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May Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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Whether you are ready for it or not, the month of May has officially arrived, and we are getting ready to kick off another summer season here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.  During the summer months, we tend to slow down on outdoor activities like golf and tennis, but we also pick up on fun social events and great dinner specials. And no matter what type of fun you are looking for around the community, there is something for just about everyone in May.  

Let's jump into the details and take a quick look at some of the most exciting events and activities happening around the Villages of Citrus Hills this month.  

Social Events 

The social fun will kick off right away with a 1950s Prom Dance taking over the Activity Center Auditorium on Saturday, May 4. In order to make it feel just like the high school dance from "Back to the Future," the theme is going to be "Enchantment Under the Sea" and there will be prizes for the best costumes! 

On Friday, May 10, the Vacationers Club is planning a bus trip to Tampa to see the Tampa Bay Rays host the New York Yankees. The Rays are off to a hot start this year, and every game against the Yankees is going to be a close one, so this is a great chance to see the home team in action.  

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If you're looking for a laugh, you won't want to miss comedian Alan Schubowsky performing in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, May 14. Alan has performed on huge stages all over the world, and he is going to be cracking up everyone in attendance for this special event.  

Tasty Trivia Tuesday will be back in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, May 21. Dinner this month will include Swiss Chicken, Bourbon Salmon, Potatoes Au Gratin, Broccoli with Red Pepper and Shallots, Salad, Rolls, and German Chocolate Cake.  

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The biggest social event of May will actually be happening on the very last day of the month. That is when the Slice of Summer Poolside Party will be taking place at the Activity Center. DJ Benny Cruz will be playing all of your favorite songs by the pool at this exciting dance party under the stars.  

Arts & Education 

Dr. Trish Kallenbach will be speaking about Holistic Pet Nutrition in the Activity Center Auditorium on Tuesday, May 7 at 10 am. During her presentation, she will be covering everything you might want to know about how a healthier diet can improve your pet's lifestyle.  

The Healing Power of Music will be back in The Garden Room on Thursday, May 16 this month. Gayle Cohen will be focusing on topics like everyday stress, loss, divorce, and other issues while covering how music can help our bodies heal.  

Golf & Tennis 

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The Oaks course will be hosting the Cinco de Mayo Open on Saturday, May 4 at 8:30 am. This will be one of the most enjoyable golf outings of the summer, so make sure you don't forget to sign up to participate.  


The more serious golf event this month will be the Men's Better Ball A/D - B/C tournament at Skyview on May 6 and 7. This exciting tournament is open to all Skyview members, and everyone will be playing from the white tees.  

If you are simply looking for a way to improve your golf game, we highly recommend heading out for one of the Free Golf Clinics with our resident expert, Mary Slinkard. There will be clinics for complete beginners on May 6, 7, and 8. Then there will be intermediate clinics on May 14, 21, and 28.  

The monthly Free Beginner Tennis Clinic at the Skyview Tennis Center will be happening on Tuesday, May 14 at 11 am. If you have been thinking about dusting off that old racket and need a refresher on some of the basics, this is the perfect place to get that.  

Dinner Specials 

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Mother's Day meals are going to be big at Skyview Restaurant and The Grille this month. Both of our community restaurants will be celebrating with specials on Sunday, May 12. Skyview Restaurant will be serving up fabulous entrees, while The Grille is going to be the destination for anyone looking for a spectacular buffet-style offering. 

In addition to their Mother's Day special, Skyview Restaurant is also going to be hosting a Spring Wine Dinner on Tuesday, May 7 and a Turkey Buffet on Thursday, May 23.  

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Not to be outdone, The Grille is staking its claim as the place to be on Memorial Day for a first-class summer BBQ Buffet featuring everything from Baby Back Ribs to Smoked Brisket.  


The Tiki Bar is going to be the place to be on the first weekend of the month with a huge party for the Kentucky Derby on May 4 that will be almost immediately followed by another wild party for Cinco de Mayo on May 5.  

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In addition to all of the events that the people at the Activity Center have planned for the month of May, there are also some fantastic Mother's Day specials happening all month long at BellaVita Spa.  

Whether you are planning to hit all of the social events or are booking some private time for yourself at the spa, make sure you have a great month here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training Preview

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The Tampa Bay Rays generated some interesting conversations when they started utilizing their "opener" strategy early on in the 2018 campaign. Over the course of the season, that revolutionary approach to the game propelled the Rays to an astounding 90-win season.  

That unique strategy will be making a return to Tampa Bay in 2019, as will nearly all of the key pieces from that 90-win season. And when you factor in some of the new additions and young arms returning from injury, expectations are higher than ever for the Rays this summer.  

If you are looking to join in early on what could be a playoff caliber baseball team, we have all the key information you are going to need to know about the 2019 Tampa Bay Rays.  

Rock Solid Foundation 

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The key in 2018 was the emergence of Blake Snell as a true ace pitcher. Not only was Snell the best pitcher on the roster in 2018, he was also the best pitcher in the American League and comes into 2019 as the reigning A.L. Cy Young Award winner.  

Snell will benefit from the support of a strong defense that is anchored by centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier, who might be one of the best defensive players in the majors.

In addition to Snell's pitching and Kiermaier's defense, Rays fans can expect to see plenty of pop in the middle of the batting order thanks to slugger Tommy Pham, who was acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals right at the trade deadline last season.  

The Rays also acquired pitcher Tyler Glasnow from Pittsburgh at the deadline, and his improved command produced impressive results down the stretch. If he can build on that success moving forward, we can expect a solid year from him in 2019.  

New Faces in Tampa Bay 

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In order to build on their successful 2018 season, the Rays made some moves to improve their roster during the offseason. The biggest of those moves was inking pitcher Charlie Morton to a two-year deal. Morton will slot in right behind Snell as the number two starter.  

Another free agent acquisition that could make an impact is the addition of Avisail Garcia on a one-year deal that is laced with incentives. Garcia is a proven major leaguer who was an All-Star in 2017, so there is plenty of reason to believe he can contribute in a meaningful way.  

The front office was also active on the trade market during the winter, which resulted in the acquisition of catcher Mike Zunino from Seattle and infielder Yandy Diaz from Cleveland. Zunino brings a big bat to the middle of the Rays order, and Diaz is someone the Rays have liked for years.  

Returning Young Arms 

In addition to a solid core and some key additions, the Rays are also going to benefit from the return of a number of young pitchers throughout the season.  

Pitchers Brent Honeywell, Jose De Leon, and Anthony Banda are all scheduled to make their return from Tommy John surgery at some point during the year. All three have the ability to earn a rotation spot upon their return, which could eventually make the "opener" strategy unnecessary.  

Barring any significant injuries, the 2019 Tampa Bay Rays are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the American League. And while they might not be talented enough to take on the Yankees and the Red Sox for the A.L. East pennant just yet, they are almost certainly going to be a serious contender for one of the two Wild Card spots.  

There are going to be a lot of very exciting games happening at The Trop this year, so make sure you plan on heading down to see the Rays as much as possible.

12 Hours In St. Petersburg

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While many people think of St. Petersburg as an extension of Tampa, local residents will tell you that this fun-filled city has a personality that is all its own. It also has plenty of things to do, which makes it an excellent day trip option for residents here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.  

If you are looking for a perfect day trip destination and don't want to be bothered with all of the research that goes into

planning an exciting getaway, we have taken care of all the details for you and put together a choose-your-own-adventure style trip to St. Pete.

Let's dive in and check out some of the options!

 

Morning Activity - Art & History 

Depending on what time you leave, the hour and forty-minute drive will probably have you arriving in St. Petersburg with a few hours to kill before lunch. We recommend starting off your day with a little bit of culture at one of the many art galleries and museums that the city has to offer.

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Three of the most popular options for this part of the trip are the Duncan McClellan Gallery, the Ted Williams Museum, and the Salvador Dali Museum. Each offers a slightly different type of cultural experience, but all three are highly recommended attractions in St. Pete.  

Lunch - Bodega

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For lunch, we are heading over to the EDGE District to check out a little place called Bodega. St. Pete residents can't get enough of the Cuban-style food you will find here, so make sure you try one of their soon-to-be-world-famous sandwiches.  

Bodega is also known for having outstanding Cuban coffee and some of the best fresh juices in the city.

 

 

 Early Afternoon - Close to Nature 

After lunch, it's time to get outside at places like Fort De Soto Park and Boyd Hill Nature Preserve.

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If the beach is your happy place, then Fort De Soto Park could be your own personal paradise in St. Petersburg. This stunning county park includes five islands to explore by canoe, kayak, or bicycle. There is also a historic fort and museum that appeals to all of those history buffs out there.  

For anyone who is more interested in wildlife, Boyd Hill Nature Preserve offers a lake, marsh, swamp, and woods that are filled with a wide range of animals from the land, air, and sea. There is also a Pioneer Settlement living history museum for visitors to explore.  

 Late Afternoon - Out on the Water 

After having some fun getting close to nature, it's time to ratchet that excitement level up a notch and get out on the water.  

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One of the most popular boat tours in the area is St. Petersburg Speedboat Adventure, which offers a 2-hour self-drive speedboat tour for two passengers in the same boat. You will have an absolute blast cruising up and down Tampa Bay in these little boats.  

For day trippers who are looking for something a little more upscale out on the water, you could skip the speedboats and charter a private yacht from Tampa Bay Yacht Charter that will have you cruising Tampa Bay in style before dinner.  

Dinner - Brick & Mortar

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Dinner at Brick & Mortar is the perfect way to wrap up a fun day exploring the sights and sounds of St. Petersburg. This fun and innovative restaurant will astound you with a wide range of small and large plates that are perfect for sharing.  

We recommend getting a few things that are inside your comfort zone and then getting wild with a few dishes that might be pushing your boundaries a bit…and don't forget to order the truffle fries!

 

There is a good chance that you are going to be completely exhausted after all of this fun in St. Pete. But we are just scratching the surface with everything that there is to do here in the Sunshine City, so it won't be long before you are planning another trip with a brand-new itinerary!

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!

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?