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December Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

 

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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

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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.

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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

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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! 

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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

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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. 

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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!

4 Stunning Model Homes You Might Want to Purchase

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The process of building a brand-new home here at the Villages of Citrus Hills can be a fantastic experience, but it isn't necessarily an experience that is right for everybody. For a lucky few, purchasing one of our model homes can be a much better option.  

Because all of the model homes are designed to impress, most of them come with all of the additional features. On top of that, they are obviously already built, so they make an excellent option for anyone who doesn't really want to wait through the construction process.  

Being able to buy one of the builder’s model homes anywhere is a rare occurrence, but if getting into a brand-new home that comes with all kinds of bonuses sounds appealing to you, take a look at these four options that are currently available here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

 

The Kingston

The Kingston model home is currently available for $524,900.

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The Kingston is a cozy three-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a study that covers 1,936 square feet of climate-controlled living space.  

You'll love making dinner in the open-concept kitchen, and you'll REALLY love taking a bath in the master-suite jacuzzi tub! Actually, there isn't anything you won't love about this adorable home. 

 

The Somerset

The Somerset model home is currently available for $599,000. 

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The Somerset is a larger option that adds a third bathroom and 700 square feet of additional living space. And most of that living space is located in the dining room area that sits between the open kitchen and the huge living room.  

You'll also find an upgrade master suite that will have you feeling like you are walking into your own personal spa every time you take a bath or shower.  


The Winchester

The Winchester model home is currently available for $699,900. 

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With three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a study, and just over 2,600 square feet of climate-controlled living space, The Winchester is pretty similar to The Somerset at first glance. But a deeper dive will reveal that this home is something extraordinary.  

Since it was built to showcase all of the outstanding upgrades available here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, you will find that The Winchester has gorgeous cabinets, elegant ceilings, and a perfect breakfast nook. And then you head outside to find a covered, in-ground pool! 

 

The Windham

The Windham model home is currently available for $679,900.

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The Windham is the largest and most impressive model home that is currently available. With three bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, a family room, and almost 3,000 square feet of climate-controlled living space, there is more than enough room to spread out and relax here.  

It also has all of the exciting features that we saw in The Winchester, including the pool. And after doing a few loads in this beautiful laundry room, you might actually start to enjoy washing your clothes. 

 

Whether you are looking to go big with a model like The Windham or The Winchester or keep things more reasonable with The Kingston or The Somerset, these four model homes are a tremendous opportunity to purchase a move-in ready home complete with all the bells and whistles here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

 

Contact our sales team today to schedule a viewing and let us welcome you to the neighborhood!

November Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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It feels like just last week that things finally started cooling off from the summer months, but believe it or not, we are already rolling right into November and the start of the holiday season. And just like every month here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, the hard workers at the Activity Center have put together an activities and events calendar that is packed with fun things to keep you busy. 

Whether you are looking for fun social events to enjoy with friends, competitive golf and tennis tournaments, or just some great dinner specials, we have it all on our calendar this month. Let's jump in and take a closer look at some of the highlights that you aren't going to want to miss in November.  

Social Events

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The first big social event of the month will be the Veterans Day Dinner Dance in the Hampton Room on Sunday, November 11. The cash bar will open up at 5:30 pm with a buffet featuring Bourbon Salmon and Thinly Sliced Prime Rib following at 6:30 pm. There will also be live music by Lisa Beck from Rock Solid.  

On Tuesday, November 13, the Hampton Room will be hosting a dinner show that features vocalists Mary Jo Vitale and Clark Barrios performing your favorite hits from artists like Michael Buble, Barry Manilow, Billy Joel, Celine Dion, and Barbara Streisand. The dinner menu will include Prime Rib, Boursin-Stuffed Chicken, Green Beans Almondine, and Oven-Roasted Potatoes.  

The Shabbat Dinner Club will be meeting in the Garden Room on Friday, November 16 starting at 5:30 pm. This month, the meal will include your choice of Sliced Sirloin in Mushroom Sauce or Broiled Salmon in a Sherry Shallot Cream Sauce.

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Auto enthusiasts won't want to miss the Third Annual Citrus Hills Car & Truck Show in the Activity Center Parking Lot on Sunday, November 18. This is going to be an all-day event running from 9 am through 3 pm, and it will feature great food, live music, and trophies for all of the best rides. 

Our local trivia buffs will be back in action on Tuesday, November 20 in the Hampton Room. This month, dinner will include Shepherd's Pie, Roast Pork Loin Dijonase, Rice Pilaf, and Broccoli with Red Pepper and Shallots.  

We will be closing out the month with one of the most popular events of the year. On Tuesday, November 27, the Hampton Room will be hosting the 14th Annual Holiday Boutique, which is the perfect place to buy all of those unique craft item gifts for everyone on your Christmas list.

 Golf & Tennis 

The Giving Thanks Open on Saturday, November 3 will be the first golf event of the month. There will be Men's, Ladies', Mixed, and Couples divisions with lots of food and beer available following the event at Citrus Hills.

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Meanwhile, the Skyview courses will be hosting a Veterans Day Scramble on Sunday, November 11 and a two-day Major Event Men's Better Ball Tournament on November 27 and 28.  

Of course, if you are interested in ramping up your golf game, you can always attend one of the free golf clinics hosted by PGA/LPGA Teaching Professional Mary Slinkard. Clinics for beginners will be held on November 5, 6, and 7. Then, there will be clinics for intermediate golfers on November 13, 20, and 27.

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Any tennis players who are interested in hitting the golf course will be thrilled to hear about the Tennis Players Golf Tournament at Skyview on Sunday, November 4. Players can choose to play either 9 or 18 holes, and there is a big party planned at the Tripp's house after the tournament.  

There will also be a Free Beginner Tennis Clinic for anyone interested in learning the basics of the game. All you have to do is show up at the Skyview Tennis Center wearing a pair of tennis shoes on Tuesday, November 13 and everything else will be handled for you.  

Dinner Specials 

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The biggest dinner special of the year will be the Thanksgiving Dinner Specials at Skyview Restaurant and The Grille on Thursday, November 22. Both restaurants will be serving dinner from 12 pm to 5 pm with Skyview Restaurant putting together a four-course, choose-your-own-adventure-style meal and The Grille serving up a traditional Thanksgiving food buffet.  

Skyview Restaurant is also going to be the place to stop on the other four Thursdays in November when they will be running a unique Tapas Menu of small plates like Roasted Brussel Sprouts Trio, Grilled Lamb Chops, Fall Shrimp Scampi, and Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli.  

In addition to all of the great activities and events happening around our community this month, you also might want to take advantage of specials like a V-Neck Soothing Facial or a Pumpkin Spice Spa Pedicure at BellaVita Spa.  

And if you are already planning ahead for December, don't forget about the big trip to Tampa to see the Buccaneers on Sunday, December 2 or the exciting New Year's Eve party that will be happening in the Hampton Room!

October Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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We’re rolling right into the fourth quarter of 2018, and October is going to be another month that is packed full of activities and events here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.  

Whether you’re looking for an excuse to get dressed up and hang out with friends, an opportunity to learn something new, a little competition, or just a great meal, we have got you in mind with all of the most exciting things happening around our community this month.  

Social Events

The first big social event of the month will be the Shabbat Dinner in the Garden Room on Friday, October 5. This month, dinner will consist of Bourbon Salmon and Chicken Marsala with sides, and then there will be Key Lime Pie for dessert.  

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Sliced Turkey and Baked Ham will be on the menu at the Harvest in the Hills Dinner Show in the Hampton Room on Saturday, October 13. In addition to a harvest-style meal, there will also be live entertainment from The Michael and Jennifer McLain Band featuring Dan Kelly.  

The monthly Trivia Challenge will be held on Tuesday, October 16 this month, and it will be happening with a Halloween twist! In addition to the normal buffet-style meal, there will also be trick-or-treat candy for everyone.  

On Friday, October 19, Charlie De will be performing a variety of music at the Dancing Through the Decades event in the Hampton Room. Following a dinner of Boursin-Stuffed Chicken Breast and Prime Rib, the music will take guests on a walk from the 60s all the way up to today's hits.  

Arts & Education 

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Lunch & Learn will be back in the Garden Room on Monday, October 15 at 11:30 am. This month, our guest will be photographer Jerry Dawson, who will be discussing his nature photography following a grilled chicken Caesar wrap for lunch.  

Speaker Don Dittatore will be talking about Avoiding Scams in Today's World in the Windsor Room on Tuesday, October 23 at 3 pm. This discussion will cover how senior citizens can avoid being taken advantage of in today's modern world.  

Golf & Tennis 

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The big golf event this month will be the Ghost Open at Citrus Hills on Saturday, October 6. After that, most golfers will be spending the rest of the month practicing for the big November events like the Harvest Invitational Tournament, the Veterans Day Tournament, and the Skyview Men's Better Ball Tournament.  

There will also be free golf clinics for beginners and intermediate golfers at Citrus Hills during the month of October. Beginners can get free coaching on October 8, 9, and 10. Then, intermediate golfers can get help with their game on October 16, 23, and 30.  

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This month's Free Beginner's Tennis Clinic will be held at Skyview Tennis Center on Tuesday, October 9 at 11 am. That clinic should be a big help for anyone who wants to participate in the Tennis Burger Bash, which will also be held at Skyview Tennis Center on Sunday, October 14.  

Tennis players can also look forward to the Tennis Players Golf Tournament on Sunday, November 4. This fun scramble will be starting from the Skyview Tennis Center with options to play 18 holes on The Oaks course or 9 holes on The Meadows course.  

Dinner Specials 

The big October dinner special at Skyview Restaurant is going to be an Oktoberfest event happening each and every Thursday throughout the entire month. Diners will get to choose from options like Sauerbraten, Potato Crusted Cod, Chicken Riesling, and Veal Holstein.  

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Skyview Restaurant will also be hosting a California Wine Country Dinner on Tuesday, October 9. This dinner will include four separate courses, each with a unique wine pairing. And Julie Swift from Jameson Ranch Vineyards will be explaining each of the pairings as they are served.  

On Thursday, October 18, the Tiki Bar will be hosting Alfresco Fall Elegance. Entrees for this meal will include Filet Mignon, Diver Scallops, Chicken Cordon Bleu, and Honey Cilantro  

Lime Salmon. There will also be live music provided by Snap Dake.  

BellaVita Spa & Fitness

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 October is also a great month to pamper yourself, so make sure that you pencil in some time to head over to BellaVita Spa and take advantage of their specials like a Pumpkin Facial and a Pumpkin Sugar Massage.

 

With everything happening here at the Villages of Citrus Hills during the month of October, it should be no problem to fill your social calendar with all kinds of unique experiences thanks to the hard-working people at the Activity Center. For more information on any of these great events, don't hesitate to give them a call!

7 Benefits of Building a New Home

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One of the biggest questions faced by many people who are relocating to Florida is whether they are better off to build a new home or buy an existing one.

 

While there are advantages to both options, building a new home has certain key benefits that just can’t be matched when buying an existing one.

 

Here are the seven top benefits of building a new home instead of buying a resale:

 

  • Choose the Exact Look and Floor Plan

 

When you choose to build your new home from scratch, you get to build it the way you want it. You will have the option to choose the ideal floor plan you want and you will also be able to choose the materials and color schemes that fit your personality.

 

  • Personalize Each and Every Detail

 

Another big selling point for new home construction is that you will have the ability to personalize many aspects of your home. Adding features like a pot filler above the stove or a particular type of recessed lighting in a certain spot are easy to integrate when they are added before the walls go up.

 

  • New Homes Have Warranties

 

Should anything go wrong with your new construction home in the first few years, it will almost certainly be covered under your warranty. The same cannot be said with a resale home, where what you see is often what you get and you could be opening yourself up to tremendous risk if something goes wrong down the road.  

 

  • Save Energy With New Technologies

 

Whether you are selflessly concerned about protecting the environment or more interested in protecting your bank account from high energy costs, the modern green technologies that will be included in your new home will actually be able to do both!

 

Your new home is sure to have energy efficient appliances, and it may also feature energy saving technologies in its roofing materials, windows, and ventilation system.

 

  • Modern Style and Design

 

Building a new home instead of buying a resale also guarantees that you are on the cutting edge of the most modern style and design in the industry. At Citrus Hills you will have all of the design features that are popular today like granite countertops, open concept kitchens, elegant master suites, and covered lanais.

 

  • Lower Maintenance Costs

 

Simply put, new homes will require less maintenance. Your home will already have a fresh coat of paint and a brand new roof, air-conditioner and appliances, so those types of maintenance projects and replacements will not be necessary until years down the road. You will also be able to design your landscaping in a way that can help you save on maintenance there as well.

  

  • You’re the Only One

 

Another advantage of purchasing a new home is the feeling of knowing that you are the only person who has ever lived there. You won’t have to ever consider what might have happened in the home before you lived there. Everything will be brand new and built just for you.

 

Building a new home from the ground up gives you the ability to create the home of your dreams where every detail matches your expectations.

 

While there are pros and cons to both building a new home and buying a resale, for most people the benefits of building a new home far outweigh any potential drawbacks.

How Much House Do You Really Need in a Retirement Community?

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With all of the amenities available to residents at the Villages of Citrus Hills, planning to spend your retirement years here is an easy decision to make. But where things get a little more complicated is when you have to decide exactly how much house you are going to need once you are living here in Florida.

In most cases, you will have a good general idea of how big of a house you are looking for, but we have learned over the years that spending just a little extra time weighing the pros and cons of going a little bit larger or a little bit smaller can be the difference between an almost perfect retirement and one that actually is perfect.

If you are struggling with deciding exactly how much house you are going to need in your retirement years, we suggest taking some time to talk through each of the following five concerns to see how each of them might impact your new lifestyle.

 

Where Do You Spend Time?

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One of the biggest differences in the floorplans here at the Villages of Citrus Hills is the size of rooms like the great room, kitchen, and master bedroom. Depending on where you typically spend the most time, you might realize that you would like just a little bit more space in one of these places.

Of course, if you are the type of person who expects to spend the majority of your time out in the community or kicking back on your lanai, then any cost associated with upgrading these interior spaces will be a wasted expense.

 

 

Will You Be Hosting Guests?

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The most common reason that many residents choose to go a little bigger on their retirement home is that they are expecting to host guests on a regular basis.

Whether we are talking about long-time friends, children, or grandchildren, having an extra bedroom or two when hosting visitors is always going to be a plus.

What Are Your Hobbies?

Speaking of extra bedrooms, if you are considering picking up a new hobby during your retirement years, you will definitely want to make sure that you have plenty of room to explore your projects without leaving clutter all over the house.

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Crafting, puzzle building, and woodworking are all popular retirement community hobbies, and they all require plenty of extra space. And even hobbies like reading and writing can be much more enjoyable if they have their own space in your home.

 

 

What is Your Budget?

The first three questions probably got you thinking about pushing towards a slightly bigger retirement home, but the counterargument that you have to consider now is whether you can actually afford that extra space.

In addition to being able to afford the house itself, it is also important to keep in mind that larger homes will be more expensive in terms of maintenance and utilities.

How Do You Feel About Maintenance?

Speaking of maintenance, another great point to consider is that there are many options like the Care-Free floorplans at the Villages of Citrus Hills that include all of the necessary exterior maintenance on your home.

That means you won't ever have to bother with cutting grass, trimming the hedges, or exterior painting. But if you're the type of person who enjoys that type of work (aka crazy), you might not find much value in a home where someone else does the work for you.

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Determining the right size for your retirement home is a complicated process that really boils down to analyzing your lifestyle, contrasting it with your budget, and finding the home that best fits those two together. And here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, we have options to cover just about any conclusion you reach.

September Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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Labor Day Weekend has finally arrived, and we are ready to put the summer heat behind us and move into the cooler autumn months here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. For our residents, that means that the activities and events calendar is filling up with all kinds of fun things that you want to be aware of.

Whether we are talking about exciting social events, golf and tennis competitions, or great dinner specials at our community restaurants, there is constantly something to do throughout the month of September. Let's take a closer look at some of the major activities and events this month!

Social Events

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The September social calendar is going to kick off in the Activity Center Auditorium on Friday, September 7 with an End of Summer Dance Party that will have everyone movin' and groovin'. Second Slice will be on stage performing a variety of hits that will keep

members and their guests boogying all night long.

There will be a Crime Prevention Workshop in the Activity Center Auditorium on Monday, September 10 at 1 pm. This workshop will be led by former law enforcement officers in our community, and it will provide insight into helping citizens be more aware of potential threats.

Tasty Trivia Tuesday is also back this month with a night of random knowledge in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, September 18. Dinner for this event will include Boursin Stuffed Chicken Breast and Sliced Sirloin in Mushroom Sauce along with salad, sides, and dessert.

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Another big event in the Hampton Room this month will be stand-up comedian Carl Guerra hosting a Comedy Dinner Show on Wednesday, September 26. You won't want to miss this high-energy comedy act, or the delicious meal that will be served with the performance.

September also marks the end of the baseball season, but the Citrus Hills Vacationers Club has one big trip to see the Tampa Bay Rays left on the calendar for the 2018 season. On Thursday, September 27, they will be taking a bus down to Tropicana Field to see the Rays host the surging New York Yankees.

Golf & Tennis

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The big golf event of September will be happening right at the beginning of the month on Saturday, September 1 when The Oaks Course at Citrus Hills hosts the Labor Day Open. Beverages and lunch will be provided after this fun holiday event, and you can get more information in the pro shop.

There will also be free golf clinics hosted by Mary Slinkard happening throughout the month of September. And no matter where your game is at this time of year, everyone could use a little tweaking heading into the big October events like the Skyview Member-Member Tournament, the Citrus Hills Ghost Open, and the Skyview Men's Club Championship.

The Skyview Tennis Center will be hosting its monthly Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, September 11 at 11 am. If you are thinking about getting into tennis this fall, this is the perfect opportunity to get some free coaching to improve your game in a hurry.

Dinner Specials

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The big dinner event at Skyview Restaurant this month will be the South American Wine Dinner on Tuesday, September 11. This fun dinner will feature four separate courses that are each paired with a unique South American wine, but it is limited to 50 guests, so make sure you make your reservations fast!

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The Tiki Bar will also be pulling out all the stops this month with impressive dinner specials on Wednesdays this month like a Seafood Boil Night on September 12, a Gourmet Mac & Cheese Night on

 

September 19, and a Barbecue Rib Night on September 26.

And don't forget that the Tiki Bar is the place to be for all the college football and NFL action when it kicks off this month!

BellaVita Spa

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With everything happening around the Villages of Citrus Hills this month, it might be hard to find any time to yourself. But if you can manage to find some quiet time, you'll want to check out the Detox Stem Cell

 

Facial special happening all month long at BellaVita Spa.

 

And while you have your calendars open, check out what you have planned for New Year's Eve, because tickets for the New Year's Eve Gala in the Hampton Room go on sale September 1!

5 Local Restaurants You Might Not Know About

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It's no secret that there are more than a few great restaurants here in Citrus County. In fact, we have three outstanding options right here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

With so many choices available, there are bound to be some restaurants that slip through the cracks when we are deciding on a place for dinner. And on top of that, there are always new places opening up all around our community.

To help you keep your dinner plans fresh and exciting, we pulled together a list of five excellent restaurants that you might not know about just yet!

    Kelly's Half Shell Pub

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One of the newest on the Citrus County restaurant scene is Kelly's Half Shell Pub in Crystal River. This new joint is all about oysters, and you can order them just about any way you like!

Oysters Rockefeller is popular, but if you are feeling brave, we recommend trying their Spicy Raw Oysters!  In addition to the half shell menu, Kelly's also has some killer pub food with feature items like Reuben Eggrolls, Irish Poutine, Guinness Mussels, and Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi.

 

Los Magueyes of Inverness

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Another new restaurant that just recently opened its doors is Los Magueyes of Inverness. They specialize in authentic Mexican cuisine, and according to a number of local diners, they are absolutely knocking it out of the park.

The homemade salsas are the main selling point at Los Magueyes, but keep in mind that each entrée is

going to be prepared just  like it would be if you were actually dining in Mexico. Ole!

   Habaneros Mexican Grill

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Because one new Mexican restaurant just wouldn't be enough, Inverness has also welcomed Habaneros Mexican Grill to the local dining scene recently. And while Los Magueyes of Inverness is the place for great salsa, Habaneros is where you should be going to satisfy your guacamole cravings!

The menu here is every bit as authentic as Los Magueyes of Inverness, so you can definitely add it to your regular rotation of local Mexican options.

 

 

 

Sauced Hogs BBQ Bar & Grill

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As you drive through Hernando, you might not even notice the next restaurant on our list, but this nondescript white building is the home of some of the best BBQ in Citrus County today.

One thing that patrons are loving about Sauced Hogs is that their menu is not exclusively BBQ items. In addition to serving up some awesome BBQ plates, you will also find a great Reuben sandwich here, as well as some solid burgers and salads.

 

 

 

West 82 Bar & Grill

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While it is not a new restaurant, the fact that it is located inside Plantation on Crystal River has kept West 82 Bar & Grill off of the radar of many Citrus County diners. However, the food you will find here is nothing short of exceptional.

 

With appetizers like Smoked Mullet Dip and Baked Brie and Wild Mushrooms, you can tell from the very first bite that everything you eat at West 82 is going to be amazing.

 

Everyone at the Villages of Citrus Hills knows that the food at Skyview Restaurant, The Grille, and the Tiki Bar is outstanding. But when the situation calls for something outside the gates, these five restaurants in Citrus County are more than happy to step up and serve you!

Florida College Football Preview

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As we count down the days until this summer heat cools off a bit, it is only natural to start thinking about the upcoming football season. There is always a lot of great college football being played all over the state of Florida.

To help get you ready for the upcoming season, we put together a quick breakdown of the five major college teams that make their home in the Sunshine State. And if you are looking for an excuse to plan a day trip, we have also highlighted all of the biggest matchups coming to Florida this year.

Miami Hurricanes

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The Miami Hurricanes and their famous "turnover chain" were the class of the Florida teams in 2017. Head coach Mark Richt had them playing way above anyone's expectations before falling to Clemson in the ACC title game.

This year, we can expect to see the same aggressive defense from the Hurricanes. The big question is whether Richt will stick with Malik Rosier at quarterback or make a move to one of the three extremely talented freshmen on his roster.

 

If you are looking for a reason to visit Miami, the Hurricanes will be hosting LSU, North Carolina, and Florida State early in the year. Then, Duke and Pitt will both be coming to town in November.

Florida State Seminoles

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The Florida State Seminoles rolled into the 2017 season with lofty expectations, but things fell apart in a hurry when quarterback Deondre Francois went down with a knee injury in the first game of the year. After stumbling through the rest of the season and posting a 7-6 record, head coach Jimbo Fisher took a lucrative offer to jump ship and move to Texas A&M.

 

That means that the major story of 2018 in Tallahassee is going to be whether new head coach Willie Taggart can turn this program around before things get any worse. With impressive talent across the board and an entirely new coaching staff, Taggart is a safe bet to do just that. Look for him to lean on his impressive young running backs early in the year.

The Seminoles kick off their season hosting Virginia Tech on Labor Day Weekend. They will also be hosting big games against Clemson, Boston College, and Florida later in the year.

Florida Gators

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There was also a head coaching change in Gainesville this year, and the Florida faithful were happy to welcome back former Gators offensive coordinator Dan Mullen as the head of their program. Mullen was at the helm of the offense during the glory days when Tim Tebow was lighting up the SEC, and he expects the Gators attack to return to that level of prominence this year.

 

 

While there is plenty of talent for Mullen to work with on the offensive side of the ball, Florida has some glaring red flags on defense. Look for that to be the issue on early road trips to Tennessee and Mississippi State. Later in the season, the Gators will be hosting big games against LSU, Georgia, Missouri, and South Carolina. 

CF Knights

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The UCF Knights went on a magical run in 2017 that culminated with them taking down a solid Auburn team in the Peach Bowl. However, the loss of head coach Scott Frost has left this program with more questions than answers heading into 2018.

New head coach Josh Heupel believes that his Knights will be even more explosive this year, and home games against Pitt, Temple, and Navy all make for a great reason to spend a weekend in Orlando.

 

 

South Florida Bulls

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2018 will be the second year at USF for head coach Charlie Strong, and he expects to see continued improvement implementing his style of offense, which focuses on the running game. The Bulls were in the top ten in the nation in rushing last season, but replacing offensive players like D'Ernest Johnson and Darius Tice, as well as quarterback Quinton Flowers, is going to be a difficult task.

 

The biggest games of the year for the Bulls will be an early matchup hosting Georgia Tech and the regular season finale against UCF, but we will also see East Carolina, UConn, and Tulane make their way down to Tampa for games this year.

There is nothing quite like seeing a college football game in person, and with five talented teams taking the field in Florida this year, there are going to be great games happening almost every weekend. Get out your calendar and start planning your next weekend getaway before those tickets get too expensive!

August Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

The height of summer is here, and we are only one month away from rolling through the Labor Day holiday and cruising straight into the cool fall months when the activities and events really heat up here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

But just because we are excited about the coming fall season, don't let yourself overlook some of the activities and events that will be happening over the next few weeks in our community. Whether you are looking for fun social events, competitive sports and recreation, or just a great meal, we have the inside scoop on what's happening at Citrus Hills this month!

Social Events

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The first big social event of the month will be the Magic & Comedy Dinner Show featuring Jon Armstrong on Tuesday, August 14 in the Hampton Room. This fun-filled magic comedy show will start at 7 pm following a dinner of Roasted Pork with Cinnamon Apple Glaze, Bourbon Salmon, Buttered Herb Noodles, and Steamed Mixed Vegetables.

Trivia Tuesday is back in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, August 21. The Sharks took down the contest with 50 points last month, but August is a new month, and everyone is ready to compete. Dinner for this month's Trivia Tuesday will feature Chicken Marsala and Baked Haddock.

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Then the biggest party of the summer will happen on the very last day of the month when Copacabana Night takes over the Hampton Room on Friday, August 31. The fun will start with a Latin-themed dinner of Cuban Pulled Pork and Chicken and Peppers in Garlic Wine Sauce. Then, things will really get wild when a 10-piece Latin band takes the stage. Don't leave your dancing shoes at home for this one!

Sports fans will also want to be sure to book their tickets this month for three fall trips that the Citrus Hills Vacationers Club is planning. There will be a group heading down to see the Tampa Bay Rays host the New York Yankees on Thursday, September 27. The club is also planning trips to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, November 11 and Sunday, December 2.

Sports & Recreation

The Oaks Course at Citrus Hills will be the place to be on Saturday, August 4 when they host the Awesome August Open. This fun outing will be a great way to prepare for some more serious ones like the Citrus Hills Labor Day Open, Skyview Ryder Cup Tournament, and Skyview Men's Shootout happening in September.

Another way to gear up for those September tournaments is to stop by the driving range at Skyview. And they just happen to be running a special from August 6 through August 12 that will hook you up with 10 FREE buckets of balls if you buy or upgrade an electronic range key.

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There will also be Free Golf Clinics with Mary Slinkard happening throughout the month of August. Mary will be working with beginners on August 6, 7, and 8. Then she will be back for intermediate clinics on August 14, 21, and 28.

Anyone who is new to tennis will find plenty of helpful coaching at the Free Beginner Tennis Clinic held at the Skyview Tennis Center on Tuesday, August 14. All golf and social members are invited to attend, and no equipment is required.

Other competitive events happening around the community this month include a fun Wallyball game at BellaVita every Wednesday from 4 pm to 5 pm and a Pickleball 101 event happening on the first and third Thursday of the month.

Dinner Specials

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Our friends at Skyview Restaurant are really going to be testing our diets this month with a Turkey Buffet special on Tuesday, August 14 and a European Pub Night on Tuesday, August 28. The Turkey Buffet will include all of your favorite Thanksgiving foods, and the European Pub Night be featuring entrees like Jameson Glazed NY Strip, Fish & Chips, and Braised Lamb Shank.

Sunday, August 26 is National Hot Dog Day, and The Grille is celebrating with a hot dog special from 3 pm to 8 pm. Dress your dogs up however you like with chili, cheese, sauerkraut, onions, tomatoes, pickles, and more!

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And if you find yourself craving hot dogs at other times during the month, don't forget that every Wednesday is Wing Dog Wednesday at The Tiki Bar with 30 cent wings and $3 hot dogs.

 

BellaVita Spa

In addition to all of the fun events and activities happening around the Villages of Citrus Hills this month, BellaVita Spa is offering a Peppermint & Rosemary Muscle Soothing Massage all month long.

 

Have a wonderful August!

Beat the Heat: 5-Indoor Activities to Enjoy at the Villages of Citrus Hills

Warm weather is one of the biggest reasons that Florida is such a popular retirement destination, but many residents will agree that there are times during the summer months where that heat can detract from some of the popular outdoor amenities here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

Fortunately, there is also a great selection of indoor activities available to our members. So, when the heat index gets to be just a bit too much, these are some of the things we recommend doing around the community to enjoy your days without spending too much time in the heat.

Relax at the Coffee Shop

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One of the newest places to beat the heat at the Villages of Citrus Hills is the Coffee Shop. Spend a few minutes soaking up the cool air conditioning and you will be primed and ready for a great cup of coffee to accompany whatever summer reading you have set out to work on this year.

The Coffee Shop is located right between the Citrus Hills Pro Shop and PrimoVita. They are open from 7 am to 11 am every morning during the summer and you can get a FREE refill on any medium or large coffee on Fridays.

Fitness Center

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For many residents who are looking to avoid the heat, they need to replace the exercise they would be getting from whatever outdoor activities they are not participating in, so heading to one of the community fitness centers can be a great way to stay inside without missing out on those Fitbit steps.

BellaVita and PrimoVita both offer state of the art exercise equipment and lots of fun classes to keep you moving throughout the summer, all while enjoying the cool indoor temperatures.

BellaVita Spa

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Speaking of BellaVita, you can also spend some quality indoor time at the spa! Because who doesn't love a good spa day, right?

We make a point to mention the BellaVita Spa Specials of the month in our monthly Activities and Events blogs, but you can also catch those specials in your Connections Newsletter each month. 

Indoor Club Meetings

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Joining one of the many clubs that exist around the community is another great way to get yourself involved in an indoor activity over the summer. With ballroom dancing, billiards, bridge, mah-jongg, and wood carving, there are plenty of indoor options to choose from.

One of the most active clubs at the Villages of Citrus Hills is the Citrus Hills Vacationers Club, which would be a great place to start if you are looking to attend an interesting meeting.

Skyview Happy Hour

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Another great way to pass some time indoors this summer is to head over to Skyview Restaurant for their Happy Hour specials every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 5 pm to 8 pm. There are always great drink specials to be had, and you can either order dinner from the bar menu or head into the restaurant following a few drinks.

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Of course, the Tiki Bar is also a great place to enjoy a few cocktails during the warm months, but you might want to wait until after Happy Hour at Skyview Restaurant to head over there so that the outside air has a chance to cool down a bit.

No matter how you prefer to spend your time, there are plenty of fun and exciting indoor activities around the Villages of Citrus Hills to keep you busy all summer long. So, don't let the warm weather get you down, stay active indoors!

Lakeridge Winery Summer Grape Stomp

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Located in Clermont, about an hour southeast of the Villages of Citrus Hills, Lakeridge Winery is the largest winery in the state of Florida. They are best known for offering some of the most outstanding premium wines made in Florida, but they also throw one wild party when it’s time to harvest their grapes each summer.

Now in its 24th year, the annual Summer Harvest Grape Stomp has evolved into a full-blown, weekend-long festival complete with grape stomping competitions, live entertainment, delicious food, and exciting tours and tastings.

This year, the event will be happening at the Lakeridge Winery on August 10, 11, and 12.

Grape Stomping History

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The practice of stomping on grapes to make wine dates all the way back to 200 B.C., but new technologies have made the method all but obsolete here in 2018. However, it’s still an extremely fun activity, which is why it’s so popular at many American wineries during the summer harvest season.

The Grape Stomp at Lakeridge Winery is one of the most famous wine festivals of the entire year here in Florida and jumping feet-first into a barrel of grapes can be a fantastically fun family activity for all ages.

Live Entertainment

While wine will definitely excite your senses of taste, smell, and sight, adding a little music will help to get one more sense involved. And aside from a 30-minute break in between bands, there will be live music performances for the entire duration of the Summer Grape Stomp.

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On Friday, August 10, the Nightly Groove Band will take the stage first and be followed by The Dave Capp Project. The Saturday schedule will feature Baby Blues & The No Attitude Band followed by the Ronnie Duncan Band, and then Sunday the Smoking' Torpedoes and Buddy Blues take the stage.

There will also be separate performances in the Wine & Cheese Bar on Saturday and Sunday featuring The Rusty & Laurie Wright Duo, Joe Hand, and Jeff Whitfield.

Don't Forget the Cheese

Speaking of the Wine & Cheese Bar, it will be open on Saturday and Sunday of the event serving up some delicious cheese tray options that will make a perfect accompaniment to whatever type of wine you might be enjoying.

The food court will also be open throughout the entire weekend that include American, Greek, Mexican, seafood, BBQ, and more. This is also the spot to enjoy a cold slushy or soft drink in between glasses of wine.

Fun & Games

Winery visits are typically considered an "adults only" type of activity, but the Summer Grape Stomp has plenty of fun activities for the younger grape stompers in your family as well. Just Fantastic will be on hand demonstrating some of their most popular inflatable games for the kids.

Of course, fun and games aren't just for the kids. The winery also plans to have cornhole games going throughout much of the weekend, so make sure your bean bag toss is in mid-summer form.

Tours & Tastings

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If you haven’t visited the Lakeridge Winery before, this event is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of their fascinating tours and tastings.

These tours run every 15-20 minutes during the festival, and they typically finish up in the tasting area, which includes anywhere from six to eight different stations positioned in the production facility.

Getting to Lakeridge Winery

You can get to Lakeridge Winery by heading out either FL-44 or FL-48 from Inverness, and it takes just about an hour to get there from the Villages of Citrus Hills. There are also four hotels nearby if you would like to make a weekend trip out of the festival.

With 80 acres of vineyards, 420,000 gallons of tank capacity, and over 20,000 bottles sitting in the "Sparkling Wine Cave," it is easy to see that Lakeridge Winery is one of the premier Florida destinations for wine lovers. If that includes you, or even if you just think the idea of stomping some grapes sounds fun, then this is an event that you won't want to miss.

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!

June Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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Summer has officially arrived here along the Gulf Coast of Florida, and the activities calendar here at the Villages of Citrus Hills is heating up right in step with the temperature.

This month, our activities and events include a number of old favorites with some exciting new ones mixed in to keep things interesting. 

Social Events

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The first social event of the month will be the "Broadway and Beyond" Dinner Show in the Hampton Room on Wednesday, June 6. Mary Jo Vitale will be taking center stage to perform a selection of Broadway hits, opera classics, and more, following a delicious meal of Sliced Sirloin topped with Mushroom Gravy and Bourbon Pecan Chicken.

Tasty Trivia Tuesday will return to the Hampton Room on Tuesday, June 19 with a menu that features Baked Ham with Pineapple Raisin Sauce and Turkey and Gravy. If you think you have what it takes to compete in this knowledge battle, the only way to prove it is to put together a team of your own or join an existing one at the event!

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On Thursday, June 21, the Hampton Room will once again be hosting the fun. This time, it will be a Classic Rock Party featuring The Cara James Gang playing all of your favorite classic rock hits from the 60's, 70's, and 80's. Doors for this event will open at 6:30 pm with the music following at 7 pm.

Sports & Recreation

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There are still plenty of golfers hanging around our courses this summer, and the best ones will be competing in the Men's Pinehurst Major Championship Event on June 11 and 12. They will also be playing in the US Open-style US Impossible Tournament on Saturday, June 16.

If your golf game isn't quite up to competition level, you might want to attend one of Golf Pro Wayne Larsen's free clinics this month. Wayne will be working with beginners on June 4, 5, and 6. Then he will be back to work with intermediate golfers on June 12, 19, and 26.

But if golf isn't your thing, there will also be a Pickleball Summer Bash on Saturday, June 16.

Dinner Specials

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The big holiday on the calendar this month is Father's Day on June 17, and between Skyview Restaurant and The Grille, there’s going to be plenty to choose from. Skyview will be hosting an over-the-top brunch buffet that every dad will love. But if you aren't able to make it to brunch, you can plan on having one of the four Father's Day Entrees that will be available that evening at The Grille.

The Grille is also planning a Burgers and Brews event for Thursday, June 28 that will feature Salmon Burgers, Jerked Turkey Burgers, Bacon Bourbon Burgers, Surf & Turf Burgers, and Veggie Burgers along with some delicious craft beers to choose from.

BellaVita Spa and Fitness

And, as always, keep a moment for yourself this month.  BellaVita Spa is offering Summer Berry Facials, Pomegranate Lime Ultimate Spa Pedicures, and Sweet Citrus Massages as their specials all month long.

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So, you really don't have any excuses at all not to get out and get active here at the Villages of Citrus Hills this month!

Massive Expansion at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa

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There is nothing in the world quite like the thrill of a gaming experience done right, and thanks to a brand new $100 million expansion to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, residents here at the Villages of Citrus Hills can now treat themselves to an extraordinary experience any time they feel like making the 90-minute drive down to Tampa.

The massive expansion project at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa took about two years to complete, and it has improved the facility to the point where it can legitimately claim to offer one of the biggest and most luxurious gaming experiences in the entire world. And in true Hard Rock fashion, the grand opening included a ceremonial guitar smashing!

Let's take a closer look at some of the impressive new amenities you can find there!

Smoke-Free Gaming Expansion

The most significant addition to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino is the massive new gaming floor that is completely smoke-free. While many casinos offer limited non-smoking sections with older machines, this enormous space features over 800 of the newest and most popular slot machines, like Michael Jackson Icon, as well as five live-action blackjack tables.

The new smoke-free gaming floor also features convenient entrances and exits that are right next to valet and ride-share drop-offs, so you won't have any trouble finding the place. You can also enjoy a cocktail at the Video Poker Bar or watch the biggest game of the day on one of the 20 flat screen televisions throughout the smoke-free space.

State-of-the-Art Smoke-Free Poker Room

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Poker enthusiasts will be blown away by the look and feel of the brand new, 46-table poker room that offers Wi-Fi throughout, a sports bar, and more than 40 flat screen televisions. If poker is your thing, the new poker room just became your favorite place in the world. 

Smoke-Free Dining

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With seven different smoke-free dining options to choose from, finding a great meal at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino is never a difficult task. Visitors can dine at the new Council Oak Steak & Seafood, or head over to The Rez Grill, Hard Rock Cafe, Fresh Harvest Buffet, Rise Kitchen & Bakery, Rock 'N Raw, or Jubao Palace Noodle Bar. 

Smoke-Free Shopping

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 As if the new spaces at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino were not already impressive enough, the expansion also included some upgrades to smoke-free shopping destinations like the Hard Rock Store, Rock Shop, Rainmaker, and the Rock Spa & Salon. So, if you are looking for great shopping, you don't even have to leave the facility!

Residents here at the Villages of Citrus Hills have known for years that the Seminole Hard Rock Casino was a fantastic destination for a quick day trip or a weekend getaway, but with the new upgrades and expansions, it has evolved into a must-see destination for just about everyone in the state of Florida.

Where else could you find a luxury casino and hotel on the level of a Las Vegas property only 90 minutes from home?

 

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!

April Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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The weather is warming up around the country as we move into the second quarter of 2018, and things are heating up here at the Villages of Citrus Hills as well! Over the past few months, residents have seen improvements to the community that have included repaved walking trails, upgrades to the dog park, and a brand-new dock on Lake Marie.

In addition to enjoying those upgraded amenities during the month of April, there’s also a wide range of activities and events that are in the works thanks to the wonderful people at the Activity Center. Whether you are looking for fun social events, inspiring educational seminars, golf or tennis competition, or just a great bite to eat, we've got you covered with information on all of the best things happening around the Villages of Citrus Hills this month.

Social Events

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Comedian Rocky LaPorte will be performing in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, April 10 at 7 pm. With a performance on The Tonight Show and a feature on Comedy Central Presents on his resume, there isn't much that Rocky hasn't accomplished in the comedy world during his long career. But on this night, his only focus is making you laugh.

On April 25, there will be a Dinner Show with Valerie Sneade in the Hampton Room. The meal will include Boursin Stuffed Chicken Breast and Sliced Prime Rib, and it will be followed with a fun, dinner party-style performance where Valerie Sneade will be singing all of those classic pop songs that you used to play on 45s!

Arts & Education

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The Speaker Series returns to the Activity Center Auditorium on Thursday, April 12 when two doctors from Countryside Animal Clinic will be discussing taking the best possible care of your furry, four-legged friends. This event is scheduled to start at 6 pm.

Lunch & Learn will be hosting three financial experts from Merrill Lynch on Wednesday, April 18 at The Grille. The lunch menu will feature a Caprese Chicken Sandwich, and the discussion will be focused on how to best manage your retirement assets with a focus on IRAs.

Craft lovers won't want to miss the Spring Farmers Market and Craft Fair happening in the Activity Center Parking Lot on Sunday, April 22 from 10 am to 2 pm. In addition to local produce vendors, there will also be some amazing craft vendors selling their creations, as well as live entertainment.

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There will be a Piano Workshop in the Activity Center Auditorium on Saturday, April 28 from 2 pm to 5 pm. If you have ever regretted the fact that you didn't stick with learning how to play the piano, this is the perfect opportunity to get a quick refresher course to get you playing again! Almost zero experience is required, and you will learn how to continue to develop your abilities moving forward.

Golf & Tennis

It is also going to be an exciting month for the ladies with the Skyview Ladies’ Spring Invitational happening on Monday, April 9 and the Citrus Hills Ladies' Club Championship being held on Monday, April 16 and Tuesday, April 17.

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If you are looking for a more relaxed event, you won't want to miss the April Fool's Open played on The Oaks course on Saturday, April 14. And if you are looking to improve your golf game this month, there will be free clinics hosted by Mary Slinkard happening throughout the month.              

Over at the Skyview Tennis Center, the Men's and Women's Club Championship Doubles Tournament will take place on April 20-22. But if you aren't quite up to that level of competition, you might want to check out the Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, April 10.

Dinner Specials

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As they do every month, our friends at Skyview Restaurant are going to be going all out on their dinner specials in April. Two that we are most excited about are the Farm to Fork Dinner on Thursday, April 5 and the Asian Buffet Night on Thursday, April 26.

The Grille will be serving up all of your favorite dishes as part of their "Grille Favorites Menu" on Thursday, April 12, and they are also planning a fun "Tax Day Menu" for Tuesday, April 17.

Reservations will be required for Alfresco Spring Elegance night at the Tiki Bar on Thursday, April 26. This is the one special you definitely don't want to miss this month, as it will feature delicious surf and turf options along with live entertainment from Snap Dare.

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In addition to all of the fun activities and events happening throughout the Villages of Citrus Hills this month, BellaVita Spa is running specials on Coconut and Lavender Sugar Back Scrubs and Ginger Facials.  

 

 

 

And with all of those options available, the choice is yours on just how active you want to be in the month of April!

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?