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Beautiful Homes Begin Here!

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“I had a very pleasant purchasing experience at Plaza Cadillac. My salesman, Evan Shard, was extremely helpful and very enthusiastic about answering all my questions. He has been every bit as helpful after the sale. If I have any questions or concerns he has always been there for me.” — DEE JOHNS, TAVARES PUBLISHER OF DIRECTORIES INK

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Clear Vision Dazzling Style AND

Custom Optical Packages from Precision Optics feature an amazing array of fashion-forward designer frames and your choice of single and multifocal specialty lenses, plus options like polarized, antiglare and Transitions®, packaged at prices that are always below retail. And, unlike chain stores, we have knowledgeable opticians ready to provide friendly, no-pressure assistance, so you know you’ll end up looking and feeling fabulous.

Don’t get new glasses until you come see us first because no one frames your face like Precision Optics.


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to Explore! There’s a big, wide world out there, but if sagging lids are keeping you from experiencing it fully, it might be time to consider blepharoplasty, a safe, quick surgery to gently lift sagging eyelids that can block peripheral vision, and make you look more tired than you feel.

Shelby Terpstra, DO is a leading provider of upper and lower corrective and cosmetic eyelid surgery designed to promote better vision and a more refreshed and vital appearance. BEFORE AFTER PICS

Shelby Terpstra, DO Board-certified Comprehensive Ophthalmologist PATIENT STORY:


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“Sagging lids [impacted] my peripheral vision, especially when I was driving. Then a friend recommended Lake Eye. Dr. Terpstra was very informative. After surgery I immediately noticed an amazing improvement. I could see out of the sides of my eyes. A wonderful side-effect is how much better I look. I love it!” – Decemma Bensyl READ THE FULL STORY AT LAKEEYE.COM



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Kathy had a Laser ImageLift. Results are typical and do vary.

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FEBRUARY 2018 // VOL.14 NO. 4 // F e a t u r e s

76 Small houses 36 Foundations for the future The 2018 Parade of Homes isn’t just one neighborhood. Look for the action in several places in Lake and Sumter counties, including Sorrento, Minneola, Groveland, Mount Dora, Leesburg, Lady Lake, Clermont, and more! STORY: LEIGH NEELY

need, maybe even upgrades the Jetsons didn’t have. STORY: JAMES COMBS

50 Realtor of the Year Danny Smith has an amazing background in land sales and commercial real estate. He’s the Realtor of the Year for Lake and Sumter counties.

40 There’s no place like this home


The future is now. The 2018 American Home has all the amenities a home owner could

Top Producers of the Realtors Association of Lake & Sumter Counties.

52 Top real estate producers

Tiny houses have become popular in TV shows and in the media, and Habitat for Humanity Lake-Sumter has an idea to build apartment-size homes—400 and 700 square feet—for those who would love a small place of their own. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL

82 Journey to the top of the world In April, a Sherpa will carry flags purchased by businesses, clubs, organizations, and neighborhoods to the top of Mount Everest. You can have your flag photographed at the top of the world! STORY: LEIGH NEELY

Special Adve rtising Sections


A custom advantage Using custom woodwork means you have something unique that adds value to your home, and gives you exactly what you want.


Top Realtors Like elite military teams, these are the Top Realtors of Lake and Sumter counties. They are consistently high performers and also make a difference where they live. Meet the Top Realtors who keep houses,

businesses, and people moving in this part of Central Florida. 87

A legacy of wellness Drs. Theeck and Kessler of Legacy Clinic have what it takes to help you define your legacy.


February 2018




d e pa r t m e n t s


24 28 28 30

#Trending Person of Interest Outstanding Student This ‘N That


102 106 108 110 112 117


The To-Do List In Concert Local Talent Social Spotlight Out+About Hi, Society!




125 A R O U N D T H E TA B L E

126 128 132 134 138

Quick Bites In the Kitchen Saluté Fork on the Road Dining Guide


16 From the Publisher 144 Final Thought








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From The Publisher

C o m m e n t s o r qu e s t i o n s ?

Our goal is to provide you with the best quality publication, so your feedback is vital.

ave you ever

found yourself in a situation where you wanted to build or buy a home but you had no idea where to begin? I have been in that situation before and it can be very frustrating and overwhelming. In fact, my husband, Doug, and I felt this way just a few years back. We were in the market to buy a home, and after our Realtor showed us multiple homes that weren’t our “dream home,” we decided to consider the option of building. We thought it would be great to be able to sculpt the perfect home for ourselves and create the layout we had always dreamed of having. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. As we began looking for model homes for ideas, we quickly discovered there weren’t any available to view. This left us feeling unsure, and we reconsidered our decision to build. Things have certainly changed since then. The building and real estate industry is beginning to boom again. Homes are being sold daily, and people are now seeking qualified builders to create the home of their dreams.




Therefore, if you are in the market to buy, build, or remodel, we have made it easier for you with this month’s home issue. We’ve created a resource for building and buying a new home. We are highlighting Lake County’s top Realtors with a listing of multimillion-dollar and million-dollar producers for 2017. We’ve also included local Realtor profiles so you can get to know a few of them. Congratulations to Danny Smith of Smith & Smith Realty in Wildwood for achieving the coveted title of “2017 Realtor of the Year.” By the way, getting back to the beginning, Doug and I eventually found a house that we are remodeling and now call our home. It was a challenging process, but we are living happily ever after. I hope you enjoy this month’s issue and, as always, we enjoyed putting it together for you. Until next month,

Kendra Akers

At You r S e rv i c e


Hot Off The Press!

Sneak Peek

The latest editions of Lake & Sumter Style, Village Style, Healthy Living and Welcome to Lake County. SPONSORED BY

BATTLING OBESITY | Overweight people should downsize their supersized bodies p. 14 FEB '18




After heart transplant surgery, Jbo Harrison hasn’t missed a beat.


MEDICAL MYSTERIES Nothing to sneeze at


Gemstones can put your mind at ease

IT’S NO FISH TALE Lake County has the largest bass in the state! RAISING THE BAR The NTC is a gold mine for Olympians!

Editorial // Design // Photography


DISC GOLF A new spin on an old sport!

Get yours

SUBSCRIPTIONS: Order a subscription of your favorite magazine to be delivered directly to your home for just $81. Each subscription includes 12 consecutive issues of Lake & Sumter Style, Village Style or Healthy Living. Choose 2 or more magazines for $102 per year. To order, call 352.787.4112 or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749.

Coming in March:

The Near & Far Vacation Guide

CHANGE OF ADDRESS: If you are a seasonal resident or have moved, send your address change request to or mail us at: Subscriptions at Akers Media, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749. BACK ISSUES: Order a single issue by mail for $7, or 2 or more single issues for $9. To pick up a back issue from our office, please call 24 hours in advance.

Mary Ann DeSantis Fred Hilton Diane Dean Jessica Flinn sales // marketing


Digitize your life.

Visit the Apple or Android app store today and download the Lake & Sumter Style or Healthy Living online magazine app for your mobile device.


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Scott Hegg DISTRIBUTION MANAGER digital social media

Garrett Reardon DIGITAL SPECIALIST Lake & Sumter Style is a proud member of

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Lake Eustis Area Chamber of Commerce

Sumter County Chamber of Commerce

American Advertising Association


Lake & Sumter Style. Published monthly by Akers Media, 108 South Fifth Street, Leesburg, FL 34748. All editorial contents copyright 2018 by Akers Media. All rights reserved. Lake & Sumter Style is a registered trademark of Akers Media. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. For back issues or billing information, call 352.787.4112. Return postage must accompany all unsolicited manuscripts and artwork if they are to be returned. Manuscripts are welcomed, but no responsibility can be assumed for unsolicited materials. “Paid Promotional Feature” and “Special Promotional Feature” denotes a paid advertising feature. Publisher is not responsible for claims or contents of advertisements. The ideas and opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of Akers Media.


#Jaxon Strong

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Brandon Buell’s blog about his son, Jaxon, and the positive impact that Jaxon’s life is making around the world.

Creativity at its peak

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Twitter Follow @GetStyleMag and @GetHLMag

YouTube Visit our channel to see exclusive videos

February 2018


The Custom Advantage


Custom woodwork lasts longer and provides a heritage so you can keep your home in your family with pride.



Specifics Woodwork Inc. 352.750.9016 Family Owned & Operated




When you’re building or renovating a home, it’s a very personal project. Using custom woodwork means you have something unique that adds value to your home, and gives you exactly what you want. You pick the desired wood, the color, the texture, and the finish. Custom woodwork lasts longer and provides a heritage so you can keep your home in your family with pride. This type of work is built to last a generation, not just a few years. The entertainment area is often the heart of the home where the family gathers to cheer their favorite team, watch movies, or just hang out. Imagine the beauty of a room like this with a custom-made entertainment area. Not only do you have the perfect place to display your TV, you have storage for the accessories that go

with it, leaving the room beautiful and uncluttered. At Specifics Woodwork, a family owned and operated company, their specialty is old-school ways combined with modern techniques. Do you have cherished furniture from a family member that may have lost its luster through the years? Specifics Woodworking can restore it to the original beauty, adding parts that may have broken off, or replacing what was lost. The experts at Specifics Woodworking have access to exotic woods and even 100-year-old wood that will help you maintain the value of treasured family heirlooms. Steve W. Long has lived in Lady Lake since 1990 and been building things since the ‘70s. His experience means everything is completed the way you want it, whether you’re adding arches,

elliptical or cathedral woodworking or updating the bathroom or kitchen. Though this is a local business, their work is in homes from Naples to New York and includes everything from custom doors to Murphy beds to armoires. Their work encompasses more than 100 different crowns, bases, and chair rails. Anything you’d like to have in wood can be created by Specifics Woodworking. They do kitchen renovations, bathroom vanities, bars, home offices, elegant staircases, and anything else you can imagine for your home. With 42 years of experience in woodworking, they are sure their products add a measure of warmth, permanence, and dignity that will be enjoyed in your home for many years to come.

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ience Experience. For more than 80 years, we’ve proudly cared for the healthcare needs of our community. That experience is just one of the reasons more Lake County residents trust Florida Hospital Waterman for their emergency care. Home to Lake County’s first Chest Pain Center of Excellence, and the only hospital in the region to earn an A-rating for patient safety for the past five years, we’re ready to care for you and your family when you need it most. Learn more about our commitment to building a healthier Lake County at

If you think you are experiencing a medical emergency-get help immediately. Call 911 and get to the closest emergency department.

! k o o L r u o Love Y












T R E N D I N G //


P E R S O N O F I N T E R E S T //

Photo: Fred Lopez





T H I S ‘ N ’ T H AT

23 In the Know

The perfect pitch.


* #I TnR ETNhD eI N GK n o w NEW


Babies to tweens Proud grandmother of two toddlers, interior decorator Debbie Belton has opened a new children’s boutique, Littles by Matamo Designs, at 115 E. 5th St., Mount Dora, which is next door to her Matamo Designs business. “This has been my dream since I opened my first shop 10 years ago,” Debbie says, noting a section of her original store always featured a baby section. “It started out little and kept growing. I had no more room for all of the stuff I kept wanting to buy, and having the grandchildren made it even worse in my shopping at trade shows,” Debbie says. Littles allows her to buy and show more adorable items available for shoppers to purchase, everything from children’s décor, furniture, plush toys, puzzles, books, playsets for babies, to gifts for tweens.

Kids running amok on internet

Hey, parents! Set some boundaries! Twenty-eight percent of teenagers participating in a 2016 study reported their household had no rules about their use of internet-connected devices. The study by the National Cyber Security Alliance also found that 60 percent of online teens ages 13-17 reported creating online accounts their parents knew nothing about. Use these tips from the Florida Division of Consumer Services to keep kids safe: BE POSITIVELY ENGAGED: Pay attention to and know what online sites your kids are visiting. KNOW THE PROTECTION FEATURES OF THE WEBSITES AND SOFTWARE YOUR CHILDREN USE: All major internet service providers have tools to help you manage your child’s online experience. REVIEW PRIVACY SETTINGS: Select the privacy settings on social networking sites, cellphones, and




other social tools appropriate for your child’s age and experience. EXPLAIN THE IMPLICATIONS: Help your child understand what they share on the internet can be easily copied and pasted elsewhere, and is almost impossible to remove. STRANGER DANGER: Help your child understand not everyone is truthful about themselves online; stress the importance of not sharing personal information. BE AWARE OF ALL THE WAYS YOUR CHILD CAN CONNECT TO THE INTERNET: Phones, tablets, gaming systems, and even TVs are connected to the internet, so act responsibly. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office also distributes free internet monitoring software to help ensure computer, tablet, and mobile phone safety. The “Computer Cop” is available at the sheriff’s office, 360 W. Ruby St., Tavares, or call 352.343.9500 for more information.


Generous gift Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter recently received a $100,000 gift from the Home Depot Foundation, which came at the perfect time, allowing Habitat and its volunteers to work on the second phase of Veterans Village, a neighborhood of low-income homes for active military, veterans, and their spouses in

Umatilla. Several Home Depot employees also volunteered to help build Veterans Village. “The Home Depot Foundation has been a tremendous advocate for affordable housing within the veteran community across the nation, and we are grateful they chose to invest locally in Veterans Village,” Kent Adcock, CEO of Habitat of Lake-Sumter, says in a press release. Since 2011, the Home Depot Foundation has invested about $213 million in veteranrelated projects across the country, part of the foundation’s $250 million pledge to veteranrelated causes by 2020. For more information on Habitat of LakeSumter’s Veterans Village, visit or call 352.483.0434.


Showcasing quilts Quilt lovers are bound to enjoy the Lake County Quilters Guild 37th annual “Fan”tastic Quilt Show to be hosted 9am-5pm Feb. 23-24 at Lake Receptions, 4425 Highway 19A, Mount Dora. Some 200 quilts will be displayed. “People are often in awe of the colors, the beauty, and the

workmanship of the quilts,” says Anne McKenzie, a guild member who has chaired two previous shows. The Lake County Quilters Guild is one of the few guilds in Florida to host annual exhibitions. The cost is $8 per person or $7 each for groups of 25 or more. The judged show will feature viewers’ choice, demonstrations,

door prizes, donation quilts, a boutique, vendors, a fashion show, a silent auction, and quilt appraisal. For more information, call Anne at 352.669.1340 or email her at

Where the wild things are It’s a long way from South Lake to South Africa, but there’s a way to experience a dream vacation. The South Lake Chamber of Commerce has partnered with Indus Travel and Ash Travel for the Super South Africa tour, a once-in-a-lifetime trip. The 11-day tour, scheduled to depart Sept. 5, includes visits to Johannesburg, Hazyview, Stellenbosch, Cape Town, Soweto, and Kruger National Park for a wildlife experience. Several optional upgrades, including a tour of Dubai, also are available. For prices and more information, contact Gerry Ash at Ash Travel at 352.552.0421 or

February 2018


* #I TnR ETNhD eI N GK n o w

Ja m e s C o m b s’


In November, Robert O’Neill, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden, spoke at a Veterans Day celebration in Astatula. I wonder if they paid a Bon Jovi-style “tribute” to bin Laden?


A 77-year-old man who resides at Spruce Creek South in Summerfield reported that his golf clubs were stolen. Thank goodness they didn’t try to rip off his balls, too.


Ann Ivey was recently appointed by the city of Eustis as director of the Eustis Memorial Library. In other words, the

“Shot through the head And Navy SEALs are to blame. Osama, you give Islam A bad name.” 2

For the first time in the organization’s 31-year history, sisters were selected for the Miss Leesburg Scholarship Pageant. Eva Hender-

library is starting a new chapter in its history. Or would it be better to say turning a new page?

son won the title of Miss Leesburg, while her sister, Chloe Henderson, won the title of Teen Miss. That’s quite a crowning achievement. 5

The 12-year-old granddaughter of a Villages resident hit a 50-yard hole-in-one at Fenney Putt and Play. I’d say it’s par-tee time!


A chiropractor in The Villages was arrested after allegedly leaving the scene of an accident near his home. I think it’s time he makes some much-needed adjustments in his life.

Mark your calendar

With a name like Lake, the county had an inside track for this year’s Florida Association of Counties calendar. The theme is bodies of water, and a photo depicting a paddle trip on Lake Norris is featured as November 2018 and was taken by Lake County staff member Bryan Baquiran. More than 600 photos were submitted from Florida’s 67 counties, with only 15 selected. The calendar is distributed to county commissioners and senior county staff around the state. “This year’s theme recognizes that our state’s natural beauty is the reason we have chosen to make Florida our home and the reason so many choose to visit Florida every year,” FAC President Christopher G. Constance says in the release. “The calendar is a way to showcase the pride Floridians have for where they live and highlight the beauty every county offers.”




Less meant more

In summer 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency queried the public about how much ethanol they want in the nation’s gas supply. Recreational boat owners were one of the groups asking for less ethanol. “In August, EPA originally proposed a slight lowering of the overall ethanol mandate. However, bowing to pressure from the ethanol backers, the agency actually notched the mandate higher,” says David Kennedy, government affairs manager for BoatUS, a member of the Smarter Fuel Future coalition. “We think the EPA’s decision unfairly supports the ethanol industry over protecting consumers, recreational boaters, and the environment. If ethanol is as good for America’s fuel supply as Big Ethanol would like you to believe, then why do we have a law that forces more ethanol each year into the market? The RFS (renewable fuel standard) no longer works for Americans.” Go to for more information.

How concerned are you about the use of E15? Not concerned at all


Somewhat concerned


Book your chance to volunteer Lake County libraries always are in need of volunteers. With 15 locations, there’s always a vacancy somewhere for those who would like to help tutor, work with adult literacy, teach English as a second language, or lead citizenship classes. The libraries also conduct a variety of programs, and program assistants are a big help. Programs range from classes and clubs to chess and technology or helping others learn quilting. Lifelong learning is the primary goal of Lake County libraries through a cooperative countywide library system with physical and digital content to promote education, research, and workforce training. This can’t be done without help from the community. Get more information about volunteering by going to or


Medical marijuana in Lady Lake Despite concerns presented by Lady Lake Police Chief Chris McKinstry, Lady Lake commissioners chose not to continue their moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. The one that was in place ended Feb. 3. Commissioner Ruth Kussard tried to keep the moratorium, saying nearby Summerfield has dispensaries available, but she could not get a second to her motion to make it long term. Mayor Jim Richards noted that Florida voters supported the issue of medical marijuana in the 2016 election.

Very concerned


How much do your customers know about ethanol? Know a lot


Know nothing


Know some


Know a little bit


How difficult is it to find qualified service technicians? Somewhat Neither easy easy or difficult % 7% 3

Somewhat difficult


Very difficult


February 2018



Teresa Toomer Owner of Jolly Good Cakes in Leesburg

Former nurse at Leesburg Regional Medical Center. England is her homeland. Moved to the U.S. in 2010 to be closer to her mother.

I began making custom cakes: In 2015, when I made a christening cake for my son. I posted it on Facebook, and it was crazy and amazing. People asked if I could make cakes for them, and it just went from there. I have made more than 200 cakes, and I find it relaxing. I just get in my zone.

What I love most about decorating cakes: Being creative. The thrill of running Jolly Good Cakes: Bringing smiles.

The best compliment about my cakes: I actually have a review






Recently placed second at the American Cake Fair in the wedding cake category among hundreds of entries from around the world. Single mom of two children, Alicia, 12; Greyson, 2½.

Courageous, bold, brave.

Guilty pleasure: Chocolate.

If I could have dinner with anyone it would be: The Cake Boss (Buddy Valastro). I would love to just sit down and pick his brain.

Custom cakes I would love to make: Engagement cakes for guys to make proposals out of it, with a little box and the ring inside.

My dream customer: on my page where a guy said his cake I made was better than Publix! He’s really fussy when it comes to cakes, so that was the best review.

My most fun cake: The cake I designed from a wedding dress with a corset. It was hard work, but definitely worth it. I mixed it up with vintage and modern for the American Cake Fair, my first competition ever. People were there from different parts of the world, and I got to meet the famous cake guy back in England, Paul Bradford. He’s such an inspiration.

Prince Harry. I did leave a message on his site, “If you need a cake, love, come to me!”

My goal: To get a little caravan, vintage style, and sell my cakes at local events and just travel wherever the cakes take me. Secret to my success: I think it’s me. I’m a nice person, I’m bubbly, and I get along with everybody, or at least I think I do.

Best advice I’ve been given: Just go for it and take risks. I’m doing that!

Photos: Fred Lopez


Three words to describe myself:

Specializing in: • Mini Face and Neck Lift with Smartlipo of Neck and Jowls • Xeomin/Botox/Juvederm/Belotero/Radiesse • Direct Neck Lift • Torn Earlobe Repair • Smartlipo (Laser Assisted Liposuction) • Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck) • Arm Lift • Thigh Lift • Body Contouring After Weight Loss • Breast Augmentation • Breast Reduction and Lift • Skin Cancer Removal and Reconstruction


I was 9, my coach asked if I had ever pitched before, which I hadn’t. I got on the mound that season and it just felt natural for me.

What do you like about baseball? The V I TA L



Fruitland Park resident won 2017 President’s Award for academics at LakeSumter State College.

Do you hope to play professionally?

Won 2017 Bill Tuten Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for state junior colleges.

Absolutely. Getting paid to play the game I love is a huge goal of mine. I would even do it for no money.

Earned scholarship to pitch for Georgia Southwestern State University. Volunteers at schools, churches, behavioral institutions.




team aspect. No one person can win a game. Also, baseball has no clock. There is no lead that can secure a win in a game.

How have you maintained perfect school attendance? My mom really helped me when I was younger. I didn’t realize the accomplishment I had made until middle

school and once I was that far, there was no sense in losing my streak. School has always been something I look forward to. All my friends were there and I never had any reason to not attend.

Why is community service important? I love the people I get to meet doing these events and the positive impact I am able to have on the community. I am fortunate enough to be living in Georgia due to a baseball scholarship so the least I could do is give my time to this area. Any impact you can have on someone’s life is crucial. I will be assisting a dance for mentally handicapped people in February, and it is nights such as this that are remembered forever by the ones involved.

Favorite baseball player? Marcus Stroman.

Favorite baseball movie? “The Sandlot.” Worst baseball movie? There is no such thing as a bad baseball movie, however, “The Scout” with Brendan Fraser is extremely unrealistic.

Superstitions? 1. Never step on the line. 2. Take a drink of water for every strikeout in an inning when I’m pitching. 3. I have a routine after each throw-down between innings when I pitch. 4. Listen to “Cricket on a Line” by Colt Ford before every start.

Are you a fan of social media? Yes, it is a great way to stay up to date with friends, especially the ones I don’t see all the time due to college.

Photo: Fred Lopez

When did you know you could pitch? When

Smiles by Dr. David Wollenschlaeger (his patients know him as Dr. Dave) has put beautiful smiles on the faces of children and adults in Florida since 1990. For him ‘Word of mouth’ truly is the best advertising and all those happy smiles speak volumes.

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* TI HnI ST‘ Nh’ eT HKAnT o w

Don’t turn your back on the microwave Arnold was right: the machines are out to get us. STORY: FRED HILTON

I *

You’ve heard noises in the night, right? You probably think it’s the wind, or maybe the house settling. It’s not.




t’s not as though we weren’t warned. We were told years ago this would happen. The warning came through a highly reliable source—a movie. Admittedly, there are some sources of information that are more dependable—comic books and the internet, for example. But movies are pretty good about providing 100 percent accurate information. We learned from the movie “The Terminator” that machines were going to turn on us and attack us. No less a source than Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in “The Terminator” as an evil killer cyborg who turned into a good guy killer cyborg in the 32 sequels to the original. Arnold later became governor of California and certainly there’s no one you can believe more than a governor. All governors are good guys who tell the truth all the time, right? Especially governors of California who moonlight as killer cyborgs. Do you want to argue with Arnold? He turned 70 last year but still could snap you in half like a twig or the titanium spinal cord of a bad cyborg. So, forewarned is forearmed. Machines in your house are

out to get you. Machines in my house are clearly after me. You’ve heard noises in the night, right? You probably think it’s the wind, or maybe the house settling. It’s not. It’s the machines in your house talking to each other and plotting against you. The beeping and booping noises your microwave makes aren’t what you think they are. They’re actually machine-talk for the latest plot against you. You think it’s an innocent noise when new ice cubes dump into your refrigerator tray. Actually, it’s the fridge relaying the latest plans to other machines. Machines plan to annihilate us eventually but not just right now. They may plan their attack in a different way against you, but my appliances are plotting together to make me think I’ve lost my mind. Their evil plan is for each machine or appliance to stop working for no reason whatsoever. Then, a day or so later, after frustrating me and before I can find a repairman, they start working again— also for no reason whatsoever. It started with my TV. The remote turned the TV on

and off with no problem. I still could raise or lower the volume. But the remote wouldn’t change channels. It was stuck on ESPN with closed caption. If it had to be stuck on one channel, that’s probably the best one. However, I need to be able to change channels in case “Game of Thrones” starts its new season this decade. I was ready to wade through 47 options on the cable provider’s 800 number when the TV suddenly started working perfectly again for no apparent reason. I was happy but I’m pretty sure I heard the TV giggling. Next on the list of machines trying to drive me mad was the computer. I was happily surfing the net when suddenly the screen turned blue with a silly frowny face symbol staring at me and saying there was an “uncorrectable error.” It wasn’t even classy enough to be a frowny emoji. It was just a plain old colon and a parenthesis. (Yes, that’s the singular form of “parentheses.” No, I didn’t know that, either.) I was ready to send out a nerd alert when the blue screen went away, the cheesy frowny face disappeared and

all was right in cyberworld again. Again, for no reason. During all this time, various smoke detectors occasionally would emit a beep that sounded a lot like “twerp.” One would twerp, then stop. Then another one would also call me a twerp. Then they’d all be quiet—until 3 a.m. During this rebellion by various machines and appliances, my dutiful cellphone has continued its perfect record of working

occasionally, then stopping for no good reason. Then working again, also for no reason. It’s part of the machines’ plot to make me think I’m losing what’s left of my mind. Of course, in the case of Mr. Cellphone, some of the blame might be attributed to the fact that I dropped him on his head a few weeks ago and smashed the screen to smithereens. All the other machines are plotting against me, but there is one appliance I know will

remain loyal—my dear friend, Pod the Coffee Maker. I call him Pod partly because of the coffee-holding thingies that fit his head and partly in tribute to Podrick, the noble squire on “Game of Thrones.” Pod knows I can’t function in the morning without his efforts. Pod is good and loyal and would never betray me. Wait, is that a bug in my coffee cup?

Fred Hilton Fred Hilton spent 36 years as the chief public relations off icer/spokesman for James Madison University in Virginia and 10 years prior as a reporter and editor for The Roanoke Times in Roanoke, Virginia. He is now happily retired in The Villages with his interior designer wife, Leta, their Cadillac Escalade golf cart, and their dog, Paris. (Yes, that makes her Paris Hilton).

February 2018


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Gio’s Deli & Mercato italiano — Where Italians meat! Gio’s Deli and Mercato Italiano serves up authentic products from Italy. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

Italians and Italian food lovers have discovered a little piece of the old country at Gio’s Deli and Mercato Italiano in Oxford. The business has been open for almost one year and “the word is quickly getting out that it’s a place to come experience,” owner/operator Giovanni Manco says. After graduating from culinary school in Napoli, Italy, Giovanni moved to the United States in 1999 to bring the authentic Italian cuisine to his family’s restaurant. It was during this time Giovanni learned all the avenues of the restaurant business. In 2004, he opened Giovanni’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in The Villages with the help of his wonderful family and staff. As Giovanni was always looking for fresh, real Italian ingredients and products for

the restaurant, the idea of a specialty market and deli was born—now Gio’s could offer imported products that cannot be found anywhere else! Cured meats, cheeses, spices, olive oils, pasta with unique cuts, canned goods, and fresh mozzarella are just some of the items you will find when you step into the deli. It’s like walking into an old Italian mercato. Just the aroma of the freshly baked breads and pastries alone will take you back to the time when your mama was baking and cooking sauce all day! For customers who truly miss Italy, Gio’s Deli and Mercato honors Italian celebrations of the saints and other holidays by making special desserts like St. Joseph zeppalas, pastiera grain pie,

struffoli, pasticciotti, tiramisu, and cannoli. People are excited for Gio’s to be here. “Finally—a real authentic Italian deli!,” customers say. Customers also can dine in for lunch or take it to go. A variety of salads like antipasto or Julie’s salad; sandwiches like the Italian combo or the classic homemade sausage peppers and onions; pizzas; and specialty sandwiches like the Gio Signature or The Godfather are just a few of the items offered. On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday after 4pm, come experience dinner at Gio’s Table, offering a variety of sauté dishes including chicken, veal, seafood, and pasta. And make sure you always save room for dessert! “Don’t forget the cannoli!”


Gio’s Deli and Mercato Italiano 3975 County Road 201, Oxford 352.748.5558 Hours:

Mon-Wed: 10am-6pm Thur-Sat: 10am-8pm Sundays: Closed




This year’s Parade of Homes from the Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter promises to be one of the best.

Home photos courtesy of Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter



he Parade of Homes is an event where you can view homes online and enjoy virtual tours, but nothing beats walking through a brick-and-mortar home built by one of the great builders in Lake and Sumter counties. The 2018 Parade of Homes will be Feb. 24-March 4, and residents can tour new homes in a variety of places from Lady Lake to Groveland and Mount Dora to Umatilla. Not only are the designs and homes new, but many builders participating this year are new members of the Home Builders Association of Lake-Sumter. “We have different entries, so people are not going to see all the same builders,” says Lisa Templin-Rayborn, executive director of the HBA. “Right now, houses are selling almost as soon as they’re finished, and that

has made things a little more challenging for us and the builders.” Entries will be viewed in four categories: community (golf courses or non-golf courses), custom homes, production homes, and virtual viewings, which will showcase model homes that may be available now in other counties but have not been built in this area yet. Many of HBA’s associate members are serving as ambassadors for builders this year and will be on hand to help in any way. Each home will be awarded a merit award for the best feature of the house. There will be first- and second-place winners in each category and a Realtor’s Choice Award. Judging is not based on furnishings, décor, or window treatments. The HBA is rebranding its signs for the 2018 event so they’ll be bigger and easier

February 2018


Important dates Realtor days, Feb. 20-22 Guidebook release, Feb. 22 Awards banquet, Feb. 23 Parade of Homes, Feb. 24-Mar. 4 Cities where visitors can view the 2018 Parade of Homes to spot. Pat Smallwood of Smallwood Signs designed the new signage for the Parade of Homes. In addition, Carl Ludecke of Charlie Johnson Builder, along with many other members of the group, was a significant donor to get new signs. Lisa says planning for the event was carried out by many HBA members, including Karen Schroeder, of Solid Image Countertops, who has been chairwoman of the event for two years, and William Dorman, of White Aluminum, who works diligently for the HBA throughout the year. “Karen pours her professionalism and passion into every part of the Parade of Homes, and makes it the great event it is,” Lisa says. Realtor Days for the Parade of Homes will be Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 20-22, and the awards banquet will be Friday, Feb. 23. Guidebooks will be released Feb. 22 and can be picked up at the Home Builders Association, 1100 N. Joanna Ave., Tavares; Bella Vista at Harbor Hills, the Dream Community and Dream Builder for 2018; Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply in Leesburg and




Mount Dora; and at all locations of Trustco Banks, the Diamond Sponsor this year. Other sponsors include Ro-Mac Lumber & Supply, Solid Image Countertops, Leading Edge Builders of Clermont, and The Orlando Sentinel, which features the guidebook in its Feb. 22 edition. The free tours are self-guided so the guidebook is essential for viewing the homes. It’s important to know that some homes are open only the first weekend, others are open only on weekends, and some are open all 10 days of the Parade of Homes. With the opening of the Mount Dora exchange and Florida’s Turnpike in Minneola, Lake County has become a prime place to build or relocate. “One of our biggest challenges this year has been the dearth of reliable subcontractors,” Lisa says, “and that gets into where we’re going as a county. We need people who want to work with their hands.” If you’re thinking of building a new home, the 2018 Parade of Homes is a fantastic opportunity to see the latest from builders, communities, and cities in Lake County.

Lady Lake Leesburg Minneola Groveland Grand Island Tavares Mount Dora Eustis Umatilla


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While both Inc. Magazine and The Orlando Business Journal have recognized Kevco Builders for its extraordinary growth as a business, Kevco president Joe Ziler knows his company’s success, awards and recognition are entirely driven by customer satisfaction and their referrals.


At the same time, Kevco also believes in maximizing the value of your investment. From upgraded baseboard and trim work to granite counters, the list of Kevco’s “standard features” impresses all, especially the most savvy and cost-conscious homeowner.

Since 1980, Kevco “For me, ‘ ’ was feeling that Builders has been setting From retirees to mine wasn’t just another project for Kevco, but the standard for stability, growing families, a home Joe and his team wanted to be proud flexibility, quality and your lot or one of to put the Kevco name on. I was amazed by value. As Central Florida’s theirs, your everything Kevco included as standards that most award winning Kevco home is the other builders wanted to upcharge.” custom home builder designed to suite and remodeler, Kevco your needs, wants, -Ashya Comes, Kevco Homeowner Builders prides itself of its lifestyle and budget. approach to the process and, perhaps the most critical foundation “We never take for granted how we got here,” of any customer relationship, says Ziler. “Builders come and go. Homes are communication. completed and turned over to the owners. But the experience of building your custom home will Whether bringing your linger for years, if not decades, to come. When own architectural plans, someone asks one of our homeowners about customizing one of Kevco’s their Kevco experience, their answer will define extensive collection of our next client’s expectations and perpetuate our standard and Energy reputation for honesty and quality, which we Smart® floor plans, or strive for every day, on every project.” starting from scratch with our in-house 2D/3D digital design team, Kevco can make your dream home a reality. 40


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awards for the Kevco “Barcelona” and “Southern Vintage” homes, Kevco will once again be a featured custom home builder during the 2018 Lake & Sumter Parade of Homes.


Visit the “Emery” Energy Smart® model at Black Bear from February 24 – March 4, located at 24424 Calusa Blvd, Eustis.


Also, Meet the Builder, Joe Ziler, on Sat. Feb. 24 from 10am-4pm only, when you visit an updated interpretation of the award-winning “Barcelona” in the Reserve at Lake Seneca, located at 35541 Seneca Reserve Drive, Eustis. Please note this location is only open to visitors the weekend of Feb. 24 and 25.

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A February 2018






ollina is C a l l e B s in lt at ntly bui st design trend e c e r e s late . A hou e for the lding industry s a c w o a sh ebui the hom BS MES COM STORY: JA

Rendering courtesy d3 Creative Studio


hat once seemed like a pipe dream that existed only in an episode of “The Jetsons,” smart home technology makes a homeowner’s life easy and effortless. Just ask John Kolb, vice president of construction at Winter Park-based Legacy Custom Built Homes. He and his crew spent the past 10 months

building a 6,600-squarefoot home at Bella Collina in Montverde where nearly every room was outfitted with smart home automation devices. Thirty-six motion sensors provide handsfree illumination when someone enters a room and automatically turn off lights when everyone leaves. An eight-zone HVAC system allows users to

February 2018


warm up or cool down different areas of the home. With the simple press of a button, a digitally controlled thermostat creates a personalized shower experience by remembering a homeowner’s ideal water temperature. There’s a reason this five-bedroom, eightbathroom home was built with meticulous attention to detail. It has the distinct honor of being the 2018 New American Home, a real-world demonstration of

innovations in residential home construction. An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 industry professionals rode a shuttle bus from the convention center to Bella Collina and toured the home during the three-day event. They also toured the New American Remodel, a 1930s home in Winter Park that was transformed using current building techniques. “Technology moves quicker with each passing year, and smart home

It was a challenging undertaking thanks to the new products we incorporated into this home and the level of detail. Fortunately, everybody came together to make it happen. —JOHN KOLB

new homebuilding trends to inspire visitors at the 2018 National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders’ Show, which was held in January inside Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center. According to the NAHB website, the show is the “largest residential and light-construction trade show in North America.” A longstanding tradition of the builders’ show, the New American Home showcases the latest designs, products, and technological




technology in particular simplifies maintenance of the home,” John says. “The home we built showcases the latest concepts in new products, architecture, and lifestyle trends.” NAHB officials contacted his company in early 2017 to build the New American Home. Construction began in March. “It was an honor that they selected us for that,” he says. “It’s like the Super Bowl of homebuilding.” And just like the Super Bowl, intense prep work

was required. With only 10 months to complete the project, John flew to various cities across the country to collaborate with leaders in the residential construction industry. Acquiring a wealth of ideas in homebuilding trends, designs, and new technology proved beneficial in helping his company create a home that is elegant, functional, and efficient. Despite Hurricane Irma in September, the project suffered no major setbacks. “Typically, it would’ve taken us a year and a half to build a home of this caliber,” John says. “It was a challenging undertaking thanks to the new products we incorporated into this home and the level of detail. Fortunately, everybody came together to make it happen.” Step inside and you’ll marvel at a home that is as cozy as it is aesthetically pleasing. And you’ll be impressed with the inventive ways to make small spaces more livable. For instance, the space under a floating staircase near the front of the twostory home is used as a wine room and stocked with several wine racks. Venture upstairs—either by foot or by elevator— and see how a wet bar with a coffeemaker and refrigerator can add life and character to a hallway. Upstairs also is where you will find glass dividers that act as a railing for

a balcony area offering panoramic views of Lake Apopka and a pool. An engaging and fun game room is in the rear of the home on the first floor. There’s an air hockey table, a poker table, and a Ms. PacMan arcade game, as well as a bar area with a big-screen television set. Step outside the game room and you’ll find an outdoor kitchen where family and friends can gather for enjoyable summer parties. An interesting appliance called a kegerator—a refrigerator designed to store and dispense kegs—will surely keep the party going well into the night. State-of-the-art appliances found throughout the home include a Thermador Star-Sapphire Dishwasher, which features a 20-minute wash cycle, and an under-counter, double- drawer refrigerator with three customizable cooling modes. The exterior of the home maintains the Tuscan-style architecture prominent among other homes in Bella Collina. “We modernized the Tuscan style and implemented new and cutting-edge designs,” John says. “The house is also very warm and family-oriented.” As of this writing, John has yet to determine a price for the home. However, it’s safe to say that the lucky buyer will live in a luxurious home with amenities that will make the owner feel lavished and spoiled.

Second Floor

Renderings courtesy d3 Creative Studio

First Floor

February 2018



Each customized space is designed around you, providing easy access to everything you need to conďŹ dently take on the day. Wherever it may take you.


Inspired Closets. “We hired Inspired Closets to organize our master bedroom closet. Marlin did such a fabulous job that we immediately hired him to do the remaining 5 closets. His computer generated plans let us see exactly what we would be getting.” — Eileen C.

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very knowledgeable, approachable, and accessible for all of our questions. The team of installers had the same qualities and were a pleasure to have in our home. The quality of the work was excellent! — Karen C

Visit our Showroom or make an appointment with one of our closet design experts to see what’s possible in your home.


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Multi-Award Winning Builder, Rick Rojas RJ Builders is the first Lake County company to win first place at the Parade of Homes six years in a row. There’s a reason for that. Since opening RJ Builders in 2002, owner Rick Rojas has never wavered in his commitment to complete all residential and commercial projects with quality workmanship, integrity, and professionalism. He prides himself in not only building quality homes but also building lifelong relationships with clients. In fact, Rick is right there for clients every step of the way—from assisting with building design to color selection, and ultimately ensuring the completion of every project with the utmost attention to detail. A lifelong Lake County resident, Rick loves having the opportunity to beautify the area in which he was raised, and he helps touch lives by continually giving back to the community.

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eople constantly ask Danny Smith, “Who’s the other Smith?” in Smith & Smith Realty. Actually, he’s the “other” Smith, and his wife, Billie Faye, is the “first” Smith in the name, as well as broker and president of the Wildwood company. But she may let Danny be the first Smith for a little while. That’s because he received top billing




from the Realtors Association of Lake & Sumter Counties as the 2017 Realtor of the Year. The award recognizes his contributions to the association and the industry, his community involvement, and his many years as one of the top producers in the area. He specializes in land, commercial, and investment properties primarily in Sumter County, but he also

does business in Lake and Marion counties. It’s another in a long line of awards for Danny, who keeps local shelf builders busy. He’s on the national radar, too, garnering the Land Realtor of America Award in 2012 from the National Realtors Land Institute. “That sort of blew me away. I really felt like Smith is a common name and that they got it mixed up, but who was I to straighten them out?” Danny jokes. When comparing the national and local awards, Danny says the Realtor of the Year honor means a little more.

“I’m very proud of him. It’s awesome,” Billie Faye says of the award. “I think it’s the icing on the cake.” Danny is ingrained in the local community. His family moved to Wildwood in 1977 when his father became pastor of First Baptist Church of Wildwood, and Danny has been heavily involved with the church ever since. He put his contract and commercial land skills to good use while helping the church with a $2 million Family Life Center project that was recently completed. He’s also active in the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce

The difference, I think, with this [local] award is these are people I work with every day. It’s really special to me because it is local .

Photo: Fred Lopez


“[The national] one was given to me by my peers in the land business, but it was nationwide, so they don’t really know me day in and day out. They see what I do to help the organization,” he says. “The difference, I think, with this [local] award is these are people I work with every day. It’s really special to me because it is local. These guys, I feel like they know me and they gave me the award anyway.”

and the Wildwood Rotary Club, which helps Habitat for Humanity and other local organizations. Danny has worked in real estate from the ground up, fitting for a man who became a vegetable farmer out of high school. Once the area farming industry dried up, he looked for a different path and in 1997 got his real estate license. Danny then earned certification as an accredited land

consultant and a certified commercial investment member, the highest levels of certification in the fields of land and commercial real estate. He has served on boards and committees of real estate associations at local, state, and national levels. Among other honors, he won the 2015 Commercial Realtor Achievement Award from the Florida Realtors, and the 2016 Businessman of the Year award from the Sumter County Chamber of Commerce. “I’m a farmer, and the good Lord has really given me the ability to be good at land sales,” Danny says. That farming background comes in handy. He views his role as an interpreter, for example, to bring a rancher and a developer together on a deal. “We have a buyer that wants to buy, a seller that wants to sell, and most of the time, they just don’t understand each other,” Danny says. “So, we really work as an interpreter, and I’m very fluent at Florida Cracker.” Danny and Billie Faye, who have three children, Amanda, Will, and Harmon, and five grandchildren, opened Smith & Smith Realty in 2007. They started the business amid the worst real estate crash in history but persevered through some difficult early years. Billie Faye handles residential sales, allowing Danny to focus on his nonresidential specialties.

“She’s my biggest cheerleader,” Danny says of his wife. “She’s the one who, when you come home and you feel like the whole world is against you and you can’t get anything closed, she gives me the confidence to go out and try a little harder.” Like many businesses in Sumter, Smith & Smith has benefited from the development of The Villages. Sumter regularly makes lists of the fastestgrowing areas in the country by one measure or another, Danny says. “What The Villages has done for Sumter County is really put us on the map,” he says. “Our market comes and goes as they come and go. If they’re doing well, we’re doing well.” And The Villages is doing well, scooping up more and more land to expand its retirement community “empire.” And that means Danny is doing well, too. He typically totals $12 million to $15 million a year in land and commercial sales—the past two years, he’s reached $30 million each year. He says the real estate market as a whole is “good and steady,” which makes going to work each day a lot more fun. “When you like what you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like a job as much,” Danny says. “I understand the land business, and when you understand something and you can help people and put deals together—I love putting the deal together.”

February 2018


Top producers

Congratulations to the Top Producers of the Realtors Association of Lake & Sumter Counties.

MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR CLUB Arellano Realty & CAN Realty, LLC Alfred “Skip” Skipper Investments, LLC Nicole May Century 21® Karin Arellano Professional Carlino Theresa Kay Group, Inc Commercial Terri Kuebbeler Group, Inc Lori Walker

Sarah Ness Ashley Pun Susie Westbrook

ASSIST2SELL® Buyers & Sellers Realty

Karen Tefft

Atkins Realty Of Lake County

Lloyd Atkins, III

Bassett Premier Realty Inc

Sharon Bassett April Couturier

Beacon Real Estate & Associates, Inc

Geoffrey S. Chernault Geraldine “Gerri” Rosenthal Black Tie Real Estate & Investments, Inc

Mark Dyer Lauren Lester Michael Ritzenthaler

BNB Realty, Inc

Paula M. Purvis

BonJorn Real Estate

Pamela BonJorn Genger Narehood Bravo’s Properties & Management, LLC

Sonia Bravo

Century 21® Blue Sky Realty Group

Jurgita Ribokaite



Jeanne Abernathy Susan Aicher Linda Killoran Dick Batts Stacy Bracewell Dave Ellis Anna Brady Realty, LLC Paul Carraway Jeff Carlino Dave Ellis Charles Toni Chapman Rutenberg Catherine Dave Lowe Christi Charpia Realty Hanson Real Realty, Inc Donna Cline-Hansard Estate, Inc Deborah Elliott Susan A. Brooks Walter Coe George H. Kittleson Wilma Ferguson Nova Fuller Kaylyn Connett Ginger Mansour Joseph Wynkoop Kathleen Ghearing Marlene Cook Leslie Hanson Michele Lowe Kris DiLeva Citrus Real Rotarius Janet Shatzer Estate Services Linda Engelbrecht Michael Hunter Karen Giehl Coldwell Discover Banker® Tony Terri Gordon Florida Realty Coldwell Hubbard Jessica Graham Simon Ambrose Banker® Realty, Inc Chris Grant Frank DiLiberto Camelot Realty Lisa Atkinson Linda Grizzard Gina DiLiberto Judy Blundell Richard Bisaillon Scott Hubbard Catherine MacKenzie Linda Bucklew Marsha Burton Jamie Sue Mansene Felecia Humphrey Alyse Carter Gordon Olga Jakubowski Patsy Casey Jearri J. Bush Dunn Realty Lisa Mione Jones Bill Casey Pamela S. Eddy Mary Dunn Carol Julianelli Phyllis Dallinga Dawn Giachetti Sean Dunn Judy Kelley Dustin Robert Meyers Kaley Hansen Michelle Parrish Tammy King Carole Rohan Lisa Haynes Shannon King Betty Salas E-Direct Jane M. Ketover Dalemarie LambRealty, LLC Jean Nunn Coldwell Banker Jann Knight Witter Brandi Stewart Residential Lauralyn Lane Debbie Miller Real Estate Andrea Summers Roxanne Logan Sandra J. Krumrine, PA Empire Network Vicki Thomas Loretta Maimone Linda B. Weber Realty, Inc Carolyn Maimone Coletti Real Vici Winn Diana Barber, PA Estate, Inc Debra L. Martin Diana Mahadeo Ronald Coletti Jayne Marvin Century Jeana R. Matthews 21® Carlino Encore Premier Connie Mahan Realty, Inc Ofelia “Lia” May Realty, Inc Real Estate Jorge L. Gonzalez Karol McDermott Ken Roberts, Jr Group Karen D. LaMantia Diana Miguel Jessica Duteau Engel & Völkers Ira Miller Alex Vonhartman Connie Mahan Patrick Bianchi Marilyn Morris Century 21® John Celia S. Davis Crosby & Kristen Myer C. Thomas, Inc Associates, Inc Colleen T. DonlevyMisty Noland Pam Gunn Richard Xavier Burns Stacy Potter Ted Trawick Gonzalez Doreen Landi Kara Puryear Jo Lynn Nicholson Century 21® Sharon Rankin Prime Property Dana Realty Tracie Ruffolo Katherine Reeg-Polfer Group, LLC Resources, Inc Dana Fassett ERA® Grizzard Jim Richardson Summer Alvis Lindsay Sellars Real Estate Kelly Rice Becky Short


Dana Realty Group, LLC

Brian Smith Sharon Smith Margaret Ann Smith Jeanne Sutton Gloria Tabor Carole Thompson Julie Townsend Ann Van De Veer Ken Weber Cynthia Wheeler Sharon Wooten Craig Yox Executive Real Estate Professionals, Inc.

Anthony Piccione Exit® Realty Tri-County

Lynn Gagnon Marty Goff Andy Key Shirley Peacock Carolyn Tessada EXP® Realty, LLC

Dagma E. LeBlanc

John Greenslade Lesley Greenslade Mary Lamoray Robert Mager Nicola J. Martz Mary C. Mateo Jessica McKinney Margie Smith Diana Louise Stone Florida Real Estate Center, LLC

Don Wilson

Florida Realty Investments

Gregory Scott Homan Florida Realty Marketplace

Jeri Anarumo

Four Star Home Brokers, Inc

Sharon Bacon Linda Biggs Garnet Eversole Colleen A. Kramer Foxfire Realty, Inc

Barry Cooperstein Fran Dann-Akin Matthew Wheatley Hope Deszell Flamingo Gail Mitchell Real Estate & Jill Ruell Management John M. Saunders Meghan Isom Russell Stevens Margaret “Regina” John Walter Rodriguez Jin Wang Robert A. Shoemaker III Dorothy Wise Gregory Wood Florida Fine Robert Woodsford Homes Realty Catherine Tarquini FIRST

Front Porch Florida Lifestyle Realties, Inc Realty Group Inc Abigail M. Carr

Karen M. Riscinto

Joy Zahn

Florida Plus Realty, LLC

Future Home Realty Inc

Susan Moeller Claire Brooks Christina Greenslade

Christopher Sanford Jon Wanberg Chad Williams Eddy Workinger

Kim Ducharme Levensohn Barry A. Blake Theresa Morris Gina Buck Amber Nicole Pratt Scott Strem Grizzard Keller Williams® Lena Williams Commercial Real Cornerstone Garden Gate Real Estate, Inc

Estate Group

James Miller Michael Pederson Daniel Tatro Harbor Hills Sales Inc.

Sean Rich Adam Rich

Heirloom Real Estate, LLC

Dawn Williams

Hickory Hill Realty & Management Inc

Lois Benaglio Joyce Plant

Holly Curley Choice Realty, Inc

Holly Jane Curley Home Wise Realty Group, Inc

Wendy ParadiseChase HomeRun Realty, LLC

Lana Flodman Clayton Quest

John Roberts Realty

Michael Alberson Keller Williams® Classic III Realty

Joseph M. Cooper Patricia Flood Cheryl S. Glover, CIPS, CRS Beth Gravilla Debbie Hauert Tiki Jackson Brandie MathisonKlein Tania Matthews April Rager James Armstrong Brittney Guadagnoli Nicole Krause Bryan Nelson Skylar Peterson


Crystal McCall

Narrow Road Realty

Bradley Verkaik Leslie Verkaik

Patricia Shappy Guy Shipley Kevin Shipley Kendall Vansant Hope Wilson Henry Allcott Lynn Bartlett Barbara Bucalo Chris K. Canfield Buddy Clark Mary Colbert Debbie Gentry Mary Grant Thomas D. Heller Bonnie Manross Debbie Roberts Rose Rupe Bradley Salmons Diane Siefkas Robert A. Slutsky Cynthia Steinemann Roland Stults Joy Wilson Deborah Woods

Carol Ann Rivera Mary Jo Williams Realteam Realty Inc.

Trish Leisner

Realty Executives in The Villages

Kathy Abruzzo La Rosa Realty, LLC Robert A. Berube Sabine Bayona, PA Nancy S. Britton Olympus Cara D. Fitzgerald Kandis Buse Executive Andre K. Hernandez Realty, Inc Sheila Davis Bobby Orr Reto C. Badraun Tim Davis Teresa Pileggi, PA Mary Poillion, PA Alberta C. Doxsee Jacob O. Portillo Nancy Pruitt, PA Lisa Esposito Paul Tangalan Julie Haines Optima One Monica Velez LLC Laura Jensen Realty, Inc Leonardo F. Vidal, PA Caleb Cox John Jones Colleen Jay Douglas Lange Drew Evans Weatherbee, PA Sally Love Vrex Isaac Karla Mason Tony Stanley Lake County Annette McCullough Realty Group, Aimee Stanley Richard Aubrey LLC RE/MAX® McKean PAL Realty Melody Ostrom Titanium Group Frank Melino Dawn Brooks Darlene Misciagno List Now Frances Pierce Cary Fier Realty, LLC Brandon Misciagno Cheryl Probert Betty Fitch Matt Buttner Steve Misciagno Stephen F. Savage Mary Jane Grimes Maria Molina Peggy Schaefer Kirk Morel Lowery’s Ashley Taylor Michael Adriana Skoloda Real Estate Group, LLC Schiedermayer RE/MAX® Preferred Real John Ardizone Jr. Linda Sears Touchstone Estate Brokers Pasquale Serafino Vivienne Cunningham Cindy Coldren Lowry Realty, Beverly Shive Melissa “Missy” LLC Mario Deniz Cissie Smith Conway Sandy Trzaska Adam G. Rodriguez Rebecca Jeannie Ulmer Edward Fox Pamela DH Tarver Cindy Wise Micki Blackburn Peter Hettmann Realty Premier Realty Audrey James Realty Executives Patricia Daries Partners Inc Jarene Mathias, PA Lifestyle Group Kathy Griner Autumn Makin Bradley Moore Donna Dyson, PA Kerri Leininger Tera Morgan RE/MAX® Dale Odom Realty Addie Owens Premier Realty Joe Patterson Professionals Marie Rich Lauren Arch of FL,LLC Eileen Patterson Dianne Scott Brenda Bell Nick Clough Kellie Wheeler Barbara A. Breuer Mission Inn Frank Ranfone Real Estate, Inc Elizabeth Dietrich, PA Harvey Rosenberg Real Estate Mary Jane Easley Tammy Dunseath Professionals Janet Pratt Robert Slack Holly A. Farley of America Fine Homes LLC Tammy Freilich Linda Marsh Morris Realty Tonya Lathrop Cory Freilich William Marsh and Investments Nicky Lerch Jo Leen Copper Howe Lee Gettling Real Living® Jane Velentzas Heather Hamilton Lauren Fickett Good Neighbor Paul Jackson Realty, LLC Valerie Foerst Rochette Sharon King Realty LLC Collie Hendrickson Lynn Haynes Nate Natale Edward Arthur Lynn Risch Cammie Kennedy Robert Payne Rochette

Rock Springs Realty, LLC

Joel A. Bornstein

Scates Realty & Investment Properites, Inc

Adriana Escoto

Sellstate Next Generation Realty

Susan BeVille Lillian C. Gauvin Susan M. Wellington Sandy Windham Ida Stagner Judy L. Trout Jack Wilson Maureen E. Wilson Smith & Smith Realty, Inc

Danny Smith

Vangie Berry Signature Realty

Ryan Berry John Cox Jennifer Dempsey Brenda Flagg Duane Lanier Angela Phillips Michael Tart

Vantage Point Realty Co.

Lisa Jones Jennie K. Luft, PA

Visionary Properties, Inc

Mary Baker Rob Crawford

Watson Realty Corp. REALTORS®

Kent Adcock Susan Davis Spruce Creek Real Estate, LLC Cheryl Hilty Mel Horbal Katy Crouse Robert L. Kilgore St. Clair Realty Linda Lake Group, LLC Jo Ann A. Larsen Tina St. Clair Jared Lindroth Stake Your Land Nancy McCloskey Elliott Owens Realty, Inc Breezy Owens Katina Hargrove Kris Persaud Strata Realty Larry Pierce Group, LLC Christine Tangusso Chris Feamster Terry Ward Lisa West TerZa Real Ana Zitnick Estate Enger R. Barnes-Webb Delphine Lampert Janet Hoffman Lisa Pownall Noel Lawrence Cindy Sapp Allen O. Mates, PA The Florida Monique McGuire Property Colleen Taylor Shop Sales & Mike “Turk” Taylor Rentals, Inc Deena Thurmond Sarah Gholami Travis Realty Group

Phyllis Petrochko Frances Post Diane Travis

Tyre & Taylor Commercial Realty, Inc

Don Oliver

Weichert Realtors® Hallmark Properties

Lynne Cox Margaret E. Hensinger Ric Smelser Joey Feeser Leslie Jarrard Jorge L. Mulet, Sr. on Milli ar Doll ! Club

ued on Contin


February 2018



Lisa Carter Kathy Dermody Century 21® Leslie Ann Lavae Dierker World Properties Campasano Doug DuVarney Michael Huculak Dan Foster Bill Webb Bonnie Graham Coldwell Real Estate & Banker® Lauri Grizzard Investments, Camelot Realty Joe Hamblin LLC Denise Hedrick William Webb Claudia Harbaugh Linda S. Kellerman Ricky Harper Black Tie Bonita Kosson Brandy Kelly Real Estate & Linda Lackey Investments, Inc Bob Podell Mollie Podell Buddy Lewis, Jr. Alexander Scopino Charles M. Carl Martin VanderRoest BonJorn Real Hope Medina Estate Lori Morgan Coldwell Renee McLain Kathleen O’Brien Banker® Tyre & Taylor Clarissa Rainey Catherine Susan Hooper Mary Stancil Hanson Real Estate, Inc Barbara Thompson Coletti Real Dana Bruns Leslie Williamson Estate, Inc Michael Specchio Cynthia Coletti Exit® Realty Asano Real Estate LLC

Coldwell Banker® Tony Hubbard Realty, Inc

Cook & Company Realty, Inc

Sally Busby Terry E. Mosley Julie Nay Gordon Christine Newsome Jessica Purvis Lisa Roberts

David R. Cook

Century 21® Carlino Realty, Inc

Pamela Myers Stephenie Winheim

Al Bruns Jeanette Ekberg

Dana Realty Group, LLC

Brian Logan

Dave Lowe Realty, Inc

Engel & Völkers

Trisha Browne Janella Martina Century 21® John Donald Toldson C. Thomas, Inc Kathi Hill ERA® Grizzard Susan Prickett Real Estate John Bach Century 21® Prime Property Jeanie Baggelaar Mandy Bass Resources, Inc Dolores E. (Dell) Fuller Richard Beliveau Doelene Brown C.J. LaScala


Steven Boone Sheri Hutchinson Jessie Kulpan Carl Spataro Jack Voller Jaret Whitney EXP® Realty, LLC

Donald Maycott FIRST

Alison Wheatley Flamingo Real Estate & Management

Renee Lackey

Florida Realty Investments

La Rosa Realty, LLC

Four Star Home Brokers, Inc

Lake Panasoffkee Realty, Inc

Alice McKillips

Teresa Geisterfer Brenda Herr Foxfire Realty, Inc

Timothy Condron Joyce Ann Ellis Herbert Hall Pam Hall Carol Lench Bob Loiselle Faith Mileo John Tanzi Judy Willetts Homeland Florida Realty, Inc

Yanett Saborido

JMR Realty, Inc.

James P. Romeyn Melanie Romeyn

John Edwards Realty & Investment Properties, LLC

Katie Modica

Real Living® Good Neighbor Micki Blackburn Realty, LLC Realty

Michael Lovett

Number One Choice Realty®

Daulis Webb

Optima One Realty, Inc

Ashley Jordan

Oxford Land Company Palm Realty Management LLC

Nancy S. Rayborn Preferred Real Estate Brokers

Nikki Rittenberry

RE/MAX® Premier Realty

Keith Caulk Susie Ellis John Roberts Brian Feldman Realty Meghan Horner Cheryl Roberts Pamela Rich Keller Williams® Cheryl Simmons Classic III Realty Holly Denton Maria Martinez Jaylene Sheldon Judson Osbon

Shelley Anderson




Bill Bazner Dawn Bush Billie Dahl Jessica Essig Lynn O’Connor John Olcese Reece Orlando Debra Stewart June Stienstra Realteam Realty, Inc

Jim Limpus Eddie Melendez Realty Executives in The Villages

Gail T. Carter Sherri Crider Darcie Furnier Jim Grider Matthew Jensen

Realty Professionals of FL, LLC

Julie Clay Jennifer George Constance Gibson Robert Hughes William Reed Charlotte Rose

RE/MAX® Florida Lifestyle Keller Williams® Titanium Group Scates Realty Realty Group Inc Classic VI Realty Pierluigi Arbini Salom & Investment Karin Mezzell Lorie Clarke Reese Properties, Inc Melissa Becorest Florida Plus Realty, LLC

Jennifer D. Martinez

Angi Workinger

Joe Carlisle Corrine Ritzel Kelley Sasser Diana Toledo


Bobbi Bain Amy Farrell Brandy Lake Ashley Shalyn Selph

Grace Gage

Jim Mariucci

Joan E. Zabar

RE/MAX® Touchstone

Sellstate Next Generation Realty

Karin Dinescu Diane Gatelein DeLynda Pratt Laura Shea

Strata Realty Group, LLC

James Reynolds TerZa Real Estate

Jay McGriff

Travis Realty Group

Shelly Linder

Visionary Properties Inc

Tammie Vinson

Watson Realty Corp. REALTORS®

Kristie Baumgartner Kimberly Koch Jody Parks Lisa Rewis Melissa Samar Robin Skaggs Michael G. Hammert Gabriela Louzan Rhonda Moretti Ellen Tidwell Weichert Realtors® Hallmark Properties

Marianne Buchanan Kirby Cartwright, IV Julie Hall Kay Hill

Ronald Pavlacka Eileen Scates

GOLD LEASE CLUB ERA® Grizzard Real Estate

Twila Largent Ronald S Ricketts

Diane Schlosser Haley Gerig


Theresa Morris Broker/Owner


Experience Counts! 352.360.3736


s broker/owner of Morris Realty & Investments, Theresa's vision has always been to be a good leader through faith, family and community. For over 29 years, she has served our community with her real estate ministry and her core values of good counsel, professionalism, honesty and integrity. These values set the standard for the Morris Realty culture. Theresa is extremely thankful for her clients and those who refer to the amazing team at Morris Realty who is celebrating 10 years, this year. With a grateful heart and much humbleness, she is honored to be ranked in the top 1% for sold production in 2017 for Lake and Sumter counties. Theresa has also been blessed to be a multi-million dollar producer for nearly three decades. Remember: "Theresa sells a property every 33 working hours”!

Lena Williams Realtor®


Lena Sells! 352.636.4488


f you don't know "Lena Sells" by now, you're missing out. Lena's servant heart and her dedication to her profession make her one of the most sought-after Realtors® in Lake & Sumter Counties. Lena was recognized as the 2016 Realtor® of the Year by the Realtors® Association of Lake & Sumter Counties, as well as the Leesburg Chamber's 2017 Business Woman of the Year. Lena works tirelessly to insure her clients have the very best in service and real estate education. With her faith and family in mind, she is equally unstoppable when it comes to community, having served for several years as the President of Boys & Girls Clubs of Lake & Sumter Counties, serves on the Leesburg Partnership board, and other various Community organizations.


February 2018



Kwynn Nicholas Realtor®


Win With Kwynn 352.400.8686


ormerly a Registered Nurse, Kwynn is the newest Realtor of the Morris Realty team. Her friendly demeanor, natural inquisitiveness, and goal orientation are traits that serve her customers well. From start to finish, Kwynn’s diligence and eye for detail are evident in any transaction. “Similar to an effective medical plan of care, each real estate transaction should be individualized to fit the customer’s wants, needs, and desired outcome. I’m excited to be a part of making that happen.”

Joan DeFoe Realtor®


Real Estate "Little Giant" 352.516.6843


Realtor for 23 years with the past ten years working with Morris Realty, Joan says providing top quality customer service has always been No. 1 in her professional life. She also promotes her company's mission of serving with integrity and honesty. "We all work to meet that motto."





Jo Leen Cooper Howe Realtor®


The Results Will Move You 352.267.0770


orking hard and listening to customers’ needs has helped me succeed as a Lake County Realtor for over 25 years. I am here to walk you through each step of the real estate process. "I take pride in providing good service, and I keep in touch even after the sale."

Amber Pratt Realtor®


Amber Sold It 407.921.8083


multi-million dollar producer, launched her career in 2013 when she fell in love with real estate. Amber's hard work and integrity has lead the way in her building relationships with her clients. "It is my privilege to share in my clients' major life stepping stone of purchasing or selling a home".



Lauren Fickett Realtor®


Leave It To Lauren 352.636.2167


orris Realty’s 2017 agent of the year, with over $9.5 million in sales and ranked in the top 2% of all Lake and Sumter Realtors, Lauren has been with the company ten years. “It can be stressful buying or selling a house, but its nice to ease people through the process step by step during one of the most exciting times of their lives.”

Lynn Haynes Realtor®


Sells Florida 352.516.0903


ynn uses her 20 years of marketing experience and her extensive area knowledge to benefit her clients. She is in the top 8% of realtors in Lake & Sumter Counties and a multi-million dollar producer. Lynn received the Job Well Done Award in 2007 from Realtors Association and Morris Realty Broker’s Choice Award for 2017.


Camie Kennedy Realtor®


Camie Can! 352.408.4668


ith a degree in Hospitality Management, Camie knew her love of working with people would lead to her Real Estate success! “In my 13 years of Real Estate, my attention to detail, strong sense of integrity and steady work ethic has helped hundreds of clients sell or find their dream home”.

Kim Ducharme Levensohn Realtor®


Kim Connects… Your Real Estate Connection 352.874.5906


Realtor® for over 12 years, Kim is a multi-million dollar producer and is in the top 10% of the real estate agents in Lake and Sumter Counties. She takes pride in staying in constant contact with each step of the process. Kim’s attention to detail & community contacts will put you in the home of your dreams or position your home to sell!







Mary Jo Williams, Realtor® Real Living Good Neighbor Realty 100 W. Fifth Ave., Mount Dora, FL 32757 352.516.6736


or Mary Jo Williams, the secret to being a consistent multi-million dollar producer is simple. Her outgoing personality, friendly smile, and passion for real estate are attributes that help her succeed in a challenging and competitive industry. A real estate agent since 2003, Mary Jo is a Sapphire Medallion Award winning agent with Real Living Good Neighbor Realty in Mount Dora. She isn’t one to spend eight hours behind a computer in an air-conditioned office. In fact, when she’s on the job, she feels much more comfortable traversing through Lake County’s forests, lake-fronts, grassy fields, flatlands, and vegetable gardens. A self-described outdoor enthusiast, she specializes in custom country properties, helping clients not only find a suitable home but also land that matches their unique lifestyles. Her clients run the gamut, from equestrians to mountain bicyclists, hikers, natureloving enthusiasts, boaters, conservationists to hunters. “What I love about my job is finding the ideal property that clients can visualize in their minds,” Mary Jo says. “When I’m able to find that property, there’s nothing greater than seeing their joy. It’s all about them, not me. I work very hard to help them. I receive just as much satisfaction because I helped them discover their dream. It’s

not about the “house” for most people I work with, it’s about the lifestyle, and their home has to fit their lifestyle.” Mary Jo can relate to their situation. Before she and her husband, Tom, moved to Lake County in 1999, they were looking for property where they could pursue their passion for trail-riding horses. Unfortunately, finding the ideal land proved to be difficult. “Many agents didn’t understand the lingo” she says. “I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so motivated to understand their wants and the needs, as a Realtor. “Now I can help people find their ideal place and live the ideal lifestyle they desire.” Mary Jo is an equally tireless worker when it comes to selling homes and property. “I find out what’s special about that property, figure out who would love it, and market the property to that audience. Finding and selling a home should be a pleasant experience. Everybody should look forward to it rather than dread it. The one thing I’ve discovered in this industry is that if you really care about people, work really hard, you will do well.” Mary Jo has certainly done well, Lake County Association of Realtors’ “Rookie of the Year” award her first year and consistently achieving Multi-Million Dollar Producer every year since.


Broker Remarks: Mary Jo has been with me as a sales agent since starting her career. In that time she has consistently demonstrated an above average production which is generated as a result of her knowledge, genuine sincerity, and a strong ethical work ethic. Based on my 40 years experience as a Broker/Owner it is easy to say she meets all of the qualifications as consummate real estate experience in addition to being a rewarding experience for us. — John A “Pete” Craft Broker/Owner, Real Living Good Neighbor Realty Reviews For Mary Jo Williams: “I couldn’t be more pleased with Mj…she was sharp…articulate…professional…worked with me at every turn… all in all we sold 3 properties to maximize our financial outcomes and made sure we got what we wanted…and she brought both buyers! How often does that happen…right!?” — T.H., Seller “Mary Jo Williams went above and beyond the normal process of this sale. This sale had paperwork and information that was botched from 20 years ago. Her diligence and perseverance to resolve the issues from the prior ownership transfer. We were kept abreast of any and all processes of the sale, even after the sale was made. We were very pleased that we did not have to do anything other than let Mary Jo Williams do her job. We were able to become friends from here on. A hard task simplified by a pleasurable, professional, and experienced Real Estate Agent.” — F.M., Seller


Randy Owens

Steve Longshore Mary Robertson

Tammie Vinson

Mary Baker

Visionary Properties, Inc. 353 W. Alfred St. Tavares, FL. 32778 352.636.2733


ary Baker is the broker and owner of a successful boutique real estate firm, Visionary Properties, Inc., with offices in Tavares and Sarasota. Mary proudly notes her team has the expertise to meet clients’ needs. She became a Realtor in 1992 and earned her Broker’s license in 2002. “Our priority and focus is really customer service! Because we are small, we can offer much better service than larger real estate firms. Customers do not get lost in the shuffle; we call them back immediately, and because of that, we have repeat business and referrals because we really do communicate extensively with our customers! In fact, the primary feedback that we receive from our clients is that we go far beyond ‘the call of duty’ to meet our clients’ needs.” As an example, Realtor Tammie Vinson once pressure washed a house to get it ready for showing and even mulched a yard to help a client. “Tammie is Visionary Properties’ expert counselor for new home buyers. She


Rob Crawford Chevy

helps them through the process step-by-step. This is great for young people who have never owned a home before.” Realtor Rob Crawford is willing to travel anywhere to assist his clients with their real estate needs. Rob brings 25 years’ experience to Visionary Properties. “Rob is an excellent negotiator for our buyers, getting them a great deal on their dream home. Sellers love his service and quick turnaround in getting their house sold.” Randy Owens in the Sarasota office is our ‘Waterfront Specialist.’ His knowledge of the intercostal waterways is very important for both buyers and sellers. Visionary Properties’ Customer Care Team consists of Mary Robertson and Steve Longshore. They are the first to talk to clients. They make sure that our clients are receiving the best information possible, and get started in the right direction for their home search. Overall, Mary notes Visionary Properties, Inc. is committed to helping customers achieve results!

The Vision for your Investment future





Noel Moenssens, Founder/Realtor Noelco, Inc., DBA Orlando Homes and Investments 128 Nautica Mile Drive Clermont, FL 34711 407.467.6515


oel Moenssens is founder and president of Noelco, Inc., DBA Orlando Homes and Investments. His company has provided a full range of real estate brokerage services to investors, homeowners, builders, and developers for more than 30 years. Born in Belgium, he came to Orlando in 1982, where he began his real estate career at his father’s construction company following graduation from American University in Washington, D.C. Since getting his Florida real estate license in 1988, Noel has sold and listed more than a quarter billion dollars of residential and commercial real estate. He maintained business and personal relationships overseas and conducts European seminars using his construction and Florida real estate knowledge as the basis. His company manages a more than $20 million property portfolio for investors and has paid out more than $1.3 million in net rental proceeds every year during the past five years. In addition to general real estate services, Orlando Homes and Investments builds new homes in Lake and Polk counties, most recently, the upscale duplex by Clermont Waterfront park. He is the father of two daughters, Nicole, who recently graduated from the University of South Florida, and Sophia, a junior at Florida State University.


February 2018



Arellano Realty & Investments 17533 County Rd 455, Montverde, FL 34756 352.241.0004 |


here’s a key ingredient when it comes to customer retention: Keep your clients happy and satisfied with your services and they’ll keep using you again and again. That has certainly been the case at Arellano Realty & Investments, which was opened in 2006 by Broker/ Owner Karin Arellano. She and her team are a group of smart, astute, and innovative Realtors® who take a great deal of pride in going above and beyond for their valued clients. It’s a big reason why each of the company’s full-time real estate agents can claim the distinguished title of multimillion dollar producer.




It’s also why much of their business comes from repeat customers and referrals. Clients love how the company blends the best of both worlds: a small-town, personal touch with leading-edge technology and tools that help agents complete simple and complex tasks. “We’re not a franchise or a chain,” says Carolyn Ann Cole, the Office Manager with a Realtor® designation with the company. “We’re a team that helps each other in an effort to provide superior customer service.” Arellano Realty & Investments, which is located in Montverde, specializes in residential and


commercial real estate, investments, property management, and vacant land properties. Clients throughout Central Florida have utilized the company’s services. In August, the company was relocated to a 1910 Florida Crackerstyle home that was formerly an antique store named Rosa’s. Designed and developed by Karin, the twostory, 1,586-square-foot home features a full kitchen, large conference room, and soon a fenced-in area that will house the company’s popular mascots—a horse named Cyrus and a miniature donkey named P Diddy.

The team includes: “We encourage everyone to stop by our new office and receive a tour,” Karin says. Because many agents at Arellano Realty & Investments live in Montverde, they take a great deal of pride in helping the community prosper. That’s why the company sponsors local schools and events such as Montverde Academy, Toys 4 Tots, the Florida Cattlemen’s Association, Montverde Day, and many others. Outside of the office, the agents at Arellano Realty & Investments achieve camaraderie by participating in fun-filled activities in Lake County.

One time, in fact, they attended Joseph Steed’s Archery and Firearms course in Montverde and acquired their concealed weapon licenses. “We’re not a cutthroat company by any means,” says Realtor® Sarah Ness. “We all have a great deal of respect for each other, and I know I can call any of them for help and they’d be there for me in a second.” Stop by and meet the talented group of real estate professionals who make the buying/selling process fun and enjoyable.


Diana Kepley, Office Administrative Assistant Karin Arellano, Broker/Owner Carolyn Ann Cole, Office Manager/Realtor® Sarah Ness, Realtor® Ashley Pun, Realtor® Susie Westbrook, Realtor®/Broker Associate Terri Kuebbeler, Realtor®/Broker Associate Stefanee Puchlopek, Realtor®/Builder Theresa Kay, Realtor®/Broker Associate Diana Suarez, Realtor® (not pictured)


Kathy Griner, Real estate agent Micki Blackburn Realty

Joe Patterson, Real estate agent Micki Blackburn Realty

450 E. Hwy 50 Clermont, FL 34711 352.459.4891


eing in real estate just reminds me of family,” Joe Patterson says. “We support and help one another, which, in return, supports and helps our clients with their needs and concerns.” Joe feels working at Micki Blackburn Realty is a privilege. “Micki, our broker, is always at our side, giving the best advice and having solutions to bring clients and their properties together.” Kathy Griner has been with the company since 1998 and also appreciates Micki’s help and teaching. “One of her many sayings is, ‘You get what you put into it,’ and she’s right.” Joe




450 E. Hwy 50 Clermont, FL 34711 352.272.2508

and Kathy have been partners in their work for several years and found it works well for both of them. “He has such a talent connecting with people,” she says. “My strengths are listing presentations and negotiations.” Joe agrees, “Being partners makes us more efficient, confident, and reliable in getting our work done. That helps us be certain the people we help are happy with the sale or purchase of a home or property.” Joe and Kathy are classic car enthusiasts. She has a ‘65 Mustang and he enjoys his ‘74 Corvette.



Karen M. Riscinto, CDPE, CIPS, TRC, MRP  Florida Lifestyle Realty Group, Inc.  104 E. 3rd Ave.  Mount Dora, FL. 32757 352.250.3166   


aren Riscinto takes great pride in helping clients/customers buy or sell homes, not just houses. Florida Lifestyle Realty Group, Inc., would like to show our appreciation to veterans, active military, and first responders with either a $500 credit at closing or a free home warranty up to $500 if they purchase or sell a home through them. Karen believes the goal is finding the perfect house to fit the needs of the individual or family. With a background in construction and interior decorating, she has an eye for detail and easily can see things beyond what is readily apparent, and have the greatest impact for the home buyer. Understanding knowledge is power, Karen works diligently to ensure she has the information needed for a smooth road to buying or selling a home. In addition to being Broker/Owner of Florida Lifestyle Realty Group, Inc., she owns Florida Lifestyle Property Management and is owner and decorator at Interior Motives of Lake County, LLC. Karen appeared as the featured agent on HGTV on “Lake Front Bargain Hunt” (“Living Large in Lake County” episode), has been in the multimillion-dollar club since 2012, and was 2016 “Daily Commercial Realtor® of the Year.” Rescuing collies since 1996, Karen had seven of the beautiful dogs at one time, and now has two collies, Savannah and Rebel.


February 2018



Susan Wellington, Realtor Sellstate Next Generation Realty 805 County Road 466, Ste. 101 Lady Lake, FL 32159 352.638.3821

* R

I know communication is the key in every step of the process. I pride myself at being available whenever my clients need me and make every effort to accommodate their needs. —SUSAN WELLINGTON

ealtor Susan Wellington does business based on one simple rule: “Treat other people the way you want to be treated.” With a strong work ethic and extensive education and background in marketing and sales, Susan knows the value of education— for herself and her client—when it comes to real estate. With the growth in Lake and Sumter counties, Susan is ready to expand her business and will help you buy or sell a home in any area. Wherever you’d like to look at a house in Florida, she’s ready to check it out with you. Originally from the Midwest, Susan always enjoyed visiting family in Florida and was happy to eventually make it her home. “Even as a child, I took leadership roles and began working when I was 12 years old.” For years she worked in sales, moving up from being an account manager to vice president of sales in the Midwest. She eventually covered the entire country helping people solve business concerns. Susan was also a top performer as a Series 7 Financial Planner at Dean Witter/Morgan Stanley. “Training is important. With what I’m doing, I need to know


Susan and her husband, Dan, enjoy living in Florida. They have bought and sold many homes and know what it is like to move. Together, they have six children and six grandchildren. Dan is a retired principal. Their favorite activities are golf and travel.

as much as I can.” Always an overachiever, Susan’s passion and skill as a Realtor made her a multi-million-dollar producer in real estate. She reached this lofty goal during her first full year as an agent. “My goal is to always provide clients with a smooth and pleasurable experience. This experience leaves them with the feeling and assurance that they were represented in the very best way they could.” Since she is familiar with all the aspects of making the transition to a new place and a new home, she operates in a straight-forward manner so clients know what’s happening every step of the way. Susan is also very experienced with listing homes where her marketing skills help her to provide sellers expert assistance in staging, photography and more. The result is faster offers. She has had many homes receive offers in one to seven days. “I know communication is the key in every step of the process. I pride myself at being available whenever my clients need me and make every effort to accommodate their needs. I do what I say I will do.” She adds that it’s wonderful to see the smiles on peoples’ faces when they find the home they love. Susan says, “it all goes back to treating people the way they want to be treated.”

* My goal is to always provide clients with a smooth and pleasurable experience. This experience leaves them with the feeling and assurance that they were represented in the very best way they could.” —SUSAN WELLINGTON



February 2018



Sharon Bassett, Broker/Owner

10925 SE 177th Place, Suite 403 Summerfield, FL. 34491 352.307.2925

Nathan Burlingame Realtor®

Sharon Bassett Broker/Owner


hen the team from Bassett Premier Realty enter a room, they release a positive vibe that exudes their camaraderie and easygoing demeanors, and that’s because of one important reason. “They’re like my family and I am blessed to have such a great team,” Broker and owner Sharon Bassett says of her team, which includes property management specialist Glori Hooke, Realtor and Air Force veteran April Couturier, Realtor Nathan Burlingame, and commercial Realtor and Army veteran Wes Walker. Bassett Premier Realty is a full-service real estate company specializing in residential, commercial, vacation properties, and long-term rentals. Nathan describes their areas of expertise as a “Boutique Brokerage that provides experience, results, and professionalism.” Sharon and her team are always striving for excellence. “Customer service is key, that’s why we focus on building relationships and creating the

Glori Hooke Management Specialist


best experience for our clients. We’ve been told that we make them feel like they’re the only customer because of the attention and dedication we give them.” At Bassett Premier Realty, there is no such thing as competition when they all have the same goal: teamwork. “We celebrate each other daily through teamwork, camaraderie, encouragement, and overall, joy for one another’s success.” “Everyone helps each other to generate the best results,” April says. April then goes on to say, “We all want to see each other be their best and succeed.” Glori expressed the same feelings as April when she said, “We work together because we’re all in it together. We’re in it to win it.” That kind of teamwork, drive, and tenacity are the keys to success at Bassett Premier Realty. “We’re always determined to get our clients what they want,” Wes says. “We listen to what people want and we work hard for them,” Sharon says.

Wes Walker Commercial Realtor® Army Veteran

April Couturier, SRES Realtor® Air Force Veteran


Kandis Buse, Realtor

Realty Executives of The Villages Liberty Plaza 11714 NE 62nd Terr., Ste. 300 The Villages, FL 32162 352.267.2386


Realtor® with extensive experience, Kandis Buse knows how to listen and learn the needs of both buyers and sellers. Originally from Lake County, she concentrates her sales in The Villages and is dedicated to meeting client needs and ensuring client satisfaction. Achieving the buyer’s or seller’s goals is at the forefront of everything she does. She not only provides prospective homebuyers with information about listings, she has all the necessary information to inform buyers about The Villages on her website, KandisBuse. com, so sales go efficiently and smoothly. She understands the value and importance of internet marketing because statistics prove that more than 92 percent of home searches begin online. Her expert promotional skills mean homes are sold as quickly as possible. To give buyers the best view of homes and property, she always uses professional photographers and videographers. During most of 2017, she was among the Top 10 Producers and is a Multi-Million Dollar Producer. Community is also important to Kandis. She was privileged to be a part of her company’s efforts to benefit The Children of Wildwood by getting donations of toys and raising money for uniforms for students. As a part of her company’s efforts to benefit The Children of Wildwood, Kandis was a Gold Sponsor and helped with donations of toys and raising money for uniforms for students. After all, this is where she lives too.


February 2018




Strata Group — Real Estate & Builders 1930 N Donnelly St., Mount Dora, FL 32757 352.254.5241


hether you are considering buying or selling real estate, looking to build your dream home, or seeking investment property, Strata Group offers professional experts prepared to work with you every step of the way. From day one, Strata Realty was created with a shared vision between Chris and fianceé, Taylor that teamwork would be the focus of the Mount Dora-based company. Our goal was to build a team that was knowledgeable and committed to expediting customers’ real estate needs. “Excellence at Every Level” is Strata’s motto. “Each part of a real estate transaction is delegated to specific team members, which allows agents to focus more on the customer and less on back office details”, says Chris. “Whether it is the buyer, seller, lender or closing agent, we strive to make the process as smooth as possible for any party involved,” adds Taylor. “It just comes down to providing a great customer experience.”

“We are individual agents, but we work together and we all help each other,” says Realtor Jim Reynolds. “If I am out with a customer and I’m asked a question that I don’t have the answer to, I can text our office and get an answer from the team within 30 seconds. It’s really neat that we are all interconnected that way.” Available properties can be viewed a www. “Everyone is local,” says Broker Greg Nacke, who has been a licensed broker for 30 years. “We grew up here. We are all hometown people.” In addition to Strata Realty, Strata Group includes Strata Builders which is poised to help customers build a custom home that fits their floor plan and budget needs. Several upgraded amenities are standard with every Strata home, such as Icynene Insulation, real wood cabinets w/soft close, all appliances, granite counters, wood tile flooring, unlimited paint colors etc.—items that other builders often charge additional fees for. In

addition to custom homes, Strata Builders works with many investors, specializing in commercial and income producing properties. Long-time friends, Grant Gibson, Lee Conn and Chris Feamster started Strata Builders with a similar vision and core values in mind. “We knew our goal was to create a new and improved experience associated with building within our local communities. The three of us along with our team, combine our levels of experience and knowledge to meet the needs of each customer. Our standards are considerably higher than what the market sees today, we are all local and we care about the homes that are being built in our community” says Chris. “Strata represents the layers of our company and the services we have to offer,” Chris. “With teamwork, we make the process easier for our customers, and that is our goal.”

Real Real Estate Real Estate Estate | Home | Home | Builders Home Builders Builders | Investments | Investments | Investments


February 2018



Billie Faye Smith, Broker/President Smith & Smith Realty 1102 N. Main St., Suite F Wildwood, FL 34785 352.748.5656


orking together as well as living together might take a toll on some couples, but that’s not the case for Danny and Billie Faye Smith, owners of Smith & Smith Realty in Wildwood. The couple recently celebrated 30 years of marriage and 10 years of operating their company, so apparently, the couple that sells property together, stays together. Smith & Smith Realty specializes in land, commercial, and residential properties primarily in Sumter County, but also does business in Lake and Marion counties. Billie Faye is broker and president of the company—the “first” Smith in the company name—while Danny is broker associate and vice president. And they are all about real estate. “We really do live it. We’re all in,” Danny says. “We don’t have a Plan B,” Billie Faye jokes. Danny’s background is in farming, while Billie Faye is a former horse trainer. But after Danny got his real estate license in 1997, she followed in the business the next year. The couple opened Smith & Smith Realty in 2007 during a miserable real estate slump, but persevered through tough years by never losing sight of their mission. “We stayed focused on buying and selling in real estate and working together,” Danny says Billie Faye handles residential sales and administrative duties, and assists Danny with background information as he focuses on land and commercial sales, which is the bulk of their business. They still sell plenty of residential properties, however, with an emphasis on the surrounding areas of The Villages. “We’ve built up such a good, solid reputation for the land and commercial that people forget we’re also very successful at the residential,” Danny notes. The teamwork has paid off. Danny was named 2017 Realtor of the Year by the Realtors Association of Lake & Sumter Counties, following the 2015 Commercial Realtor Achievement Award from the Florida Realtors, and the 2012 Land Realtor of America Award from the National Realtors Land Institute. “I’m very proud of him. It’s awesome,” Billie Faye says of the latest honor. “I think it’s the icing on the cake.” There’s no rivalry between the competitive Danny and the laidback Billie Faye, as they put clients first at Smith & Smith Realty. “We like to work together. Not everybody can say that,” Billie Faye says. “We’re best friends, we’re spouses, and we enjoy spending time together,” Danny adds. And they enjoy selling properties together as well.



The Freilich Group RE/MAX Premier Realty

Tammy Freilich, Realtor® SRES, CLHMS, CDPE Multi-Million Dollar Producer 352.414.8473

“When You Expect Success”


The Freilich Group takes pride in the ammy Freilich, Realtor and Team service they provide. Some previous clients Leader of The Freilich Group with RE/ have said, “very professional, service is top MAX Premier Realty is the recipient of notch, every detail meticulously monitored, numerous prestigious awards including the exceptional service and communication, Platinum Club, Chairmans Club, and as of responsive to all needs, expectations 2017, RE/MAX Hall of Fame Inductee. She exceeded, knowledgable and superior specializes in The Villages and surrounding negotiator...” communities. Tammy’s areas of expertise Tammy and her team look forward to include luxury and distressed properties. serving you in all of your real estate needs. She began her career 27 years ago in the legal field of real estate, subsequently moving into sales and marketing. Tammy has grown her business into The Freilich Group with son, Cory Freilich, as a Partner, and Liz Dietrich and Liz Baker as Buyers’ Coordinators. “When You Expect Success” is The Freilich Group motto. The group’s combined 50 years’ experience and exceptional service, benefits clients in all aspects of every transaction. The Freilich Group believes they are the Tammy Freilich best when it comes to Realtor® Liz Baker being well-rounded, Team Leader Realtor® innovative and aggressive. Buyers Coordinator Liz Dietrich Broker/Associate Cory’s fresh approach Buyers Coordinator keeps The Freilich Group at the forefront of the ever changing real estate industry. Liz Dietrich, with 17 years of selling in The Villages, brings insight to the clients you won’t find elsewhere. Liz Baker, a natural sales and marketing guru brings over 20 years of sales expertise to the team.


Cory Freilich Broker/Associate

February 2018


Opening the window

Apartment-size homes are being billed as a fresh idea for affordable-housing demands. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL





esthetically appealing, affordable, highquality entry-level homes are in demand in Lake County, according to a local housing expert who claims the American Dream is out of reach for four out of 10 families in the county. “My purpose here is I intend to open a window,” says Kent Adcock, CEO of Habitat for Humanity of Lake-Sumter, as he metaphorically paraphrased the words of Pope John Paul XXIII while recently proposing a housing concept to the Lake County Board of County Commissioners. “Just open a window and let some new thoughts blow in, some new ideas come into our thinking,” Kent says. “We should be challenged to bring in that innovation to consider alternative models for affordable housing.” He has discovered many millennials are increasingly eliminated from housing

...what we are talking about is real high-quality, energy-efficient, small footprint, fee-simple, apartment-sized homes... —KENT ADCOCK

opportunities due to entrylevel incomes. “I am not proposing a tiny home community, which is a phenomenon that has recently developed where people live in RV-like mobile units of 125 to 250 square feet. I personally believe that there is merit in that model, but what we are talking about is real high-quality, energy-efficient, small footprint, fee-simple, apartment-sized homes (where homeowner owns house and land) built in a walkable community that is either on a slab or stem wall,” Kent says. “The key term is apartment size—400 to 700 square feet, one

bedroom or two bedrooms. In the past, historically, households began meagerly with a starter home, not a 1,600-square-foot, $160,000-plus home, but an apartment-sized home.” The concept of cottage homes would offer a smaller price point for entry-level homeowners or those looking to downsize. Kent showed the county commissioners photos of some of these smaller houses built in the North Carolina mountains that were in the $70,000 to $80,000 price range. “There is a movement toward minimalism, especially millennials, and even people my age,”

says Kent, who recently downsized to a smaller home with his wife. “We cut our house in half. It’s less maintenance, less to keep up, less cost, and I think a lot of people are beginning to recognize McMansions are not necessarily everything they are cracked up to be.”


In doing research, Kent told the commissioners that 37 percent of all Lake County households earn less than $35,000 a year, and 50 percent of Lake County households earn less than $50,000 annually. “What housing payment can a household earning $35,000 a year afford? That’s kind of critical to the dynamics of a growing suburb that Lake County really has become. HUD uses the principle that you shouldn’t spend more than 30 percent of your household income on housing, which means

February 2018


$875 a month would be the maximum for a family earning $35,000 a year,” Kent says, referring to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines. However, the average rent in Lake County is much higher, he says. In Eustis alone, it’s $1,121 a month, which makes it “extremely taxing and well over their ability to afford,” Kent says of a family earning $35,000. Also taxing is that it’s difficult to find a new home in Lake County for less than $160,000 a year, he adds. That price point would require about 6 percent in closing costs ($9,600) and a Federal Housing Administration down payment of 3.5 percent ($5,600), which would amount to about $15,000 cash to buy an entry-

level, brand-new house in the county. “Their payment would be $930 a month, which is over the HUD standard, so it’s really not affordable for someone earning $35,000 a year,” Kent says. He also notes the county has substandard housing that often requires costly repairs that could be burdensome for residents. “We looked at four vulnerable population groups that are in Lake County,” Kent says. Coming in No. 1 was 65-plus age seniors, representing 26.4 percent of the population; disabled residents are at 9.5 percent; millennials, ages 18-24, make up 23.8 percent and are growing dramatically, he adds; while military veterans account for 12.4 percent, which is 1.5





This is a concept; we’re opening a window to let some new possibilities in. —KENT ADCOCK

times higher than the national average. Kent believes affordable housing can be achieved in the similar fashion Habitat has done in building Veterans Village in Umatilla, a pocket neighborhood of several new homes either under construction, completed, or ready for occupancy early this year. The apartmentsize cottages would be half the size of the homes in Veterans Village, he says. “There is going to be a need for this type of housing,” says Todd Drennan, vice president of Forefront Architecture, noting the growth of Orlando extending into Lake County has become more prevalent.

Kent photo: Fred Lopez


“So our thinking here is to create a pilot that gives an opportunity to test a new product to see how valid the theory is related to this type of housing transition,” Kent says. “This is a concept; we’re opening a window to let some new possibilities in.” Kent suggests the housing pilot could be established in one of the older existing mobile home parks. Some of the parks are 40 to 50 years old and are substandard in terms of housing, and he believes they could be transitioned into a community of cottage homes. He envisions the pilot plan working because many mobile home communities have met requirements from a zoning and services

perspective, including not having to adhere to minimum square-foot standards for houses and lots; being exempt from having to have a carport or garage; being exempt from impact fees because services already exist for water, sewer, and electric; and having higher density approvals. “I believe many lowerend mobile home parks could be refreshed with a new conversion while creating property tax for the county,” Kent says. His overall wish is for county officials and staff members to talk internally and externally with other stakeholders about the idea, just as they would with a planned unit development.

“There are lot of possibilities here and I think it is a wonderful idea,” says County Commissioner Leslie Campione, who was not alone in voicing support. If the concept goes forward and Habitat directors approve, Kent notes Habitat could help in development and maintenance of the smaller homes. “We will seek to provide subsidy for closing costs and principal reduction,” he says, along with assisting families with education and mortgages with affordable terms, such as no money down. In terms of affordability, he says attempts would be made to achieve a house payment that is 50

percent of the current rent and ownership costs… “Basically, no more than rent costs on a mobile home lot,” he says, adding many parks charge $400 to $450 a month in lot rent on 40-and 50-year-old mobile homes that have deteriorated. Kent was pleased with county commissioners’ feedback. “There was no indication that we should shy away from at least continuing to the next level of dialogue, so I am excited about it,” Kent says. “I think there will be a market if this is developed with quality, and I think we have demonstrated with Veterans Village the quality.”

February 2018


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Flags purchased by local businesses, clubs and organizations, and other sponsors soon will be taken to the top of Mount Everest. STORY: LEIGH NEELY












in Nepal located halfway up Mount Everest. The Sherpas of Thame earn their living as “porters,” carrying supplies for those brave enough to climb Mount Everest. In 2015, a devastating earthquake hit the area and almost 100 percent of the town’s structures, including the local school, were destroyed. The largest village in this area, Thame is best known as the home of Tenzing Norgay, the first Sherpa to climb Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953. It was Sir Edmund who built the school where the children of Thame were educated. The village is 12,500 feet from the base of the mountain. Everything the community needs is

February 2018


carried up the mountain by the Sherpas in a three-day climb because there are no roads or transportation. Apa Sherpa, who grew up in Thame and met Sir Edmund and also climbed with Sir Edmund’s son Peter, notes that Westerners climb for adventure, but Sherpas climb to support their families. Because they live at a high altitude, they can carry the equipment and expertly lead the adventure climbers on the safest route. They also know how to deal with weather conditions, illness due to altitude or cold, and how to set up camps. Many Sherpas have died during climbs, the most disastrous being an avalanche in 2014 that killed more than a dozen of the Nepali guides. Today, Apa Sherpa is the most famous person from the village. In Nepal, he is known as the “Himalayan

Tiger” because he holds the record for climbing Mount Everest more times than anyone—21. He also works with groups to ensure people are aware of how climate change is affecting the Himalayan mountains. He was a member of the Eco Everest Expedition, which spent an hour atop Mount Everest with a banner reading, “Stop Climate Change.” The danger presented by climate change means less snow on the ice rocks and that increases chances of falling. Apa Sherpa now lives in Utah, having moved to the United States to give his children better education and business opportunities. But Thame holds a special place in his heart. He created a foundation ( to help the struggling village rebuild the school with the

same bricks used in the original school building. The children and teachers currently are using tents, which don’t provide enough protection from the cold on the frigid mountain. Locally, David van de Velde, of The Villages, is spearheading a project to raise funds to help rebuild the much-needed school building. He is selling flags that will be carried by Apa Sherpa’s nephew, Ang Sherpa, and international ocean explorer Garrett McNamara to the top of Mount Everest to be photographed. The flags will be returned to those who bought them for display at businesses and organizations or sold at auction for charities. “We came to do the flags because of Apa Sherpa,” says Dr. Sanjeev Bhatta, who works with David on

the project. “My wife and I have been involved with the school program for six to seven years. When I mentioned it to David, he got the community involved. “I was the one who came up with Apa Sherpa, the world champion mountaineer,” Sanjeev adds. “Dave came up with the ideas of the flags to be displayed and photographed at 29,000 feet. You’re standing on earth, but your hands are in the stratosphere.” Sanjeev is a cardiologist and his wife, Dr. Pritha Dhungana, is a psychiatrist who received her education at Tribhuvan University, Institute of Medicine, in Kathmandu, Nepal. “The villages were established many decades ago for the salt trade as traders tried to understand how they could get salt across the Himalayas,” Sanjeev





says. “The Sherpas became their porters. As a result of living at that altitude, they have 10 percent less red blood cells than we do, but 30 percent more endurance than we have.” After the salt trade disappeared, Sir Edmund began helping the village of Thame. The flags will be vacuumpacked in a roll and taken out on top of Mount Everest. Photos will be taken of Ang Sherpa holding all 50 flags, weather permitting. “You must leave the mountain by noon,” Sanjeev says. “With 400 people a day going up, they will have half an hour at the most.” Residents of the MacClenny neighborhood in The Villages are among those who have purchased flags. “We would never have found out about anything like this without Dave.

We’re excited, and it’s amazing how it all connects so that we can reach out and try to make a difference,” resident Janette Carlile says. “I’m proud I live in a very generous and caring neighborhood.” David Lewis, a member of The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra, says a flag will be an auction item for its annual major fundraiser in April 2019. Members of the Rotary Club of The Villages/Evening came together to purchase a flag for South Sumter High School students who are participating in the Interact Club, a Rotary-sponsored international exchange program. The Combat Veterans to Careers also will be represented with a flag. Ryan Keating, a student in the Leesburg High School culinary arts program, was part of a group photo for

the project. White scarves worn by those in the photographs are of Khata, a Tibetan ceremonial scarf of goodwill used on many occasions to represent the giver’s regard for the receiver. “It means a lot for me to have this opportunity,” Ryan says. “I’m glad to be here and to help everyone on Everest. “I like the story because of the sacrifice and how it correlates to life. You have to work hard to reach your goal and some of those people even lose body parts. Their goal to reach the top of Mount Everest is more important than anything else I can think of.” David van de Velde and David Lewis hired a teacher to help the children in the village school learn English.



“The Buddhists are very simple people,” David van de Velde says. “Apa Sherpa was a baby when an earthquake triggered an avalanche and he was buried. His little leg was sticking out, and they drug him and his mother out of the snow. They said they were ‘saved by the gods of the mountains.’ He was given the name Apa by the Dalai Lama. It means ‘The Special One.’” David van de Velde says the beauty of the project is that it can continue for several years. It’s also an opportunity to get information about Tibet, Nepal, and the Sherpas who climb Mount Everest to local schoolchildren. Villager Jim Rietz has created a website, brochures, and fliers to share the story. Another educational opportunity will be provided during the climb as students can monitor the Facebook page to see how far the group climbs each day. David also is encouraging groups to have students design their flags. Contact David van de Velde for information on purchasing a flag at davidhvandevelde@gmail. com or 352.205.6194. All donations are tax deductible. “This is a country in distress, and Americans are still good people. We can make an impact on that mountain from here,” Sanjeev says. L-R: DAVID LEWIS, DAVID VAN DE VELDE, JAMIE LOSITO, JIM RIETZ, KENDRA AKERS, JANETTE CARLILE, RYAN KEATING, DR. SANJEEV BHATTA, DR. PRITHA DHUNGANA. PHOTO BY FRED LOPEZ

February 2018


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A LEGACY OF WELLNESS Drs. Theeck and Kessler of Legacy Clinic have what it takes to help you deďŹ ne your legacy. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

on Readarn to le re. mo



Legacy Clinic uses a variety of approaches to treat back pain, making it one of the most unique practices in all of Florida. —JOHN THEECK

t Me e t he . rs docto

Legacy Clinic uses a variety of approaches to treat back pain, making it one of the most sought-after practices in all of Florida, Dr. John says. “We probably offer the most well-rounded physical therapy and chiropractic modalities, and we work along with an incredible team of medical doctors when needed to fix related issues,” Dr. John says. Most people who come to Legacy Clinic with lower back pain assume that they have sciatica, but that may not always be the case, Dr. Chris says. Legacy Clinic will determine whether the patient has true sciatic pain, SI (sacroiliac) joint dysfunction, IT (iliotibial) band syndrome, or a piriformis muscle issue and then choose the appropriate treatment. Legacy Clinic can treat sciatica through a plethora of different nonsurgical methods, including chiropractic manual adjustments, flexion distraction, and spinal decompression, a conservative therapy that can rehabilitate the spinal discs and take pressure off of irritated nerves without drugs or the invasiveness of surgery. Physical therapy treatments include NormaTec, a type of compression unit that many professional athletes use before and after games to help speed the healing process. Soft-tissue techniques include an advanced form of cupping which is heavily used with Olympic athletes, and Graston, an instrument-assisted technique that helps break up areas that are spastic, tight, or not healing properly, Dr. Chris says. Ever wonder about those patches you see on the shoulders or legs of volleyball and tennis players? That’s kinesio taping, which both stabilizes and speeds the healing process, and is yet another technique utilized to support the natural structure of the body and to retrain muscle memory. Legacy Clinic has great success with their structural care method, which focuses on relaxing tight and spastic muscles, and building strength where appropriate. Patients say that their team approach, advanced equipment, and in-house rehabilitation protocols truly allow a person to heal quickly while working towards a permanent change, without pain.

Legacy Clinic leads medical mission trips to countries such as Haiti and Dominican Republic, > which is where Dr. John C. Theeck originally met Dr. Chris Kessler and asked him to join the clinic, which was established in 2010. Dr. John, the clinical director, originally is from Riverview, Michigan, and graduated from Eastern Michigan University. Dr. Chris was raised in Rye, New York, and earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Miami. Both doctors are graduates of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange, Florida.


Legacy Clinic has the strongest therapeutic laser this side of a James Bond gadget. The key to laser therapy is power, and Legacy Clinic has a 60-watt laser, one of the highest wattage available. The powerful laser helps relieve patients of their pain sooner and reduces their number of visits to the clinic. The patient’s body receives the laser’s energy, which increases cellular activity, oxygen, and blood flow much like like stem cell therapy would do, the clinic’s doctors say. Laser therapy is used to heal damaged soft tissue, degenerated spinal discs, fractures, tendonitis, arthritis and tears, and may even save a patient from getting knee replacement surgery. The success has been “unbelievable,” Dr. Chris says. “We’ve treated people with chronic or severe back, knee, or shoulder issues, and the great thing about laser therapy is it speeds along the healing process like there’s no tomorrow,” he says.

Legacy Clinic specializes in natural and state-ofthe-art spinal, neurological, and sports medicine, as well as focusing on functional nutrition and weight loss. The clinic has been recognized for multiple awards, including Best Chiropractor in The Villages, and Best Chiropractor in Central Florida. Legacy Clinic treats many Olympic, Senior Olympic, and other professional athletes.


Yes, this cream is derived from cannabis, and no, it won’t get you high, but it will make you feel good. Legacy Clinic is one of the few clinics in the area offering cannabis cream, which has become legal in all 50 states in the past couple of years, Dr. John says. The cream is flying off the shelves because of its incredible pain-relieving effects on joints and all areas of the body. The active medicinal ingredient, CBD, or cannabidiol oil, is extracted from the cannabis plant, and the cream targets the immune and nervous systems, Dr. John says. The cream does not contain THC, the mind-altering ingredient. The cream penetrates the targeted area to calm spasms, arthritis, stenosis, degeneration, inflammation, adhesions, and even tremors from Parkinson’s disease within five minutes, Dr. Chris says. “It’s one of the best natural anti-inflammatories,” Dr. John says. “We’ve had patients taking opiates in severe doses of pain pills and they’ve said this cream is the only thing that works for them. So they’re off pain pills naturally.”

Legacy Clinic offers a fat-burning program designed for people to lose primarily fat as weight—without starvation, calorie counting, or frozen meals. The clinic conducts a full body analysis and instructs the patient to eat specific all-natural whole foods at certain times of the day in conjunction with specific supplements to help the body burn its own fat for energy, Dr. Chris explains. “The problem with other weight-loss programs is that they’re not really tracking what type of weight you’re losing,” Dr. Chris says. “This program offers sustained weight loss so that at the end of the program patients may start to eat some cheat meals here and there, and there’s no reason that you should start to gain the weight back.” In the waiting room they have a weight loss success book that is continually updated, this displays patients losing 50 pounds in 12 weeks, dropping their triglycerides by 140 points, lowering their fasting blood glucose from over 200 down to the 80s, cutting cholesterol numbers by two-thirds, and normalizing thyroid issues. “We’ve had absolutely phenomenal results,” Dr. Chris says. The only exercise component of the program is a casual walk in the mornings. Dr. Chris explains that the optimal fat-burning zone is just above a person’s resting heart rate. When somebody goes all out with strenuous exercise at the gym, they have to supplement themselves with protein because they’re degrading their muscle, he says. But fat is burned at a lower level of strenuous exercise, which can be achieved by taking a stroll for 20 to 30 minutes first thing in the morning.

O u r rs . so sp on



Since opening in 2010, Legacy Clinic has become ingrained in the community, serving not only chiropractic needs but also the sponsorship needs of numerous organizations. One sponsorship success story is Erin Jackson, 25, an Ocala resident and University of Florida graduate. Last summer, Legacy Clinic sponsored Erin as she competed around the country and the world with Team USA Inline Speedskating, for which Legacy Clinic was team chiropractor. With the Winter Olympics approaching, Erin switched to speedskating on ice and with just four months of training, she landed a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team. Erin, who has won a number of medals in inline speedskating at World Championships and Pan American Championships, will compete for Olympic gold in her new sport in February during the Winter Games at Pyeongchang, South Korea. Legacy Clinic is a spinal, neurological, and sports medicine facility that utilizes state of the art chiropractic and wellness care therapies to correct the true cause of each patient’s pain, that is why athletes and patients travel from all over the world to get treated here in The Villages. People are tired of having their symptoms managed by medical doctors and medications, which only mask pain and eventually lead to addiction to prescription medication and unnecessary surgery. Legacy Clinic’s mission is to provide their patients with the highest quality of care, by resolving the root cause, working beyond symptomatic treatment. Proud sponsor:


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*APR=Annual Percentage Rate. A PROMOTIONAL RATE of 1.99% APR applies only to balances transferred on or before March 31, 2018. Balance transfers are allowed up to your available limit on your Insight Visa Platinum or Insight Visa Platinum + Rewards credit card. This offer is not good for transferring balances from existing Insight Visa Platinum or Insight Visa Platinum + Rewards credit cards or loans. For interest purposes, balance transfers will accumulate finance charges from the date of posting. Charges and cash advances made on your Insight Visa Platinum or Insight Visa Platinum + Rewards credit card will be made at the regular interest rate. The balance transfers made to a new Insight Visa Platinum or Insight Visa Platinum + Rewards credit card are subject to application and approval. The PROMOTIONAL RATE of 1.99% APR applies only to balances transferred on or before March 31, 2018. At the end of the 12-month PROMOTIONAL period, all balances transferred under this promotion will revert to the standard Balance Transfer APRs. No balance transfer fee will be charged on balances transferred January 1, 2018 through March 31, 2018. Other restrictions may apply. Offer begins January 1, 2018 and ends March 31, 2018. Federally insured by NCUA.

So much more than assisted living! Meet Gary, Osprey Lodge’s bus driver –voted one of our top employees by residents and associates! From driving the bus for resident appointments and trips, to playing a round of pool, or performing an impromptu ballroom dance, Gary is a big part of “Lodge Life.” He makes our residents feel special every day! Come get a taste of lodge lifestyle yourself. Schedule your tour today and receive an Osprey Lodge signature gift as our way of saying “thanks for getting to know us.” Call Ruth Cantillon at 352.253.5100

Osprey Lodge, 1761 Nightingale Ln, Tavares, FL Assisted Living Facility #11259

A N 6 MVAIL OW A FI SPEONT BLE *S ubj NA C ec I HS mo t to c N CINAL n re Se thly p dit a e s ay pp G* tor me rov e f nt al. or req M de u in tai ired imu ls. . m

Prostate Problems? As men mature, the prostate grows from a walnut-sized gland to sometimes as large as an orange. This growth causes outflow problems from the bladder in the passing of urine, resulting in symptoms from a slow stream, getting up at night to urinate, or even worse—the constant urge to urinate, even to the point that urination begins before they reach the bathroom. These inconvenient, and often embarrassing symptoms, can be resolved by proper treatment of the enlarged prostate. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

Dr. James Young is a very successful urologist who has been practicing in Lake County since 1982. “The treatment of BPH (an enlarged prostate) has always been my focus, and that is the primary reason I moved to Florida when I finished my medical training as Chief Resident of Urology at the University of Arkansas. I looked at Florida as being the largest ‘prostate ranch’ in the United States, so I began my practice from scratch in Eustis in 1982.” For many decades, the only treatment for BPH was a surgical procedure, the TURP, more commonly referred to by men as a “roto-rooter.” Dr. Young performed more 3,000 of these procedures, however they were very invasive, required anesthesia, hospitalization, and could have serious complications, including massive bleeding and at times, death. Then medications were approved that relieved symptoms but after a period of time, the medications lose their effectiveness or caused side effects, usually sexual in nature. There had to be a better way. In the late 1990’s a new procedure, transurethral




needle ablation of the prostate (TUNA) was approved by the FDA. “I was never a fan of jumping on new technology quickly because, as we know, not everything delivers the results as promised,” says Dr. Young. However, after the procedure was used for five years, Dr. Young began doing TUNAs, later known as Prostiva RF therapy. This procedure was done in the office under local anesthesia with few complications. The procedure worked by inserting wires into the prostate, then low frequency radio waves were transmitted through the wires and heated prostate tissue to 115 degrees Celsius. This heat was transmitted in a conductive manner (radiate from the wires) but the heat dissipated rapidly as it traveled away from the wires. The heat was reduced by the formula of 1/r2 with r being the distance from the wires. Basically, cores of prostate tissue surrounding the wires were destroyed. Dr. Young had tremendous success with Prostiva RF therapy and ultimately did almost 3,000 procedures. His success with Prostiva gave him the distinction of being placed on

Castle Connelly’s Top Docs list for five consecutive years. However, more than five years ago, Dr. Young heard rumors of a new technology that was similar in some ways, but completely different in others. This new therapy was FDA approved in 2015 and was known as Rezum. “Even though I have a reputation for not jumping on new technology, I completely understood the science behind Rezum, so as soon as it was available to me, I switched to this procedure immediately. The science driving this technology is fascinating. Using low frequency radio waves, water is transformed into steam and then nine seconds of steam is infiltrated into the prostate tissue, once again in the office under local anesthesia. The major difference is the heat is transferred in a convective, as opposed to conductive manner. As Einstein said, “Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed.” So once the steam is infiltrated into the prostate, and returns to liquid, it releases all the energy that changed the water into steam. This is a tremendous amount of energy and destroys much

more prostate tissue than the conductive heat did conveyed by Prostiva. There is much less discomfort with Rezum and when patients leave the office (usually in under 30 minutes), they experience no pain what so ever. Since June 2016, Dr. Young has performed just under 300 Rezum procedures, almost twice as many as any other urologist in the United States and many, many more than any other urologists in the state of Florida. “The results have been so amazing and the patients have been so happy that notified me that based on my recent reviews and clicks on my site, I am now ranked in the top 100th percentile of all urologists in the United States. While I am very proud of that, it is also very humbling. I personally think this is biggest leap forward in the treatment of BPH that I will see in my lifetime.” ________________________________


Board-certified Urologist Practicing in Lake County since 1982 with extensive experience in evaluation and management of prostate problems.

COMPREHENSIVE CARE If you are a first-time patient of Dr. Young, you will receive a detailed examination. “When I see a new patient I perform physical examinations and properly evaluate the patient’s symptoms, thus diagnosing the underlying problem(s),” Dr. Young said. “Next, I describe to the patient what’s normal and then explain what is abnormal with him. Lastly, I teach him his treatment options. If I’ve done a good job of teaching, he will select the correct option for himself.” While prescribing medications for enlarged prostate can be done by primary care physicians, only urologists are trained to thoroughly evaluate the bladder and prostate (including ruling out prostate cancer), as well as providing extremely effective minimally invasive, office-based therapies as alternatives to lifelong medical therapy. With an office staff with nearly as much experience as

the doctor (many have worked with Dr. Young for 25 years), you don’t spend a great deal of time waiting to see him. “We pride ourselves in being timely in seeing our patients. We respect our patients’ time as much as we do our own. Patients appreciate this; many of our patients tell me I have the best office staff on the planet. I consider that a huge compliment.” So if you are waking up at night and have difficulty falling back asleep because you’re worried what may be wrong, then it is time to check in with Dr. Young and have him examine you. “Many men accept frequent bladder urges as part of aging. And while it is part of the aging process, it’s not like death and taxes. There is something you can do about it.”

James W. Young III, M.D. Nationally recognized board-certified urologist

PROSTATE CANCER SCREENING Annually over 50 years of age (At age 40 if family history or African American)

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F e at u r i n g

10 Yin yoga Yin yoga is a workout for anyone looking to increase flexibility and strength.


4 Valentine’s Day Many Villagers still love the romance of the holiday.

6 Right at home Villagers choose decorating ideas to fit their lifestyle.


Going topless For Glenn MacKinnon of The Villages, nothing gets his motor running like convertibles. STORY: JAMES COMBS // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ

Love for convertibles: I was born in Detroit and would see all kinds of convertibles, including 1953 Corvettes and 1955 Ford Thunderbirds. I told myself as a kid that one day I would own a convertible. First driving experience: My mother and I moved from Detroit to Puerto Rico after my father died in 1961. She owned a Morris Minor convertible, a British car that had a four-speed manual transmission and an engine that was just a little larger than a bread box. Although the car didn’t accelerate well, I learned to drive in it. Unfortunately, we lived


The Villages gives residents an opportunity to partake in everything they could possibly want to do.



on the beach, and the car rusted to pieces because of all the salt in the air.

Convertibles you’ve owned: I’ve had a 1966 Corvette convertible and a 1983 Mustang convertible. I currently own a 1968 Pontiac Catalina convertible and a 2017 Buick Cascada. The Buick came with all the safety features, has enough room for four adults to sit comfortably, and features a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. It’s as quiet as any hardtop car.

Convertible camaraderie: I am a member of The Villages Convertible Club. It’s a great opportunity

to meet new people and visit new destinations in Florida. Since joining, me and club members have driven to the Stetson Mansion in DeLand, Medieval Times in Kissimmee, and the McLeod House Bistro in Inverness. I am also a member of The Villages Region Antique Automobile Club of America.

Living the lifestyle: ZiZi, my wife of 45 years, and I moved to The Villages in March 2017. I love everything about it—the town centers, the recreation centers, and the well-manicured neighborhoods.

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Villagers still celebrate Valentine’s Day with cards, flowers, and chocolates. Some also go out to dinner. A few decorate front doors with hearts or display a flag to mark the day.


Do hearts throb for Valentine’s Day? Surprisingly, many Villagers still love the romance of the holiday. STORY: JOE ANGIONE


n decades past, Valentine’s Day was a big deal for my wife and me. It was a time to officially reaffirm love for each other with a card in the shape of a big red heart filled with words of passionate love. Plus, I’d give her a box of chocolates and if I had a few extra bucks, some red roses. However, after 55 years of happy marriage, and the shared knowledge that we love each other every day, our attention to Valentine’s Day has mellowed some. Why should Valentine’s Day be a special day on calendars? The website explains: “The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named principally for a Christian martyr, St. Valentine of Rome, dating back to the fifth century.” According to Wikipedia, St. Valentine was in prison for performing weddings for soldiers forbidden to get married. While imprisoned, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asturias. Just before his


death, he wrote her a letter and signed it “your Valentine” as a goodbye. Valentine’s Day was first associated with romantic love in the writings of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when chivalry flourished and courtly love was an inspiration. But is Valentine’s Day too tainted by commercialism? Not for most Villagers. Here, the observance of this day of romance is a remembrance of love that endures. Villagers tell me Feb. 14 is still a meaningful day for spouses to show love remains strong and is for all time. They say they still celebrate Valentine’s Day with cards, flowers, and chocolates. Some also go out to dinner. A few decorate front doors with hearts or display a flag to mark the day. All agree Valentine’s Day has a sincere purpose that’s more than retail. And it’s not necessary to spend money to celebrate. Most important is expressing love, which can be as simple as an extra hug and a big kiss. One neighbor notes, “Valentine’s Day can be a lovely reminder to cherish love. Like many other holidays, it’s only as commercial and promotional as people choose to make it.” Another friend adds: “We celebrate Valentine’s Day because romance is fun, love is wonderful, and life is short.” I think most Villagers agree Valentine’s Day means being in love and showing love are among the greatest experiences of our lives.

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Right at home Villagers choose decorating ideas to fit their lifestyle. STORY: CHRIS GERBASI // PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ


illagers always bring a little—or a lot—of themselves to the community when they relocate, and their personalities are typically reflected in every aspect of their lives, from their golf carts to their lawn ornaments to their social clubs. Home decorating is no exception. Home interiors in The Villages are becoming more personalized to reflect the owner’s lifestyle, decorators say. “With decorating, you’re personalizing the house to suit your likes and dislikes, and to bring in things like pictures to make it more homey,” says Fran Mendelsohn, owner of Drab to Fab in The Villages.



Decorating trends are dictated by location and the type of home, Fran says. The Villages’ homes have contemporary designs, and Villagers are following suit with modern approaches as they shed outdated belongings from their northern homes. After Susan and Tom Hayes moved from a traditional New England home in Connecticut, they had a blank slate to decorate at their Village of LaBelle house. “It’s challenging. It’s all like one big, open concept,” Susan says of decorating a Villages home. “Where does one room end and another one start?” Working with Lois Fuzzell, owner of Decorating Den Interiors in Fruitland Park, the couple

had two goals: they didn’t want the interior to look like an old person’s home, and they didn’t want it to look like they just dropped in their old furniture whether it fit or not. So they ditched most of their furnishings, except furniture from their Connecticut bedroom, which had been successfully remodeled to look like an upscale hotel room. At the new place, the couple had the interior and ceilings repainted, bought new rugs to replace old oriental rugs, got window treatments to frame the view of the nearby golf course, and added uncommon touches like a “statement piece” chandelier in the dining room, Susan says.

We wanted it to be comfortable and we wanted it to be modern. —TOM HAYES

They’re happy with the results. Susan calls the finished look “contemporary casual,” while Tom describes it as casual yet elegant. “We wanted it to be comfortable and we wanted it to be modern,” he says. Lois refers to the typical Villages interior as “tailored casual,” reflective of the laid-back vibe of a retirement village. In its 49th year, Decorating Den does many projects in The Villages and offers full-line decorating from concept to completion, specializing in custom window treatments and bedding. Lois hears a lot of talk among decorators and clients about the retro appeal of mid-century modern, which refers to mid-

20th-century developments in architecture and interior design. It’s a style with sleek angular lines combined with curved forms, slubby tweeds, textured weaves, and mid-tone wood finishes, and it’s perfect for the smaller spaces of downsizers like Villagers. “A lot of clients are going with this style, and it works well with Florida,” Lois says. “It’s very natural, open, and airy.” Villagers also love the outdoor life. Lanais and patios are common and, accordingly, outdoor living designs are popular, not just for matching interiors but some outdoor fabrics also are being used inside, Lois says. New technology in fabrics and frames is leading TOM AND SUSAN HAYES

now it just seems to be a lot simpler with cleaner lines, not a heavy look,” she says. As most Villagers are transplants from outside Florida, many don’t want to bring all their furniture with them because they’re typically moving into smaller houses. Fran helps them with downsizing decisions such as which pieces to keep, how to place them in the home, and how to choose artwork and accessories to go with the furniture. She also helps clients select a palette of colors and ties the whole look together. “They moved from up north and their colors are kind of dark and they want to come and pep things up a little bit, make it a little more cheery and summery,” Fran says. “There are quite a few people who like the Florida influence; I wouldn’t say beachy as such, but a little more colorful.” Four years after moving to The Villages from the Pittsburgh area, Linda and Greg Zimmerman still are making the transition from

Photo: Fred Lopez

to more stylish, functional, and durable outdoor furniture. “They want their outdoors to feel like it’s a continuation of their interior,” Lois says. As some Villagers transition from full-time work, they may choose to work part time, engage in computer-related hobbies, or become more active in social media. As a result, Decorating Den is designing more in-home offices. “A lot of residents use at least one of their rooms as a home office, and they’re becoming more functional and versatile—it could also be used as a guest bedroom or a TV room,” Lois says. The offices don’t necessarily look like offices, she says, but they are warm and inviting workspaces with leaner looks as opposed to traditional chunky desks and cabinetry. Most Villagers are getting away from large, heavy furniture in all rooms, says Fran, who has been decorating for 25 years overall and four years in The Villages. “There were trends of really heavy, gaudy type interiors, and



What we have here is what we use. Comfort is our No. 1 goal. —LINDA ZIMMERMAN

northern to southern décor in their Village of Pinellas home. But they’re enjoying the process, Linda says. Their courtyard villa is smaller than their former house but roomy. They replaced much of their furniture after the move, and Lois helped with window treatments, furniture arrangement, and accessories. Linda says she particularly loves how the dining room and kitchen turned out. “We like clean lines,” she says. “It’s not very formal, it’s more of a cottage look. It’s eclectic. It’s not cluttered. What we have here is what we use. Comfort is our No. 1 goal.”

The couple also added a “lovely” lanai with a hot tub and plenty of seating for the times when they entertain, Linda says. Entertaining is a given for most Villagers, and Fran likes to find out those kinds of details about her clients. Knowing her clients helps her design a room, because every home interior is as distinctive as each homeowner’s personality. “Here in The Villages, it’s almost like one big family,” Fran says. “People entertain, neighbors come over, people gather, so you have to have a friendly home that’s not too formal. You don’t want people walking in and feeling like they can’t sit on your furniture.”





Yin yoga Yin yoga is a workout for anyone, especially those looking to increase flexibility and strength. STORY: LEIGH NEELY // PHOTOS: FRED LOPEZ


d and Louise Hanlon are ballroom instructors and dancers in The Villages. However, they make sure they’re feeling their best by attending weekly Yin yoga classes led by Clint Harris. “I think he’s a wonderful instructor,” Louise says. “He explains what you’re supposed to do and why you should do it. He also talks a lot about anatomy.” Ed adds, “I think it helps with our ballroom dancing.” Rather than deal with the familiar poses of Hatha yoga, Yin yoga is designed to work with the connective tissue called the fascia, the thin material that covers every muscle. “Hatha is physical yoga. You’re building muscle mass, strength, and bone density,” Clint says. “Yin is a great counter to Hatha on your fascia. It’s almost a friction, a film that allows muscles to pass by each other.” Clint says as people age, the fascia shrinks more than muscles do, and a full range of movement is needed to keep that mobility. “We move into a position, an active stretch but only as far as you can go and relax,” Clint says. “You find your sweet spot, the yin edge, and find the relaxation so your muscles begin to soften.” Yin yoga has a slower pace than other yogas, and the postures, or asanas, are held for a longer time. For beginners, it may be just 45 seconds or so, but more advanced students may stay in one position for five minutes or more. The point is to

build endurance to hold the pose longer, allowing the fascia to stretch. Clint began yoga classes just prior to retirement and laughingly says he did a rare thing for a man—he listened to all the instructions and set out to do it properly. He became so interested in yoga that he went into teacher training. When he retired, he taught classes regularly at the local health club. He has more than 200 hours of training in various yoga styles. Yin yoga is based on the Taoist concept of yin and yang—complementary principles in nature. Yin is stable and unmoving, the hidden aspect of things, while yang is ever moving and changing, revealing aspects of nature. The one requirement of Yin yoga is the relaxation of the muscles around the connective tissue to get a stretch. That’s why students must not push further than the body allows and attain longer poses as the connective tissue grows stronger. Clint, who is 67, retired in 2015 and began teaching classes in Beverly Hills, Michigan, where he lived. When he and his wife, Priscilla, moved to the Village of Lake Deaton later that year, there were no Yin yoga classes, and he decided to fill the need. The interest in his class has produced such growth that he now teaches two classes, but has no plans to do more than that.

“The right size for a class is 20, but more people keep coming, which is why I decided to add the second class,” Clint says. “This type of yoga is great for people with (multiple sclerosis) or those with fibromyalgia. It’s also very good for men, but there are so few men in the classes.” He says men actually need Yin yoga more than women, but the percentage of men remains much lower than women in his classes. “Yoga is not competitive, and it’s a kind activity. When you wrap into that meditation, the workout is gravy,” he says. “As soon as I take that first cleansing breath, I’m in the zone.” Clint firmly believes Yin yoga can take you back in time. “We have wrinkles because our muscles are so tight. When muscles are loosened, that recues wrinkles. It’s subtle but effective,” he says. It must work because he’s averaging 38 students in both classes. He does wish the yoga craze was penetrating the age group of The Villages like it is the younger generations. “My takeaway is that my students feel better and sleep better. That’s really the whole reason I do this,” Clint says. “Everything about yoga is immediately important to your lifestyle.”

This type of yoga is great for people with (multiple sclerosis) or those with fibromyalgia. It’s also very good for men, but there are so few men in the classes. —CLINT HARRIS

Yin yoga classes Wednesday, 2:30pm Moyer Recreation Center 3000 Moyer Loop The Villages Thursday, 5:30pm Burnsed Recreation Center 4019 Deskin Lane The Villages Instructor: Clint Harris 248.890.2175




‘Thriving Through Uncertainty’ By Tama Kieves. Life can feel draining and overwhelming at times, and the author aims to guide readers past their fears to experience more joy. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL



Tama encourages her readers to discover what we want by exploring new things, meeting new people, and cherishing new experiences.

hriving Through Uncertainty: Moving Beyond Fear of the Unknown and Making Change Work for You” is filled with practical tips from a life coach with 30+ years’ experience who is candid about her own struggles and anxieties, which makes her relatable to the reader. The author’s prose—which ranges from offbeat humor to warm compassion—made me feel like I was having a one-on-one conversation with a wise, dear friend, one I could laugh or cry with, and one who “gets it.” It is refreshingly honest. “Step into the life you didn’t plan. Loosen up your control over everything you think needs to happen,” Tama writes, speaking from personal experience. A Harvard Law School graduate and working with a prestigious Denver law firm, she clearly wasn’t happy. Living the illusion of security, the “established, safe life” was killing her. She experienced freedom when she listened to her heart and trusted her inner wisdom. Of course, Tama had doubts, yet realized her own uncertainty was turning her toward following her passion to be a writer. Since leaving the legal profession, she has penned four books, is an inspirational speaker, and in demand as a life coach, helping people worldwide. “You don’t need to figure your whole life out at once,” Tama writes, adding preconceived ideas of what we “should” be doing prevents us from listening to our hearts. She encourages readers to embrace experiences that bring joy and gratitude, and consider the words of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein: “You can live as though nothing is a miracle. Or as if everything is a miracle.” “I do what I love,” Tama writes—the five simple italicized words in the book that really resonated with my soul. Her words were my calling to seek and savor joyful moments and not let widowhood define me. She encourages readers to discover what we want by exploring new things, meeting new people, and cherishing new experiences.

About the author Tama Kieves is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School who left her law practice to write. She is the bestselling author of “This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love,” “Inspired & Unstoppable” and “A Year Without Fear.” She has been in USA Today, on ABC News, Oprah Radio, and other national media. A sought-after speaker and visionary career-success and inspired-life coach who serves on the faculty of premier holistic learning institutes, including Omega and Esalen, Tama also has presented at TEDx.







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On the Scene

From the Moscow Festival Ballet to the legendary Tony Bennett, everything that is worth seeing, is in our to-do list.

* TOHnE TTOh- DeO SL cI S eT n e

February FEB. 1

What the world needs now She’s a music legend whose music never goes out of style. Dionne Warwick will be at The Sharon in Spanish Springs Town Square in The Villages to celebrate more than 50 years with 75 charted hit songs and more than 100 million records sold. 7pm. Tickets: $50-$150 at FEB. 1-MARCH 16

Play ball! Registration for basketball (ages 5-15) at Camp Geneva on Monday

FEB. 7

The voice The great Tony Bennett presents a show you’ll never forget. The 90-year-old singer isn’t slowing down and is beloved by all generations. Tickets: $100-$250 available at




and Wednesday, March 26-May 16. Spring T-Ball (ages 4-6) playing at Veterans Park, Tuesday and Thursday, March 27-May 17. For information, call Fruitland Park Recreation at 352.360.6734. FEB. 2

Meet the artist POParrazzi Gallery Exhibit from artist Steven Hlavac from 7-9pm at Leesburg Center for the Arts, 429 W. Magnolia Ave. Free admission includes reception.

FEB. 2-3

Family history rocks A Mid-Winter Genealogy Conference at the Cooper Memorial Library, 2525 Oakley Seaver Dr., Clermont. Sessions are 9am-noon both days. Leaders include Jack Butler, Keith Breenlove, C. Ann Staley, and Dr. Jennifer Jutt, with guitarist, Ron Snell. Reservations required ( and workbooks available for a $5 donation. Sponsored by Pastfinders Genealogical Society of Clermont.

FEB. 2-4

Discover ‘Yonkers’ Call the box office at 352.787.3013 to see “Lost in Yonkers” at Melon Patch Theatre, 311 N. 13th St., Leesburg. Tickets are $18 for adults and $9 for students. Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm. FEB. 2-4

The golden years The Bay Street Players in Eustis present the classic, “On Golden Pond.” Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday at 2pm at the Historic State Theater, 109 N. Bay St., Eustis. For tickets:

FEB. 8

Sherman’s last campaign A free historical presentation of the actual end of the Civil War by Allen Lane. Soldiers from both sides defied the government to end America’s bloodiest war. Doors open at 4:30, presentation is 5-7pm at Cooper Memorial Library, room 108, 2525 Oakley Seaver Dr., presented by Pastfinders Genealogical Society of Clermont. FEB. 9

Smooth music Hear acoustic music performed by local musicians free at Leesburg Center for the Arts, 7-9pm, 429 W. Magnolia St.

FEB. 2-4

A Tennessee Williams classic The final performances of “The Glass Menagerie” by the Moonlight Players in Clermont, 735 W. Minneola Ave. Friday and Saturday shows are at 8pm, and Sunday’s matinee is at 2:30pm. Tickets are $10/$15/$20 and available at 352.319.1116.

FEB. 2-11

Life at the country club “The Fox on the Fairway” is playing at the Sonnentag Theatre at the IceHouse, 1100 N. Unser St., Mount Dora. Show times are Thursday at 7:30pm; Friday and Saturday at 8pm; and Sunday at 2pm. Box office hours are 1-5pm Tuesday-Friday or go to for info.

FEB. 9

A psychedelic experience “Rain—A Tribute to the Beatles” presents the entire historic album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” with a multimedia spectacular. Show times: 4 and 8pm. Tickets: $40$79. Order at FEB. 10

Even the nights are better Go back in time with an evening of Air Supply. Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock met while rehearsing for “Jesus Christ Superstar” in Sydney, Australia, in 1975 and still are singing together. 7pm at the Sharon Morse Performing Arts Center, Spanish Springs Town Square in The Villages. Tickets: $35-$115 at

Share the love It’s Love Week and by running in the Love Run 5K at 8am, you can share the love with your community. $30 to register on event day. 506 W. Berckman St., Fruitland Park. See /14629/love-week-5k-run for info. Proceeds go to Community United Methodist Church food pantry and Fruitland Park Recreation Department.

FEB. 6

FEB. 10

FEB. 3

than 65 artists with one-of-a-kind creations. FEB. 12-13

Don’t tell Mama See “Cabaret” in all its splendor at The Sharon at 7pm each night. Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall’s “Cabaret” promises to be extraordinary. Ticket $35-$100 at FEB. 16

On Broadway Enjoy an evening of Broadway favorites from 7-9pm at Leesburg Center for the Arts, 429 W. Magnolia St.; $10, RSVP through FEB. 16

I hear a symphony The Sharon is hosting The Villages Philharmonic Orchestra this season. Enjoy masterpieces that will enlighten and entertain. Tickets: $20-$60 available at

Local artists shine The Visual Arts Association of The Villages will have its winter fine arts show at Laurel Manor Recreation Center, 1985 Laurel Manor Drive, from 9am-3pm. Free admission and more

Happy feet “Rhythm of the Dance” is two hours of beautifully inspired singing, dancing, and beautiful Irish music celebrating the spirit of Ireland. 7pm. Tickets: $20-$60 at

Farmer’s Markets Saturdays The Saturday Morning Market on Leesburg Towne Square, 8am-1pm Brownwood Farmer’s Market 2726 Brownwood Blvd. Wildwood, 9am-1pm Tuesdays Lady Lake Farmers Market Lady Lake Log Cabin 106 S. U.S. Hwy. 441/27 9am-1pm e’s Ther o do! t e r o m .104 d on p ue Contin

February 2018


Ongoing Events

FEB. 17

Speak to me Come out for “An Evening with Art/ Sole Purpose Spoken Word” from 7-9pm at Leesburg Center for the Arts, 429 W. Magnolia St. Free admission.

1st Saturday Wine Tasting Stroll Starts at Maggie’s Attic on Alexander St. and 4th Ave., 6-8pm

FEB. 17

A night of opera music The Opera Club of The Villages presents “Three Tenors Plus One” with Bill Doherty, Todd Wilander, Marcel D’Entremont, and Kaitlyn McMonigle, accompanied by Sean Pollock. This is the annual fundraiser to benefit the Harold S. Schwartz Music Scholarship. Shows are at 3 and 7pm. Tickets $20$40 available at

2nd Friday Art Splash Features artists and performers on the sidewalks of downtown Mount Dora., 6-8pm 2nd Friday Acoustic music Hear live local musicians free from 7-9pm at Leesburg Center for the Arts, 429 W. Magnolia St.

FEB. 24

Social art working Check out “Farm Day” from 7-9pm at Leesburg Center for the Arts, 429 W. Magnolia St. Admission is $30; register through

2nd Friday Movie in the Park Free family movie starts at dusk Donnelly Park Downtown Mount Dora

FEB. 24

Mandalas in the wild Take a guided nature hike with instructor and guide Patricia Gilmore. Group will also create mandalas, or geometric patterns representing the universe. 10am at Flat Island Preserve in Leesburg. Register at for $15 to RSVP.

2nd Saturday Food Truck’N Flick Entertainment Leesburg Town Square 3rd Wednesday PAWS Reading Dogs, W.T. Bland Library, Mount Dora

FEB. 26

An experience in history L.A. Theatre Works presents “The Mountaintop” by Katori Hall at The Sharon, 7pm. Tickets: $25-$45 available at

3rd Thursday Mount Dora Food Trucks, Downtown Mount Dora 4th Saturday Classic Car Cruise-In, Downtown Eustis

To have an event considered for the calendar, send a short text description along with a color photo (if available) 45 days in advance of event to: or Lake & Sumter Style Calendar, P.O. Box 490088, Leesburg, FL 34749




FEB. 20-23

An evening of ballet The Moscow Festival Ballet was created in 1989 by Bolshoi Ballet principal dancer Sergei Radchenko. Enjoy incredibly graceful performances of “Romeo and Juliet” and “Carmen” at The Sharon at 7 each evening. Tickets are $20-$80 and available at

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Bellamy Brothers

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale



Air Supply

The Sharon, The Villages



Beth McKee

Savannah Center, The Villages



Mersey Beatles

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale



Bret Messer

Rocking Rabbit Brewery, Mount Dora



Rain—A Tribute to the Beatles

The Sharon, The Villages



The Diamonds

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale



Blue Stone Circle

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares



The Simple Caveman

Yalaha Bakery, Yalaha



Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale



Da Boys

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares



Carl Adcox

Yalaha Bootlegging Company, Yalaha



The LeFevre Quartet

Christian Worship Center, Center Hill



Asleep at the Wheel

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale

2/11 2/14 2/15

7:30pm 7pm 7pm

Defenders of Daisies Carmen Vallone Dennie and the Jets

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares Katie Belle’s, The Villages Elks Lodge #1578, Tavares



Kelly Jarrard

Maggie’s Attic, Mount Dora



Jeff Whitfield

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares



Moron Brothers



Jeff Whitfield



Kelly Jarrard

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale Olive Branch Mediterranean-Italian Grille and Bar, Mount Dora Ruby Street Grille, Tavares



Carl Adcox

Yalaha Bootlegging Company, Yalaha



Three Tenors Plus One

The Sharon, The Villages



Gene Watson

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale



Kings County

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares



The Simple Caveman

Yalaha Bakery, Yalaha



Mark Steven Schmidt

American Legion Hall, Lady Lake



Redhead Express

The Plantation at Leesburg, Leesburg



Elton John Tribute

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale



The Cast

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares



Chris Ryals Band

Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg



Matt Mason

Clermont Performing Arts Center, Clermont



Chris Ryals Band

Shamrock Lounge, Leesburg



Carl Adcox

Yalaha Bootlegging Company, Yalaha



Mark Steven Schmidt

Morrison United Methodist Church, Leesburg



Rhonda Vincent

Orange Blossom Opry, Weirsdale



Jeff Whitfield

Ruby Street Grille, Tavares

Bands subject to change. Email to submit an event. Submissions must be received by the ninth of the month prior to month of the event (example: Oct. 9 for Nov. issue).

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Back in time The intricate workings of old time pieces are a local artist’s inspiration. STORY: LEIGH NEELY // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ


ori Wisniewski is an artist who holds time in her hands each day she works. Her artwork is created with the elaborate, yet tiny, pieces that go inside watches, and she uses them to create in steampunk style. “I’ve been an artist since I was a little girl,” Lori says. “My sister and I used to go to outdoor festivals as kids, and we’d sell concrete magnets we made and painted. We’d pour the concrete in little molds, like dinosaurs and flowers.” Lori’s sister, Lynn Wisniewski, owns Under the Cherry Blossoms, which features “Positive Products.” The ceiling of the shop in downtown Mount Dora is filled with positive quotes, and A trip to the hospital due to stress brought Lori to Mount Dora to join her sister. “Lynn had a business for several


My pulse was never under 110, and I just took it for the first time in a year, and it was 59 because I don’t feel stressed anymore. — LORI WISNIEWSKI




years, and she offered to move me back home,” Lori says. “My pulse was never under 110, and I just took it for the first time in a year, and it was 59 because I don’t feel stressed anymore.” Lori began Upcycled Steampunk Jewelry around eight years ago. At the time, she made new jewelry from costume jewelry found in antique and vintage stores. “I was going through a box of jewelry I’d found, and there were a bunch of watch parts in the bottom of the box,” Lori says. “I just fell in love with how beautiful they were. It was vintage pocket watches with all the engravings and detail.” Wanting to do something with the pieces of time she’d found, Lori began creating jewelry. “It has evolved because I’d just add a couple

of watch pieces here and there. Then I started doing laying them one at a time.” Lori says people love talking about them. When she began creating the first pieces, she worked with only silver. “Now, some have glitter in the background and little inlaid pieces, and I do a lot of positive quotes and feminist quotes in them.” In addition to necklaces, Lori makes earrings, keychains, broaches, and wine stoppers. “I’m in [the shop] all the time, and I’m listening to customers. I keep adding things like business card and cigarette cases. Pill boxes are really popular.” It’s art. It’s memory jewelry. It’s a piece of time lovingly created by artist Lori Wisniewski. She calls it Once Upon a Time, Upcycled Steampunk Jewelry.

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February 2018



Crazy about George 116 years and counting, Eustis celebrates the first U.S. president’s birthday with Georgefest. STORY: THERESA CAMPBELL


ustis rolls out the red carpet every February to honor good ol’ George Washington, and has been doing so every year since 1902. The city has no intention of stopping any time soon. Erin Bailey, events coordinator for Eustis, expects around 30,000 people to converge downtown for a three-day celebration, Feb. 23-25, to pay a 286th birthday tribute to the man revered as the father of our country. The city’s biggest event also is the oldest Georgefest in Florida, and the country’s second-longestrunning festival of its kind, behind Laredo, Texas. “I love seeing all of the people and how much fun they are having,” Erin says, believing the nation’s first president would be impressed. “I think he would be honored, I really do.” The 2018 festival’s theme, “Through the Years,” includes a festive patriotic parade right down Bay Street—the highlight of the weekend—with parade entrants lined up in chronological order showcasing 12 decades of Georgefest history from the 1900s to 2010s. Several bands, service clubs, cars, trucks, floats, twirlers, cheerleaders, and political candidates are expected to be in the 10am Feb. 24 parade, and festivalgoers can take part in a variety of other Georgefest attractions, including a larger carnival with more amusement rides, fireworks, live music, food vendors, and arts and crafts.




“The carnival is going to be bigger and better than ever,” Erin says, noting the number of rides has been increased by 30 percent. A wristband night, which will be carnival preview night, will be offered 5-10pm Feb. 22. “Everyone can ride all they want to ride for $20,” she adds, “and we are really excited about that.” Erin cherishes the hometown feel that Georgefest brings, and she notes the festival has become a popular multigenerational event many residents look forward to each year. “I’ve talked to quite a few people who were children back in the 1940s and ’50s who remember watching the parade as a kid,” she says. “When you talk to someone who has been here for years and grew up here, and when they are talking about their memories, they are talking about the Georgefest parade.” More marching bands are expected in the parade this year since Eustis High School will be hosting the Golden Triangle Jazz Festival for middle and high school bands. A band in Virginia has expressed interest in participating, so Erin predicts the 2018 Georgefest parade will have more bands than ever. The bands also will perform at noon Feb. 24 at the band shell at Ferran Park.

“It’s a new feature and we are really excited about that aspect of it,” Erin says. Another new attraction for the 116th Georgefest will be the Lake Eustis Museum of Art hosting an art show featuring the works of Lake County youths, as well as the works of professional artisans, hosted on LEMA’s grounds at Ferran Park. Sandra MacDonald, public relations coordinator for the city of Eustis, is eager to experience her first Georgefest. “I am really excited about it,” Sandra says. “I have been involved in a lot of planning meetings, and it’s going to be a really big event. There is going to be something for everyone.” Nate Edmund, events assistant for Eustis, calls Georgefest a “cool event” that attracts vendors, many of whom come from other states in their recreational vehicles to stay for the weekend. Volunteers will assist vendors, bands, the parade, and other festival aspects, and help make the 116th annual Georgefest a success. “I won’t turn anybody away,” Erin says. Individuals and groups interested in volunteering are encouraged to call 352.483.5491.


When you talk to someone who has been here for years and grew up here, and when they are talking about their memories, they are talking about the Georgefest parade. —ERIN BAILEY

GEORGEFEST EVENTS FEB. 3 All events at Ferran Park, 250 Ferran Park Dr.

George 5K Race Registration, 6:30am; race, 8am Chili Cook-off loading, 8-8:30am Kids “George Jr.” Fun Run 9:30am Lake County Sheriff ’s Office Animal Adoption 10:30am Band, Southern Chaos 3pm Chili Cook-off tasting, 4pm

FEB. 7

FEB. 23

FEB. 24

FEB. 25

Chamber of Commerce Georgefest Breakfast 7am, Eustis Community Center, 601 Northshore Drive

Georgefest begins (vendors open), 4pm, downtown Eustis and Ferran Park

Parade 10am, Bay Street in downtown Eustis

Event opens 9am

FEB. 10

Miss Eustis Pageant 2pm, Eustis Community Center FEB. 22

Carnival preview ($20 wristband night), 5-10pm, downtown Eustis

Lake County Young People’s Art Show 4pm, parking lot of Lake Eustis Museum of Art, Ferran Park Entertainment begins 4pm, band shell stage at Ferran Park

Carnival 10am-11pm Golden Triangle Jazz Festival noon, band shell stage at Ferran Park

Worship service/pancake breakfast Carnival noon-9pm Ice cream social 2pm

Carnival, 5-11pm Fireworks, 9pm

February 2018


* OOUnT +TA BhOeU TS c e n e


If walls could talk New homes are wonderful, but the stories surrounding historical homes are priceless and worth preserving. STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS


any towns have beautiful, centuries-old homes, but none are as controversial as the ones labeled “antebellum,” especially in the South. Some people say the mansions built prior to the Civil War (1861-65) should not be preserved; however, for those who study architecture and believe in the design sensibility of that era, the homes are invaluable. Many cities and foundations have reconciled the dark history of slave ownership with giving a new voice to all of the historical figures who lived in those homes, no matter their race or gender. And many have embraced the words of the late scientist Carl Sagan, who said, “You have to know the past to understand the present.” While many famous antebellum homes have been on tourist maps for years, others that are lesser known have been rediscovered by history and architecture buffs. If you love seeing historical homes restored, you may want to take a road trip to visit the following.

When the book “1,000 Places to See in the U.S. Before You Die” was released last year, I made a special trip to Milledgeville, Georgia, just to see Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion. At the time, I did not realize that the city is called “Georgia’s Antebellum Capital” because of the sheer number of existing homes that were built between the 1820s and into the Victorian era of the 1890s. The Old Governor’s Mansion, however, is Milledgeville’s biggest claim to architectural fame, drawing more than 15,000 visitors annually. Completed in 1839, the mansion is one of the finest examples of High Greek Revival architecture in the United States. Eight Georgia governors resided there for more than 30 years before it was abandoned during the Civil War in 1864, and the capital was moved to Atlanta. It saw

Milledgeville, GA




Photo: Tony DeSantis



The Old Governor’s Mansion, however, is Milledgeville’s biggest claim to architectural fame, drawing more than 15,000 visitors annually.

February 2018



a variety of uses before a $9.5 million restoration was completed in 2005. Considered one of the most accurately restored buildings in the nation, the mansion has done an outstanding job of preserving the complete history of the building, according to Matt Davis, director. “As a historian and a museum professional, I think we do a disservice if we do not look at [antebellum] places and try to preserve them and give them a sense of place in history,” Matt says. “I think some antebellum sites have not given the attention to all of the history that they should, and as professionals, we need to correct that.”

The mansion, Matt says, has documented every person, including slaves, who ever lived there. Tours begin in the kitchen area with descriptions of the elaborate dinners once held in the mansion, but visitors move quickly into the steward’s room, where a slave known as Jim lived. He was the only person to have a set of keys to the mansion and when he died in his sleep, he was still clutching the keys in his hand. Other mansion highlights include the dining room where Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman temporarily set up his headquarters, and the


While not on the official Antebellum Trail, the charming city of Roswell, Georgia, just north of Atlanta, has a trio of historic homes drawing history buffs from around the world. Most significant is Bulloch Hall, where Mittie Bulloch—the mother of President Teddy Roosevelt—grew up. Built in 1839, the Greek Revival-style mansion was the site of the spectacular wedding between Mittie and Theodore “Thee” Roosevelt Sr. in December 1853. Gwen Koehler, education director for Bulloch Hall, described Mittie as a quite theatrical and headstrong beauty. “It is said that Mittie Bulloch may have even been the inspiration for Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret

Roswell, GA





Mitchell’s ‘Gone with the Wind,’” Gwen says. In addition to Teddy Jr., the couple had another son, Elliott, who was the father of Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor later married her distant cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and visited Bulloch Hall as first lady.

children’s bedroom where first daughter Mary Virginia Brown’s dolls are displayed. While Sherman troops destroyed much of the city during the Union’s devastating march to the sea in 1864, the mansion was spared. Mary’s father was Joe Emerson Brown, a Yale Law School graduate and Georgia’s 42nd governor, who fled the mansion just before Sherman’s troops arrived. The mansion is open to the public from 10am-4pm Tuesday through Saturday and from 2-4pm Sunday. Admission is $10, adults; $7, senior citizens; and $2, students.

Old Governor’s Mansion Daughter’s Room photo: Tony DeSantis; Bulloch Hall photo courtesy VisitRoswellGA; Bulloch Hall rocking chairs photo: Mary Ann DeSantis; Barrington Hall photo courtesy VisitRoswellGA; Barrington Hall flowers photo: Mary Ann DeSantis; Smith Plantation photos courtesy of VisitRoswellGA.

* OOUnT +TA BhOeU TS c e n e


Barrington Hall, built in 1842, was the home of Roswell King and his son, Barrington, co-founders of the Roswell Manufacturing Co. The home is a beautiful example of Greek Revival architecture, but the garden is even more impressive, and is the only antebellum garden in metro Atlanta open to the public. In addition, cooking classes are held twice monthly on Tuesday evenings inside the restored kitchen. The last home in the Southern Trilogy is the most historically accurate. The Smith Plantation, built in 1845 by Archibald Smith to escape the insects of coastal Georgia, is filled with the

family’s original artifacts and possessions. Descendants sold the home to the city in 1986 on the condition that the family’s maid be allowed to live in the house for the remainder of her life. After her death, the home was opened to the public. In addition to the main house, the property has 10 original outbuildings, including the slaves’ quarters. After stabilization efforts to the modest structure in 2015, visitors were allowed to enter. Especially poignant is an updated exhibit about the slaves who lived there, including genealogies for many of them and where they went after securing their freedom. A Trilogy Pass to visit all three homes (Barrington, Bulloch, and Smith) is available for $18 per adult and $15 per student (ages 6-18) from the Roswell Visitors Center at 617 Atlanta St. in Roswell.

Mary Ann DeSantis Mary Ann DeSantis has written for Style publications since 2006. She was recognized with first-place Florida Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards for Travel Writing in 2017, 2016, and 2012.


February 2018


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February 2018


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A time for giving Gator Harley in Leesburg kept the holiday season hopping with some great activities, including the St. Jude Poker Run in November. Billed as Highway Starz in Leesburg, it included breakfast at AMVETS Post 1992 in Mount Dora and a great ride back to Gator Harley Davidson. Great fun for a fantastic cause, St. Jude’s Children Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Colors abound There were a variety of colors flashing around the room at the Jeans & Jerseys Gala of Hope from LifeStream. There’s nothing but fun when you can wear the colors of your favorite team. Joe Ziler, president of Kevco Builders and the Ziler family sponsored the event. Joe shared the story of his brother’s battle with depression to bring focus to the evening’s events. PHOTOS: BROOKE AKERS

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F O R K O N T H E R O A D //

* QAUrI CoKuBnI TdE S T h e

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Flavor of the month

Better ingredients, better smoothies

See if you notice yourself following any of these socalled trends this month, which is National Snack Food Month. Packaged Facts, a market research firm, says consumers can expect to see more peppercorn in snacks such as chips and crackers, more use of fresh figs as an alternative to apples and berries, and a revitalization of that protein-packed nut, the pistachio. Whole Foods, meanwhile, predicts more people will turn to potato alternatives (which is blasphemous, really): puffed pasta bow ties, seaweed fava bean chips, parsnip, and Brussels sprout chips. Now if snack makers could just come up with potatoflavored Brussels sprouts, then they’d be on to something.

Smoothie King Franchises, Inc., announced a Cleaner Blending initiative for 2018. That means removing added sugar from more than 50 smoothies along with artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, and added hormones. They’re also introducing non-GMO fruits and veggies. “At Smoothie King, every decision we make is based on helping to support our guess’ health and fitness journeys,” says, Wan Kim, CEO of Smoothie King. The company is also eliminating Styrofoam cups and replacing them with material that is better for the environment. Visit to learn more.


Bring out the wings Billions of chicken wings are expected to be consumed on Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 4, according to the National Chicken Council. Americans savored 1.33 billion wings during the 2017 bowl. To visualize how many wings that is, it’s enough to circle Earth almost three times! Restaurants and food service outlets provide 75 percent of the wings enjoyed on Super Bowl weekend, the council says, while the remaining 25 percent are purchased at grocery stores.


Head to the market A Leesburg farm, Dirty Dog Organics, is now supplying the Leesburg Saturday Morning Market with fresh organically grown produce. The market is open 8am-1pm Saturdays at Towne Square in downtown Leesburg, and it’s a free event for residents and visitors to enjoy. In addition to fresh produce, a variety of baked goods, seafood, natural health items, fresh coffee, and artisan products are featured at the market, along with live entertainment.

Buon appetito! Love Italian cuisine? Then plan to go to your favorite Italian restaurant or make your own spaghetti to enjoy on Feb. 13, billed as National Italian Food Day, according to, which notes the essential ingredients in Italian dishes are olive oil, garlic, basil, oregano, mozzarella, ricotta, Parmigiana, tomatoes, sausage, and, of course, pasta. Yum!






The wolf is howling Thirsty craft beer lovers have been parched waiting for the debut of Wolf Branch Brewing, but the new Eustis business planned its grand opening early this year. The craft brewery and taproom is in the historic Iron Block building, 119 N. Bay St. “We’re excited to be launching our brand in Lake County,” Josh Greenberg, co-founder along with master brewer Jose Villafana Jr., says in an email. The brewery’s focus is “drinkability.” Among several Old World craft beers, the flagship brew is Season, a Belgian-style farmhouse ale infused with fresh grapefruit zest in a nod to Lake’s citrus history. Brewery tours are coming soon, so quench your thirst at Wolf Branch Brewing.

Style’s suggestions for a romantic dinner with your valentine: Angelo’s 2270 Vindale Road, Tavares, 352.343.2757 Guru Restaurant 2400 S. U.S. Hwy.27, Suite 101, Clermont, 352.241.9884 1884 Restaurant and Bar 12 E. Magnolia Ave., Eustis, 800.856.1884 Pisces Rising 239 W. 4th Ave., Mount Dora, 352.385.2669 The Rose Plantation 200 Rose Ave., Fruitland Park, 352.805.4340

Strawberry fields forever Feb. 27 is National Strawberry Day, and Lake County has some ripe spots for u-pick, including A Natural Farm in Howey-in-theHills and Oak Haven Farms & Winery in Sorrento. But mere humans have nothing on new robot pickers. Harvest CROO Robotics, a Tampa company, is developing an automated picking, packaging, and data-storing machine, reports florida.HIGH.TECH, the magazine of the Florida High Tech Corridor, which includes Lake and Sumter counties. The automated trackers weigh 30,000 pounds but can maneuver repeatedly through fields within an inch of plants thanks to the military-grade precision GPS that guides them. Not a bad gadget to have on your u-pick trip.

1921 by Norman Van Aken 142 E. 4th Ave., 352.385.1921 Sip Restaurant, Jazz & Bar 707 W. Main St., Leesburg, 352.435.7840

Turners Kitchen + Bar 114 S. 5th St., Leesburg, 352.530.2274 El Conquistador Restaurant 10400 County Road 48, Howey-in-theHills, 352.324.3911 Miz Kathi’s Cotillion Southern Café 101 N. Main St., Wildwood, 352.748.1223 Nancy’s Legacy Clubhouse 8451 172nd Ave., The Villages, 352.753.1473 The Goblin Market 330 Dora Drawdy Way, Mount Dora, 352.735.0059

Blackwater Inn Olive Branch Mediterranean- 55716 Front St., Astor, 352.749.2802 Italian Grille & Bar 115 W. 3rd Ave., Mount Dora, Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 352.729.6734 26736 U.S. Hwy. 27, Leesburg, 352.319.8093 These are just a few of the many wonderful restaurants the area, but they most likely will require a reservation for Valentine’s Day. Call early!

February 2018



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Milk sherbet

ake-Sumter State College employees often bond over recipes and foods they prepare for their Cooking Circle lunchtime gatherings. “I just love that everybody can get together to chat and eat. It’s a fun little group,” says Nora Rackley, who organized the Cooking Circle to meet at the college library on the Leesburg campus. The circle also includes Kevin Arms, Katie Sacco, Kathie Larke, Marilyn Cole, Pam Fletcher, Cindy Lackey, Kimberly Davenport, Linda Holiman, and Rebecca McPhearson. Instead of whipping up dishes from cookbooks as they usually do, the group members recently checked out the website and found recipes from the 1940s to early ’70s that they were eager to make. “It was fun to look at all of the retro foods; it was like a flashback experience for me,” says Kathie, who made her own version of the apricot angel cake surprise. She didn’t have apricots as the recipe called for, so she substituted blueberries. “You can use any flavor Jell-O in the cake and just find the corresponding fruit,” Kathie says. “When I was a little girl, my mom used to make this cake with strawberries.

1942 recipe 4

cups whole milk Juice of 3 lemons

1½ cups sugar Directions:

Mix juice and sugar, add milk slowly, stirring constantly (if milk is added too rapidly the mixture will have a curdles appearance). Freeze, using 6 to 8 parts ice to one-part rock salt. (Note: the recipe can be cut in half and made it in a modern ice cream maker.)




I liked it so much that I used to ask her to make it for my birthday every year.” The best part of the Cooking Circle, she adds, is the camaraderie. She appreciates that the lunches are hosted on days when she’s in Leesburg, up from the South Lake campus of LSSC where she works. The members find reading cookbooks enjoyable, yet they were skeptical about making several recipes they found from yesteryear. “Some of the recipes were a little horrifying,” Katie says with a chuckle. “We’d read them and look at each other and say, ‘We’re not making that!’ A lot of the recipes had canned and preserved meats that people don’t eat anymore; they were recipes we just skipped.” The group says half the fun of checking out vintage recipes at midcenturymenu. com was reading the author’s verdict at the bottom of the page and seeing pictures of her husband’s facial expression after his first bite of the different dishes. Some of the dishes he liked; with others, he cringed. Cooking Circle members took time to explore the site on their own to find the vintage recipes they wanted to make, while Kevin found an old magazine clipping for an olive cheese “porcupine” cheeseball he was intrigued to try. The following cheeseballs, potato and meat dishes, and desserts were prepared by the group.

O’Henry bars 1965 recipe Ingredients:

2/3 cup melted butter 2

teaspoons vanilla

2/3 cup peanut butter ½

cup white sugar


cups quick cooking oatmeal


cup brown sugar


cup chocolate chips


Mix melted butter and sugars, then add vanilla and oatmeal. Pat firmly into well-greased 9-by-13 pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Melt chocolate chips and stir in peanut butter. Spread over baked mixture as soon as it is removed from the oven. Let set in the refrigerator.

Rice pie with meat crust 1953 recipe Ingredients:


pound ground beef


cup dry bread crumbs


cup chopped onion


cup chopped

green pepper 1½ tsp salt ¼



cups seasoned tomato sauce


cups cooked rice


cups grated process American cheese


Combine beef, crumbs, onions, green pepper, seasonings, and ½ cup of the tomato sauce. Pat mixture onto bottom and sides of greased 10-inch pie plate. Combine rice with remaining tomato sauce and ½ cup of the cheese. Spoon into meat shell. Bake in moderate oven (350 degrees) for 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 5 more minutes or until done.

February 2018



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Potato salad roll 1965 recipe Ingredients

1½ pounds of potatoes


cup chopped onion


teaspoon pepper


ounces of canned corned beef


teaspoons dry mustard


teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed


hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped


Tablespoon lemon juice



cup chopped celery


teaspoon sugar

cup mayonnaise (Plus ½ cup for log “frosting”)


teaspoon salt

Parsley, cherry tomatoes and parsley for garnish


Cook potatoes in boiling salted water, drain, and cool slightly. Cut into ½ inch cubes. Remove corned beef from can; separate with fork. Combine with potatoes, eggs, celery, and onion in large bowl. Reserve. Blend dry mustard with lemon juice in a small bowl until smooth. Stir in sugar, salt, pepper, and caraway seeds and add ¾ cup mayo. (Or use the full cup, and then use extra for the “frosting”) Blend well and gently fold into potato mixture. Spoon salad in a long strip on double thickness of foil; roll up, enclosing in foil. Press to form an even cylinder about 10 inches long. Fold in ends of foil to seal. Chill overnight. To serve, carefully unroll potato salad onto serving platter (it should be firm enough to hold its shape and slice easily.) Spread with ½ cup mayonnaise. Garnish with parsley, cherry tomatoes, and eggs and cut into even slices to serve.

Olive cheese ‘porcupine’ cheeseball (No year given) Ingredients:


ounce wedge blue cheese


ounce package cream cheese


pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded



minced onion 1

teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


cup finely chopped walnuts Paprika Spanish green olives


Allow cheese to soften at room temperature. Mix well with parsley, onion, Worcestershire sauce, nuts. On waxed paper form mixture into oval shape. Refrigerate 2 hours. Roll “porcupine” in paprika. Let stand at room temperature ½ hour before serving. Garnish with Spanish green olives on wooden toothpicks for “quills.” Serve with crisp crackers.




Party cheese ball 1971 recipe Ingredients:


ounce package Philadelphia brand cream cheese


cups shredded Cracker Barrel brand sharp natural cheddar cheese


tablespoon chopped pimiento


tablespoon chopped green pepper


tablespoon finely chopped onion


teaspoons Worcestershire sauce


teaspoon lemon juice Dash of cayenne Dash of salt Finely chopped pecans


Combine softened cream cheese and cheddar cheese, mixing until well blended. Add pimiento, green pepper, onion, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and seasonings; mix well. Chill. Shape into ball; roll in chopped pecans. Variation: Roll in finely chopped parsley or dried beef.

Apricot angel cake surprise (No year given) Ingredients:


(10-inch) angel food cake


cup syrup from canned apricots


(3-ounce) package orangeflavored gelatin


tablespoons lemon juice


pint vanilla ice cream


cup drained, sieved, canned apricots


Cut a horizontal slice, 1-inch-thick, from top of cake. Cutting down from the top, remove center portion, leaving a shell 2 inches deep all the way around remaining cake. (These pieces can be used in other parfait angel desserts, if desired.) Heat apricot syrup to boiling. Remove from heat. Stir in gelatin, until dissolved. Add lemon juice and ice cream cut in pieces. Stir until melted. Chill until mixture is thickened but not set. Fold in apricot pulp. Spoon mixture into hollowed-out cake. Replace slice cut from top. Chill until filling is set. If desired, just before serving spread top and sides with sweetened whipped cream. Makes 12 to 16 servings. (When Kathie Larke made this recipe, she substituted blueberries and blueberry gelatin for the apricots. She notes any fruit can be used in this cake recipe).


Instead of whipping up dishes from cookbooks as they usually do, the group members recently checked out the website midcentury and found recipes from the 1940s to early ’70s that they were eager to make.

February 2018


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Sisters of the vine

Raised on opposite sides of the world, the McBride sisters discovered each other and their mutual love of wine—they’re the first African-American sisters to found and own a wine company. STORY: MARY ANN DESANTIS




othing comes between sisters Robin and Andréa McBride…at least not an ocean and 7,000 miles anymore. The women spent their young lives being raised continents apart, not even knowing the other existed. Today, their bond is unbreakable as they pursue their dream of owning a wine company— something neither could have imagined two decades ago. It’s a long way from New Zealand, where Andréa was raised, to Monterey, California, where Robin grew up, but when the sisters met for the first time in 1999, their connection was instantaneous. “There was definitely a natural bond that immediately happened when we met,” says Andréa, the younger of the two. “Our friendship was easy and seamless. We didn’t have to work for that—it just happened naturally.” And it was inevitable that hailing from two well-known wine-producing regions would eventually lead them into the wine industry. After all, they both had an appreciation for the art of winemaking and enjoyed discovering wines from around the world. “We started talking about owning a wine company early on,” Andréa explains. “Not knowing how to make wine and not having any money, we figured the best way to start was to become a California importer, bringing wines in from New Zealand. It taught us the business of selling wines first.” They hung on through an economic downturn around 2005, and then decided to create their own wines in

2008. That first production, Wines from New Zealand’s Marlborough region, established them as the first African-American sisters to create a wine company. “One of the first things people would ask us was ‘Why aren’t your brands called your name?’” Andréa says. “I think we believed our name wasn’t strong enough at first.” Last summer, the women launched the nationwide McBride Sisters Collection, which includes two wines from New Zealand, a sauvignon blanc and a brut rosé, and two from California, a chardonnay and a red blend. The wines sell for less than $20 each. The collection exhibits Old World elegance with New World finesse. Yet each wine has its own signature style, much like the sisters themselves. The New Zealand sauvignon blanc can be described as “sassy” with aromas of grapefruit and lime. The non-vintage brut rosé, made with pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, has soft acidity and silky tannins. “I was definitely the sauvignon blanc,” Andréa says with a chuckle. “My husband jokes that I was raised by wolves and sauvignon blanc translates to ‘savage way,’ a pretty good description of people who grew up in New Zealand. I like to think the brut rosé is more sophisticated and more me now.” It was no surprise that Robin identified with the California varietals. “I’m curious by nature and I’m drawn to complexity,” she says. “This wine [McBride Sisters Red Blend]

has surprising texture and a warm dark fruit profile and unexpected layers.” She added that the chardonnay was a direct reflection of her childhood in Monterey. “It’s a cleaner, crisper style that expresses the beauty of California’s Central Coast,” Robin says. As improbable as success can be in the wine industry, the McBride sisters’ personal story is even more incredible. They were totally unaware of each other, thinking they were only children, until their father’s dying wish to find and connect his daughters came true. Robin was 25 and Andréa was 16 when they met for the first time after Robin received a letter from her late father’s sister. Although they had different mothers, Robin told “CBS This Morning” in an interview last year that when she saw Andréa for the first time, she thought she was seeing a reflection of herself in a window. “As I was walking out of the jetway, I realized that it was not a reflection of me, but that it was my sister,” she says. Both women were born in California, but Andréa’s mother took her to New Zealand, where she often helped her uncle who was a grape grower. As a high school javelin thrower, Andréa represented New Zealand at the Junior World Track and Field Championships. She attended the University of Southern California on a full scholarship for both track and field and volleyball and earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations.

Robin was raised near central California’s burgeoning wine region and became enchanted with wine and the business of bringing it to market. Her early career began in technical sales and led to international importation and exportation, a background well-suited for the launch of the sisters’ first company. Today, both women live in San Francisco. McBride Sisters Wine Company has 10 full-time employees with winemaking teams in both New Zealand and California. Dealing with two harvests a year has been one of the biggest challenges, but it’s also one that makes the company unique. “I would say you have to be prepared to work harder and smarter and surround yourself with people that will help you achieve your goal,” Andréa says. “I think in any sector where there aren’t a lot of women or people of color, you have to be unapologetically tenacious—especially if you are passionate about what you want to do.” To read more about the McBride sisters and for food-pairing suggestions for their wines, visit


I think in any sector where there aren’t a lot of women or people of color, you have to be unapologetically tenacious— especially if you are passionate about what you want to do. —ANDRÉA MCBRIDE

Mary Ann DeSantis Mary Ann DeSantis is a fellow of the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers, Napa Valley, and recently received certification from the Wine & Spirits Educational Trust (WSET). An award-winning journalist, she has written for Lake & Sumter Style since 2006.

February 2018


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Let’s Do in Mount Dora offers up delicious lobster rolls—and plenty of other favorites.



Let’s Do 426 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora // 352.735.3702


n the quaint New England-style town of Mount Dora, lobster is on a roll—literally. At least that’s the case at Let’s Do, which is in the heart of the downtown shopping district. With sage green walls, vines hanging from the ceiling, and decorative pieces like lobster traps and a nautical life preserver, visitors may feel like they’re dining at a seaside restaurant in Maine. But it’s the Maine lobster roll that gives this eatery a true touch and taste of New England. This fast-food sandwich, which has reached monumental stature in northeastern states, is love at first bite. And that’s impressive considering the simple concept behind it. It’s nothing more than lobster meat piled into a toasted bun. After having my fill of reviewing barbecue and pizza establishments, I was ready to give this New England delicacy a day in court. The warm, golden-brown bun and cold lobster blended well together, and even though I liberally applied the accompanying mayonnaise, it did not overpower the sweet, succulent taste of lobster. As great as it tasted, I did have one minor complaint. For the price, I was expecting a Publix- or Subway-sized sandwich and did not get that. I could’ve easily consumed another one. I also ordered clam chowder, another New England favorite. I learned what perfection really means after only one bite: fresh clams, potatoes, cream, and milk. Unlike the kind I’m used to eating from a can, the clam chowder at Let’s Do is creamy but not too thick. I washed it all down with a delicious strawberry smoothie topped with whipped cream. It’s really no surprise that a restaurant like Let’s Do would set up shop in a trendy area like downtown Mount Dora. The good times— pardon the pun—continue to roll.


Invade the British restaurant STORY: LEIGH NEELY // PHOTO: FRED LOPEZ


he Friar Tuck in Cagan Crossings in Clermont is a place where you can experience full-on English dining in a delightfully casual atmosphere. The menu is full of English classics that will tempt you to ask for a sampler tray—wait! They have that, too. Emily’s Tour of England includes two sausage rolls, Scotch egg, and your choice of flip flops, pillow, or baked bean bag. My friend and I enjoyed lunch on a Monday, and it was delicious. Our appetizers were au gratin potato cakes. These are oven baked but crispy on the outside and cheesy on the inside. They’re served on drizzled sour cream with spring onions. You can also have them loaded with cheese and bacon. Highly recommended by the two of us. In honor of my two grandchildren who live in England, I had a ham-and-cheese toastie. Just the right amount of ham with cheddar cheese on white bloomer bread. It becomes a toastie when it is pressed and toasted to perfection. Delicious, crisp, and

gooey. This item doesn’t come with a side, but it’s very filling and tasty. My companion enjoyed one of the Royal Wraps, the CBR (chicken, bacon, ranch), which also has lettuce, tomato, shaved red onion, and cheddar cheese. She had hers in a spinach wrap with creamy potato salad as a side, which she pronounced better than the familiar Southern potato salad with mustard in it. Of course, we can never leave without dessert. My friend had homemade bread pudding, nice and hot with caramel sauce and filled with delicious raisins. I opted for the homemade cream doughnut, which was shaped like an éclair and filled with light, sweet cream topped with raspberry sauce. Very good. They also have cottage pie, Cornish pastry, the classic Reuben, sundried tomato and brie pillow, and the Sunday Roast of the Week always features a different protein with lots of veggies and gravy.



(Out of a possible 5)

The Friar Tuck 16640 Cagan Crossings Blvd., Ste. 302, Clermont, 352.404.6818 Hours: Monday-Wednesday 11am-8pm, ThursdayFriday 11am-9pm, Saturday 8am-9pm, Sunday 8am-6pm

Fork Report:

Casual dining. $$ Seated immediately (lunch hour) WAIT FOR MEAL: 15 minutes OUT-OF-THE-ORDINARY STARTERS: ($5-$15.99): Sausage roll, Magical Forest shrooms, brie and tomato flip flop. ENTREES: ($7.50$10.50): Pies: steak and mushroom, cottage, chicken and mushroom, and chicken pot pie.

How Fork On The Road Works Our reviewers are objective and unbiased. This is not a paid feature. Our reviewer makes one unannounced visit and we pay for our meals.

February 2018


Follow the guru Guru Restaurant offers authentic Indian cuisine and atmosphere. PAID PROMOTIONAL FEATURE

Uday Kadam wants to be your Food Guru. And much like a guru, Uday can be found at the top of a hill. Uday is owner and head chef of Guru Restaurant, which sits 170 feet high at Clermont Hillside Terrace. It’s not easy to find, but like that mountaintop climb to the guru, the culinary journey to Guru Restaurant is worth the trip. In its fourth year, the “destination restaurant” attracts many repeat customers from all areas of Lake County because of its good, consistent Indian fare, Uday says. Guru Restaurant serves northern Indian cuisine, created through the centuries as dishes from South Asian countries were combined, Uday says. The menu features fresh breads, kabobs, and many variations of curry dishes with chicken, lamb, and beef, as well as seafood, vegetable dishes, and biryani, or mixed rice, all made with creative combinations of sauces and spices—but not too spicy unless requested.




When diners enter Guru Restaurant, they’ll feel like they’re stepping into India, Uday says. The fine dining experience includes linen tablecloths and napkins, fresh flowers adorning each table, walls lined with Indian artwork, and patio seating with a great view. Guru Restaurant also caters weddings and other functions with an Indian flavor in the Central Florida area. Uday, who was born in a village near Bombay, India, has been in the restaurant business for more than 40 years. The name of the restaurant is reflective of Uday’s life: his father, a teacher, was Uday’s first guru. He earned a scholarship to a boarding school where his next gurus were Buddhist monks and Catholic teachers. Uday’s experience there marked the beginning of his life’s journey: meeting people from various cultures and exploring their unique cuisines. His first restaurant job was at the renowned Taj Mahal Hotel. He went on to work

at Marriott International and Disney’s Polynesian Resort, where he learned the importance of storytelling and excellent customer service. Uday decided to make Central Florida his home and opened his first restaurant in Orlando. Now, at Guru Restaurant, he’s gone back to the basics of what made his first restaurant so successful. “You have to be out on the floor and get people to know you,” Uday says. “If you’re not there, it doesn’t work. People want to see the owner.”

Guru Restaurant 2400 S. Highway 27, Suite 101, Clermont 352.241.9884 Hours:

4-10pm daily; closed Sundays

We built four pools in the past, and this one was by far the best. We had no problems like we have in the past. The people at Wiseman Pools are completely professional and on top of things, which is hard to ďŹ nd in a pool company. — NESHA SALSER, OCALA


A r o u n d T h e Ta b l e DINING GUIDE

Dining in your city Astatula Race Car Diner 25641 Monroe St. 352.253.6940 Astor Blackwater Inn Williams Landing 55716 Front St. 352.759.3802 Castaways Restaurant 23525 US State Road 40 352.759.2213 Sparky’s Place Restaurant 24646 State Road 40 352.759.3551 Bushnell Chuck’s Odd Cuples Café 117 W Belt Ave 352.568.0408 Hong Kong Restaurant 2229 W CR 48 (352) 568-8888 Howie’s Family Restaurant 840 N. Main St. 352.793.8582 TJ’s Family Restaurant 412 W. Belt Ave 352.793.8877 Waller’s Restaurant 138 Bushnell Plaza 352.793.2592 Clermont 801 City Grille 801 Montrose St. 352.394.6911 Akina Sushi Bar & Asian Fusion Bistro 4300 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.8988 Bubba’s Catfish 1800 S. Hwy. 27 352.708.6142 Calabria Ristorante 13900 County Road 455 407.656.5144 Cheeser’s Palace Café 707 W. Montrose St. 352.404.9431 Corelli Italian Restaurant 1042 E. Hwy. 50 352.989.5924 El Cerro Restaurant 811 W. Hwy. 50 352.241.9884 Flippers Pizzeria 2523 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.242.2214




G’s NY Pizza 12346 Roper Blvd. 352.243.8900 Green Garden 1790 E. Hwy. 50 352.243.2077 Guru Restaurant 2400 S. Hwy. 27 352.241.9884 Legends Grille & Tavern 1700 Legendary Blvd. 352.242.1910 Lilly’s on the Lake 846 W. Osceola St. 352.708.6565 Lyn’s Ice Cream & Sandwich Shoppe 824 W. Montrose St. 352.536.9935 Napolis Pizzeria 556 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 Robata Japanese Steak House and Sushi Bar 1500 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.404.9688 The Crooked Spoon Gastropub 200 Citrus Tower Blvd. 352.404.4808 Troy’s Cuban & Deli 1200 Oakley Seaver Dr. 352.241.4295 Uncle Kenny’s BBQ 157 Hwy. 27 352.394.1225 Eustis 1884 Restaurant & Bar 12 East Magnolia Ave. 1.800.856.1884 Dam Smoker Barbeque 36721 County Road 19A 352.357.6555 Haystax Restaurant 15439 Hwy. 441 352.489.0510 Jeannie’s Place 209 E. Gottsche Ave. 352.359.0027 Kiku Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Bar 15211 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.483.8288 King’s Taste Bar-B-Que 503 Palmetto St. 352.589.0404 Maria’s Latin Dinner 1 N. Eustis St. 352.357.5555

LaCabana Mexican Bar and Grill 2060 S. Bay St. 352.357.4600 NightOwl Caribbean Restaurant 929 S. Bay St. 352.589.0256 Stavro’s & Sons of Eustis 2100 W. County Road 44 352.589.9100 Taki’s Pizza House 2824 S. Bay St. 352.357.0022 Thai Sushi America 925 N. Bay St. 352.357.1949 The Crazy Gator 402 N. Bay St. 352.589.5885 The Great Pizza Company 23 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.357.7377 The Oyster Troff 936 N. Bay St. 352.357.9939 Tillie’s Tavern & Grill 31 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.602.7929 Tony’s Pizza & Subs 2760 E. Orange Ave. 352.589.9001 Valentina’s Sandwhich Factory 132 E. Magnolia Ave. 352.408.9608 Fruitland Park Fruitland Park Café 3180 US Hwy. 441/27 352.435.4575 ibar-be-que Express 3170 Hwy. 27 352.315.4227 Legends Cafe 2468 U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.728.0006 Groveland Coyote Rojo 214 W. Broad St. 352.557.8999 James Barbeque 262 W. Orange St. 352.557.4050 Ikaho Sushi Japanese 7965 SR 50, #900 352.557.8988 Red Wing Restaurant 12500 S. State Road 33 352.429.2997

Howey-inthe-Hills JB Boondocks Bar & Grill 704 S. Lakeshore Blvd. 352.324.3600 Lady Lake Bamboo Bistro 700 Hwy. 441 352.750.9998 Lady Lake Harbor Hills Country Club 6538 Lake Griffin Rd. 352.753.7000 Mom & Dad’s Italian Restaurant 504 S. U.S. Hwy. 441/27 352.753.2722 The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. 514 Hwy. 441 352.614.9000 Leesburg Bloom’s Baking House and Restaurant 610 W. Main St. 352.787.1004 Cafe Ola 400 N. 14th St. 352.365.0089 Cedar River Seafood 8609 S. U.S. Hwy. 441 352.728.3377 Chesapeake Bay Grill 4467 Arlington Ridge Blvd. 352.315.0066 Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.2442 Cuba Pichy’s 10401 US Hwy. 441 352.365.2822 Dance’s BBQ 1707 South Street 352.801.8885 Frank’s Place 201 N. 1st St. 352.323.1989 Gator Bay Bar & Grill 10320 County Road 44 352.365.2177 God Café 300 W. Main St. 352.801.7447 Great Chicago Fire Brewery & Tap Room 311 W. Magnolia St. 352.474.2739

Habaneros 3 Mexican Restaurant 10601 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.315.1777 HP Grill 1403 S. 14th St. 352.314.0006 Ichiban Buffet 10301 Hwy. 441 352.728.6669 Irene’s Ice Cream Sandwiches and Deli 4120 Corley Island Rd. 352.315.1118 Jamaican George 2402 W. Main St. 352.455.1898 Johnson’s Pizza Place 4120 Corley Island Rd., Ste. 300 352.801.7250 Kountry Kitchen 1008 W. Dixie Ave. 352.323.0852 La Palma Mexican Grill 1690 Citrus Blvd. 352.323.1444 Lilly’s Super Subs 2339 County Road 473 352.343.4663 Magnolia’s Oyster Bar 201 W. Magnolia St. 352.323.0093 Ms. T’s Place 305 Pine St. 352.431.3217 Naples Italian Restaurant 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.323.1616 Osaka 1401 Citrus Blvd. 352.728.0788 Pine Street Bar-B-Que 408 Pine St. 352.728.1293 Plantation Oaks Restaurant 4720 Plantation Blvd. 352.530.2680 Ramshackle Café 1317 N. 14th St. 352.365.6565 Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 US Hwy. 27 352.319.8093 San Jose Mexican 1337 S. 14th St. 352.805.4174

Sip Restaurant and Wine Bar 707 W. Main St. 352.435.7840 Southern Gourmet 314 W. Main St. 352.409.7512 Stavros Pizza 755 N. 14th St. 352.326.4202 Takis Pizza Restaurant 1205 N. 14th St. 352.787.2344 The 24 Tap Room 1107 W. North Blvd. 352.315.0198 The Florida Porch Café 706 W. Main St. 352.365.1717 The Old Time Diner 1350 W. North Blvd. 352.805.4250 Turner’s 114 S. 5th St. 352.530.2274 Two Old Hags Wine Shoppe 410 W Main St 352.435.9107 Vic’s Catering 352.728.8989 Wolfy’s 918 N. 14th St. 352.787.6777 Wrapsody 712 W. Main St. 352.801.7239 Mascotte Minneola Grill 117 W. Washington St. 352.394.2555 Napoli’s Pizzeria 556 Hwy. 27 352.243.7500 Rainbow Restaurant 704 E. Myers Blvd. 352.429.2093 The Surf Bar and Grill 650 Hwy. 27 202.527.0100 Minneola Jack’s Barbecue 100 S. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.2673 Lil Anthony’s Pizza 205 N. U.S. Hwy. 27 352.394.1516 Tiki Bar & Grill 508 S. Main Ave. 352.394.2232

Mount Dora 1921 by Norman Van Aken 141 E. 4th Ave. 352.385.1921 Anthony’s Pizza 17195 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.357.6668 Barnwood Country Kitchen and Smokehouse 3725 W. Old US Hwy 441 352.630.4903 Beauclaire Restaurant at Lakeside Inn 100 N. Alexander St. 352.383.4101 Bocce Pizzeria 925 E. First Ave. 352.385.0067 Breezeway Café 411 N. Donnelly St. 352.702.7898 Cecile’s French Corner 237 W. Fourth Ave. 352.383.7100 Cody’s on 4th Cafe 111 E. 4th Ave. 352.735.8426 Copacabana Cuban Cafe 320 Dora Drawdy Way 352.385.9000 Eduardo’s Loko Tacos Mexican Restaurant 226 Alfred St. 352.742.1181 Frog & Monkey English Pub 411 N. Donnelly St. 352. 383.1936 Highland Street Café 185 S. Highland St. 352.383.1446 Jeremiah’s 500 N. Highland St. 352.383.7444 J.K. Thai & Sushi 116 E. 5th Ave. 352.385.5470 Let’s Do Lunch 426 N. Donnelly St. 352.735.4577 Mount Dora Pizza & Subs 2718 W. Old U.S. Hwy. 441 352.383.5303 One Flight Up - Coffee, Dessert & Wine Bar 440 N. Donnelly St., Ste. 100 352.758.9818

Pisces Rising 239 W. 4th Ave. 352.385.2669 PizzAmore’ 722 E. 5th Ave. 352.383.0092 Shiva Indian Restaurant 140A W. 5th Ave. 352.735.4555 Sidelines Sport Eatery 315 N. Highland St. 352.735.7433 Sugarboo’s Bar-B-Que 1305 N. Grandview St. 352.735.7675 The Goblin Market 331-B Donnely St. 352.735.0059 Whale’s Tale Fish House 2720 W. Old U.S. Hwy 441 352.385.1500 Zellie’s Pub 4025 N. U.S. Hwy. 19A 352.483.3855 Sorrento Del Franco Pizza Place 31436 CR 437 352.383.8882 Gi Gi’s 25444 State Road 46 352.735.4000 Tavares Angelo’s Italian Restaurant 2270 Vindale Rd. 352.343.2757 Buzzard Beach Grill 12423 U.S. Hwy. 441 352.253.5267 Hurricane Dockside Grill 3351 W. Burleigh Blvd. 352.508.5137 Lake Dora Sushi & Sake 227 E. Main St. 352.343.6313 Mary’s Kountry Kitchen 15945 County Road 448 352.343.6823 O’Keefe’s Irish Pub and Restaurant 115 S Rockingham Ave. 352.343.2157 Palm Gardens Restaurant 1661 Palm Garden St. 352.431.3217

Ruby Street Grille 221 E. Ruby St. 352.742.7829 Sunrise Grill 462 E. Burleigh Blvd. 352.343.7744 The Hideaway 11912 Lane Park Rd. 352.343.3585 The Villages Amerikano’s Grill 998 Del Mar Dr. 352.633.8027 Bavarian Brewhaus 2738 Brownwood Blvd. 352.399.5516 Bravo Pizza 1080 Lake Sumter Landing 352.430.2394 Chengs Chinese and Sushi Restaurant 4050 Wedgewood Ln. 352.391.9678 China Gourmet III 343 Colony Blvd 352.750.4965 City Fire Brownwood & Paddock Square 352.561.2078 Fiesta Grande Mexican Grill 297 Colony Blvd 352.751.0400 Giovanni’s 3439 Wedgewood Lane 352.751.6674 Margarita Republic 1102 Main St. 352.753.4600 Mezza Luna Italian Restaurant and Bar 320 Colony Blvd. 352.753.3824 NYPD Pizzeria 4046 Wedgwood Ln 352.750.1994 RedSauce 1000 Canal St. 352.750.2930 Ricciardi’s Italian Table 3660 Kiessel Rd. 352.391.9939 Sakura 265 Colony Blvd 352.205.7393 Takis Greek and Italian Restaurant 13761 U.S. Hwy. 441 N. 352.430.3630 The Lighthouse Point Bar and Grille 925 Lakeshore Dr. 352.753.7800

VKI Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar 1004 Old Mill Run 352.259.9887 Umatilla Fish & Chix 100 N. Central Ave. 352.669.7145 Gator’s 9 N. Central Ave. 352.669.6969 Greg’s Haystax 526 Umatilla Blvd. 352.669.1555 Nicky D’s Pizza 325 N. Central Avenue 352.669.2400 Old Crow Real Pit Bar-B-Q 41100 State Road 19 352.669.3922 Quarterdeck 801 Central Ave. 352.669.4662 Shanghai 531 N. Central Ave. 352.669.2004 The Mason Jar 37534 State Rd. 19 352.589.2535 Umatilla Tavern 605 N. Central Ave. 352.669.1325 Wildwood China Jade 420 W. CR 44 352.330.5913 Cotillion Southern Café 101 N. Main St. 352.748.1223 Los Magueyes Mexican Restaurant 346 Shopping Center Dr. 352.461.0577 O’Shucks! Oyster Bar and Grill 1016 S Main St. 352.399.2200 Traditions Café 3107 Hwy. 44 352.748.1077 Woody’s Bar-B-Q 1220 S. Main St. 352.748.1109 Yalaha Yalaha Bakery 8210 County Road 48 352.324.3366

Country Club Restaurants Clermont Sanctuary Ridge Bar & Grille 2601 Diamond Club Road 352.243.0411 Legends Grille & Tavern 1700 Legendary Blvd. 352.243.1118 Howey-in-the-Hills Mission Inn Resort El Conquistador Nicker’s Clubhouse Restaurant 10400 CR 48 352.324.3101 Mount Dora The Country Club 1900 Country Club Blvd. 352.735.2263 The Villages Belle Glade Country Club 446 Moyer Loop 352.205.8208 Cane Garden Country Club 1726 Bailey Trail 352.750.0627 Evans Prairie Country Club 1825 Evan’s Prairie Trail 352.750.2225 Glenview County Club 3914 Glenview Rd. 352.753.0077 Hemingway’s at Havana Country Club 2484 Odell Circle 352.430.3200 Legacy Restaurant Nancy Lopez Country Club 17135 Buena Vista Blvd. 352.753.1475 Orange Blossom Country Club 1542 Water Tower Circle 352.751.4501 Palmer Legends Country Club 1635 Palmer Way 352.750.4499 Tierra Del Sol Country Club 806 San Marino Dr. 352.753.8005 Wildwood Continental Country Club 50 Continental Blvd. 352.748.3293

February 2018



A r o u n d T h e Ta b l e DINING GUIDE

Barnwood Country Kitchen and Smokehouse

tion! a c Lo ours w e N and H

Barbecue, American (Traditional), Southern // 3725 W Old US Hwy 441, Mount Dora // 352.630.4903 Sun & Tue-Thur: 7a.m.-3p.m., Fri-Sat: 7a.m.-8p.m., Closed Mon // // Mouth-watering barbecue. A family-like atmosphere. Old-fashioned service. Those are three qualities that patrons of Barnwood BBQ and Country Kitchen in Eustis experience upon each visit. Owners Dan and Elaine Backhaus have discovered that the recipe behind delicious barbecue is cooking meats low and slow over smoldering wood. That method has served them well, both for their restaurant and food truck business. Diners can also purchase Barnwood’s delicious, award-winning barbecue sauces and special seasonings. Popular breakfast items include a ham-and-cheese omelet, smoked sausage omelet, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and a variety of breakfast combinations. The restaurant’s equally delicious lunch items include a three-rib sandwich, pulled pork sandwich, beef brisket platter, smoked country sausage platter, mushroom Swiss burger, and grilled Reuben sandwich. Burgers, soups, and salads are also available. Be sure to top off your meal with one of Barnwood’s popular desserts, which include fruit cobbler and dark-chocolate brownies Awards: Lake & Sumter Style magazine’s No. 1 BBQ Restaurant, Best Judged Chicken, Best Judged Ribs, Best Judged Brisket (tie), and thirdplace in Best Judged Pork (April 2015) Top Entrée (pulled pork), Lake Eustis Chamber of Commerce food contest (2015 and 2016).

The Country Club of Mount Dora 1900 Country Club Blvd., Mount Dora 352.735.4059 Come enjoy a great meal at the Country Club of Mount Dora overlooking the beautiful greens of the golf course. We serve lunch daily and breakfast on weekends. Be sure to bring your appetite for our half-pound burgers made your way, thick cut Reuben sandwiches, delicious Greek salad, and much more. We serve a full breakfast menu every Saturday and Sunday including Eggs Benedict, French toast, omelettes, and much more. Come join us!

Cousin Vinnie’s Family Sports Restaurant Open seven days a week: 11am–9pm // Food, Spirits, Music, Sports 10700 U.S. Hwy. 441, Leesburg // 352.253.2442 // Cousin Vinnie’s is located on U.S. Hwy. 441 across from Home Depot. Owner “Cousin” Vinnie Vittoria and his family have created a unique atmosphere by combining a “Sports Bar” with a “Family Restaurant”. As soon as you walk into Vinnie’s you will immediately notice why they are famous for outstanding comfort food and service! Their 35+ wing sauces have awarded them voted BEST WINGS in Lake & Sumter County every year since opening in 2008. In 2017, Vinnie’s was also voted BEST SPORTS BAR! Every Monday Night from 6 – 10 they host Texas Hold’Em Tournaments, Tuesday night is “Family Night” from 5–8p.m. when kids 12-and-under eat free. Wednesday night is “Trivia Night” when the fun starts at 6:30p.m. with prizes given to the top 3 teams. A few menu items offered are (never frozen – 80/20) ½ lb. burgers, personal pan pizzas, amazing rib-eye Philly cheese steaks, healthy wheat wraps, fresh homemade chicken salad and 15 awesome appetizers, including Cousin Vinnie’s Signature Secret Shrimp! Central Florida’s families simply can’t get enough of their deep-fried Ice Cream, Twinkies and Snickers Bars! Cousin Vinnie’s also offers, a small arcade for the kids, free Wi-Fi, great music, and an enthusiastic staff ready to exceed your expectations.




Gio’s Deli and Mercato 3975 County Road 201, Oxford // 352.748.5558 Mon-Wed 10A.M.-6 P.M. // Thurs-Sat 10 A.M. -8 P.M. Buon Appetito! There’s no need to travel to Italy to enjoy scrumptious homemade breads, pasta, fresh sandwiches, meats, cheeses, desserts, pastries, and foods from an Italian market—it’s all available here at Gio’s Deli, where our chef Giovanni earned his culinary degree in Italy. After opening Giovanni’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in The Villages in 2004, Gio has expanded with the deli bringing more of the old world to The Villages area to enjoy! Gio’s can cater a special family meal of lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs, chicken parmigiana or baked ziti, or call us when you need a special party platter or desserts for a social gathering. We get raves over everything from our homemade cheeses, bruschetta, and sweet treats of cannoli, lemon mascarpone cake, cheesecakes, strawberry tiramisu and more. Come check us out!

The Goblin Market Restaurant & Lounge 331-B Donnelly Street (Rear Alley), Mount Dora // 352.735.0059 // Lunch: Tue–Sat 11am–3:00pm // Dinner: Tue–Thu 5–9pm, Fri–Sat 5–10pm, Sun 11am–3:30pm Nestled on a back alley in downtown Mount Dora, the Goblin Market Restaurant has been charming locals and tourists alike since 1996. The restaurant, housed in a renovated warehouse, features three intimate, book-lined dining rooms and a full-service lounge furnished in soothing, muted tones with tasteful modern art. The private, tree-shaded courtyard and garden patio are open year-round for al fresco dining. Low lighting and “new age” music add the finishing touches to the restaurant’s casual elegance. Owners Vince and Janis Guzinski embrace a simple philosophy of offering the highest-quality products, served in a unique and romantic atmosphere by a personable and attentive staff. The Goblin Market’s wine list and menu represent a refreshing mix of ideas from its culinary team. The diversified origins and background of each member ensure exciting menu offerings and nightly selections. Join us for our new “lighter fare” dinner menu, gourmet soups, salads, and sandwiches. Tuesday–Thursday from 3–9pm (regular dinner menu also available).

Guru Restaurant and Catering 2400 S. U.S. Hwy. 27, Suite 101, Clermont // 352.241.9884 Monday-Saturday 4pm-10 pm // Closed Sun. Guru Restaurant and Catering is the “go-to” place for a wide array of mouthwatering Indian fare, everything from appetizers, clay oven-baked Indian breads, Biryani specialties, chicken, seafood, lamb, beef entrees, and 12 different vegetable dishes for vegans to enjoy. Many diners rave about our Chicken Tikka Masala, featuring boneless chicken cooked in a clay oven, dipped in tomato sauce with onion, and flavored with aromatic herbs. All of our chefs are renowned for their creative combinations of spices and sauces, so let us cook for you!

February 2018



A r o u n d T h e Ta b l e DINING GUIDE

La Palma 1690 Citrus Blvd., Leesburg // 352.323.1444 // Open Daily 11:00am – 9:00pm // Lunch Specials: 11:00am – 3:00pm Owner Raudel Torres invites you to a delicious dining experience at the La Palma Mexican Grill. The recipes used for these unique dishes are a blend of old-school traditions from Mexico, combined with culinary inspirations and trends from California and Louisiana. Flavorful, homemade Mexican entrees such as Tacos Azteca, Carnitas, Fajitas, and Tamales and much more are timeless and prepared with only the freshest ingredients. Sit in the comfortable dining room or enjoy the outdoor view on the new patio deck. Fast and friendly service, reasonable prices, and three-for-one margaritas all day every day mean exceeding customer expectations. In addition to in-house service, catering is available for large parties, or meetings. Daily specials available on the website, ts! hi Nigh Mariac hts from ig Tuesday n d kids an m p -8 6pm ! r) eat free e d (10 and un

Mom & Dads 304 U.S. Hwy. 441, Lady Lake // 352.753.2722 Tue-Sat 4pm–9pm // Closed Sun & Mon This little place in the heart of Lady Lake is a local favorite. All the food at Mom & Dad’s is authentic and homemade, from the famous sauce to pastas to the incredible desserts. Made from scratch in-house ravioli and lasagna. Many diners automatically order Spaghetti al la Bruzzi, which is the house specialty. This baked spaghetti has a meat sauce, mushrooms, and three cheeses. Add to that the homemade bread Papa prepares every day, and you’ve got a memorable meal. You can’t stop with the entrée, however. Mama’s homemade cakes are amazing! Moist and delicious German Chocolate, creamy, luxurious Red Velvet, Cannoli, and who doesn’t love Spumoni. If you’re looking for a great Italian dinner that will remind you of home and all the goodness of eating there, try Mom & Dad’s. Mom & Dad’s also offers a full gluten free menu featuring pizza, lasagna, ravioli, and desserts all made in-house from scratch.

Rodello’s Italian Restaurant 26736 U.S Highway 27, Leesburg // 352-319-8093 // Open Daily: 11am-9pm Chef Amadeo Avila invites you to enjoy authentic and fresh Italian cuisine in a friendly, comfortable dining environment at the new Rodello’s Italian Restaurant. The recipes used for his dishes are a blend of old-school traditions from Italy— the restaurant is named for a city in the old country—with new culinary inspirations that Chef Amadeo has learned during many years in the restaurant business. Flavorful, homemade Italian entrees such as Pistachio Crusted Lamb, Salmon Saltimbocca, Lobster Ravioli, Shrimp Risotto, and many others are classics and prepared with only the freshest ingredients. The lunch menu features personal pizzas, calzones, subs, and pasta. Sit in the spacious dining room or enjoy drinks or desserts like delicious gelato in the cozy lounge, which features a full bar, wine menu, and an array of specialty cocktails. Always look for new specials on Chef Amadeo’s menu, available on the restaurant’s website,




Subway Custom-made, fresh sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads made right before your eyes. The “healthy” alternative to fast food. Lady Lake // 208 W. Guava St. // 352.750.4929 Eustis // 469 Plaza Dr. // 352.357.7827 Mount Dora // 18870 U.S. Hwy. 441 // 352.735.4376 Leesburg // 2013 Citrus Blvd. // 352.787.6442 10135 U.S. Hwy. 441, Suite 4 // 352.326.3234 27405 U.S. Hwy. 27, Suite 4 // 352.314.8847 The Villages // 1580 Bella Cruz Drive // 352.750.9600 8796 S.E. 165th Mulberry Lane // 352.750.9991 1070 Lake Sumter Landing Drive // 352.205.8535 349 Colony Blvd. // 352.391.1657 Wildwood // 480 W. Gulf to Alantic Hwy. // 352.748.8800

Valentina’s Sandwhich Factory 132 E. Magnolia Ave., Eustis // 352.408.9608 // Open daily 8:30am-7pm Valentina’s Sandwich Factory, which opened in 2017 in downtown Eustis, offers an eclectic dining experience with a mix of homemade Italian, South American, and Mediterranean dishes with fresh herbs and ingredients. Valentina’s serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a charming, casual dining environment. The menu includes a wonderful variety of delicious salads, soups, sandwiches, desserts, and beverages, including an array of teas, a selection of French and Italian wine, and Spanish sangria. The Argentinian roast beef sandwich, Aztec chicken soup, Argentinian empanadas, Mediterranean couscous, waffle crab cakes, baked brie, avocado toast, limoncello cake, and classic tiramisu are among the unique items. The new menu for breakfast, served from 8-11am, offers a variety of omelets (prosciutto, mushroom, chorizo, and Spanish), Japanese pancakes and skinny pancakes (grain free), South of the Border burritos, and a Norwegian breakfast of scrambled eggs and salmon over toast or bagel. Valentina’s features live music on Fridays.

Yalaha Bakery 8210 State Road 48, Yalaha // Open daily 8am-7pm // 352.324.3366 The family owned German Bakery since 1995, is an award-winning Bakery that offers to customers high-quality German products made with the highest culinary standards. Fine European pastries and breads are made with organic flours, chocolates, and spices, butter, and imported European ingredients. Take home tortes, tarts, and wonderful pretzels, but before you go home, enjoy something from our delicious deli menu. We serve breakfast from 8-11am and lunch and dinner are served 11am-7pm. Enjoy German specialties like Nurnberger breakfast, Hunterschnitzel with Spätzle, Bratwurst, Reuben, Quiche, typical German soups, and maybe Semelknoedel (bread dumplings with mushroom sauce) for lunch or dinner. We offer a fine selection of German beers and wines. Whatever time of day, you’ll find something you love at Yalaha Bakery. On the weekends you can come and enjoy various events and music concerts on Saturdays and Sundays at our Beer Garden. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter or via our website A German Bakery Like No Other!

February 2018



F i na l T h oug h t

All the news t hat’s unfit to p rint Journalism’s pri


orities get tangl STORY: CHRIS GERB

nd now the ne ws, with actu al headlines from the page ripped s of the most tr usted and fasc news site, th inating e World Wid e Web:


Seven if you count Kid Rock deciding not to run for Senate.


debar was he adlined, “Pleas e, please, pu t me out of m y misery and end it all no w so I never, ever have to read another insipid story about fake royalty.”


Here’s a wild guess: they look pretty go od.


Or just have a peek at the Victoria’s Secr et Angels.









r the headsup. Note to se lf: Sell your trillions in go ld.


ch as, who th e hell is Ina Garten?



ed in the web.

the almight y pressure cooker, creato r of heaven and earth…and great potatoes!


d me, put a hood ov er my head, threw me in the trunk of a car, and dr ove me to a deserted Bet ty Crocker warehouse, where I was forced to wor ship a kitchen gadget. Lo st 10 pounds , though.


Of course. It’s part of the ketogenic diet .


Inappropriat e perhaps, but does dinner with dad at McD onald’s really qualify as an “official event”?


A nation’s pr ayers were answered?


what’s up with that girl? Sh e never answers my tw eets and now she’s hangin ’ with Paris Hilton. Very sketchy.


swapping, an illegal dinosaur-figh ti ng ring, corporat e espionage over the inve ntion of the wheel, addict ion to Brontosaurus burg ers. Bedrock was a cesspo ol.


Another stud y reveals that after yo u read “new s stories” on line, you’re brain-dead.

2019 Lake County Teachers of the Year finalists


DEE DEE BITTER Seminole Springs Elementary

PHILIPPE GAMAIN KRISTIN CUSTER TANYA HAUGABROOK Astatula Elementary Beverly Shores Elementary Carver Middle


KELLY RALEY Eustis Middle

REBECCA MENDOZA Lake Minneola High

SONYA ROSENGLICK Lake Technical College


SAMANTHA MARTIN KIMBERLY HACKETT Clermont Middle Cypress Ridge Elementary

LISA CRANDALL TRENITA HOLLADAY BRIDGITTE MARSHBURN JENNIFER CREECH Fruitland Park Elementary Grassy Lake Elementary Gray Middle Groveland Elementary

SARAH T. BALTINUS Leesburg Elementary



LINDA GOODEN Clermont Elementary

JASON LANCY Windy Hill Middle

LISA JOHNSON Tavares Middle


RAJESHREE DESAI Lost Lake Elementary

KATHRYN MATARAZZO CARRIE DIAZ Round Lake Elementary Sawgrass Bay Elementary

CHELSEA BERNIER Treadway Elementary

GAYLE THURSTON Triangle Elementary


ERIN LACHUT Eustis Elementary

KACY WOLFE Eustis Heights Elementary

BETSY LANCY NICOLE CARRASQUILLO Imagine South Lake Lake County Virtual School

CATHY JUDD Lake Hills School

DEBORAH MICKENS Mascotte Elementary

RUTHANNE BALL ELIZABETH “LIZZ” SCHLOTTER PHILIP PORTER Mount Dora High Mount Dora Middle Minneola Elementary

GLENDA DUNSON Sorrento Elementary

DUSTY P. BRONSON South Lake High

MEGHAN BLESSING Umatilla Elementary

BRYAN M. TOTTEN Umatilla High

ASHLEY LUCROY Spring Creek Charter

EMILY LOGAN Umatilla Middle

CARISSA FILKIN Tavares Elementary

ROSEMARY PILONERO Villages Elementary

OFF 500





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STYLE Magazine, Village Edition, February 2018  
STYLE Magazine, Village Edition, February 2018