Villages of Citrus Hills

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!

The Top 5 Places to Take Visitors in Citrus County

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One of our favorite things about living in Citrus County is that there is an endless number of things to see and do.  There is always something happening right here in the Villages of Citrus Hills, and there are just as many fun attractions throughout the rest of the county.  

All of these attractions and activities are great for those of us who call Citrus County home, but they can be a little overwhelming for those who are just visiting with us for a short time. For that reason, we thought it would be a good idea to put together a list of the top five places everyone must see while visiting in Citrus County.  

5. Fort Island Gulf Beach

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Fort Island Gulf Beach is one of those places that you probably say, “We should come here more often,” just about every time you visit. It has beautiful white sand beaches, public restrooms, and a great boardwalk overlooking the water.  

When your guests visit the Gulf Coast of Florida, they are definitely going to want to SEE the Gulf Coast. This is the perfect way for them to see it right here in Citrus County, and it’s also an extremely relaxing way to spend a day.

4. The Withlacoochee State Trail 

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Bicycling is a fun way to show your guests a good time outdoors, making the most of our great Florida weather. There are lots of trails to choose from around Citrus County, but the Withlacoochee State Trail is the one that is a must-see attraction. 

This is a perfect place for cyclists of all skill levels. You can take your time and cruise just a few miles, or push the envelope and explore all 46 miles of former train tracks.


3. Rainbow River Tubing

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 If your visitors are looking for something a little more adventurous that is still a great representation of life in Citrus County, taking them tubing on the Rainbow River is a perfect way to spend an afternoon. 

Tubing is popular from the beginning of April through the end of September and is the kind of experience that your visitors will be sure to tell everyone back home about!

 

2. Downtown Inverness 

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Whether your guests are interested in history, shopping, or great food, there is something for everyone to enjoy just a few miles away in downtown Inverness.  

Every tour of Inverness should start at the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum, but you might also want to explore the local shopping or grab some takeout food and head to Fort Cooper State Park for a picnic lunch.


1. Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park 

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A lot of people who visit Florida want to get to the beach, which we addressed with number five on this list. But the main interest for many who visit Citrus County specifically is to see live manatees, and the best place to do that is Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park!  

Visitors can get up close and personal with live manatees from the underwater observatory. They can also learn a lot more about these local mammals from the information sessions held regularly at the park.

Among each of these five attractions, you will definitely show your guests some of the very best highlights of Citrus County. And if you haven’t been to all of these places yourself, what are you waiting for?

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.

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!

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!

New Year, New Home

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The new year has finally arrived, and what better way to celebrate it than with a brand-new home! If you are the type of person who is ready to make a dramatic change in a hurry, one of the move-in ready showcase homes available at the Villages of Citrus Hills might be the perfect fit for you.

Before we take a look at the details of what types of floor plans and neighborhoods are currently available, let's first take a few minutes to review some of the reasons that opting for a move-in ready home might be a better fit than building your Citrus Hills home from scratch.

Advantages of Move-In Ready Homes

The most significant advantage to choosing to purchase a move-in ready showcase home here at the Village of Citrus Hills is that you won't have to waste any time waiting for your new home to be built. With everything already finished, there simply aren't any construction delays or unforeseen complications to worry about.

Another advantage to choosing a move-in ready showcase home is that you won't have to bother with making any decisions about what features you want in your home. In many cases, some of the best features that we offer here at the Villages of Citrus Hills will already be included in those homes.

Available Move-In Ready Homes

There are currently two Amherst floor plan homes available in the Brentwood neighborhood. These two-bedroom, two-bathroom homes have a total of 2,420 square feet with 1,666 square feet of living feet. They offer a large great room with an attached kitchen and breakfast nook area, as well as a great master suite.

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The Brentwood neighborhood also has three move-in ready showcase homes modeling The Cromwell floor plan. This layout is actually quite similar to the Amherst floor plan, but with 2,620 total square feet and 1,798 square feet of living space, everything here is just a little bit bigger than it is in the Amherst and has a dining room.

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Cromwell

If you have a bigger budget and are looking for a deal on a slightly bigger home, you might want to check out some of the move-in ready showcase homes in the Terra Vista neighborhood. Here you will find three Fairmont floor plans, which are also two-bedroom, two-bathroom homes, but everything is just a little bit more spacious.

There is also a special floor plan in the Citrus Hills neighborhood that is an absolute must-see. Whether you have the budget for this one or not, you have to check it out just to appreciate the amazing possibilities here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

2018 is sure to bring a host of exciting possibilities to anyone who is willing to pursue them. If you have always dreamed of moving to Florida, these move-in ready showcase homes can be the perfect opportunity to make that dream a reality before we get too far into the new year!

Click on the link below to view details and pricing on our Showcase Homes.

https://www.citrushills.com/showcase-homes

 

5 Decisions to Help Decide Which Floor Plan is Right for You

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Deciding to retire to a new home here at the Village of Citrus Hills is one of the best decisions a person can make. But that decision is also going to lead to some additional choices. One of the most significant follow-up decisions that you are going to have to make is choosing which floor plan is the perfect fit for your family.

There are an incredible number of options, and all of them come with popular features like open floor plans, spacious lanais, and stunning master suites. However, there is a subtle difference between each selection that can really improve the quality of your life here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

To help you find the perfect floor plan for your Florida lifestyle, we have put together five simple decisions that will help you identify exactly which option is right for you.

Do You Want to Mess with Maintenance?

One of the biggest differences between the floor plans here at the Villages of Citrus Hills is that some options include exterior maintenance and others leave that work to the new homeowners.

If you don’t enjoy yard work, you will love the freedom that comes with our Care-Free Home. Residents in these properties never have to worry about any exterior maintenance on their properties, so they can spend more of their free time enjoying our activities and events.

How Many Bedrooms Do You Really Need?

The most obvious difference between many of the floor plan options is the number of bedrooms. Having extra bedrooms can be great if you need space for hosting guests or setting up your own craft room, but too much space will end up being more hassle than it's worth in the long run, so be careful not to go overboard.

Some of our nicer floor plans include entire guest suites, which could be a great choice if you plan on having friends and family visit on a regular basis.

Do You Need a Separate Dining Space?

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Another feature that often ends up as wasted space is having a separate dining room. Our floor plans have a number of different dining room layouts, and some are more isolated than others.If you expect to have formal meals, this could be a nice feature. However, if you are the type of family that prefers to eat in the kitchen or in front of the TV, a separate formal dining room probably isn't necessary.

 

How Will You Use Your Kitchen?

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The kitchen is another area of the home that varies quite a bit between floor plans. While all of the floor plans are going to have an open kitchen, the look and feel of those kitchens are quite different.

People who spend a lot of time cooking in their kitchens are going to require a lot more than people who just use the kitchen for the refrigerator and the microwave, so make sure that the kitchen in the floor plan you choose is going to fit your lifestyle. 

 

How Much Outdoor Space Do You Want?

All of the floor plans here at the Villages of Citrus Hills come with a fabulous outdoor space. But the size of those spaces can vary pretty dramatically depending on the specific floor plan you are looking at. Residents who expect to spend a large portion of their time outside often gravitate towards the floor plans with larger lanais.

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No matter what floor plan you choose to go with here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, you are almost certainly going to be impressed with the end result. However, finding the perfect floor plan for your family could be the difference between a good retirement and a great one. Choose wisely!

Home Walkthrough: The St. Christopher

With features like a wide-open floor plan, a huge master suite, and a kitchen fit for just about any chef, it’s clear right from the start that the St. Christopher measures up to the level of quality you have come to expect from the Villages of Citrus Hills.

This two-bedroom, two-bathroom boasts just short of 2,000 square feet of living space that could not be more perfectly configured. Let's head inside one of the newest floor plans available at the Villages of Citrus Hills and take a look around!

Entering the St. Christopher

The primary entrance to the St. Christopher is right between the two-car garage and guest bedroom. As you make your way through the front door, you will find yourself in a small entryway with the dining room off to one side and the guest bedroom and bathroom off to the other side.  

Before heading straight back into the great room, let's take a quick detour into the guest bedroom to appreciate the way the curved front of the house creates a bay window feel that makes this room unique.

 

 

 

There is also a study area just behind the guest bedroom and guest bathroom that will be the perfect place to create your own private library or crafting area. You could also choose to utilize this space as more of an extension of the great room. 

 

 

The Heart of the St. Christopher

The heart of the St. Christopher is the massive space in the center of the house that includes the great room, kitchen, and breakfast nook. The great room in our model pictured here includes an impressive built-in section along one wall that will be the perfect focal point for hanging a large flat screen TV.

 

That TV will be visible from everywhere in the great room, as well as the kitchen and breakfast nook, so the enormous island separating the kitchen from the great room will likely become the true center of the home. Enjoying your morning coffee will always be a treat as you gaze out the back windows looking at the optional screened-in lanai and pool.

 

The Master Suite

Just off the back of the great room is where you will find the entrance to your new master suite. That entrance takes you right into the master bedroom, which is a long, rectangle shape with windows looking out into the back yard. Making your way through the master suite, you will find a short hallway with his and hers closets on either side that leads right into the master bathroom.

The master bathroom in the St. Christopher is truly an oasis where you will find his and hers sinks and one of the most spectacular showers you have ever seen. This amazing shower features floor to ceiling tile that will take your breath away every time you step into it.

With two unique bedrooms, lots of space in the great room and kitchen, and a fabulous backyard space, the St. Christopher delivers value on multiple levels. That makes it a welcome addition to the collection of homes available at the Villages of Citrus Hills.

August Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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The hot and sticky month of August has arrived, but the activities and events calendar here at the Villages of Citrus Hills is packed with plenty of cool things to do throughout the month.

Whether you are looking for exciting social events, fun opportunities to learn, clinics for improving your golf or tennis game, or just a great meal with friends, we have got you covered with everything happening around the community this month. Let's take a closer look at some of the exciting activities and events coming your way in the month of August!

Social Events

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The August social events will kick off with the Citrus Hills Cruise-In on Friday, August 11 in the Tiki Bar parking lot. Sponsored by the Citrus MOPARS, this event is completely free to attend, and will feature all of the very best muscle and sports cars from around the community.

The next edition of our monthly Trivia Challenge will be held on Tuesday, August 15 in the Hampton Room. This month, the dinner menu will include Baked Haddock, Chicken Parmesan, Penne Pasta with Garlic, and lots of veggie and dessert options. Dinner starts at 5:45 pm and the trivia fun will follow around 6:30 pm.

It wouldn't be summer in the Villages of Citrus Hills without a Flicks & Floats party at the Activity Center Pool. This month's movie night is set for Friday, August 18, and the movie will be The Accountant starring Ben Affleck as a brilliant but lethal numbers wizard.

There will be plenty of buttery popcorn available, but you can also get 10% off of a meal at Skyview Restaurant or The Grille by showing your tickets for this event!

The biggest party of the summer will definitely be the 10th Annual Copacabana Night on Friday, August 25 in the Hampton Room. This year, the event will feature a menu of Cuban Pulled Pork, Chicken and Red Peppers in Garlic Wine Sauce, and some delicious sides.

There will also be salsa lessons and a live orchestra, so this is one summer party that you don't want to miss out on.

Arts & Education

The new Coffee Shop will be holding an Interactive Reading event on Tuesday, August 8 from 12:30 pm to 2 pm. Local author Ronnie Allen will be present for a group reading of her first novel, Gemini: The Sign Behind the Crime. There will also be a Q&A and book signing after the reading.

On Saturday, August 12, the Citrus Hills Vacationers Club will be taking a group trip down to Tampa to see Motown The Musical at the Straz Performing Arts Center. Tickets to this event are $125 and include orchestra seating and round-trip transportation to the event.

The Citrus Hills Vacationers Club is also planning a trip to St. Petersburg to see The Chihuly Glass Collection by artist Dale Chihuly at The Morean Arts Center. In addition to exploring the glassblowing exhibit, there will be plenty of time to venture out and see other popular St. Petersburg attractions.

There will be a Lunch & Learn event in the Garden Room on Thursday, August 31 at 12:30 pm with guest speaker Lisa Dider discussing American Madams (1870-1910). Lunch for this talk will include a Caprese Chicken Sandwich and Pasta Salad, followed by a slice of Strawberry Cloud Cake.

Golf & Tennis

The big golf event of August will be the Southern-Sky Two Person Championship that will start at Skyview at Terra Vista on Saturday, August 26 and conclude at Southern Hills Plantation Club on Sunday, August 27. If you would like to participate in this unique pairs tournament that covers two different courses, you must register with the Skyview Pro Shop by August 14.

If you are looking to improve your golf game during the month, you should definitely make a point to attend Golf Pro Wayne Larsen's Free Golf Clinics. This month, Wayne will be working with beginners on August 7, 8, and 9. Then he will be back to work with intermediate golfers on August 15, 22, and 29.

Anyone looking to learn the basics of tennis is welcome to attend the Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, August 8 at 11 am. As always, the only thing required to attend this clinic is a pair of tennis shoes. The Skyview Tennis Center will be happy to loan you a racket for the clinic.

Dinner Specials

 Skyview Restaurant has some exciting Tuesday night dinner specials planned for the month of August. You won't want to miss their Greek Night on August 12 or the Asian Feast on August 29.

 

Both dinners are scheduled to start at 5 pm and run through 8 pm.

It's all about mixers over at the Tiki Bar, and they will be mixing it up this month with block parties for Cambridge Greens on August 3, Canterbury Lakes on August 17, and Celina Hills on August 31. They will also be hosting a Singles Social Happy Hour on Tuesday, August 29 from 4 pm to 6 pm.

If those mixers and the warm weather aren't enough to get you to the Tiki Bar this month, you might want to visit for their Beers Around the World special on Thursday, August 24 or the Fantasy of Flights Wine Night on Tuesday, August 29.

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If you are interested in pampering yourself, you might want to try a Citrus Surprise Spa Pedicure at the BellaVita Spa.

 

With all of the exciting things happening around our community during the month of August, there is absolutely no reason not to get out of the house and have some fun!

Weekend Trip to America's Best Beach

Everyone knows that Florida's Gulf Coast has some of the most spectacular beaches in the world, but Dr. Stephen Leatherman aka “Dr. Beach” drove that point home last month when he named Siesta Beach on Siesta Key just south of Sarasota as the top beach in America this year.

Residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills will be pleased to know that the best beach in the country is located just 2.5 hours south of their community, which makes for a perfect day trip or weekend getaway. If you are looking to check out the pristine white sand and clear blue water of Siesta Beach, we have all the information you need to plan an enjoyable trip.

Where to Stay Near Siesta Beach 

The Capri at Siesta

The Capri at Siesta

According to TripAdvisor, the number one hotel on Siesta Key is The Capri at Siesta, located right on the most beautiful beach in the country. This charming boutique hotel offers everything from simple studio rooms to suites and villas, and all of the prices are surprisingly reasonable considering the popularity of their location.  Staying at The Capri will get you right into the heart of the action without breaking the bank.

 

Another popular option located right on the beach is Tropical Beach Resorts, where you can park your car right in front of your room and then never bother to use it for the entire length of your stay. Much like The Capri, Tropical Beach Resorts gets high marks for service, friendliness, and cleanliness. It also won't cost you an arm and a leg to stay here for the weekend.

If you are thinking about spending more than a weekend in Siesta Key, you might also want to consider one of the many vacation rentals available all over the island. These often end up being a better deal if you are planning to stay for a week or more, and there are plenty of options to choose from.

 

What to Do Near Siesta Beach

As you might expect, just about everything revolves around the beautiful beaches in Siesta Key. In addition to the stunning Siesta Beach, you can also explore Crescent Beach and Turtle Beach, which are equally beautiful but often get less tourist traffic.

No matter which beach you prefer, you are never far from a parasailing adventure on Siesta Key, which is an excellent way to get a great view of the island.  Snorkeling, windsurfing, stand-up paddleboarding, jet skis, boat tours, and deep-sea fishing are also popular in the area.

There are dozens of local tour companies that offer all kinds of water activities, so just ask your hotel concierge to recommend one, and you can get right down to business.

 

If you are looking for great shopping on Siesta Key, you are definitely going to want to stop at The Gallery. Here you will find all kinds of unique gifts, clothing, and hand-made jewelry.

 

Where to Eat Near Siesta Beach

When you are spending your time relaxing on Siesta Beach, you might be tempted to grab a bite from the Siesta Sun Deck right on the beach, but there are many more options located on the northern end of the island if you are willing to stroll up the beach to Ocean Boulevard.

3.14 Pi is a local favorite for anyone looking to grab some gourmet pizza, delicious wings, and a cold craft beer. All of their pizzas are fantastic, but you can never go wrong with the 3.14 Siesta Pi or the Beach Bum Pi.

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Another casual option is the Siesta Key Oyster Bar, where you will find all of the shellfish and frozen cocktails you could ever desire. They have a great happy hour special from 3-6 pm every single day with half off oysters and crawfish boils.

One of our favorite spots for dinner on Siesta Key is The Cottage, where you will find a fantastic tapas menu featuring          excellent seafood items like Wonton Tuna Tacos, Black Mussels, and Peruvian Ceviche.

 

Not only is Siesta Beach the best beach in the country, but it is also located on a beautiful island, filled with great places to stay, and surrounded by excellent local restaurants. If you are looking for a reason to start planning your next getaway, this is it! See you at the beach!

Where to Retire Magazine Names Citrus Hills a Top 50 Community

We are proud to announce that the Villages of Citrus Hills has once again made Where to Retire Magazine's list of the "Top 50 Best Master-Planned Communities in the United States." The magazine spends more than a full year researching this list, which comes out in their summer edition every other year, so we are thrilled to announce that we have made the cut once again!

Where to Retire describes itself as "America's foremost authority on retirement relocation," so they definitely know their stuff when it comes to featuring the best of the best master-planned communities. The magazine was established in 1992, and it has since helped more than 700,000 Americans locate the perfect destination for their retirement.

This year's "Top 50 Best Master-Planned Communities in the Unites States" article points out that the competition among active adult communities is tougher than ever. There are more and more communities boasting popular amenities like pools, trails, and fitness centers, as well as dog parks, communal gardens, and the availability of green homes. With such fierce competition, it is truly an honor to be included on the magazine's short list of the very best of the best communities.

In addition to all of the standard amenities that you will find across all of the very best master-planned communities, the article also points out that Citrus Hills offers exceptional year-round weather and a location that offers quick access to the Gulf Coast and a number of beautiful parks, which makes outdoor activities extremely accessible. It also highlights the brand new PrimoVito Fitness Center, our four stunning golf courses, and all of the fun you can have with friends at the Tiki Bar!

Residents Fred and Meg Spurlock were quoted in the feature describing what it was that sold them on relocating to the Villages of Citrus Hills. For them, it was all about escaping the traffic around their Maryland home for the quiet and relaxing atmosphere of Florida's Nature Coast. The article also highlighted the fact that Fred enjoys the amenities like exercise classes while Meg is involved in painting classes and a number of women's groups.

One of the more interesting requirements for making the Where to Retire list was that all of the featured communities had to have plenty of room to maintain their current growth. With only 1,680 of the 2,500 planned homes currently built, there is still plenty of room for our community to expand for years to come.

While we are incredibly honored to be featured among the very best of the best master-planned communities, anyone who currently calls the Villages of Citrus Hills home already knows that the community delivers everything it promises and more.

June Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

Memorial Day weekend has come and gone and we are heading straight into the heart of summer here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. This is typically the time of year where things slow down a bit for us, but you will be happy to learn that there are still a lot of great things planned for the month of June.

On top of all the fun activities and events happening, there is also going to be some construction activity over at BellaVita as the entire fitness facility is scheduled to get a major upgrade. The construction is expected to last about two weeks, and the facility will look brand new when everything is finished.

Let's take a closer look at some of the exciting events and activities that the Activity Center staff has planned for the month of June!

Social Events

We're going to be starting off the month of June on a festive note with the Bella Notte Italiana Dinner Show on Thursday, June 1 in the Hampton Room. The menu for this event will feature Chicken Parmesan, Baked Lasagna, and Sausage and Peppers. There will also be classic Italian music entertainment from Duo Romantico following dinner.

Mentalist Eric Anderson will be performing in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, June 6. Members attending this event will be treated to a unique blend of magic, comedy, and mind tricks that will include some amazing sleight of hand tricks and fire eating. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the show starts at 7 pm!

This month's installment of Flicks & Floats is scheduled for Friday, June 16. Members and guests will be gathering around the pool to watch the hysterical Central Intelligence on the big screen. This show starts at 8:30 pm.

The Brain Trust were the big winners at last month's Trivia Challenge, but that title will be up for grabs again this month on Tuesday, June 20. If you think you have what it takes to take the trivia title, get your team together and we'll see you at the challenge!

The Tiki Bar is hosting a Singles Social Happy Hour for all of the singles in our community from 4-6 pm on Tuesday, June 27. If you are looking to meet other singles, this is a perfect opportunity to have some fun and do just that!

Golf & Tennis

June isn't typically a busy month on our golf courses, but there are three big tournaments that you definitely want to participate in this month.

The action starts with the Summer Open Tournament on the Citrus Hills course on June 3. Then the Skyview course will be hosting the two-day Men's Pinehurst Major Championship Event on June 12-13 and the U.S. Impossible Tournament on Saturday, June 17.

If you are looking to make some improvements to your game this month, golf pro Wayne Larsen will be hosting free clinics for beginners on June 5, 6, and 7. Then he will be back to work with intermediate golfers on June 13, 20, and 27.

There will also be a Free Beginners Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, June 13 at 11 am.

Dinner Specials

The Belmont Stakes is scheduled for June 10 this year, and The Grille is celebrating the race by hosting a "Belmont Steaks" viewing party. They will have choice cut grilled New York Strip Steaks with Rosemary and Parmesan on special for $15.

Both Skyview Restaurant and The Grille will be hosting Father's Day specials on Sunday, June 18. Skyview will be having a traditional brunch buffet, and The Grille will be serving steak and seafood dinners from 5-8 pm.

Tuesday, June 20 is going to be New Orleans night at Skyview Restaurant. Entrees for this special night will include Cornish Game Hens, Roasted Red Snapper, Chicken Clemenceau, and Filet Medallions.

The Tiki Bar will be having a Taste of the Islands special on Tuesday, June 29 that will feature Jerk Chicken, Fried Red Snapper, and Bahama-Momma Pork, along with live entertainment courtesy of Island Girl Bickley Rivera.

If you should happen to find any extra time to pamper yourself during the month of June, you will definitely want to take advantage of specials like the Aromatic Rose and Jasmine Facial and the Refreshing Citrus Massage that will be available all month long.

Make sure you take a few minutes to write all of the events and activities that interest you on your calendar and have a great month of June!

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

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

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

Baby Back Ribs

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

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

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

Steaks

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

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

 

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

Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Jalapeños

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

 

Stuffed Turkey Burgers

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

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

BBQ Chicken Thighs

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

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

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

Shrimp Skewers

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

 

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

These 6 suggestions just might do the trick!

Fresh Air: Great Patio Seating in Citrus County

The summer months are right around the corner, but we don't have to wait for summer to enjoy a meal out on the patio here in Citrus County. Residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills enjoy great weather throughout the entire year, and we are always looking for great local restaurants with patio seating.

If you are looking for a new idea for a dinner that involves open-air dining, here are some of our favorite options in Citrus County.

Skyview Restaurant and The Tiki Bar 

No surprise here! Some of the best patio seating options can be found right here inside the Villages of Citrus Hills.

The lanai at Skyview Restaurant overlooking the 18th green of the Skyview course is a wonderful spot to relax with your favorite beverage, friends, and take in a breathtaking sunset.

 

And then there’s the Tiki Bar at The Grille, a resident favorite with live music, a great menu, and handcrafted drinks to satisfy any thirst. It's 4,500 square feet of fun with spectacular sunsets thrown in at no charge!

 

 

Peck's Old Port Cove

Any list featuring local restaurants with excellent outdoor seating in Citrus County has to include Peck's Old Port Cove. This popular spot has been serving up delicious seafood at the end of North Ozello Trail for years, and the stunning view from their patio never gets old.  In addition to the perks of dining on their patio, guests at Peck's also get to see some beautiful scenery as they make their way out to the restaurant. This makes the trip out feel like a vacation, even though it's not very far from home.

 

Stumpknockers Restaurant

Another local seafood restaurant that is also known for their waterfront view and outdoor seating is Stumpknockers Restaurant, located right on the banks of the Withlacoochee River.

This is a popular destination for tourists who are heading out on boat tours, but locals know that they also boast one of the most inviting outdoor seating areas in all of Citrus County. We recommend pulling up a chair next to one of their fire pits and enjoying your fried seafood next to the fire.

Vintage on 5th

When it's time to celebrate a special occasion, Vintage on 5th is one of the classiest options in all of Citrus County. But many people make the mistake of dining inside, rather than out on their porch.  The food is going to blow your mind no matter where you sit, but adding the excitement of eating outside takes the Vintage on 5th experience to an even higher level.

 

 

 

McLeod House Bistro

Another fine dining favorite in Citrus County is McLeod House Bistro, where you will find entrees like Boursin Raspberry Stuffed Chicken and Pan Seared Duck Breast with a Port Wine and Berry Sauce.  In addition to their fantastic food, McLeod House Bistro offers a romantic outdoor dining experience on their deck sitting under the stars.

 

 

Margarita Breeze

The place to be for a great sunset is this riverfront spot offering views of Kings Bay.  Keep your eyes open for a glimpse of the dolphins and manatees that play in the bay.  The casual outside seating includes a tiki bar and a large covered patio with a menu featuring fresh seafood, pasta and steaks.

Whether you are looking for the best views in Citrus County, some fantastic high-end dining options, or a quick bite to eat at a local picnic table, there are all kinds of restaurants with outdoor seating to choose from in Citrus County. The best way to decide which one is your favorite is to make sure to visit all of them!

May Activities & Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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The month of May has arrived, and the official start of the summer is right around the corner! Like every month here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, the Activity Center has gone above and beyond to make sure that our calendars are absolutely packed with fun and exciting things to do.

This month, residents have the opportunity to take part in some fantastic social events. There are also three big golf tournaments spread out across the month, not to mention the delicious dinner specials that Skyview Restaurant, The Grille, and the Tiki Bar have planned for the coming weeks.

Let's take a closer look at some of the activities and events for the month of May!

 

Social Events

The Speaker Series will be welcoming back B.J. Jarvis and Steven Davis. They will share the stage and lead discussions on how to make sure that you are creating the most Florida-friendly landscape possible surrounding your house.

The Hampton Room is the place to be on Wednesday, May 10. Singer, impressionist, and comedian Donna Moore will be performing her famous impersonations of all of your favorite divas like Marilyn Monroe, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, and Cher! Dinner for this event starts at 6:30 pm with the show following at 7:15 pm.

This month's Trivia Challenge will take place on Tuesday, May 16. "The Crocs" were the big winners last month, but the May challenge is anyone's game!

Friday, May 19 will be the start of the Flicks & Floats Summertime Movie Series. This fun event combines two of our favorite things: the Activity Center Pool and great movies! This month, the movie will be “Allied”, and you can watch it on the big screen from the pool or one of the surrounding lounge chairs!

Golf & Tennis

There will be a Cinco De Mayo Open tournament on Saturday, May 6 on the Oaks Course. This event early in the month will make a great tune-up for the Men's Better Ball Major Event on May 8 and the Memorial Day Tournament on May 29.

If you need to improve your game, golf pro Wayne Larson will be hosting Free Golf Clinics for beginners on May 1, 2, and 3. Then he will be back for intermediate clinics on May 9, 16, and 23.

This month's Free Beginner's Tennis Clinic is scheduled for Tuesday, May 9 at 11 am at the Skyview Tennis Center. If you are considering learning to play tennis over the summer, this is the perfect place to get started.

Dinner Specials

Saturday, May 6 is the Kentucky Derby, and the Tiki Bar is celebrating with a great selection of specialty drinks like the Mint Julep, Grey Goose Oaks Lilly, and Stella Artois Cimosa! Don't forget to break out your best hat for the race!

The Tiki Bar will be hosting Oldies with Elvis night on Thursday, May 11. This fun evening will feature live music from a special guest, as well as drink specials like The Elvis Presley Cocktail, Blue Hawaiian, and A Velvet Elvis.

If you are looking to celebrate Mother's Day on May 14 or Memorial Day on May 29, you can do so by enjoying great meals from either Skyview Restaurant or The Grille on Mother's Day. Then there will be cookout specials at Skyview Restaurant and the Tiki Bar on Memorial Day.

Enjoy the month of May!

Weekend Getaway: Port Charlotte

Located about halfway between Sarasota and Fort Myers, Port Charlotte is the perfect Gulf Coast destination for residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills who are looking to venture a little further south than Tampa for their next getaway.

Traveling by car takes about three hours, which makes it just far enough away to feel like a vacation, but still close enough that you don't spend your whole weekend traveling.

Let's check out some of the best places to stay, things to do, and places to eat that you will find in Port Charlotte!

Places to Stay in Port Charlotte

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One of the biggest appeals about a weekend in Port Charlotte is that visitors have some amazing bed and breakfast accommodations to choose from. The Banana Bay Waterfront Motel is a local favorite that offers an Old Florida feel situated right on the bay. If renting kayaks and strolling along the docks is your idea of a relaxing weekend, this is a great location.

Another popular B&B is the Tropical Paradise Bed & Breakfast, where hosts Cliff and Joanne go out of their way to make sure that every detail is taken care of. Their home is located on a beautiful lot that features a covered pool and access to the canal.

If your preference is to stay at one of the chain hotels, there are also quite a few of those to pick from in Port Charlotte. One of the highest rated hotels in town is the Sleep Inn & Suites Port Charlotte, where you will find a gorgeous outdoor pool and all of the other amenities you would expect from a big brand hotel.

Things to Do in Port Charlotte

Once you iron out the details of where you are going to stay in Port Charlotte, the next step is to figure out exactly what you are going to be doing during your weekend getaway. For many people, that choice is as simple as enjoying the water…and there are a few different ways to do that in Port Charlotte. Depending on where you stay, you will likely have access to a number of water sports, fishing piers, and even some boating experiences.

Another relaxing way to enjoy the water in Port Charlotte is to spend a day at Port Charlotte Beach Park. Here you can stroll on the boardwalk, collect a wide range of shells, or jump right into the water! The park is also a perfect place to have an evening picnic while watching the sunset.

Since Port Charlotte is the spring training home of the Tampa Bay Rays, many residents of the Villages of Citrus Hills plan their visits during the early spring months. However, Port Charlotte is also home to the Port Charlotte Stone Crabs, which is a minor-league affiliate of the Rays. That means that you can catch a game here throughout the summer, and minor league baseball games are always fun to see in person!

Places to Eat in Port Charlotte

Assuming that you are going to be staying at one of the local bed and breakfasts, you probably won't have to worry about finding a good spot for coffee and breakfast in the morning. But when the time for lunch rolls around, The Philadelphian should be the first local restaurant on your list. Here you will find authentic Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks that will absolutely blow your mind.

If you are thinking about heading over to Port Charlotte Beach Park for a sunset picnic but don't feel like packing dinner, grabbing a delicious pie from Pioneers Pizza is always a solid option. We recommend going with either the Formaggio or the Meat Lovers specials!

Every weekend getaway needs at least one fancy dinner, and the place for that in Port Charlotte is JD's Jazz Club & Fine Dining. Here you will find a first-class fine dining menu that is accompanied perfectly by live music and delicious cocktails. The only question here is whether you will get more enjoyment from the food or the music!

If you are looking for a great place to spend a relaxing weekend, Port Charlotte along the bay, is filled with waterfront activities and delicious dining.

 

Weekend Getaway: The Upper and Middle Keys

There’s no place like home here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, but it’s nice to get away every now and then, and when the time comes there is nothing quite like a getaway to the Florida Keys.

While we have already covered all kinds of great places to stay, things to do, and outstanding restaurants in Key Largo and Key West, there are also dozens of spots in between those destinations that also make for a great weekend getaway.

So, let's explore the Upper and Middle Keys.

Where to Stay

Islamorada is one of the most popular places to stop for many tourists making the journey from the mainland all the way down to Key West, but it is also a destination in and of itself. Here you will find the Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina, which offers every bit of the paradise you would imagine exists in the Keys. With all of the resort amenities offered at the Postcard, this is a one-stop shop for a weekend getaway.

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If you are looking for a more secluded getaway, Duck Key could be the perfect destination for you. The place to stay here is the Hawks Cay Resort, which offers standard hotel-style rooms, as well as more private villas.

If being as close to the beach as possible is important to you, then the Rainbow Bend Fishing Resort in Marathon should be on your short list. This is also the place to stay if you are looking to spend the weekend fishing, which is one of the many ways to enjoy yourself in the Keys.

Things to Do

Craft beer lovers will be thrilled to know that there are two different breweries located right in Islamorada. Both the Florida Keys Brewery and the Islamorada Beer Company Brewery and Tasting Room offer up a fantastic selection of local beer in a traditional Florida Keys atmosphere.

Another fun way to spend a weekend in the Keys is to get right into the water. In Duck Key, you will find swimming with dolphins, scuba diving, and chartering your own fishing expedition. No matter what you are looking to do on the water, there are plenty of choices in the Keys.

One of the most popular tourist attractions in Marathon for animal lovers is The Turtle Hospital.  They have been rehabbing injured sea turtles and educating the public about them since 1986, and it is consistently recommended among the top places for animal enthusiasts to visit in all of the Keys.

Places to Eat

When you are heading out to eat in the Keys, the atmosphere is almost as important as the food. One of the best places to find that environment in Islamorada is the Islamorada Fish Company, where you will find a massive outdoor restaurant with a menu full of great seafood. We recommend trying the Grouper Reuben!

Whether you are staying there or not, the place to eat in Duck Key is Alma, which is located on the property at Hawks Cay Resort. This high-end restaurant divides its menu evenly between local seafood dishes and excellent cuts of meat, and everything is delicious.

In addition to all of the excellent seafood, you will also find plenty of Cuban restaurants throughout the Keys. One of our favorite spots is La Nina Restaurant in Marathon. It might not look like much from the outside, but this little restaurant will blow you away with their Cuban pork and beef dishes.

You can find ways to spend an entire weekend exploring any single town in the Upper and Middle Keys. You can also have a blast cruising from key to key in search of specific destinations. Whatever your idea of a great weekend might be, you can make it a reality in the Florida Keys.

April Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

We are already cruising into the month of April here in 2017. They say that April showers bring May flowers, but here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, we shoot for great weather every day no matter what month it is, and we don't expect April to be any different.

If you are looking for some fun and exciting ways to fill your calendar this month, the Activity Center staff has put together another schedule that is packed with interesting invitations.

Let's check out some of the fun activities and events coming up!

Social Events

One of the first social events this month is the Broadway & Beyond Dinner Show on Thursday, April 6 in the Hampton Room. Doors for this event open at 5 pm, and a dinner featuring Boursin-Stuffed Chicken Breast and Sliced Prime Rib is scheduled for 5:30 pm. After dinner, Mary Jo Vitale will take the stage to perform a selection of Broadway hits and some light opera classics.

Speaking of opera, the Citrus Hills Vacationers Club will be sponsoring a trip to the opera in Tampa on Sunday, April 9. This trip to the Straz will be for the matinee performance of Giacomo Puccini's famous Tosca.

There will be a special Seder Dinner event on Monday, April 10 in the Windsor Room. The menu for this meal will feature a choice of Beef Brisket or Roasted Chicken, as well as Matzo Ball Soup, Tsimis, Kugel, Green Beans, and Sponge Cake.

Another holiday tradition happening at the Villages of Citrus Hills this month is the annual Easter Egg Hunt in the Hampton Room that is scheduled for Saturday, April 15 at 9 am. This is a great event to bring your grandchildren, as there will be face painting, coloring stations, a magic show, and even an appearance by the Easter Bunny himself.

The Brentwood Bullies were the winners of the February Trivia Challenge, but that title is up for grabs again on Tuesday, April 18. If you think you have the skills to take down the champs, put together your team and we'll see you in the Hampton Room!

Arts & Education

It's going to be a busy month for the Speaker Series, and it will kick off on Tuesday, April 4 with a talk led by representatives of The Greener Side Haven. They will be talking about the different ways that your pet trusts you, and also giving some information about their work in rescuing abused animals.

Wednesday, April 12 will be another pet-related Speaker Series event. This one features Dr. Victoria Schad and Dr. Alli Fritz discussing topics about common behavioral issues and the importance of non-core vaccines.

Ricky Barlow from Merrill Lynch Bank of America and Susan Wood from Pacific Life will be in the Activity Center Auditorium on Wednesday, April 19 discussing all of the ins and outs regarding social security benefits and how to make the best financial decisions during your retirement years.

The final education event of the month is more of a fundraiser. On April 27, there will be an LBDC Benefit Luncheon in the Garden Room. The special guest speaker will be Cardiologist Nishant K. Newell, MD. $5 of each ticket sold for this event will benefit the American Heart Association.

Golf & Tennis

The two big golf events scheduled for April are the 2017 Skyview Men's Match Play Championship on April 3 and 4, and the Citrus Hills Ladies' Club Championship on April 17 and 18. Both of these events are the type of tournament that our serious golfers have been planning for all winter.

If you are looking for a more relaxed golf event, the Jelly Bean Open is scheduled for an 8:30 am start on Saturday, April 8 on The Oaks course. Make sure you bring your Easter Bunny ears for this one!

Anyone looking to improve their golf game can take advantage of the Free Golf Clinics with Golf Pro Wayne Larsen. This month, Wayne will be helping beginners on April 3, 4, and 5. Then he will be helping intermediate golfers on April 11, 18, and 25.

Over at the Skyview Tennis Center, there will be a Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, April 11. Then you can put those skills to work at the Tennis Burger Bash mixed doubles tournament on Sunday, April 30.

Dinner Specials

The biggest dinner special of the month is going to be the Easter Dinner at Skyview Restaurant and The Grille. On Sunday, April 16, Skyview will be serving delicious a la carte meals from 12 pm to 5 pm. During that same time, The Grille will be hosting a fabulous buffet featuring Prime Rib, Baked Ham, Chicken, and Salmon.

Tuesday, April 11 will also be a big night for dinner specials here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. Skyview Restaurant will be serving a special Surf & Turf menu, while The Grille is having their Wild Game Night.

BellaVita  

If you can find some time for yourself during the busy month of April, you might also want to check out specials like the Revitalizing Cream Peel Facial and the Shellac Spa Manicure at BellaVita Spa.

We hope you have a wonderful month full of fun and excitement!

Spring Fitness: 7 BellaVita Classes You Should Try This Spring

Spring has officially arrived here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, and that means it’s the perfect time of year to be thinking about fitness and exercise. If you are looking to ramp up your workout schedule in the coming months, the BellaVita Spa & Fitness Center has a class schedule that can fit just about anyone’s exercise style and schedule.

All of the classes at BellaVita are absolutely free for members to attend, but are restricted to members only. They are usually about an hour long, and most don’t require you to bring anything other than a pair of shoes and a positive attitude…and there are even some where you won’t need the shoes!

If you would like to expand your exercise horizons this spring, we have picked out seven interesting classes that you might want to consider!

Aquacise

If joint pain has prevented you from doing any type of aerobic exercise in the past, you absolutely have to try aquacise. This is a shallow water exercise class that takes place in the pool to limit the impact and stress on your joints. All fitness levels are welcome for this one, and all you need to bring is a bathing suit.

Group Circuit Training

For some people, the social aspect of exercising is just as important as the physical aspect. If you happen to be one of those people, you will fit right in at the Group Circuit Training class. Members participating in this class enjoy the upbeat music pulsing in the background as they make their way through a series of strength training and cardiovascular machines that are designed to provide a full body workout.

Line Dancing

Not all exercise has to feel like exercise. One of the exciting classes you will find at BellaVita are the line dancing sessions, which are available for beginners, intermediate, and advanced dancers. It doesn’t matter if you have two left feet or have been dancing for years, instructor Pam Hall will be sure to get the absolute best out of you once you are out on her dance floor!

Spinning

Riding a stationary bike was never very much fun back in the day. Most of us had one in our basement that just sat around collecting dust. But since the concept of spinning has injected new life into those bikes, everyone loves participating in this great cardio workout. Make sure you bring a towel for this one, because you are definitely going to work up a sweat!

Tai Chi

This ancient Chinese practice uses rhythmic exercises to tone and strengthen muscles. As a tremendous side benefit, Tai Chi does an amazing job at reducing stress. It is also known for increasing flexibility, energy, and relaxation, so what’s not to like, right?

Yoga

Speaking of stretching and relaxation, there are multiple types of yoga classes happening at BellaVita throughout the week. Members can participate in Gentle & Healing Yoga, Restorative Yoga, or Classic Yoga for beginners. No matter what stage you are at in your practice, there are plenty of ways to enjoy yoga at BellaVita.

Zumba

If you are looking for a more upbeat form of aerobic exercise, it doesn’t get any better than Zumba. These high-energy classes feature motivating music and unique dance moves that let you get a workout in while having a blast. This is also a fun way to get to know some of your neighbors in a positive environment.

BellaVita Spa & Fitness Center offers an astounding number of different exercise classes that take place throughout the week. For the most updated schedule of classes, check out their page on the Club Happenings website, or just swing by BellaVita in person and pick up a copy. Have fun!