in Pioneer Park right at the corner of Main Street an Douglas Avenue in downtown Dunedin.

The Islands off of Dunedin

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On top of all the action you will find in downtown Dunedin, there are also two fabulous islands located just off the coast that offer some of the most pristine beaches in all of Florida.

Honeymoon Island State Park and Caladesi Island State Park both offer stunning white sand beaches in a quiet and peaceful atmosphere that will take your breath away. The parks also provide plenty of choices for hiking, kayaking, swimming, fishing, and observing a wide range of wildlife.

The Dunedin Restaurant Scene

With all that there is to see and do in Dunedin, you are probably going to work up quite the appetite during your visit. Fortunately, the community is also home to a thriving restaurant scene that offers something special for just about every craving.

Three suggestions for a quick lunch are Lucky Lobster, Dunedin Fish Market & Olde Bay Cafe, and Happy's Bayou Bites. All three specialize in creating delicious seafood dishes with their own unique twists.

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If upscale dining is what your palate seeks, a reservation at The Black Pearl should be on your list. With Maple Glazed Pork Belly, White Truffle Lobster Risotto, and Twice Cooked Maple Leaf Duckling, the French and New American style menu here is a foodie's dream come true.

Combining outstanding food with stunning beaches, the excitement of the market, and the range of flavors coming out of the breweries, Dunedin offers a truly unique Florida experience.

 

The only question left to ask is when are you planning to visit?

Getting Ready for the 2017-2018 Big Show Series

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

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

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

7 Bridges - The Ultimate Eagles Experience

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

 

 

  Willy, Waylon, and Johnny Cash as The Highwaymen

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

The Buckinghams

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

 

Hollywood Nights - The Ultimate Tribute to Bob Seger

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

Jeff Cook & The Allstar Goodtime Band

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

Lou Christie

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

The Grass Roots

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

The Flamingos featuring Terry Johnson

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

 

 

Johnny Contardo, Johnny Tillotson, & Ron Dante

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

August Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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

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

Social Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arts & Education

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

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

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

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

Golf & Tennis

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

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

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

Dinner Specials

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Weekend Trip to America's Best Beach

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

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

Where to Stay Near Siesta Beach 

 The Capri at Siesta

The Capri at Siesta

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

 

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

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

 

What to Do Near Siesta Beach

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

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

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

 

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

 

Where to Eat Near Siesta Beach

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

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

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

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

 

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

Day Trip: Cape Canaveral

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

Getting to Cape Canaveral

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

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

The Cape Canaveral Experience

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

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

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

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

Cape Canaveral Dining

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

https://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/

 

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

 

Where to Retire Magazine Names Citrus Hills a Top 50 Community

We are proud to announce that the Villages of Citrus Hills has once again made Where to Retire Magazine's list of the "Top 50 Best Master-Planned Communities in the United States." The magazine spends more than a full year researching this list, which comes out in their summer edition every other year, so we are thrilled to announce that we have made the cut once again!

Where to Retire describes itself as "America's foremost authority on retirement relocation," so they definitely know their stuff when it comes to featuring the best of the best master-planned communities. The magazine was established in 1992, and it has since helped more than 700,000 Americans locate the perfect destination for their retirement.

This year's "Top 50 Best Master-Planned Communities in the Unites States" article points out that the competition among active adult communities is tougher than ever. There are more and more communities boasting popular amenities like pools, trails, and fitness centers, as well as dog parks, communal gardens, and the availability of green homes. With such fierce competition, it is truly an honor to be included on the magazine's short list of the very best of the best communities.

In addition to all of the standard amenities that you will find across all of the very best master-planned communities, the article also points out that Citrus Hills offers exceptional year-round weather and a location that offers quick access to the Gulf Coast and a number of beautiful parks, which makes outdoor activities extremely accessible. It also highlights the brand new PrimoVito Fitness Center, our four stunning golf courses, and all of the fun you can have with friends at the Tiki Bar!

Residents Fred and Meg Spurlock were quoted in the feature describing what it was that sold them on relocating to the Villages of Citrus Hills. For them, it was all about escaping the traffic around their Maryland home for the quiet and relaxing atmosphere of Florida's Nature Coast. The article also highlighted the fact that Fred enjoys the amenities like exercise classes while Meg is involved in painting classes and a number of women's groups.

One of the more interesting requirements for making the Where to Retire list was that all of the featured communities had to have plenty of room to maintain their current growth. With only 1,680 of the 2,500 planned homes currently built, there is still plenty of room for our community to expand for years to come.

While we are incredibly honored to be featured among the very best of the best master-planned communities, anyone who currently calls the Villages of Citrus Hills home already knows that the community delivers everything it promises and more.

Weekend Trip: Fort Lauderdale

Known for both its beaches and its shopping, Fort Lauderdale is a popular vacation destination for people from all over the country. With inexpensive flights from almost everywhere in the country, the area has built itself into a magnet for tourists, which also makes it a very appealing weekend getaway destination for residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills.

Residents can get to Fort Lauderdale by traveling through Orlando, and then heading further east as they move south, eventually passing through Port St. Lucie, West Palm Beach, and Boca Raton. The total trip from the Villages of Citrus Hills to Fort Lauderdale is just a little over four hours, which is a perfect distance for a weekend getaway that is just far enough away to get you out of your day-to-day routine.

Where to Stay in Fort Lauderdale

One of the things that makes Fort Lauderdale such a great weekend getaway destination is that there is no shortage of fantastic hotels to choose from. If elegant East Coast luxury is what you are looking for, The Pillars Hotel is the perfect choice for your trip. Here you will find all of the attention to detail that you expect from one of the major hotel chains in the package of a small boutique operation.

 The Pillars Hotel

The Pillars Hotel

Another excellent beachfront getaway is Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach, which is located right at the center of just about everything you might want to do in Fort Lauderdale. Not only are there plenty of eating and drinking options right on the hotel property, but it is also completely surrounded by popular local hotspots.

The most popular hotel for value shoppers is almost always The Premiere Hotel. Just about everything here is recently updated…except for the prices. So, if you are looking to visit Fort Lauderdale on a budget, this is the way to do it.

Things to do in Fort Lauderdale

Everything in Fort Lauderdale is focused on the water, and the activities you will stumble onto here are no different. The most popular activity in town is simply kicking back on the beach, but you will also find plenty of other interesting water-based ideas like hopping on local cruises, boat tours, and water taxis.

When you are ready for a break from the beach, Las Olas Boulevard offers world-class shopping that ranges from high-end fashion to hand-made crafts. And you can find a lot more than just shopping along Las Olas. This area is also home to a number of fabulous art galleries, as well as plenty of spectacular bars and restaurants.

Still looking for more to do in Fort Lauderdale? You might want to check out some of the local museums like the Bonnet House Museum, the Stranahan House, the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum, or the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum.

Places to Eat in Fort Lauderdale

If you are serious about sticking to a reasonable budget over the course of your weekend getaway, you won't have much trouble doing that with all of the extremely affordable dining throughout Fort Lauderdale.

Crepe lovers will definitely want to spend a morning at Voo La Voo Cafe, and anyone who likes sushi or Thai food will surely want to stop by Sushi One Take Out and Thai on the Beach. Another discount option for a great dinner that will surely fill you up is Dolce Salato Pizza & Gelato.

If the budget does permit you to splurge on a special dinner, restaurants like Cafe Seville and Canyon provide the perfect setting for the type of meal that will help you remember your weekend in Fort Lauderdale for years to come.

 Cafe Seville

Cafe Seville

Since Fort Lauderdale is such a popular vacation destination, there is plenty to see and do to keep you busy for multiple weekend getaways. And with the great prices on hotels and restaurants that you will find here, you can make it a point to spend a weekend in Fort Lauderdale on a regular basis!

Weekend Trip: Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Resort in Hollywood, Florida

The state of Florida is packed with great destinations for a weekend getaway, but you will be hard-pressed to find a more intriguing choice than Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Resort in Hollywood Florida.

This brand-new resort opened at the end of 2016, and is already receiving rave reviews on TripAdvisor. If you are looking for the perfect destination to exercise your "License to Chill," then start planning a weekend in Margaritaville.

Getting to Margaritaville

Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Resort is located in beautiful Hollywood, Florida, which is just a bit south of Fort Lauderdale. Residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills can drive there in about four and a half hours by taking the Florida Turnpike passing just south of Orlando as they head east across the state and then following the same road south through Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale right into Hollywood.

Entering Paradise

You'll know you’ve arrived someplace special the minute you step into the Margaritaville lobby, where you will find the perfect decor that includes a large blue sandal sculpture, margarita glass chandeliers, and antique surfboards that are part of Buffet's private collection.

From there, you will make your way up to one of the resort's 349 rooms that all feature spacious balconies and views of either the Atlantic Ocean or the Intercostal Waterway.

 

 

Margaritaville Dining

Guests at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Resort have the option to enjoy any of eight different dining options on the property. Included are the JWB Prime Steak and Seafood Restaurant for a more upscale experience, the classic Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and LandShark Bar & Grill restaurant for the more traditional Parrot Head experience.

In addition to those three full-service restaurants, guests can also grab a bite to eat and enjoy the stunning views from the License to Chill Bar on the 11th floor of the resort. As you make your way around the property, you will also find the 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill near the 5 O'Clock Somewhere Boat Dock on the Intercostal Waterway side, and the Lone Palm Beach Bar over on the beach side. There is also the Floridays Airstream Cafe or the Margaritaville Coffee Shop.

Wasting Away in Margaritaville

Kicking back with a cold drink in hand is probably the most popular activity at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Resort, but there are plenty of other things to do.

On the Intercostal Waterway side, you will find the 5 O'Clock Somewhere Boat Dock where you can rent stand-up paddleboards to take out on the water. If you want a bit more action, there is the FlowRider surfing simulator over on the beach side. Guests can also spend time exploring the famous Hollywood Beach Boardwalk or the excellent shopping on nearby Las Olas Boulevard.

At the end of the day, Margaritaville is all about music, and the resort offers plenty of that as well. Between the stages at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Restaurant, the 5 O'Clock Somewhere Bar & Grill, and the Landshark Bar & Grill, there is almost always live music happening somewhere on the resort. And in case that isn't impressive enough, the resort has also taken over the nearby Hollywood Bandshell, where it hosts all kinds of music events.

When you are ready to kick back with some boat drinks and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere for a weekend, changing your latitude is the key to changing your attitude. And since this fabulous destination is located not too far away from the Villages of Citrus Hills, you might want to think about making this weekend trip a regular event! Just don't spend your whole trip searching for that lost shaker of salt!

June Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone and we are heading straight into the heart of summer here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. This is typically the time of year where things slow down a bit for us, but you will be happy to learn that there are still a lot of great things planned for the month of June.

On top of all the fun activities and events happening, there is also going to be some construction activity over at BellaVita as the entire fitness facility is scheduled to get a major upgrade. The construction is expected to last about two weeks, and the facility will look brand new when everything is finished.

Let's take a closer look at some of the exciting events and activities that the Activity Center staff has planned for the month of June!

Social Events

We're going to be starting off the month of June on a festive note with the Bella Notte Italiana Dinner Show on Thursday, June 1 in the Hampton Room. The menu for this event will feature Chicken Parmesan, Baked Lasagna, and Sausage and Peppers. There will also be classic Italian music entertainment from Duo Romantico following dinner.

Mentalist Eric Anderson will be performing in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, June 6. Members attending this event will be treated to a unique blend of magic, comedy, and mind tricks that will include some amazing sleight of hand tricks and fire eating. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the show starts at 7 pm!

This month's installment of Flicks & Floats is scheduled for Friday, June 16. Members and guests will be gathering around the pool to watch the hysterical Central Intelligence on the big screen. This show starts at 8:30 pm.

The Brain Trust were the big winners at last month's Trivia Challenge, but that title will be up for grabs again this month on Tuesday, June 20. If you think you have what it takes to take the trivia title, get your team together and we'll see you at the challenge!

The Tiki Bar is hosting a Singles Social Happy Hour for all of the singles in our community from 4-6 pm on Tuesday, June 27. If you are looking to meet other singles, this is a perfect opportunity to have some fun and do just that!

Golf & Tennis

June isn't typically a busy month on our golf courses, but there are three big tournaments that you definitely want to participate in this month.

The action starts with the Summer Open Tournament on the Citrus Hills course on June 3. Then the Skyview course will be hosting the two-day Men's Pinehurst Major Championship Event on June 12-13 and the U.S. Impossible Tournament on Saturday, June 17.

If you are looking to make some improvements to your game this month, golf pro Wayne Larsen will be hosting free clinics for beginners on June 5, 6, and 7. Then he will be back to work with intermediate golfers on June 13, 20, and 27.

There will also be a Free Beginners Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, June 13 at 11 am.

Dinner Specials

The Belmont Stakes is scheduled for June 10 this year, and The Grille is celebrating the race by hosting a "Belmont Steaks" viewing party. They will have choice cut grilled New York Strip Steaks with Rosemary and Parmesan on special for $15.

Both Skyview Restaurant and The Grille will be hosting Father's Day specials on Sunday, June 18. Skyview will be having a traditional brunch buffet, and The Grille will be serving steak and seafood dinners from 5-8 pm.

Tuesday, June 20 is going to be New Orleans night at Skyview Restaurant. Entrees for this special night will include Cornish Game Hens, Roasted Red Snapper, Chicken Clemenceau, and Filet Medallions.

The Tiki Bar will be having a Taste of the Islands special on Tuesday, June 29 that will feature Jerk Chicken, Fried Red Snapper, and Bahama-Momma Pork, along with live entertainment courtesy of Island Girl Bickley Rivera.

If you should happen to find any extra time to pamper yourself during the month of June, you will definitely want to take advantage of specials like the Aromatic Rose and Jasmine Facial and the Refreshing Citrus Massage that will be available all month long.

Make sure you take a few minutes to write all of the events and activities that interest you on your calendar and have a great month of June!

Day Trip: Ybor City

Ybor City is a historic neighborhood located just northeast of downtown Tampa. Cigar manufacturers founded this amazing little community in the 1880s, and it has a rich history that combines Cuban, Spanish, and Italian influences into a culture that is truly unique. The neighborhood has maintained its sense of history over the years, and that is what makes just walking through this fabulous place so enjoyable.

Spending the day in Ybor City can take you in a number of different directions, but we highly recommend that each of those paths start out with a cafe con leche from one of the local Cuban coffee shops. After that, the choice is yours, but of course we have some suggestions.

The Ybor City Experience

Anyone interested in learning more about the rich history of Ybor City should make it a point to start their day at the Ybor City Museum. Located inside the historic Ferlita Bakery Building, this is where you will find an excellent base of knowledge about Ybor City.

Another must-see destination for history buffs is the Cigar Industry Walking Tour, which will start at the Ybor City Museum and take you through the neighborhood with a tour guide pointing out all of the historic buildings and explaining the role they played when cigar making was at the height of its popularity.

 

Anyone who is a fan of fine art will love spending time at the Hoffman Porges Gallery. The Ybor City Museum Society also runs regular tours that highlight some of the amazing architecture you will find throughout the community. 

The Ybor City Restaurant Scene

With the combination of culture that you will find in Ybor City, it is no surprise that this neighborhood is also known for having some of the best restaurants in all of Tampa.

The local icon here is the Columbia Restaurant, which is the oldest continuously operated restaurant in Florida. Started in 1905 by a Cuban immigrant, this restaurant has been serving delicious Spanish and Cuban cuisine for more than 110 years!

 

 

Another favorite Ybor restaurant is La Terrazzo Restaurante Italiano, which focuses on serving Northern Italian classics. If you are craving a perfect Caprese Salad or Scaloppine al Marsala, this is the place you’’ll want to head to.

If you prefer something a little more casual, you might check out Al's Finger Licking Good Bar-B-Que, the Tampa Bay Brewing Company, or The Bricks of Ybor. All are known for having excellent food and exceptional service.

The Ybor City Nightlife

Not only is Ybor City known for its history and dining, but the neighborhood is also famous for having an exciting nightlife scene where you can find all kinds of entertainment on just about any night of the week.

On any given night, there will be multiple venues offering a wide range of live music. There are also more formal shows like the Flamenco Show at the Columbia Restaurant, and if you are feeling adventurous you could also look into Drag Queen Bingo at Hamburger Mary's!

 

 

 

There are also plenty of restaurants that keep serving late into the night, so you are always going to be able to find something to eat in Ybor City!

No matter what type of adventure you are looking for, there is something for everyone in Ybor City. And since it is located just 85 minutes from the Villages of Citrus Hills, it is the perfect distance for a day trip or an overnight excursion that can be planned on a whim any time you like!

May Activities & Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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The month of May has arrived, and the official start of the summer is right around the corner! Like every month here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, the Activity Center has gone above and beyond to make sure that our calendars are absolutely packed with fun and exciting things to do.

This month, residents have the opportunity to take part in some fantastic social events. There are also three big golf tournaments spread out across the month, not to mention the delicious dinner specials that Skyview Restaurant, The Grille, and the Tiki Bar have planned for the coming weeks.

Let's take a closer look at some of the activities and events for the month of May!

 

Social Events

The Speaker Series will be welcoming back B.J. Jarvis and Steven Davis. They will share the stage and lead discussions on how to make sure that you are creating the most Florida-friendly landscape possible surrounding your house.

The Hampton Room is the place to be on Wednesday, May 10. Singer, impressionist, and comedian Donna Moore will be performing her famous impersonations of all of your favorite divas like Marilyn Monroe, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, and Cher! Dinner for this event starts at 6:30 pm with the show following at 7:15 pm.

This month's Trivia Challenge will take place on Tuesday, May 16. "The Crocs" were the big winners last month, but the May challenge is anyone's game!

Friday, May 19 will be the start of the Flicks & Floats Summertime Movie Series. This fun event combines two of our favorite things: the Activity Center Pool and great movies! This month, the movie will be “Allied”, and you can watch it on the big screen from the pool or one of the surrounding lounge chairs!

Golf & Tennis

There will be a Cinco De Mayo Open tournament on Saturday, May 6 on the Oaks Course. This event early in the month will make a great tune-up for the Men's Better Ball Major Event on May 8 and the Memorial Day Tournament on May 29.

If you need to improve your game, golf pro Wayne Larson will be hosting Free Golf Clinics for beginners on May 1, 2, and 3. Then he will be back for intermediate clinics on May 9, 16, and 23.

This month's Free Beginner's Tennis Clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, May 9 at 11 am at the Skyview Tennis Center. If you are considering learning to play tennis over the summer, this is the perfect place to get started.

Dinner Specials

Saturday, May 6 is the Kentucky Derby, and the Tiki Bar is celebrating with a great selection of specialty drinks like the Mint Julep, Grey Goose Oaks Lilly, and Stella Artois Cimosa! Don't forget to break out your best hat for the race!

The Tiki Bar will be hosting Oldies with Elvis night on Thursday, May 11. This fun evening will feature live music from a special guest, as well as drink specials like The Elvis Presley Cocktail, Blue Hawaiian, and A Velvet Elvis.

If you are looking to celebrate Mother's Day on May 14 or Memorial Day on May 29, you can do so by enjoying great meals from either Skyview Restaurant or The Grille on Mother's Day. Then there will be cookout specials at Skyview Restaurant and the Tiki Bar on Memorial Day.

Enjoy the month of May!

Weekend Getaway: Port Charlotte

Located about halfway between Sarasota and Fort Myers, Port Charlotte is the perfect Gulf Coast destination for residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills who are looking to venture a little further south than Tampa for their next getaway.

Traveling by car takes about three hours, which makes it just far enough away to feel like a vacation, but still close enough that you don't spend your whole weekend traveling.

Let's check out some of the best places to stay, things to do, and places to eat that you will find in Port Charlotte!

Places to Stay in Port Charlotte

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One of the biggest appeals about a weekend in Port Charlotte is that visitors have some amazing bed and breakfast accommodations to choose from. The Banana Bay Waterfront Motel is a local favorite that offers an Old Florida feel situated right on the bay. If renting kayaks and strolling along the docks is your idea of a relaxing weekend, this is a great location.

Another popular B&B is the Tropical Paradise Bed & Breakfast, where hosts Cliff and Joanne go out of their way to make sure that every detail is taken care of. Their home is located on a beautiful lot that features a covered pool and access to the canal.

If your preference is to stay at one of the chain hotels, there are also quite a few of those to pick from in Port Charlotte. One of the highest rated hotels in town is the Sleep Inn & Suites Port Charlotte, where you will find a gorgeous outdoor pool and all of the other amenities you would expect from a big brand hotel.

Things to Do in Port Charlotte

Once you iron out the details of where you are going to stay in Port Charlotte, the next step is to figure out exactly what you are going to be doing during your weekend getaway. For many people, that choice is as simple as enjoying the water…and there are a few different ways to do that in Port Charlotte. Depending on where you stay, you will likely have access to a number of water sports, fishing piers, and even some boating experiences.

Another relaxing way to enjoy the water in Port Charlotte is to spend a day at Port Charlotte Beach Park. Here you can stroll on the boardwalk, collect a wide range of shells, or jump right into the water! The park is also a perfect place to have an evening picnic while watching the sunset.

Since Port Charlotte is the spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays, many residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills plan their visits during the early spring months. However, Port Charlotte is also home to the Port Charlotte Stone Crabs, which is a minor-league affiliate of the Rays. That means that you can catch a game here throughout the summer, and minor league baseball games are always fun to see in person!

Places to Eat in Port Charlotte

Assuming that you are going to be staying at one of the local bed and breakfasts, you probably won't have to worry about finding a good spot for coffee and breakfast in the morning. But when the time for lunch rolls around, The Philadelphian should be the first local restaurant on your list. Here you will find authentic Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks that will absolutely blow your mind.

If you are thinking about heading over to Port Charlotte Beach Park for a sunset picnic but don't feel like packing dinner, grabbing a delicious pie from Pioneers Pizza is always a solid option. We recommend going with either the Formaggio or the Meat Lovers specials!

Every weekend getaway needs at least one fancy dinner, and the place for that in Port Charlotte is JD's Jazz Club & Fine Dining. Here you will find a first-class fine dining menu that is accompanied perfectly by live music and delicious cocktails. The only question here is whether you will get more enjoyment from the food or the music!

If you are looking for a great place to spend a relaxing weekend, Port Charlotte along the bay, is filled with waterfront activities and delicious dining.

 

Weekend Getaway: The Upper and Middle Keys

There’s no place like home here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, but it’s nice to get away every now and then, and when the time comes there is nothing quite like a getaway to the Florida Keys.

While we have already covered all kinds of great places to stay, things to do, and outstanding restaurants in Key Largo and Key West, there are also dozens of spots in between those destinations that also make for a great weekend getaway.

So, let's explore the Upper and Middle Keys.

Where to Stay

Islamorada is one of the most popular places to stop for many tourists making the journey from the mainland all the way down to Key West, but it is also a destination in and of itself. Here you will find the Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina, which offers every bit of the paradise you would imagine exists in the Keys. With all of the resort amenities offered at the Postcard, this is a one-stop shop for a weekend getaway.

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If you are looking for a more secluded getaway, Duck Key could be the perfect destination for you. The place to stay here is the Hawks Cay Resort, which offers standard hotel-style rooms, as well as more private villas.

If being as close to the beach as possible is important to you, then the Rainbow Bend Fishing Resort in Marathon should be on your short list. This is also the place to stay if you are looking to spend the weekend fishing, which is one of the many ways to enjoy yourself in the Keys.

Things to Do

Craft beer lovers will be thrilled to know that there are two different breweries located right in Islamorada. Both the Florida Keys Brewery and the Islamorada Beer Company Brewery and Tasting Room offer up a fantastic selection of local beer in a traditional Florida Keys atmosphere.

Another fun way to spend a weekend in the Keys is to get right into the water. In Duck Key, you will find swimming with dolphins, scuba diving, and chartering your own fishing expedition. No matter what you are looking to do on the water, there are plenty of choices in the Keys.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Marathon for animal lovers is The Turtle Hospital.  They have been rehabbing injured sea turtles and educating the public about them since 1986, and it is consistently recommended among the top places for animal enthusiasts to visit in all of the Keys.

Places to Eat

When you are heading out to eat in the Keys, the atmosphere is almost as important as the food. One of the best places to find that environment in Islamorada is the Islamorada Fish Company, where you will find a massive outdoor restaurant with a menu full of great seafood. We recommend trying the Grouper Reuben!

Whether you are staying there or not, the place to eat in Duck Key is Alma, which is located on the property at Hawks Cay Resort. This high-end restaurant divides its menu evenly between local seafood dishes and excellent cuts of meat, and everything is delicious.

In addition to all of the excellent seafood, you will also find plenty of Cuban restaurants throughout the Keys. One of our favorite spots is La Nina Restaurant in Marathon. It might not look like much from the outside, but this little restaurant will blow you away with their Cuban pork and beef dishes.

You can find ways to spend an entire weekend exploring any single town in the Upper and Middle Keys. You can also have a blast cruising from key to key in search of specific destinations. Whatever your idea of a great weekend might be, you can make it a reality in the Florida Keys.

April Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

We are already cruising into the month of April here in 2017. They say that April showers bring May flowers, but here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, we shoot for great weather every day no matter what month it is, and we don't expect April to be any different.

If you are looking for some fun and exciting ways to fill your calendar this month, the Activity Center staff has put together another schedule that is packed with interesting invitations.

Let's check out some of the fun activities and events coming up!

Social Events

One of the first social events this month is the Broadway & Beyond Dinner Show on Thursday, April 6 in the Hampton Room. Doors for this event open at 5 pm, and a dinner featuring Boursin-Stuffed Chicken Breast and Sliced Prime Rib is scheduled for 5:30 pm. After dinner, Mary Jo Vitale will take the stage to perform a selection of Broadway hits and some light opera classics.

Speaking of opera, the Citrus Hills Vacationers Club will be sponsoring a trip to the opera in Tampa on Sunday, April 9. This trip to the Straz will be for the matinee performance of Giacomo Puccini's famous Tosca.

There will be a special Seder Dinner event on Monday, April 10 in the Windsor Room. The menu for this meal will feature a choice of Beef Brisket or Roasted Chicken, as well as Matzo Ball Soup, Tsimis, Kugel, Green Beans, and Sponge Cake.

Another holiday tradition happening at the Villages of Citrus Hills this month is the annual Easter Egg Hunt in the Hampton Room that is scheduled for Saturday, April 15 at 9 am. This is a great event to bring your grandchildren, as there will be face painting, coloring stations, a magic show, and even an appearance by the Easter Bunny himself.

The Brentwood Bullies were the winners of the February Trivia Challenge, but that title is up for grabs again on Tuesday, April 18. If you think you have the skills to take down the champs, put together your team and we'll see you in the Hampton Room!

Arts & Education

It's going to be a busy month for the Speaker Series, and it will kick off on Tuesday, April 4 with a talk led by representatives of The Greener Side Haven. They will be talking about the different ways that your pet trusts you, and also giving some information about their work in rescuing abused animals.

Wednesday, April 12 will be another pet-related Speaker Series event. This one features Dr. Victoria Schad and Dr. Alli Fritz discussing topics about common behavioral issues and the importance of non-core vaccines.

Ricky Barlow from Merrill Lynch Bank of America and Susan Wood from Pacific Life will be in the Activity Center Auditorium on Wednesday, April 19 discussing all of the ins and outs regarding social security benefits and how to make the best financial decisions during your retirement years.

The final education event of the month is more of a fundraiser. On April 27, there will be an LBDC Benefit Luncheon in the Garden Room. The special guest speaker will be Cardiologist Nishant K. Newell, MD. $5 of each ticket sold for this event will benefit the American Heart Association.

Golf & Tennis

The two big golf events scheduled for April are the 2017 Skyview Men's Match Play Championship on April 3 and 4, and the Citrus Hills Ladies' Club Championship on April 17 and 18. Both of these events are the type of tournament that our serious golfers have been planning for all winter.

If you are looking for a more relaxed golf event, the Jelly Bean Open is scheduled for an 8:30 am start on Saturday, April 8 on The Oaks course. Make sure you bring your Easter Bunny ears for this one!

Anyone looking to improve their golf game can take advantage of the Free Golf Clinics with Golf Pro Wayne Larsen. This month, Wayne will be helping beginners on April 3, 4, and 5. Then he will be helping intermediate golfers on April 11, 18, and 25.

Over at the Skyview Tennis Center, there will be a Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, April 11. Then you can put those skills to work at the Tennis Burger Bash mixed doubles tournament on Sunday, April 30.

Dinner Specials

The biggest dinner special of the month is going to be the Easter Dinner at Skyview Restaurant and The Grille. On Sunday, April 16, Skyview will be serving delicious a la carte meals from 12 pm to 5 pm. During that same time, The Grille will be hosting a fabulous buffet featuring Prime Rib, Baked Ham, Chicken, and Salmon.

Tuesday, April 11 will also be a big night for dinner specials here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. Skyview Restaurant will be serving a special Surf & Turf menu, while The Grille is having their Wild Game Night.

BellaVita  

If you can find some time for yourself during the busy month of April, you might also want to check out specials like the Revitalizing Cream Peel Facial and the Shellac Spa Manicure at BellaVita Spa.

We hope you have a wonderful month full of fun and excitement!

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!