add chat to your website

Holidays

December Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

 

planoly-blogcover-december-2018.png

It's the most wonderful time of the year here at The Villages of Citrus Hills, and we are rolling right into a jam-packed month of December that is going to be filled with all kinds of holiday fun.  

Whether you are looking for fun things to do with friends and family, opportunities to get out and learn something new, a little competition, or just a great meal, we have the best of the best activities and events happening around the community this month.  

Social Events

Hanukkah Dinner December 2018 EB(1).jpg

The first big event of the month will be the Hanukkah Party on Tuesday, December 4 in the Hampton Room. This special party to celebrate the festival of lights will feature tray-passed hors d'oeuvres, a Mediterranean platter, and a pasta bar.  

On Monday, December 10, the Citrus Hills Vacationers Club will be taking a group down to Tampa to see our Lightning host the New York Rangers at 7:30 pm. Tickets for this event are $145 per member, and that includes great seats and round-trip transportation.

Holiday In the Hills Golf Cart Parade Dec 2018 EB.jpg

The second biggest social event of the month will be the Holiday in the Hills Golf Cart Parade that is scheduled for Sunday, December 16. Everyone is encouraged to decorate their golf carts for the holidays and join in the parade from the Activity Center

down to Skyview Restaurant for an awards banquet.  

And the only reason that the Golf Cart Parade is the second biggest social event of the month is that there will be an even bigger party happening in the Hampton Room on New Year's Eve. Tickets are still available for this fun evening that will include appetizers, a full dinner buffet, live music, and a champagne toast at midnight.  

Arts & Education

Frank Jolliff Email.jpg

The Citrus Hills Speaker Series will be back in the Activity Center on Friday, December 7 when we will be welcoming Veteran Frank Jolliff. He will be discussing the book he published about his time in Vietnam starting at 5:30 pm.  

On Wednesday, December 19, Steven Davis will be discussing Florida-Friendly Landscaping in the Activity Center as part of the Citrus Hills Seminar Series. Everyone who attends the event will learn all of the basics of landscaping practices that work best here in Florida.  

Looking ahead to January, Gayle Cohen will be returning to lead a regular seminar discussing The Healing Power of Music and how you can use her tips to lift and heal your body, mind, and spirit.  

Golf & Tennis

Most golfers tend to slow down a bit over the holidays, but this can actually be the perfect time to work on your game in between the two halves of our season here at The Villages of Citrus Hills. So, make sure that you are still booking your tee times! 

St Nick Open Dec 2018 EB.jpg

The two big golf events this month will be the St. Nick Open at The Oaks course on Saturday, December 8 and the Husband and Wife Championship at Skyview on Monday, December 10.  

In addition to those fun tournaments, there is a new "Newbie" Nine-Hole League starting up on Thursdays at The Meadows course, and PGA Pro Mary Spinkard will be hosting her usual Free Golf Clinics throughout the month.  

December is also a great month to get involved at the Skyview Tennis Center, and they will be hosting a Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, December 11 at 11 am. There will be a sale on all tennis apparel at the Skyview Tennis Center throughout the month of December.  

Dinner Specials

Treelighting 2018 EB with menu(6).jpg

Our community restaurants are also getting into the holiday spirit this month, and Skyview Restaurant is going to be celebrating the season with their 10th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Special Event on Tuesday, December 4 and a Members'

Holiday Party on Tuesday,  December 11. Both events will feature holiday themed buffets.  

Members will also want to hit The Grille on Saturday, December 15 for their Ugly Christmas Sweater Party. In addition to great food and drink specials, there will also be a holiday sing-a-long and some special surprises. 

BellaVita

And, if you are looking to pamper yourself during the holidays, BellaVita Spa has December specials like a Perfect Appearance Dermalife Facial, a Cranberry Spa Pedicure, and a Holiday Massage Special.  

It doesn't matter which events you are most excited for this month; the important thing is that you make a point to enjoy them and spend as much time as possible with friends and family. Have a great month and we'll have more events from the Activity Center staff in the New Year!

November Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

november.jpg

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

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

Social Events

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

Veterans Day Dance Nov 2017 EB.jpg

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

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

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

Travel-Thanksgiving St John 2017 email.jpg

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

Arts & Education

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

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

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

Holiday Boutique 2017 EB.jpg

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

Golf & Tennis

Veterans Day Nov 2017 EB(1).jpg

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

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

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

Dinner Specials

Thanksgiving Dinner Skyview Nov 2017 EB.jpg

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

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

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

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

BellaVita Spa & Fitness

Pumpkin Facial.jpg

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

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

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

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

 

 

Memorial Day Cookout: 6 Grill Ideas That Blow the Burger Out of the Water

Thanks to the great climate in Florida, we have the luxury of keeping our grills out all year round here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. But there is just something about Memorial Day Weekend that gives all of us the itch to break out the tongs and fire up the charcoal.

Most backyard cookouts feature some combination of hamburgers and hot dogs. If you are looking for a new idea to set your big holiday party apart from all of the others, we’ve got five grill ideas that will blow those burgers and hot dogs right out of the water. Let's fire up the grill!

Baby Back Ribs

Hamburgers and hot dogs are the most popular cookout foods because they are among the easiest things to throw together in a hurry. But when you really want to impress your guests, pork ribs are the way to do it.

The key to making the best ribs in town is to take your time and cook them low and slow. If you can get your grill down below 225 degrees, you can cook them right there for five or six hours.

Alternatively, you can cook them in the oven for the first five hours and then move them out to the grill for the finishing touches.  One of the most important things to remember when prepping your ribs is that you always want to make sure to remove the thin membrane on the bone side of the meat. This will allow all of the flavor from the rub, sauce, and smoke to work its way right into the meat.

Steaks

Throwing a nice Ribeye or T-bone steak on the grill is always going to be looked at as an upgrade from your basic hamburger, but many people are intimidated by the different levels of doneness that each of their guests might prefer.

Understanding the subtle differences between medium rare, medium, and medium well can be a challenge, but you can pick up the ultimate cheat sheet for that challenge in the form of a meat thermometer for just a few dollars.   Many newer thermometers have the regions for different levels of doneness marked right on them.

 

So, with your new thermometer in hand, you can feel confident that you are serving steaks to your guests exactly how they like them!

Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Jalapeños

You can also get creative on the grill with appetizers.  One popular idea is to take halved jalapeños that have been stemmed and seeded and stuff them with a mixture of cream cheese and shredded cheddar cheese. Wrap the peppers with par-cooked bacon and throw them on the grill until that bacon gets nice and crispy. Your guests will beg you for this simple recipe.

 

Stuffed Turkey Burgers

If you are expecting your guests to be a little more health conscious, you might want to go with turkey burgers instead of hamburgers. You can instantly jazz up this healthy alternative by mixing in any combination of diced vegetables and garlic that you prefer.

Just chop up some peppers, onions, and garlic and mix them in with the ground turkey before you make your patties. If you really want to wow the crowd, add a little BBQ sauce into that mixture too!

BBQ Chicken Thighs

Another food that would be a lot more popular at cookouts if people weren't so intimidated by it is chicken thighs. Where chicken breasts tend to dry out on the grill, the dark meat that you get with a thigh will stay moist for much longer.

Once again, the thermometer is your best friend here. Make sure that you are getting your chicken up to 165 degrees before serving it, but don't go too much further than that!

Chicken thighs are extremely versatile. You can combine all kinds of flavors through different rubs and sauces. So, put out a few different options to give your guests some variety, and they'll still be talking about your chicken at the Fourth of July party.

Shrimp Skewers

And last but not least, seafood.  A very easy addition to the menu and always a crowd pleaser.  Put a few shrimp on a skewer, add a few vegetables if you like, and in a few minutes, they’re ready to eat.  Brush on a little marinade or have dipping sauces out on the table and you’re all set.

 

No matter what you are making, a Memorial Day Barbeque is always a good time with family and friends.  But it’s always fun to try something a little different and to go the extra mile. 

These 6 suggestions just might do the trick!

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

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!

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!