Activities

New Team in Town: Meet the Orlando Apollos

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Have you noticed that there have been spring football games on TV this year? Our desire to see gridiron action all year round is finally coming true thanks to the brand new AAF, and we are in a prime spot to witness this new league with nearby Orlando getting one of the eight inaugural franchises.  

If you are a football lover that is looking for a team to root for this spring, the Orlando Apollos are interested in giving you that opportunity. And it looks like they are going to end up being pretty good, so we will have lots to root for here at the Tiki Bar.

What is the AAF? 

The AAF is the American Alliance of Football, and it was founded by television producer Charlie Ebersol and former NFL executive Bill Polian. Former players Troy Polamalu, Hines Ward, and Justin Tuck are also heavily involved in the new league, which officially kicked off on February 9 of this year.  

While it was initially conceived as a competitor to the NFL, much like the XFL positioned itself, the AAF has since evolved to see itself as a minor league for the NFL. There have already been discussions about the NFL loaning out some of its younger players to the AAF in hopes of developing them faster.  

Do I Know Any Apollos? 

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The brand new AAF wanted to make a big splash when they announced that the Orlando Apollos would be their first franchise, and they did that in April of 2018 by unveiling that Florida legend Steve Spurrier would be their first head coach.  

That's right, the "old ball coach" is back in business.  

In addition to Spurrier, football fans will certainly recognize names like Bob Sanders, Donnie Abraham, and Lito Sheppard coaching on the defensive side of the ball.  

When it comes to the players in the huddle for the Apollos, quarterback Garett Gilbert has been lighting up the scoreboard throwing to his favorite target, Charles Johnson. And then there is the running back tandem of D'Ernest Johnson and De'Veon Smith churning up yardage on the ground.  

Are They Any Good? 

With only one loss in their first six games, the Orlando Apollos are already the class of the AAF. That means that they are well on their way to making an appearance in the four-team playoff set to happen this April.  

The Apollos offense has proven to be the best in the league thus far, and the defense is currently ranked as the second-best unit in terms of yards allowed.  

When Can I See Them? 

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The Apollos are scheduled to host their final two games of the inaugural season at Spectrum Stadium in Orlando on Saturday, April 6 and Sunday, April 13. The April 6 contest will be against the San Diego Fleet, then the April 13 regular season finally will take place against the second place Birmingham Iron.  

Following the regular season, there will be a four-team playoff starting on Sunday, April 21 and concluding with a championship game on Sunday, April 27. And unless something goes terribly wrong in the next four weeks, Coach Spurrier should have his team in the hunt for the first ever AAF title.  

Not only are we blessed to have a new football team competing right down the road in Orlando, we are also fortunate that the team is playing extremely well to start the season. If you are looking for a fun weekend activity to keep you busy over the next few weeks, start following the Apollos and get excited about the AAF!

March Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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While March Madness is most commonly meant to describe the wild action of the annual NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, it is also a fitting description for everything happening around the Villages of Citrus Hills this month. The folks at the Activity Center are really pulling out all of the stops to keep us all moving as we officially head into Spring 2019.  

Whether you’re looking for fun social events, exciting learning opportunities, competitive sporting competitions, or delicious dinner specials, you can find all of that and more around our community this month. Let's jump in and take a closer look as some of the events you are going to want to mark on your calendar.  

Social Events

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A favorite local rock band, Rocky and the Rollers, will be performing in the Hampton Room for the Sock Hop on Tuesday, March 5. This dance party will feature a cash bar, and themed dress is encouraged but not required, so don't hesitate to break out those leather jackets and poodle skirts.

 One social event that will be taking place outside of the community this month will be the Deep Sea Fishing Excursion to Tarpon Springs on Sunday, March 10. This trip will take members out on a massive 85-foot cruiser for some of the best fishing in the world.  

You won't want to miss the Dinner Show with Marc Black the following week on Tuesday, March 12. Learn the history of music with the award-winning musician who toured with the Doors, Van Morrison and more. The dinner will include Caprese-Stuffed Chicken and Roast Pork Loin Dijonnaise.  

All of our local trivia junkies will be back in action for Tasty Trivia Tuesday on Tuesday, March 19. This month's theme is "movies," and the dinner will feature London Broil with Mushroom Sauce and Baked Haddock.  

Art & Education 

Steven Davis will be the speaker for this month's Florida-Friendly Landscaping Seminar on Thursday, March 14 at 1 pm. Steven is the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Coordinator for the Citrus County Department of Water Resources, and he will be leading a discussion on how to incorporate Florida-friendly landscaping practices into your yard.  

Doc Talk will also be back this month with a lecture from Dr. Gerilyn E. Cross in the Activity Center Auditorium on Wednesday, March 27 at 6 pm. Dr. Cross will be presenting a wide range of information concerning hormone health and how it relates to different types of diseases.  

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Local crafters will have their creations on display at the Spring Farmers' Market & Craft Fair on Sunday, March 31 from 10 am to 2 pm in the Activity Center Parking Lot.

This is one of the can't-miss attractions each and every year. Gourmet foods, craft and live entertainment by Mark Welzel. 

Golf & Tennis 

This month's golf calendar is going to start out with a fun one when the Four-Leaf Clover Open gets going on The Meadows course at 8:30 am on Saturday, March 2. Everyone involved will get to play their round and enjoy lunch afterwards.  

Things will get much more competitive on March 6 and 7 when the 2019 Skyview Ladies' Club Championship tees off. This two-day stroke play event will be flighted by handicaps and is open to all female Skyview Golf Members.  

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The Citrus Hills courses will be hosting their own competitive event later in the month with the Citrus Hills Couples Championship on March 14 and 15. This will be a 36-hole better hall tournament open to all Citrus Hills gold and social members.  

The Skyview Tennis Center is also going to be busy this month, and that will start with their Free Beginner's Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, March 12 at 11 am. Then there will be a Spring Break Tennis Social on Sunday, March 24 that will include mixed doubles from 1 pm to 3 pm followed by lunch and beverages.  

Dinner Specials

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Skyview Restaurant is pulling out all the stops with their dinner specials this month. You can enjoy an Asian Night Buffet on Tuesday, March 5, Lobsterfest on Saturday, March 9, an American Wine Dinner on Monday, March 11, and Foods of the Forgotten Coast on Thursday March 14.  

There will also be a St. Patrick's Day Dinner at Skyview Restaurant on Sunday, March 17 that will feature Slow-Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage, Baked Cod, Irish Bangers and Mash, and Stout Braised Lamb Shanks.

The Grille will also be going all out for St. Patricks Day with specials like Irish Stew, Black and Tan Pork, Corned Beef & Cabbage, Scallop Pie, Roasted Lamb Shanks, and Lamb Shepherd's Pie.

BellaVita

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And if you happen to find any quiet time for yourself during this busy month, you should also plan on heading down to BellaVita Spa. They will be running a 24 Karat Gold Revitalizer Facial and a Wrapping-Up Winter Massage Special this month.

With so much to do this month, you’ll have to pick and choose which events are the ones that deserve a spot on your calendar. Good luck deciding, and have fun at whichever activities you choose to attend!

February Activities and Events at the Villages of Citrus Hills

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Between Groundhog's Day, the Super Bowl, and Valentine's Day, the month of February is already filled with all kinds of exciting events, but we are adding even more fun to the mix this month here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.  

In addition to those standard holiday events, we are also filling up our calendar with all kinds of social events, competitive sports, and great dinner specials. Let's take a look at some of the biggest things happening around the community in the month of February.  

Social Events

If you have been thinking about getting involved in one of the many Activity Clubs that meet all over the Villages of Citrus Hills you will definitely want to attend the Activity Club Showcase in the Activity Center Auditorium on Sunday, February 3 starting at 1 pm. More than 50 of our most popular clubs will be set up there discussing the things that their members are passionate about.  

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Lunch & Learn will be back on Tuesday, February 5 with Sabrina Watson talking about the basics of essential oils and how you can use them for health support, food flavoring, and aromatherapy. Lunch for this event will include a BLT with Avocado in a wrap and Potato Salad.  

The meal will be much more substantial when the Shabbat Dinner Club meets in the Garden Room on Friday, February 8 starting at 5:30 pm. This meal will feature Sliced Sirloin and Broiled Salmon along with Garden Salad, Parsley Steamed Red Bliss Potatoes, Glazed Baby Carrots, and Cake.  

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The most hysterical dinner in February will almost certainly be the Comedy Dinner Show featuring Sonya White in the Hampton Room on Tuesday, February 12. Dinner for this event will include Boursin-Stuffed Chicken and Sliced Sirloin in Mushroom Sauce with a laugh-out-loud comedy show to follow.  

Mah Jongg players won't want to miss the Mah Jongg Madness Tournament in the Activity Center Card Room on the morning of Tuesday, February 19. Signups for this event are already open, and seating is limited to 13 tables of four.  

Tuesday, February 19 will also be the date for this month's Tasty Trivia Tuesday in the Hampton Room. The theme this month is "science" and the menu will include Pot Roast and Chicken Maryland.  

Golf & Tennis 

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Golfers can celebrate Valentine's Day on Groundhog Day at the Citrus Hills Valentine's Open on Saturday, February 2. This fun tournament will kick off on The Meadows Course at 8:30 am and entries will include drinks and lunch.  

Following the Valentine's Open, the competition is instantly going to heat up with the Skyview Men's Senior, Super Senior, Legends, and Super Legends Tournament on February 4 and 5. That will then be followed by the 2019 Citrus Hills Men's Club Championship on February 14 and 15.  

Of course, if you aren't quite ready to be taking on the best golfers in our community, you might want to think about joining the "Newbie" Nine-Hole Golf League that plays every Thursday or attending one of PGA Teaching Professional Mary Slinkard's Free Golf Clinics this month.  

Anyone looking to get involved in the Skyview Tennis Center community this month can learn more about everything that happens there by participating in the Free Beginner Tennis Clinic on Tuesday, February 12 at 11 am. You don't even need to own a racket in order to come play! 

Dinner Specials 

The dinner specials are going to revolve around the major holidays this month, and that is going to start off with the Groundhog Day Specials running all day at Skyview Restaurant on Saturday, February 2. If the groundhog sees his shadow, the special will be 2 for 1 drinks. And if he doesn't see his shadow, all bar menu appetizers will be buy one, get one half off! 

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Things will be even wilder at the Tiki Bar this weekend as they host their annual Super Bowl Party on Sunday, February 3. They'll have the big game on all of their TVs and are planning a fun tailgate menu that they will be serving from 3 pm to 8 pm.  

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If you are looking for a special meal on Valentine's Day, you will have plenty of options to choose from between Skyview Restaurant and The Grille. Skyview Restaurant will be serving an elegant meal for two that will be accompanied by live jazz music, and The Grille is planning a fancy a la carte menu with live entertainment by Jack Dempsey.  

BellaVita Spa 

Still looking for more ways to fill up your February calendar? Make sure that you find time to stop by BellaVita Spa for the Facial Spa Special and the February Bouquet Massage that they are going to be featuring this month.  

Between all of the fun social events, the competitive golf tournaments, and the holiday-themed dinner specials, this is going to be a busy month here at the Villages of Citrus Hills. We can’t wait to see you enjoying these activities and events!

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.

7 Citrus Hills Themed New Year's Resolutions for 2019

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Whether you’re ready for it or not, 2019 has arrived, and we are all planning for it to be the best year ever here at the Villages of Citrus Hills.  

And if you have not yet committed to picking a resolution for the new year, we have put together a few Citrus Hills themed suggestions that will help you get more out of your fabulous life here along Florida's Nature Coast.  

Attend More Social Events 

Spending more time with friends and neighbors is one of the most popular New Year's Resolutions here at the Villages of Citrus Hills, but we suggest taking that idea one step farther and committing to attending more of our regular social events throughout the year.  

There are dozens of fun and exciting events happening every month around the community and making a point to attend as many of them as possible is a great way to fill up your social calendar while spending quality time with friends and neighbors.

Dinners with Friends 

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In addition to attending the many social events happening around our community throughout the month, you can also spend more time with friends and neighbors by planning a regular dinner at Skyview Restaurant, The Grille, or the Tiki Bar.  

This can be an extra special resolution if you can get a group of friends to all commit to meeting for dinner on a specific day each month.  

Join a Class at PrimoVita 

Another popular resolution is to work on getting yourself into better shape, and there are tons of fun options to help you out with that in the form of exercise classes at the PrimoVita Fitness Center.  

Whether you are looking for beginner Pilates or advanced yoga, there is a class that is perfect for everybody who is looking to improve their fitness in 2019.  

Hit the Range More Often 

If improving your golf game is high on your list for the coming year, a great New Year's resolution that you can make is to put a priority on getting yourself to the Skyview Driving Range more frequently.  

Like most resolutions, this one will be more powerful if you attach real numbers to it, so pick a specific number of times you want to hit the range each week or month and hold yourself to it.

 Read Good Books at the Pool 

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Reading more books is also a popular resolution, and the pools throughout the Villages of Citrus Hills are perfect places to kick back with a good one.  

The Coffee Shop is another popular spot to catch up with your reading or a friend. 

Pick Up a New Hobby 

If you would like to bring a new hobby into your life this year, there are quite a few excellent clubs to choose from that meet regularly all over the Villages of Citrus Hills.  

We have everything from Bocce to Wood Carving, and all you have to do is call up the club leader for more information. 

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Plan a Trip 

For members who are looking to add a little more excitement to their lives in 2019, we recommend checking out some of the exciting trips that the Citrus Hills Vacationers Club has planned for the coming year.  

And if you can't find anything there that excites you, there are dozens of day and weekend trips that we have profiled on the blog over the years.  

You can't put it off any longer. 2019 has arrived, and just like 2018 it will fly by before you know it. Make sure you get the most out of the new year by making a resolution to take advantage of all that there is to see and do here at the Villages of Citrus Hills!