Tampa Bay

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!

March Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

The month of March is known for unpredictable weather in some parts of the country, but here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, the only thing we have to worry about this month is making sure we remember to set all of our clocks forward an hour on Sunday, March 12!

Other than that, we are all set for another fantastic month filled with fantastic events and activities.

Social Events

The first big event of the month will be the Vacationers Club trip to Tampa to see the Tampa Bay Lightning host the New York Rangers on Monday, March 6. There are two seating options available, both include round-trip transportation to the game.

The last Big Show Series event of the year will be held on Tuesday, March 14 in the Activity Center Auditorium. If you are a fan of the Beatles, and particularly Paul McCartney, you will be absolutely blown away by the way that The McCartney Years are able to replicate the McCartney that you remember.

Another fun event that is planned for the month of March is the Party at Gatsby’s in the Hampton Room on Thursday, March 16. Blair Crimmins & The Hookers will be rocking out all of your favorite ragtime hits, and there will be coffee, desserts, and light appetizers served.

The Shabbat Dinner Club will be back in action on Friday, March 24 in the Garden Room at The Grille. Dinner for this event will include your choice of Sliced Sirloin with Mushroom Sauce or Broiled Salmon with Lemon Dill Sauce along with side dishes and Key Lime Pie for dessert.

If you thought that the monthly Trivia Challenge was a good time, you won’t believe how much fun we are going to have at the Interactive Game Show Night and Dinner event on Thursday, March 30. There will be a professional game show host on hand to conduct Citrus Hills’ versions of Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Jeopardy, Family Feud, Wheel of Fortune, Hollywood Squares, and Deal or No Deal.

Arts & Education

We mentioned last month that you don’t want to miss out on the Paint Your Pet Party at the Crystal River Mall on Saturday, March 4. Residents will be provided with transportation to the event, food and drinks at the event, and all the necessary supplies for a ticket price of $72.

Amy Southgate from Royal Caribbean will be the guest speaker at the quarterly Citrus Hills Vacationers Club meeting on March 23 at 11 am. She will be discussing an upcoming cruise leaving from Boston, as well as their newest monster ship “Oasis of the Seas.”

Dr. Chris Reudink from Pa-C of Citrus Orthopedic & Joint Institute will be speaking at the Wellness Wednesday event on Wednesday, March 29 at 2 pm. The topic of this discussion will be Non-Surgical Patient Care for Spine Health.

Golf & Tennis

The golf month will kick off with the Four-Leaf Clover Open on Saturday, March 4 on The Oaks course. Then, the 2017 Skyview Ladies’ Club Championship will be held on March 8 and 9. And if you are looking to improve your game, Golf Pro Wayne Larsen will be hosting free clinics for beginners on March 6-8, and free clinics for intermediate golfers on March 14, 21, and 28.

The Free Beginner Tennis Clinic will be held on March 14 this month, which will be just in time to get you ready for the Men’s and Women’s Club Doubles Championship on March 10-12. There will also be a Tennis Burger Bash mixed doubles event on March 30.

Dinner Specials

St. Patrick’s Day is on Friday, March 17, and both Skyview Restaurant and The Grille have big specials planned for the occasion. Skyview Restaurant will be serving Corned Beef & Cabbage, Baked Scallop Pie, Bangers & Mash, and Stout Braised Lamb Shank, while The Grille is going to be cooking up Corned Beef & Cabbage, Braised Lamb Shank, Black & Tan Pork, Scallop Pie, and Irish Steak.

As if that wasn’t appetizing enough, Skyview Restaurant is also planning a Clambake special for March 9, a Brazilian Steakhouse Night on March 14, and a Napa Valley Wine Dinner on March 28. Then over at The Grille, there will be a Red-Carpet Night special on March 9 and a Taste of the Pacific Rim special on March 28.

In addition to all of these scheduled activities, you should also make some time this month to stop by BellaVita Spa, where they will be running Spring Forward Facial and Springtime Serenity specials all month long. As usual, if you have questions about any of the activities or events happening this month, be sure to contact the Activity Center Service Desk for more information!

For all the activities and events happening around the Villages of Citrus Hills click below into the link below for our Connections Club Newsletter for March 2017.

http://www.citrushillsgolfandcountryclub.com/userfiles/file/March%202017%20Connections_ONLINE.pdf

 

Drop The Puck: Your Tampa Bay Lightning Season Preview

After what has felt like one of the shortest summers ever, the Tampa Bay Lightning are back in action when the puck dropped on Thursday, October 13. And after falling just one game short of the Stanley Cup Finals last spring, that game didn’t come soon enough.  

The team that fell just short of beating the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins will be bringing back almost the exact same lineup this season, with a few notable upgrades. As long as they can stay healthy, there is championship upside in Tampa Bay next spring.  

Key Players to Watch This Year 

Steven Stamkos - After skating through trade rumors for more than a season now, Stamkos chose to stay with the Lightning and signed a massive free agent deal during the offseason. Look for the captain to be back in action anchoring the top line.  

Jonathan Drouin - Set to become a restricted free agent following this upcoming season, there is a lot of money to be made if Drouin can put together an entire season of scoring like he did in the playoffs last year.

Nikita Kucherov - As a restricted free agent that didn’t agree to a deal all summer, we have to worry that the status of Kucherov’s contract is creating a distraction in the locker room. It’s also possible that general manager Steve Yzerman could ship him out of town because of it.  

Tyler Johnson - TJ scored nearly 30 goals just two seasons ago, but something wasn’t quite right for pretty much the duration of the 2015-2016 season. He says that it was a lingering wrist injury and that all systems are go to get back to scoring goals for the second line this season.   

Ben Bishop - Expect Bishop to get the Stamkos treatment as this year’s “player in the last year of his contract.” Rumors are going to fly all season long, but as long as Ben is healthy and productive in the net, expect him to be the goaltender the Bolts look to in the playoffs.

Andrei Vasilevskiy - The Lightning’s uber-talented backup goaltender showed impressive form after taking over for an injured Bishop in the conference finals last spring. He then signed a 3-year extension this offseason. If anything happens to Bishop, this young goalie is more than capable of stepping up.

 Storylines to Watch 

In addition to the storylines that are related to individual players, there are three key things that are going to make or break the upcoming season for the Tampa Bay Lightning.  

First and foremost, the team needs to be more explosive with scoring, particularly on the power play. Tyler Johnson returning to form could be a big factor there, but look to see if the rest of the team can chip in as well.

The second major story to watch this season will be whether or not the Bolts are able to get any impact from their youngest players. Slater Koekkoek is the guy most people expect to contribute in his first full season, but watch for other young players to come up from their farm team, the Syracuse Crunch, over the year.  

Finally, the Lightning are going to have to do something about the fact that they have two outstanding goalies and the expansion draft is looming following the season. If the team is playing well, they likely will keep Bishop for another playoff run and risk losing Vasilevskiy in the draft. But if injuries slow this team down, there is a good chance Bishop gets traded for more young talent.  

Barring any major injuries, this Tampa Bay Lightning team is going to be a slight improvement on the outstanding team that took the Penguins to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. They should be thrilling to watch and make a run deep into the playoffs…so get ready for plenty of hockey nights in Tampa!