Community Spotlight

5 Fun Things to Do in Inverness

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

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

Embrace History at the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum

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

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

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

Take in a Film at the Valerie Theatre

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

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

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

Go Biking on the Withlacoochee State Trail

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

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

Hit the Lake in Fort Cooper State Park

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

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

Enjoy the Local Restaurant Scene

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

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

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

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

July Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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

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

Social Events

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arts & Education

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

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

Golf, Tennis, & Pickleball

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

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

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

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

Dinner Specials

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

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

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

BellaVita Spa and Fitness

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

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

5 Fun Ways to Spend a Day in Ocala

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

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

Horse Farm Tours 

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

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

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

Drag Racing History 

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

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

The Great Outdoors 

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

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

Appreciation for the Arts 

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

Shopping & Dining 

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

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

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

Bayfront Health Seven Rivers to open FSED

For those of you that haven’t already heard, the following is the announcement of the new medical facility that will be right across the street from the Villages of Citrus Hills.

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BAYFRONT HEALTH SEVEN RIVERS PLANS FREESTANDING EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT IN CENTRAL CITRUS COUNTY 

Crystal River, FL (May 28, 2019) — Bayfront Health Seven Rivers will open the first freestanding emergency department (FSED) in central Citrus County, giving residents in the Citrus Hills area access to nearby emergency services.   Bayfront Health Seven Rivers FSED will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to serve patients who experience medical emergencies. 

Bayfront Health Seven Rivers Chief Executive Officer Linda Stockton said, “Bayfront Health Seven Rivers FSED will provide faster access to emergency care and is another example of our commitment to expand healthcare throughout Citrus County.”

An artist's rendering shows the freestanding emergency department planned for Citrus Hills.

An artist's rendering shows the freestanding emergency department planned for Citrus Hills.

Like any hospital emergency department, the new Bayfront Health Seven Rivers FSED will be equipped to treat patients with illnesses and injuries that require a higher level of care than urgent care facilities offer. The freestanding emergency department will have 12 treatment areas with radiology and lab services on-site. Many emergency services can be effectively managed at freestanding emergency departments without the need for transfer to a traditional hospital setting.

Board-certified emergency physicians, registered nurses and other patient care providers will staff the center. Dr. Roderick Bennett, medical director of the Emergency Department at Bayfront Health Seven Rivers, said, “Our team of emergency physicians is looking forward to being part of this exciting new venture.  This facility will be a first in Citrus County and we are pleased to be able to offer high quality emergency care at another convenient location.”

Bayfront Health Seven Rivers is investing $12.3 million in the new facility.  More than 30 new jobs will be created to serve patients at the new center, including registered nurses, lab, imaging, admitting and environmental services staff.

“We congratulate Bayfront Health Seven Rivers on this expansion.  Strong healthcare is a key focus area for economic development in the region and we are thrilled to see Bayfront Health expand their footprint in Citrus County,” said Steve Tamposi, the developer of Citrus Hills.  

Bayfront Health Seven Rivers FSED will be located 795 W. Norvell Bryant Hwy. in Citrus Hills.  Construction is scheduled to begin later this summer and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2020.

Bayfront Health Seven Rivers currently offers primary care, cardiology, orthopedic and surgical services, outpatient therapy, cardiac rehab and wound care in Citrus County.   



 

Three Sisters Springs Boardwalk and Refuge

Three Sisters Springs Boardwalk and Refuge

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We are right in the middle of manatee season here along Florida's Nature Coast, and one of the best places in the world to see them in person is right here in our backyard at Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River.  

It is important to understand that seeing Three Sisters Springs from the boardwalk and exploring the area from the water are two completely different experiences. Depending on what you are looking for, either option could make for a great afternoon in Citrus County.  

Three Sisters Springs from the Boardwalk

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With 57 acres of preserve occupying this Florida wetland, there is a lot to see and do around Three Sisters Springs. And one of the best ways to take it all in is from the 1/4-mile boardwalk that connects different viewing platforms around the property.  

The fee for visiting Three Sisters Spring varies based on the season. It is $15 for a one-day adult pass during manatee season, which is double the cost during the off-manatee season. Of course, if you are interested in actually seeing manatees, the added cost for the winter season is more than reasonable. 

In order to get to the boardwalk, you have to take the trolley from the Three Sisters Springs Center. Those trolleys head out to the boardwalk about every 30 minutes, and they are operating every day of the week during manatee season.  

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On top of providing transportation between the Three Sister Springs Center and the boardwalk, the trolleys also continue on to three other destinations around Crystal River.  

Three Sisters Springs by Water

Another way to get up close and personal with the manatees during their peak season is to visit Three Sisters Springs by water. There is nothing quite like cruising through the springs in a kayak or canoe, so this should definitely be on your Citrus County bucket list.  

There are no boat ramps or access points located within the reserve, but there are plenty of options to get into the water located nearby. For most people, the best option is to launch from Kings Bay and then making your way out to the springs.  

Anyone exploring the springs by water should be careful to respect the restricted manatee habitats.  

The following is a link for the Three Sisters Springs.

http://www.threesistersspringsvisitor.org/page/By%20Boardwalk 

The Manatee Festival

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If you have been thinking about making a special trip to Three Sisters Springs, this weekend is actually the perfect opportunity. They are hosting a Manatee Festival on Saturday, January 19 and Sunday, January 20.  

The boardwalk area will be open from 9 am to 3 pm on both days and admission will be completely free to public visitors. This will allow you to see manatees from the boardwalk without having to pitch up the usual $15 admission fee.  

Whether you are a manatee expert or just someone looking for something fun to do this weekend, Three Sisters Springs offers ways to get up close and personal with manatees on dry land via their boardwalk or in the water.

 

We highly recommend taking the time to attend the Manatee Festival there this weekend.