Dining

5 Fun Things to Do in Inverness

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Located just under fifteen minutes from the Villages of Citrus Hills, Inverness offers the perfect combination of nature and history, along with a growing restaurant scene that keeps getting better and better.

Whether you are looking to explore local history at the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum, take in a little culture at the Valerie Theatre, get outdoors on the Withlacoochee State Trail or at Fort Cooper State Park, or just grab an excellent bite to eat, there is never a dull moment in Inverness. Let’s take a quick run through five of our favorite things to do in Inverness.

Embrace History at the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum

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If you are interested in learning about the history of Citrus County, there is no better place to start than the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum. This historic building in the heart of town was built in 1912 and served as the local courthouse until 1978.

Today, the first floor features a number of exhibits detailing the rich history of Citrus County.

On the second floor, the old courtroom still looks just as it did when Elvis came to town in 1961 to film a movie there. The courtroom is also available to rent for private parties.

Take in a Film at the Valerie Theatre

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Located right across the street from the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum is the equally historic Valerie Theatre. This gorgeous theatre was reopened to the public in 2015, and it is currently hosting a wide range of live stage performances and film showings.

Originally built in the mid-1920s by Mrs. Pearl G. Maddox, the Valerie Theatre was named after her daughter and designed to show silent films. Many local residents believed that the building closed for good in 1987, but the city bought it in 2009 and local residents pitched in to restore it to its former glory.

Today, you can catch weekly showings of classic films at the Valerie Theatre. And there are also plenty of live stage shows scheduled throughout the year.

Go Biking on the Withlacoochee State Trail

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Anyone looking to get outside and experience the beautiful Florida weather can take advantage of the fact that the 46-mile Withlacoochee State Trail runs right through Inverness.

This long stretch of former railroad was purchased from CSX Transportation in 1989 as one of the very first acquisitions of Florida’s Rails-to-Trails program. Because of its former life as a railroad corridor, the entire length of the trail is flat, making it perfect for biking. Starting from Inverness, bikers can head north up to Citrus Springs, or they can venture south all the way down through Hernando County to Trilby.

Hit the Lake in Fort Cooper State Park

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Another way to enjoy nature in Inverness is to head out for a day at Fort Cooper State Park. Not only is this massive 700-acre state park a part of the Withlacoochee State Trail, but it is also part of the Great Florida Birding Trail and the Seminole Heritage Trail.

Fort Cooper State Park is also home to Lake Holathlikaha, which is open for all kinds of boating activities throughout the year.

Enjoy the Local Restaurant Scene

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Inverness might be a small town, but this nearby community packs a serious punch when it comes to outstanding local restaurants. Whether you are looking for a neighborhood pub, an Italian deli, first-class pizza, or any other type of cuisine, you can find it in Inverness.

As you plan your visits to our neighbor down the road, make sure that you check out some of the great restaurants there like Pine Street Pub, Little Italy of Inverness, Motor City Pasta Company, and Kawa Sushi House.

Not only is there a never-ending list of exciting activities and events here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, but there is also plenty to keep you busy right in Inverness.

Don’t miss your chance to get to know everything that this next-door-neighbor town has to offer!

July Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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The month of July is known for being hot and humid in Florida, but the activities and events happening here at the Villages of Citrus Hills might be even hotter than the weather this month.

Whether you are looking for fun social events, opportunities to explore arts and education, competition on the golf course or tennis court, or just a great meal, there is something for you on the July calendar.

Social Events

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This month’s social calendar is going to kick off on Sunday, July 7 when 7 Bridges: The Ultimate Eagles Tribute Band takes the stage at the Activity Center Auditorium as part of the Sizzlin’ Summer Show Series.

Tickets are going to go quickly for this one, so make sure you get yours soon.

The Hampton Room will be hosting a Comedy Night with Rick Corso on Thursday, July 11 with cocktails at 6 pm followed by the show starting at 7 pm. Rick is a nationally touring comedian who has been featured in Showtime’s Comedy Club All-Stars and Comedy Central’s “The A-List.”

The Hampton Room will also be hosting another installment of Tasty Trivia Tuesday. The competition will take place on July 16, and the menu this month will feature Beef Tips Marsala and Roast Pork with Cinnamon Apple Glaze with plenty of sides and dessert.

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The Hampton Room is going to close out the month with a wild time when DJ Butch Phillips shows up for the Hampton Hoedown on Friday, July 26.

This country-style dancing event will be a super casual party that includes lessons for all of your favorite line dances.

Arts & Education

Lunch & Learn is going to be back in the Garden Room on Tuesday, July 9 at 12 pm. This month's guest will be author Kelly Spence Cain, and the meal will include a Spinach Salad topped with Grilled Chicken Breast and Fresh Strawberries.

The Garden Room will also be hosting the Ageless Beauty Luncheon with Marie Grace on Tuesday, July 23. Marie will be discussing “Flawless Foundation Highlights & Contour” while everyone attending enjoys a Citrus Chicken Salad.

Golf, Tennis, & Pickleball

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The Meadows Course is going to be the focal point of the golf action this month when it hosts the Firecracker Open on Saturday, July 6. Like all of the open tournaments at Citrus Hills, this will be a relaxed event that also includes lunch and beverages following the round.

If you are looking to step up your golf game this month, you might want to think about attending one of PGA/LPGA Pro Mary Slinkard’s Free Golf Clinics. Mary will be working with beginners on July 8, 9, and 10. Then she will be back to fine-tune intermediate golfers on July 16, 23, and 30.

Speaking of clinics, the Skyview Tennis Center will be hosting their monthly Free Beginners Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, July 9 at 11:30 am. You don’t even need to own your own racket to show up and have a great time at this event, but you might find yourself buying one after learning some of the fundamentals.

Pickleball is being promoted as “the fastest growing sport in America,” and that is certainly the case here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. You can learn all about this fun and exciting game by attending Pickleball 101 on the first Tuesday of the month at 1 pm or the third Thursday of the month at 6 pm.

Dinner Specials

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The Fourth of July is obviously the biggest holiday event of the month, and Skyview Restaurant and The Grille are both going to be putting out impressive spreads. You can celebrate with entrees like Memphis Blues Ribs, Honey Barbecue Chicken, and Firecracker Grilled Salmon at Skyview from 12 pm to 4 pm, or you can head down to The Grille for similar specials and live music from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

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Skyview Restaurant is also going to be running “Summer Faire” specials every Friday night throughout the month of July that will include options like Roasted Cod, Baby Back Ribs, Butcher’s Block Beef Tips, and Aztec Chicken.

And you won’t want to miss National Hot Dog Day at The Grille on Wednesday, July 17. They will be serving up hot dog meals from 5 pm to 8 pm, and there will be a full toppings bar so you can create any kind of dog you like.

BellaVita Spa and Fitness

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In between all of the fun things happening around the community this month, you might also want to book some time for self-care at BellaVita Spa. Their specials for the month include the BellaVita Flawless Facial and a Swedish Massage Special.

For what is traditionally considered to be a slower time of year here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, there is actually quite a bit on the schedule throughout the entire month. Make sure that you mark down your favorite options so that you don’t miss out on the fun!

5 Fun Ways to Spend a Day in Ocala

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Located just an hour drive from the Villages of Citrus Hills, Ocala is one of the most unique destinations in all of Florida. There is a nearly endless number of things to do in and around this dynamic city, which makes it a perfect day trip destination for Citrus Hills residents.  

Whether you are interested in horseback riding and drag racing or shopping and art, there is something for everyone in Ocala. Let's take a quick look at five different ways to spend an exciting afternoon in "horse country." 

Horse Farm Tours 

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Because horse culture is such an integral part of Ocala, the first option for visitors is always going to be one of the many horse farm tours like the one you will find at Gypsy Gold Farm.  

No one ever has a bad thing to say about a visit to Gypsy Gold Farm, which typically includes a tour of the massive 40-acre property. The tour is filled with stories about both the property and the heritage of the horses that are raised there.  

If you are looking for even more horse-related fun, there is also Farm Tours of Ocala. This fun adventure takes visitors on a walking tour that covers three different farm properties.  

Drag Racing History 

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Visitors looking to experience something even faster than horse racing, the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is a popular Ocala attraction that will get your motor running.  

This museum is full of historic drag racing cars, and there is an additional building filled with a fabulous collection of antique cars. You will not be disappointed.  

The Great Outdoors 

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Way back before things took off in Orlando, it was Silver Springs that was attracting people to visit sunny Florida. Silver Springs State Park is still an amazing place to visit any time of year, especially if you are interested in taking the glass bottom boat tour.  

For visitors who prefer flowers to boats, Sholom Park is a gorgeous 44-acre botanical garden that offers another option for enjoying the great outdoors in Ocala.  

Appreciation for the Arts 

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One of Ocala's hidden gems is the diverse collection of artworks on display at the Appleton Museum of Art. This small little museum contains art ranging from ancient Greece all the way up to today's modern art, and walking through the facility is always a relaxing experience.  

Shopping & Dining 

Sometimes, the best days in Ocala are the ones that start out without any plan at all, and that is exactly the type of fun you can find wandering around downtown Ocala.  

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Downtown Ocala features a fun combination of restaurants, boutique shops, and art exhibits that you won't find in other Florida towns. There are also a lot of historic buildings in this area, so make sure you take some time to let yourself wander around.  

With everything from horses to modern art available throughout the year, it's no wonder that Ocala is one of the most popular day-trip destinations for residents here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. The next time you are looking for a fun way to spend a day, head to Ocala and you are sure to find something amazing.

June Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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Summer has officially arrived, and we are getting ready to enjoy every minute of it here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. While many of our friends and neighbors are spending their time up north over the next few months, there will be no shortage of exciting entertainment from the planners at the Activity Center.

If you are looking for fun opportunities to socialize with other members of our community, there will be many.

If competitive golf or tennis is what you are looking for, you can find it here.

And if a delicious dinner is what you are craving, we have got you covered there as well.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest and best activities and events happening around the Villages of Citrus Hills this month.

Social Events

Sports fans will be “in the know” at this month’s Tasty Trivia Tuesday on June 18 in the Hampton Room. The menu will include Sliced Turkey with Stuffing and Baked Ham with Pineapple Raisin Sauce, and all of the questions will be sports-related this month.

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There will also be a brand new social event this month when Musical Bingo takes over the Activity Center on Thursday, June 20. This fun version of bingo features song titles and artists on the cards with a DJ playing clips instead of traditional bingo balls.

Art & Education

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Betty’s Boutique will be hosting a fun Citrus Hills Fashion Show event in the Hampton Room on Thursday, June 13. Members attending this event will get to see all of the hottest summer fashion trends while enjoying a Citrus Chicken Salad with Warm Rolls and Key Lime Pie.  

Lunch & Learn will be back in the Garden Room on Tuesday, June 25. This month’s topic will be a Healthy Cooking Demo from The Grove Health & Rehabilitation Center, and the meal will include a delicious Plant-Based Burger and Air-Fried Sweet Potatoes. 

On Wednesday, June 26, Dr. Apama Bapat from Ayurveda Alternative Medicine will be leading a discussion on “The Science of Life” as part of the latest installment of Doc Talk.

Golf & Tennis

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The biggest golf event of the month will be the Skyview Men’s Pinehurst Tournament taking place on June 10 and 11. This will be a two-man team event where all players hit from the white tees.

If your game isn’t quite up to competition level, then you’ll want to participate in one of the Free Golf Clinics with Mary Slinkard. She will be leading clinics for beginners on June 3, 4, and 5. Then the intermediate clinics will be back on June 11, 18, and 25. 

Anyone looking to get out on the tennis court for the first time this summer will want to attend the Free Beginner Tennis Clinic at the Skyview Tennis Center on Tuesday, June 11. As usual, the only requirement to participate is a pair of tennis shoes.

Dinner Specials

June is going to be a big month for steak lovers here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. Skyview Restaurant will be hosting Steak Nights on June 13 and 27, as well as a Prime Rib Feature every Saturday this month. Then The Grille will be serving up a selection of steaks during the Belmont Stakes (Get it? Steaks/Stakes?) on Saturday, June 8.

Other specials that you won’t want to miss at Skyview Restaurant this month include a Greek Night Buffet on Thursday, June 6 and a Spring Faire menu every Friday in June.

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And if you are looking for a perfect Father’s Day destination on Sunday, June 16, The Grille is going to be offering some outstanding entrees that dad will love.

BellaVita Spa

June is also a perfect month to spend some quiet time indoors at BellaVita Spa, and they will be running a Father’s Day Massage Special and a Brightening Peel Special all month long.

No matter how you plan to spend your free time during the month of June, there are plenty of fun options in front of you here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. And don’t be afraid to try something a little outside your comfort zone this month!

Around the World: 6 Local Restaurants with an International Flair

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It's no secret that the Villages of Citrus Hills is surrounded by excellent restaurants of all types, but we don't always show proper appreciation for just how diverse that selection actually is.  

In order to highlight that diversity, we are going to take you on a quick trip around the globe to experience six different cultures without ever leaving the state of Florida.  

Is your appetite ready to handle this adventure?

 Cuban - Havana House Cafe

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For the first stop on our world culinary tour, we are heading south to Cuba for a taste of the tropics at Havana House in Lecanto. The specialty here is the Traditional Cubano, which comes with Spanish ham, sliced or pulled pork, pickles, Swiss cheese, and mustard.  

If you are looking to get even more authentic with your dining choices, you will want to try the Lechon Asado. Or you could also order one of the delicious starters like Tostones Rellenos, Cuban Empanadas, or Caribbean Wings.  

French - La Cuisine French Restaurant 

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When you are ready for a high-end meal, we're heading east across the Atlantic for some of the best French cuisine you've ever tasted. And it's right up the road in Ocala. La Cuisine French Restaurant is owned and operated by Patrice and Elodie Perron.


Patrice was raised in the heart of France, and he has always had a passion for the kitchen, which explains why everything served at his elegant restaurant tastes so phenomenal. Whether you opt for Duck A l'Orange, Bourguignon Beef, or Boneless Beef Short Ribs, you really can't make a wrong decision at La Cuisine.  

Italian - Mesa de Notte 

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The next stop on our world tour is also located in Ocala, but the food has moved to Italy. Mesa de Notte offers a fantastic selection of Italian dishes that include all of the tried and true classics along with some interesting new twists.  

For those looking for the familiar options, there is Fettuccini Alfredo, Angelo Osso Bucco, and Chicken Parmigiana.

But if you are thinking about getting adventurous, there are also choices like Mahi Piccata.  

Mediterranean - Taverna Manos 

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Our final stop for European flair on this world tour will be Taverna Manos in Crystal River. When you are in the mood for great Mediterranean food in Citrus County, this is always going to be one of the top places on the list.  

Like any great Mediterranean spot, the gyros are the star of the show at Taverna Manos, and they never disappoint. On top of serving world-class gyros, they also offer a wide range of other Mediterranean cuisine that will keep you coming back for more.  

Thai - Bangkok Thai 

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This wouldn't be a world tour without a quick stop in Asia for some delicious Thai food, and that is exactly what we are going to find at Bangkok Thai in Beverly Hills.  

If you are a fan of Thai food, then you already know what to order. If this is going to be your first experience, start with the Spring Rolls and then take your pick from one of the curries or the Pad Thai.  

World Fusion 

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This restaurant has been a great edition to the international theme in Citrus County.  World Fusion integrates fresh ingredients with Asian flavors for a unique and delicious fusion of cultures.  

In addition to sushi and sashimi, they also offer a variety of dishes from different Asian cultures, including traditional Japanese, Thai, and Chinese. The menu includes a variety of healthy choices, as well as many vegetarian friendly dishes. 

With all of the amazing ethic cuisine available here in Florida, residents at the Villages of Citrus Hills never have to go very far to find truly spectacular meals of all kinds. The only tricky part is choosing the right type of meal to fit your mood!