Ocala Style November 2021

Page 1

NOV ‘21


Entertaining Issue




Leeward Air Ranch Estates - 2.62 +/- Acres

207 Acres – Nature Lover’s Dream

Timeless architecture and a pilot’s dream define this 4-bedroom, 5.5 bath home with direct access to a 6200’ x 165’ grass runway. 3-car detached garage, private 60 x 78 aircraft hanger. Located in a 500-acre private sport aviation community. $2,695,000

Private, secluded & architecturally designed home. 5-stall barn with workshop/storage. Adjoins Chernobyl Memorial Forest, access to Ocklawaha Prairie Area, plus Ocala National Forest for hiking, biking, hunting, fishing and trail riding. $2,497,500


For Lease

Intriguing 1.6 Acre Property for Lease

10 +/- Cedar Creek Hilltop Estate

Monolithic Dome construction. Private with winding drive leads you to a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, open kitchen – family room with a bonus room and two car garage. Ride your bike to the Santos Trails. $2,500

Private 10 +/- acres. 5 BR, 5BA home includes spacious living and family rooms with views of the outdoors. Extra-large chef ’s kitchen with center island plus breakfast nook. Office, bonus room, 4-car garage, plus screened-in lanai. $1,247,500

Let Joan Pletcher, Realtor list and/or sell your property Sold in 2021 - $107,462,000 Pending Sales - $30,098,445 For these and other properties, visit JoanPletcher.com for information, videos and photos. Call or Text: 352.266.9100 | 352.804.8989 | joan@joanpletcher.com | joanpletcher.com Due to the privacy and at the discretion of my clients, there are additional training centers, estates and land available that are not advertised.

Lush 13.75+/- Acre Equestrian Estate

NW Ocala Equestrian Farm

3 BR/3.5 BA, gourmet kitchen, granite counter tops, split floor plan, spacious covered lanai and attached 3 car garage. Round pen, lush paddocks, 24 stall stable, open areas for great air circulation, saddling or bathing your horse. 2 BR, 1 bath guest $1,800,000 apartment with separate office.

Location! Location! Location! Beautiful equestrian farm located in the prestigious NW Ocala area with scattered live oaks and lush green pastures. Main barn features 2,400 SF, including 4 offices, conference room and 14 oversized stalls. 2 additional $2,495,000 barns for a total of 42 stalls.

Contemporary Beauty on 9.65+/- Acres

4.52+/- Acres Ready for Your Horses

Located in Ocala’s NW horse country, this home’s open floor plan is perfect for entertaining. Custom designed kitchen, extensive woodwork and Canadian Maple cabinets. 1 BR/1 BA guest home. Detached 4,000 SF garage is perfect for the car enthusiast, equipment or boat storage. $1,275,500

3 BR/2 BA home with wrap around decking, stone grill and conversation areas. Property is just minutes to WEC and HITS showgrounds. Two stall barn offers a tack/feed room, outdoor wash stall and a shed for storing equipment. Property is completely fenced and offers two large paddocks. $349,000

If you’re considering buying or selling, give us a call today! List your property with Joan Pletcher... Our results speak for themselves.

Publisher’s Note he holidays can be an awkward time of year for my husband and I since we don’t have children or a lot of family to gather with. But there is one tradition my husband and one of his friends have shared for years now that I expect will keep on going—deep frying turkeys for friends and family on Thanksgiving Day. The turkey frying team of two start early in the morning and by early afternoon, people start stopping by to visit, hang out around the deep fryers and take their turkey home to their families. They fry at least twenty birds and have the process down to a science. But I don’t think you need a holiday on the calendar, promoted with kitschy commercials, TV movies and songs dedicated to it, for it be meaningful. For example, I love the idea of bringing people together for a “Friendsgiving.” As the name implies, Friendsgiving is somewhat similar to Thanksgiving only it is celebrated with a group of friends, rather than the traditional family gathering. Unlike Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving isn’t observed on one specific day and there are no special rules to follow—it’s really up to you to start your own traditions. On the topic of entertaining, we wanted to offer some inspiration for staging your celebrations and a few ground rules that may help you navigate the season with clear expectations, during this confusing time, in our “Be Our Guest” feature on page 36. And if you’ve ever thought about upping your hosting game by adding a home bar, we offer a helpful guide to getting started on page 42 and then we invite you to check out some enticing cocktails from our resident foodie Jill Paglia on page 51. However you celebrate the season, no matter what’s on the table or in your glass, I hope you thoroughly enjoy each and every moment!

Jennifer Hunt Murty Publisher


in this issue




ins ide r

f e a tu r e s




An innovative youth philanthropy program teaches kids to give back.



The American Heart Association goes “red” with local events.





With the holiday season upon us, we set our sights on entertaining.



Home bars can be stylish as well as functional.





Jill Paglia whips up some statement-making cocktails.



Frank and Naida Rasbury thrive on community service.



The Humane Society of Marion County highlights the joys of pet adoption through new ventures.

Ocala native Carlie DeLuca takes event planning to a new level.

Pilot Frank Gulla’s passion for flying helps animals in need.


o n th e c o ve r


Light fixture shopping turns into an illuminating experience.

Kayla Matthews of Making It Matthews, photographed by Meagan Gumpert. Floral design by Amazing Floral Events of Ocala. Shot on location at Protea Weddings & Events, a modern yet historic venue with a restored 1800s barn than can accommodate up to 200 guests and several scenic outdoor spaces situated among the farm’s beautiful 200-year-old oak trees.


vow s 29


Join us in celebrating local brides and grooms.


Hanging out with manatees is just one reason to visit historic Crystal River.

Left to right: Photo by Dave Miller; Photo by Meagan Gumpert; Photo by Meagan Gumpert

Ocala Edward Jones Offices Support Ocala Edward Jones Offices Support

Hunt Murty Publisher | Jennifer jennifer@magnoliamediaco.com

Magnolia Media Company, LLC (352) 732-0073

1515 NE 22nd Avenue, Ocala, FL 34470

Art Editorial

GRAPHIC DESIGNER Brooke Pace brooke@magnoliamediaco.com PHOTOGRAPHERS Bruce Ackerman Becky Collazo Meagan Gumpert John Jernigan Katelyn Virginia Photography Dave Miller Wildalys Photography Alan Youngblood ILLUSTRATOR David Vallejo


DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Andrew Hinkle andrew@magnoliamediaco.com CLIENT SERVICES GURU Cheryl Specht cheryl@magnoliamediaco.com

Distribution Rick Shaw

EDITOR IN CHIEF Nick Steele nick@magnoliamediaco.com SENIOR EDITOR Susan Smiley-Height susan@magnoliamediaco.com CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Lisa McGinnes lisa@magnoliamediaco.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Julie Garisto JoAnn Guidry Scott Mitchell Jill Paglia Dave Schlenker Leah Taylor Beth Whitehead


ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Evelyn Anderson evelyn@magnoliamediaco.com Sarah Belyeu sarah@magnoliamediaco.com Ralph Grandizio ralph@magnoliamediaco.com Lee Kerr lee@magnoliamediaco.com

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Jane Lyons jane@magnoliamediaco.com

Toy Drive Toy Drive

The Ocala area Edward Jones financial advisors have joined together The Ocala the areaOcala Edward to support Jones financial advisors Toys for Tots program have joined together by using their offices as to support the Ocala drop-off locations for this Toys Tots program year’sfor toy drive. by using their offices as drop-off locations for this year’s toy drive.

Toys Accepted through December 6 Ocala - Southwest

Toys Accepted through December 6

Colin A Barrett OcalaSW - Southwest Ocala - Downtown 4701 College Rd. Suite 104 352-512-9715 Colin A Barrett Nick Navetta Ocala - Downtown 4701 SW College Christina L Ebey Rd. Suite 104 814 E Silver Springs Blvd 352-512-9715 2575 SW 42nd St. Suite 107 Suite B 352-237-2029 Nick Navetta 352-629-2165 Christina L Ebey 814 E Silver Springs Blvd 2575 SW Montemurro 42nd St. Suite 107 Anthony Suite OcalaB - Southeast 352-237-2029 8441 SW Hwy 200 Suite 119 352-629-2165 352-327-2008 Brian Wakefield Anthony Montemurro OcalaSE - Southeast 2157 Fort King Street 8441 Hwy 200 Suite 119 Kelly SW Moore 352-351-9482 352-327-2008 7668 SW 60th Ave. Suite 100 Brian Wakefield 352-237-0379 2157 Fort King Street John SE F Walker Kelly Moore 352-351-9482 3879 SE Lake Weir Road 7668 60th Ave. Suite 100 DavidSW R Nettles 352-351-0769 352-237-0379 8960 SW Hwy 200 Suite 3 John F Walker 352-237-2430 3879 Lake Weir Road JustinSE Yancey David R Nettles 352-351-0769 2157 SE Fort King Street 8960 Hwy 200 Suite 3 Marc SW C Stalvey 352-351-9482 352-237-2430 4701 SW College Rd. Suite 104 Justin Yancey 352-512-9715 2157 SE Fort King Street Marc C Stalvey 352-351-9482 4701 SWTilley College Rd. Suite 104 Brittani 352-512-9715 2575 SW 42nd St. Suite 107 352-237-2029 edwardjones.com Brittani Tilley Member SIPC 2575 SW 42nd St. Suite 107 352-237-2029 Edward Jones cannot accept gift cards, cash or checks as donations. Edward Jones cannot accept gift cards, cash or checks as donations.


Member SIPC


10020 SW 125th Court Rd Dunnellon, FL 34432 (260) 388-4279 www.grandviewclydesdales.tours

Clydesdales Up Close


he Grandview Clydesdales Farm in southwest Marion County is one of the most award-winning and famous breeding operations of its kind. The farm is home to regal equines that range from coltish babies to draft horses that can stand 19 hands high (about is 6-feet 4-inches) and weigh in at 2,000 pounds. Unique ways to get up close to these majestic beauties are Grandview’s day and evening farm tours and the Florida Show Series coming up in February. Owners Shannon and Karen Cobbs love to share day-to-day operations at the farm. During tours, guests visit the show barn, training center, breeding barn

and laboratory. The tours include the elaborate show wagons and carriages. An extra highlight is getting to see baby Clydesdales. The two-hour Clydesdales Experience daytime tours are offered at 10am every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. “The daytime tour is a guided educational hands-on tour led by Shannon or me,” offers Karen. “We invite you to meet the current National Clydesdale Champions of the USA, right here in the Horse Capital of the World, plus learn about training and breeding in the Clydesdale industry. It’s an experience you will never forget!” “Our Christmas Under The Lights Tours, from November 9th through January 8th, offer a warm

ambience. If you enjoy Christmas music and decorations, come see the Clydesdales in their show attire and have your Christmas picture taken with a National Champion Clydesdale,” Karen adds. “And, the VIP option is an add-on where you will be taken through our beautifully decorated home and see more awards and art.” Tours are handicapped and elderly friendly, and “97 percent under roof or inside, so weather is not an issue,” Karen assures. Visit grandviewclydesdales.tours for tickets. Private or group tours are available by calling Karen at (260) 388-4279 or emailing grandviewclydesdalesandhay@ gmail.com The Cobbs also are excited to invite people to the Florida Show Series in early 2022, with a new event at the World Equestrian Center (WEC). “It’s time for a draft horse holiday,” Karen says. “The series is a perfect 10-day getaway but if you can’t be away for 10 days, then pick a show and come enjoy.” The series starts with the annual AdventHealth Grandview Invitational on February 4th6th at the Florida Horse Park. Daytime competitions feature driving classes ranging from carts through the six-horse hitch and the four-abreast hitch class. Evening activities include Casino Night and the Grandview Gala. For details, go to www.grandviewinvitational.com On February 11th and 12th, Grandview World Nights will take place at WEC with evening competitions featuring championship classes in six and eight horse hitch, plus a Ladies Cart Championship Class. After the show concludes Friday, guests can attend the Grandview World of Red After Party. On Saturday, the evening will end with an exclusive, ultra-chic VIP after party. To learn more, visit www.grandviewworldnights.com

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cala Horse Properties (OHP) was established in 2007 by twin brothers Chris and Rob Desino. As the principles of OHP, they, along with Matt Varney who joined in 2010, operate the company with one goal in mind: To completely satisfy each client one at a time. Rob, Chris and Matt are not just selling real estate, they take great pride in making their clients’ passions a reality.

#1 in Sales in 2021

Matt Varney of Ocala Horse Properties is leading Marion County Sales again in 2021 with a sold volume (brought the Buyer) totaling $86,283,431 and with a total sales volume of over $150,000,000. To put that in perspective, the next closest

Marion County agent sold $23,356,410.* Like others at the top of their field, the team at OHP work around the clock because their life and work passions are inseparable; they revolve around horses and equestrian farms. They are also personally invested in protecting Marion County’s status as the Horse Capital of the World. “We know every detail about how the horse and real estate industries work,” says Chris. “And we use our passion to educate and advise our clients on how to make the best investment in their property.” “We are able to take an extremely proactive approach with our clients because there is very little that a Buyer or Seller

can do to their property that Chris, Matt and myself haven’t done on our own personal properties,” Says Rob. “We build, we renovate, we develop, and we’ve done a lot of construction. For our clients, this gives us a significant edge.” “We had already built up a substantial clientele coming to us not only to buy or sell, but also for advice and expertise. With the World Equestrian Center opening in Ocala, we have since made even more sales because of our extensive experience,” Varney reveals.

Ocala Is Growing

Interested Buyers are moving from across the country to Ocala and the publicity around the recently opened World Equestrian

Sponsored Center is attracting buyers in an already heated market. Varney explains that OHP— with their sister companies Wellington Equestrian Realty and Hudson Phillips Properties— are uniquely positioned to take on and attract prospective buyers coming to the area for the first time. He added that he appreciates and understands all aspects of equestrian life and expressed enthusiasm about Ocala’s recent growth. “Ocala really is a melting pot of every single type of horse discipline you can imagine,” he offers. “You don’t have to enjoy a specific equestrian discipline to be a part of the Ocala community, for that matter, you don’t even have to own a horse. We sell to serious horse show people and also to Buyers who simply want to enjoy a little piece of the country.” Varney added that he enjoys accompanying his wife, Dr. Courtney Varney—an FEI Dressage rider, USDF gold medalist, and equine veterinarian—to as many competitions as his busy schedule will allow. While Chris and Rob enjoy traveling the world to see their Olympic-level Eventing horses, ridden by Liz Halliday-Sharp, who was recently

named to the Olympic US Eventing team.

A Better FutureHorse Farms Forever

In a spirit of giving back to this community, OHP has taken an active role in advocating for Marion County’s open spaces. By helping found endeavors such as Horse Farms Forever (HFF), a group that was instrumental in helping stop the FDOT’s Coastal Connector proposal (2018) from wiping out Marion County’s most coveted horse farms. Varney spoke for thousands of concerned citizens with an impassioned and well received speech to the Marion County Board of Commissioners while Rob was instrumental in lobbying the Governor’s office to abandon all routes. In turn, OHP has helped the horse industry create more than 21,000 jobs throughout the county with an overall economic impact of $2.3 billion dollars. “Horse Farms Forever would not have been able to make such an impact so quickly without the expertise, leadership and tireless efforts of Ocala Horse Properties,” says Bernie Little, president of Horse Farms Forever. The OHP team plans to continue their work as active

Matt Varney with his wife Dr. Courtney Varney and son Hudson

advocates to raise awareness and ensure that the character and culture of Ocala/Marion County is protected for future generations. “It’s about protecting and honoring our land—our shared livelihood,” says Rob, who is both a founder and vice president of Horse Farms Forever. Chris and Matt are recognized as Founders of the organization. In the same spirit of advocacy, Varney was recently awarded the Carry Back Award by the Thoroughbred Farm Managers’ organization, which honors those who make a considerable impact on the Florida thoroughbred industry through their service. “Along with my partners, we have enjoyed watching Ocala grow over the last decade,” he shares. “We love working with groups like Horse Farms Forever that strive to conserve the beautiful green spaces that make Marion County a special place to live. We want to protect that sense of space for generations to come.” Whether you are buying or selling your home, Ocala Horse Properties passion for their community, incredible work ethic, extensive industry expertise, and investment in their clients is why they continue to produce year after year.

Chris and Rob Desino with Dinero Z

(352) 615-8891 www.ocalahorseproperties.com *Statistics are taken from Marion County Stellar MLS. Agent Awards 1/1/21-10/12/21.

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Social Scene The Marion Cultural Alliance’s 14th annual Applaud the Arts event, held October 10th, recognized individuals who positively impact arts and culture in Ocala and Marion County. Among the honorees were Ken Colen, president of the On Top of the World Communities; Brooke Hutto, a Harbour View Elementary School music educator; The Leppert Family; and Gerald Ergle. Pictured: Tasha Robinson | Photo by Bruce Ackerman


Applaud the Arts

OCALA CIVIC THEATRE Photography by Bruce Ackerman


he 14th annual Marion Cultural Alliance showcase of area arts organizations on October 10th included a champagne brunch with culinary delights from local eateries, music by harpist Tasha Robinson, a photo booth by Sensational Selfies and a look at OCT’s new outdoor stage.

Cultural Grant Recipients

Floyd Hershberger, Ken Colen, Dorothy Pernu

Joe Faino of Fish Hawk Spirits



Violet, Clay and Eloise Walkup

Saul and Sharon Reyes

Real People, Real S tories, Real O cala

Cops & Cars OCALA POLICE DEPARTMENT Photos by Bruce Ackerman


he massive MRAP SWAT unit commanded lots of attention during the October 2nd event that included vintage and current emergency vehicles as well as a wide array of show cars and trucks. The event raised $4,400 for United Way of Marion County.

Jon Kister

Willy and Maritza Cruz

Gregory Miller’s classic 1960 MG Model A

Brantley Fowler

Dell Gortz

November ‘21


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On the Scene A guide to our favorite monthly happenings and can’t-miss events


Notting Hill Stables Invitational


Gilbert Gottfried


Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau


Veterans Light the Stars


Veterans Day Program

Florida Horse Park November 2-3 | 12:30-4:30pm Top riders and jumpers from around the country compete in a invitation-only show. Spectators are welcome and admission is free. For more information visit the calendar at flhorsepark.com

Appleton Museum of Art November 6–January 9, 2022 | TuesdaySaturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 12-5pm New exhibit features vintage lithographs, original drawings, paintings, books and other works by the man considered by many as the creator of the Art Nouveau style. VIP and Director’s Circle Opening Reception will be held November 5 at 6pm. Visit appletonmuseum.org for more information.


McIntosh 1890’s Festival


Marion County Chili Cook-Off

Downtown McIntosh 8am-4pm The popular fall festival returns with arts and crafts vendors, antiques, toys and food and drink vendors set up in the quaint northern Marion County town. Visit fb.com/ mcintoshfestival for more information.

Reilly Arts Center 7:30pm Whether you recognize this comedian’s distinctive voice from Saturday Night Live and MTV or as the voice of Iago the parrot in Disney’s Aladdin, he’s sure to crack you up in his live standup performance. Visit reillyartscenter.com for tickets and more information. Ocala/Marion County Veterans Memorial Park 6:30pm Kingdom of the Sun Concert Band performance; includes fireworks. Free admission. Visit kingdomofthesunband.org for more information. Ocala-Marion County Veterans Memorial Park 11am Annual ceremony to pay honor and tribute to all veterans. For more information, call (352) 671-8422 or visit fb.com/fmcvp

Southeastern Livestock Pavilion 10am-5pm Now in its 40th year, the event hosted by The Cornerstone School draws individuals and businesses competing for titles such as People’s Choice Champion. Family-friendly fun will include kids’ games, crafts and inflatables, microbrew beer garden and car show. Visit marioncountychilicookoff.com for more information. November ‘21


20 Light Up Ocala

Ocala Downtown Square 4-9pm The official local start of the holiday season brings attendees together under thousands of twinkling lights around the downtown square for merriment including arts and crafts, kids’ activities, entertainment, food vendors and a visit by Santa Claus. Visit ocalafl.org/lightup for more information.

20 Variations on Opening Night

Reilly Arts Center November 20-21 | Saturday 7:30pm, Sunday 3pm The Ocala Symphony Orchestra returns to the stage, revealing the Reilly Arts Center’s expansion and kicking off a season of music with a concert including Charles Ives Variations on America and Sergei Rachmaninoff ’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, featuring guest pianist Jasmin Arakawa. Visit reillyartscenter.com for tickets and more information.

20 HOG Toy Run and Food Drive Silver River Museum November 13-14 | 9am-4pm This celebration of Old Florida includes music, historical displays, reenactors, craft demonstrations and food. Visit silverrivermuseum.com for more information.


Ride Run Roll Relay

Florida Horse Park 8am-1pm Form a team of one equestrian, one mountain biker and one runner and join in the race to benefit the Cross Florida Greenway. Food trucks, vendors and raffle prizes. Call (352) 307-6699 for more information.

State Open Pleasure 20 Sunshine Championship

Florida Horse Park November 20-21 | 9am Youth and adult riders show their equestrian skills in this series competition featuring Western and English styles. Spectators welcome. Visit sunshinestatepleasureshowseries.com for more information.



23 Conversations About Conservation

Ocala Breeders’ Sales 11am-1:30pm Horse Farms Forever’s annual summit focuses on preserving the area’s farmland and upholding Ocala’s designation—The Horse Capital of the World. Keynote speaker John C. Malone is a conservationist and the largest private landowner in the country. Lunch is included in the ticket price. Participants also may attend virtually. Visit horsefarmsforever.com/summit-2021 for tickets and more information.

26 AHAF Holiday Festival Show

World Equestrian Center November 26-28 | 8am-6pm The Arabian Horse Association of Florida’s regional qualifying show will include sport horse, performance, halter, dressage and academy classes. Visit ahaflorida.org for more information.

Photo courtesy of Silver River Museum

13 Ocali Country Days

War Horse Harley-Davidson 8am Harley Owners Group War Horse Chapter 4695 event includes escorted ride with Santa, music, food and 50/50 drawing. Registration is $5 and unwrapped toy and canned food donation. For more information call (352) 227-1606.

26 It’s a Wonderful Life

Ocala Civic Theatre November 26-December 19 | 2 & 7:30pm The heartwarming holiday classic will be performed as a 1940s radio play by a small cast of actors lending their versatile voices and special sound effects. Visit ocalacivictheatre.com for tickets and more information.

27 MTRA Holiday Arts & Crafts Market

Marion Therapeutic Riding Association 10am-3pm Kick off your Small Business Saturday holiday shopping at this free familyfriendly outdoor event to benefit MTRA’s therapeutic riding for disabled individuals, veterans, foster children and at-risk youth. The market hosts 40+ arts and crafts vendors, a live DJ, a holiday photo booth, games and a car show. Visit fb.com/ mtraocala for more information.


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One Passion at a Time Not all philanthropists are adults—one local organization is teaching kids how they can give back to their communities. By Beth Whitehead | Photos courtesy of Community Foundation Ocala/Marion County


hat happens when you offer a middle school student $500 to do some good? That is the essential task at the heart of an innovative initiative called the Adam Hanson Youth Philanthropy in Action (YPIA) program, created by the Community Foundation Ocala/ Marion County’s Nonprofit Business Council (NPBC). Walker Harrell was a 7th grade student when asked to consider how to spend his $500. But he wasn’t thinking about what “good” the money could do for him. Students join the program to give the funds away to a worthy cause. Walker chose a cause most dear to his heart—the Humane Society of Marion County. YPIA is a nonprofit initiative of the Community Foundation that works with public and private middle schools to educate young people on what it means to be a philanthropist— and how they can be one too. Since 2011, YPIA has partnered with more than 10 local schools, including Osceola Middle School, Redeemer Christian School and Belleview Middle School. “We teach, on average, 100 students per year the differences in nonprofits, for-profits and government sectors,” explains Director of Strategic



Communications Allison Campbell. Meeting once a week for six weeks, students discover local philanthropic organizations and discuss how to get involved in the community as a student. “We would start our meetings each time by taking out our homework that was assigned to us from the last meeting and having a discussion where our mentor answered questions we had,” Walker recalls. “Some students would share what they found with the class.” One of the things that surprised Walker throughout the program was seeing how these philanthropic organizations help communities. He learned that donations, memberships and fundraisers all play significant roles to drive a nonprofit’s effectiveness. Students learn about the history of philanthropy in context of their own interests and passions while honing their communication skills. A crucial element of the program is the personal mission statements students create and present to the class, based on one of their passions. These mission statements are “not just what they believe but what they are going to do about that belief,” Campbell offers.


They also learn to budget. Classmates divide into groups with similar mission statements and work together to design “case for support” presentations to give to the class at the end of the program. “We were told when we were assigned the project that we were given an imaginary $500,” Walker says. “We had to explain what that $500 would go to and be used for if it was given to the organization with the same mission as us.” Students then vote on these presentations and the winner receives an actual grant for $500 from the Community Foundation to go towards the winning student’s chosen nonprofit. Working together to create a presentation persuasive enough to convince the class to vote for him was Walker’s favorite experience in YPIA. “I found it fun to think and learn about helping the community in the areas of my personal interests,” Walker reveals, “which I had never thought about to this extent.” Walker’s hard work paid off. His mission statement was to help homeless and abused animals find a loving home and he won $500 for the Humane Society of Marion County last year. “I supported that they do not kill any animals in their shelter,” Walker states, “But I knew this caused a need for more resources in the shelter, which the $500 would go towards.” YPIA strives to impress upon middle schoolers not only how they can make a difference to an

organization in need through their advocacy but the joy that comes from giving back. Aligning the students’ interests with the missions of the charities provides a fun way for them to connect with local nonprofits and understand how they impact the community. “In its simplest form, philanthropy means ‘for the love of humanity,’” Campbell asserts. “While we are educating middle school students about their community, we are ultimately teaching them what it means to care about something or someone beyond themselves—that’s the essence of philanthropy.” Campbell says that - Walker Harrell of the more than 1,000 students who have participated through the years, “74 percent have said they learned more about our community, 66 percent said they learned what they care about and 66 percent said they are planning to volunteer for a specific cause.” As a result of the students’ efforts over the past 10 years, the Community Foundation has granted more than $23,000 to local nonprofits throughout Marion County. More than just learning about the importance of philanthropy, these young people are seeing firsthand how they can make a difference in their community—no matter their age.

I found it fun to think and learn about helping the community in the areas of my personal interests.

To learn more, visit ocalafoundation.org/youthphilanthropy-in-action

November ‘21



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Go Red for Heart Health American Heart Association initiatives include local events such as a walk and a gala. By Susan Smiley-Height

Photo courtesy of American Heart Association


he human heart is one of the most important organs in the body. Our heartbeat sets the rhythm of our life and our ethereal “heart” is what impels us to care about ourselves and others. And, over time, the color red has come to be associated with many things related to the literal and proverbial heart. It was in 2003 that the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the American Heart Association (AHA) and other organizations partnered to raise awareness about women and heart disease. The institute introduced the red dress as a national symbol, which was adopted by the AHA. Heart disease consistently remains among the top causes of deaths in America and is a leading cause of deaths in women. The AHA, which funds research into cardiovascular diseases and stroke, has developed initiatives to raise awareness and support—all highlighted by bright red imaging—that include Heart Walks and Go Red for Women. On September 25th, the Marion County Heart Walk took place at the Frank DeLuca YMCA in Ocala. “It was a beautiful day and walkers joined us at 8am to walk the 1 or 3 mile route,” notes Julia Kelley, vice president of development for the American Heart Association. “Our Heart Walk raised $135,753.” Upcoming events that highlight the color and the cause include National Wear Red Day on February 4th and the Go Red For Women Gala at the Circle Square Cultural Center in Ocala’s On Top of the World community on March 4th. Go Red For Women is an AHA signature initiative designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally.

The AHA gauges cardiovascular health by tracking health factors and behaviors such as smoking, physical activity, diet, body weight and control of cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. Among females, the AHA reports, less than 44 percent of women, especially younger females, are aware that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death (LCOD); women are under-represented in research; only 19 percent of women meet physical activity guidelines, 66 percent are overweight/obese and 52 percent of high blood pressure deaths are in women; women make up nearly half of the workforce but there are less than 25 percent in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. Targeted solutions through the Go Red For Women initiative include public awareness campaigns focused on LCOD, driving diversity through Research Goes Red, enrolling women in Go Red’s Coaching and Healthy Behavior programs and providing opportunities for girls to experience STEM. To learn more about local activities, go to heart.org/en/affiliates/florida/marion-county or call (800) 257-6941, ext. 8107. For additional information, visit goredforwomen.org November ‘21



Recipe for Success This local nonprofit has found creative ways to showcase the joys of pet adoption. By Susan Smiley-Height | Photography by Bruce Ackerman


hat’s cooking at the Humane Society of Marion County (HSMC)? So far this year, more than 2,000 canine and feline adoptions and a new Belly Rub Recipes cookbook that highlights some of those matchups. The nonprofit no-kill shelter does not receive federal or state funding and relies on donations and proceeds from its thrift store, as well as from fundraisers like their recent Art for Animals Celebration and the upcoming dinner and magic/ comedy show, featuring the 2018 Florida Magician of the Year Todd Bogue, on November 13th at the Ocala Moose Lodge. The idea for the cookbook fundraiser was born out of the changes brought about by the pandemic, according to Director of Humane Education Amanda Thurber. “Our beautiful Magic Bark Bus, designed to bring animals and pet education to young members of the community, has not been able to visit schools since early 2020. We’re patiently waiting to come back; we miss the kids,” she explains. “While we are waiting, we wanted to give back to the community and let them know about our successful adoptions and, since people are staying in, what better thing to do than read a wonderful story and make a recipe. The books are $20; $25 if we ship it, and a lot of people are getting them as Christmas gifts.” And speaking of Christmas, from 5-8:30pm on



December 8th, the HSMC will host Santa Paws on the downtown square, with Santa and Mrs. Claus posing for photos with people and pets. The event will include vendors and family activities. Austin Burnett is the HSMC Outreach Coordinator and organizes such activities, as well as adoption events at venues such as PetSmart. “When we do events, we put it out there that we have fun and that’s what the Humane Society is all about,” he offers. “It’s not like the commercials with the sad animals. I like to encourage people to celebrate the animals lives we have saved. We find them great homes and while they are with us volunteers walk them and we’ve got our new splash pad that they’ll be having a ton of fun on. We try to make it as fun as possible for us and the animals.” And, Thurber adds, “I haven’t seen an animal here that a staff member has not fallen in love with. We treat them like our own pets,” to which Burnett chimes in, “If you hang out with us, you’ll see tears roll down our faces as our favorite animals get adopted—but they are happy tears.” The Humane Society of Marion County shelter is at 701 NW 14th Road, (352) 873-7387; the thrift store at 110 NW 10th Street is open from 8:30am3pm, Monday-Saturday and offers donation pickups, (352) 732-8424. For more information, visit thehsmc.org

Art for Animals photo, right, courtesy of The Humane Society of Marion County

Darian Mosley and Saber

November 6, 2021–January 9, 2022

Alphonse Mucha: Master of Art Nouveau Appleton Museum, Artspace and Store Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday, noon-5 p.m. 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd. | AppletonMuseum.org Exhibition and museum tour organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, California.


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Ocali Country Days Offers Glimpse Into The Past


his year marks the 30th anniversary of the Silver River Museum and 26 years since the first Ocali Country Days festival, or Pioneer Days as it was originally called. The festival was canceled for the first time ever last year, but the past will come to life once again this month. Ocali Country Days is fun, interesting, educational and entertaining, so we are thrilled to have it back on the community calendar. While fall festivals abound, this one is unique. It is first and foremost a celebration of the Florida of old. Each year on the second weekend of November, folk crafters, historical reenactors, artists, musicians, vendors and other specialists in bringing the past to life fill the museum grounds. Guests can spend hours exploring displays and observing demonstrations of nearly forgotten skills. The museum grounds are shaded by stately



live oak trees and provide a welcoming setting, but it is the museum’s pioneer village that really makes Ocali Country Days special. The “village” is a collection of authentic and replica buildings that represent life on the Florida frontier. These include 19th century log cabins, a blacksmith shop, a wood-fired pottery kiln and an 80-gallon cast iron kettle used to make sugar cane syrup. The buildings are not for show. During the festival they are staffed with experts in period attire demonstrating the technology of old Florida. In addition to a blacksmith hammering away at the forge, there will be a potter, a syrup maker, weavers, spinners, quilters, basket makers, wood workers, Seminole dugout canoe carvers, rope makers, coopers, folk musicians, flintlock rifle makers, colonial era trader/trappers (think early Sunshine State mountain men), historians and Civil War soldiers (Yes, they do fire an authentic cannon; no, they do not use real cannon balls.). In this way, visitors can walk “into and through” the past. Other offerings include the museum, vendors selling handmade crafts and art, tram tours of Silver Springs State Park and live music. This year’s performers include the Pasture Prime Bluegrass Band, Johnny “Debt” Prestage (folk and blues) and our own local Jeff Brown, who is well known for classic rock of the ‘50s to ‘80s vintage. Add to this great food that includes slow cooked southern barbecue and you end up with an eclectic and fun festival. Ocali Country Days will take place 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday, November 13th-14th. Admission is $8 per person (free for ages 5 and younger), which includes entry to the state park. All proceeds support educational programs at the Silver River Museum. Scott Mitchell is the director of the Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center. He has worked as a field archaeologist, scientific illustrator and museum professional for the last 25 years. The Silver River Museum is located at 1445 Northeast 58th Avenue and is open SaturdaySunday 10am-4pm. Visit silverrivermuseum.com or call (352) 236-5401 for more information.

Top photo courtesy of Florida State Archives. Bottom photo courtesy of Silver River Museum.

By Scott Mitchell

An Illuminating Experience By Dave Schlenker | Illustration by David Vallejo


ecently, my wife and I enjoyed a “date day.” Couples with decades under their belts know date days well; you are too lazy for date nights, so you do errands together and call it a date. On this date day, we were browsing for light fixtures. We were at Lowe’s, craning our necks to look at lighting candidates for our dining room, which we dine in about once a year. It is a pretty space, newly painted and screaming for a light fixture in the “farmhouse style” touted by HGTV stars who also preach something called “shiplap.” Hanging amid a thicket of glass and bulb displays, one fixture catches our eyes, but Amy wonders if it is hung by chains or immovable steel rods. In other words, will it swing when touched or stay stationary? I tell her it is hung by chains that are covered to look like rods. It is, without question, the first time in our 29-year-old marriage I know I am correct. “I wish we could push it,” she says, “to see if it moves.” “No,” I say. “Let’s just ask someone. I’m not going to poke at a delicate light …” I look back to find her gone. “Amy?” I call out. She emerges with–I am not making this up–a large garden hoe. As in a long wooden stick with a big ole steel plate at the end. As God as my witness, she planned to raise this “farmhouse style” hoe above her head and nudge

the light fixture (adorned with light bulbs and placed delicately amid other fragile light fixtures) to see if it was attached by steel rods. I watch her approach this overhead sea of glass and breakables, holding a hoe. And just as I am about to bellow, “What the hell are you doing?” I see the Lowe’s clerk. We were not arrested. We were not kicked out of the store. Fact is, we ended up buying the light fixture–which, I gleefully tell you, was hung by chains, not steel rods. Amy maintains the instrument she planned to jab at the light fixture was not a hoe. Rather, it was a random piece of employee equipment used to reach things in high places. Thus, she was breaking other rules. Here’s the point: My sweet Amy is, typically, a rule follower. She was raised a Southern Baptist with manners and values. When someone asks, “How are you?” she responds, “I’m wonderful,” even if her hair is on fire. With solid Yankee roots, I answer “How are you?” with “How much time you got?” Thus, I usually would be the one coming at delicate glass with a steel stick. In the end, I am proud of sweet Amy. She pulled a “Schlenker,” which was fueled by 29 years of being on the wrong side of good judgment. More important: I was right. We have a lovely light fixture in our dining room that–say it with me–hangs from chains and not steel rods. November ‘21


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Celebrate... Ocala’s brides and grooms, get a glimpse into their most special of days and hear firsthand about the memories that will always hold a place in their hearts. Pictured: Belinda & Mike Atherton | Photographed by Katelyn Virginia Photography


BELINDA & MIKE ATHERTON August 29, 2021 Venue: College of Central Florida Webber Center Photographer: Katelyn Virginia Photography Wedding Planner: Blessed Magnolia Event Planning Florist: Blooming Events Belinda and Mike renewed their vows in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary during a celebration made possible by the Wish Upon a Wedding nonprofit, which coordinates weddings and vow renewals for couples who have faced serious illnesses or life altering circumstances, and local vendors. Her favorite memory: Dancing. That’s my favorite thing to do at weddings, so I got to dance with my grandchildren that were there—the boys—and my husband, and I can’t ask for better than that. His favorite memory: Just kind of reflecting what happened, what we did, thinking how blessed we were that we had the opportunity to do that—it’ll always be a special day in my heart.


RAEANNE & IAN BARNES April 10, 2021 Venue: Whispering Oaks Winery Photographer: Becky Collazo Wedding Planner: Cliff LePoer Their favorite memory: It’s difficult to choose a favorite memory of that beautiful day, but if we had to choose, we both agree it was having our families in the same place at the same time. We grew up in different parts of the country and having our loved ones all present in the same moment flooded us with an overwhelming sense of togetherness.

Image by Molliner Photography


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LAUREN & COLLIN FRITSCHY June 11, 2021 Venue: World Equestrian Center Photographer: Wildalys Photography Their favorite memory: Taking our pictures in the gorgeous Equestrian Hotel and Mr. Pickles & Sailor Bear Toy Shoppe, and the amazing food at our reception! We also loved throwing everything back to how we first met and fell in love…horses!



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Guest With the holidays just around the corner and the height of the entertaining season upon us, we set our sights on helping you celebrate with harmony and great style. By Nick Steele Event design by Making it Matthews Floral design by Amazing Floral Events Shot on location at Protea Weddings & Events Photography by Meagan Gumpert

s we enter our second holiday season during the pandemic, we would feel remiss if we did not take this opportunity to acknowledge the obvious complications surrounding gathering with your loved ones for the holidays. Big family events are still going to be tricky to pull off, especially if some members of your family are vaccinated and others are not. Hosts will also naturally have concerns about loved ones who may be more at risk given their age or an underlying health condition. Health experts agree that outdoor activities are going to be safer than indoor

gatherings, which is great considering our generally mild winters and ample options for dining al fresco, whether it be on your porch or deck or in the backyard. If you do choose to stage your celebrations indoors, get as close to nature as you can and bring the fresh air in. This is the perfect time to stage your screen porch, lanai or Florida room as an improvised dining room. Open as many windows as you can and use a window fan to help circulate fresh air throughout the house.

Minding Your Manners

While some may find the notion of etiquette as a fusty topic, a new form of manners has developed in response to the pandemic.

Communication with family members and friends is crucial when planning a gathering, so have conversations ahead of time to understand expectations for celebrating together. Discuss your expectations and what precautions you will be observing early, clearly and nondefensively, so you have everyone’s buy in about vaccinations, masks and hugging. In many cases, the way something is said is often more offensive than the actual request. In addition to communicating your boundaries, ask your guests what they are most comfortable with. This will demonstrate you want to honor one another’s boundaries and feel more connected, so you can savor your time together. It may also be a good idea to communicate to your guests that you would be grateful if they could avoid hot-button topics, the list of which has gotten longer and more contentious this year, so you can instead celebrate the unity and goodwill of the season.

November ‘21


Southern Comfort

To set the scene in style, we turned to expert event planners, and the creative forces behind Making It Matthews, Camilla and Kayla Matthews, who created a rustic-meets-refined theme that honors our Southern roots. Camilla and Kayla created sophisticated holiday tables that offer a look that is as lively as it is low key and blends old and new elements. Overall, the mood is light, bright and cozy...and distinctly Southern. The rustic natural wood elements and vintage china mix well with the more contemporary 40


touches like on-trend pillows, geometric terrariums and modern gold flatware. By mixing structured flower arrangements, rustic liveedge wood slabs and greenery foraged from nature and arranged as a garland table runner in place of a centerpiece, they added a natural beauty to the tables. The garland centerpiece is complemented, by bright florals in vintage milk glass vases. Displaying a collection of small items in a group like this gives them importance and adds a curated personal touch. The Matthews employed a layered table setting using mixand-match china floral dishes in various sizes that add a ton of visual interest with minimal

effort. A modern glass charger with interesting accents, such as the beautiful beaded-edge detail they chose, paired with vintage glass goblets, helps to put a sophisticated spin on a traditional table setting. Farmhouse-style lanterns add a touch of warmth. Camilla and Kayla suggest setting up multiple tables spaced apart, whether your festivities occur inside or out, so those who attend can have some measure of social distance but still be part of the gathering. For instance, a table for two will not only make your grandparents feel special but will allow them to relax while they eat because they are naturally distanced from other guests. Following the meal, they can choose to

mask up and circulate or family members can visit with them one or two at a time.

Making It Magical

Camilla has designed and executed weddings and events for more than 20 years, from intimate backyard gatherings to over-the-top themed festivities. Five years ago, while planning her son Dustin and daughter-in-law Kayla’s wedding, Kayla caught the bug and Making It Matthews was created. Their full-scale event planning, production and rentals business has now grown to include six full-time and 12 part-time associates. For more information, visit makingitmatthews.com November ‘21


aise R the


well-stocked home bar is something many of us aspire to, especially around the holidays when we are regularly hosting friends and family. Even if you are not a big drinker, it’s nice to have something to offer guests. Although it may seem daunting, setting up a home bar is quite easy and can be done with varying levels of commitment, from a full wet bar to a bar cart or simple dedicated space on a bookshelf or cabinet. You could also place a tray on top of a sideboard and utilize the drawers and cupboards below for storing tools and glassware. No matter your budget or the amount of space you are working with, you can have a stylish cocktail station at your disposal. 42


With the popularity of cocktails on the rise the home bar is making a strong comeback. By Nick Wineriter Photography by Dave Miller

There are two main types of home bar, one being a built-in station, called a “wet bar,” equipped with a sink for washing glasses and which may include an ice maker. A “dry bar” is much easier to set up and style. It can easily be housed in many different environments or arranged on a bar cart. In addition to making a stylish statement, bar carts offer plenty of advantages as they don’t take up much space and can be moved from room to room, or even outside, depending on where your gathering is taking place. Bar carts are welcoming enough that guests will feel comfortable walking up and making their own drink. Since most bar carts are open by design, you probably just want to

limit it to the basics and keep your less frequently used items in a pantry, so it doesn’t look cluttered. The surface of any piece of furniture, be it a console table or bookshelf, can easily be transformed into a simple bar. A tray can help to create a defined space and allows you to focus on what essentials you want to have front and center. Whatever option you choose, a home bar can add a gracious sense of hospitality to your space, no matter the size of your home. After all, a stylish setup is as important as the curated cocktails you will create there. Here are some tips that may help you become your crowd’s favorite mixologist.


Stock your bar with spirits you enjoy, but also splash out and try some things that may be outside of your current favorites list. The best way to make a great cocktail is to develop an appreciation for the drinks you will be mixing. Here are the basics you will want to have on hand: vodka, gin, light rum, tequila, scotch, bourbon, blended whiskey, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth and triple sec. The most classic and popular drinks utilize these spirits. One bottle of each will get you started. Liquor is expensive, so start small and build your bar based on the cocktails you enjoy. You don’t have to do it all at once. Accumulate other brands and drink-specific items over time. As far as the exact types or brands of liquor you use, that is up to you —you also probably already know what you like. Buy something decent, but it doesn’t have to be absolutely top-of-the-line. (For example, if someone wants a scotch and soda, don’t use a single malt scotch. That’s alcohol abuse!) However, if you want to go the extra mile, other spirits you may want to stock would be brandy, cognac, Grand Marnier, crème de menthe (white and green), crème de cacao (dark and white), Drambuie, Amaretto and champagne. One note on bottle display: premium brands often have eye-appealing labels, so feel free to keep those bottles on display. Single malt scotches, which come from a single distillery, such as Macallan, Balvenie, Glenmorangie and Lagavulin, are excellent choices. Keep in mind that all blended scotch contains a certain amount of single malt whisky (as it is spelled in Scotland). A nice choice for an inexpensive scotch is Scoresby, which contains 33 percent single malt, which is a high percentage for a blended scotch. Single barrel bourbons, which come from a

single barrel or cask, such as Blanton’s and Knob Creek, are also excellent choices for bottle display. Other premium bourbon brands would be Maker’s Mark, Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace (a great value for under $30) and Evan Williams (also available in a single barrel version). Decanters are great for displaying brands of liquors that are not considered premium. Anything available in a plastic bottle is something you should avoid as plastic contains ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid, which tend to leach when used for storing alcohol over time. If the temperature is high, those chemicals can actually make their way into your drink. So, not only will it change the taste of the drink and reduce the shelf life of the liquor, but it makes Ma and Samantha Larmoyeux, pictured at le , incorporated fun and functional design details into their built-in home bar, which is no surprise since Ma , a businessman who has owned other bars, is one of the new owners of the former Pi On Broadway venue in downtown Ocala that soon will be recreated as the District Bar & Kitchen.

The home bar cart curated by Victoria Billig and Joel Downing is both stylish and functional. It is stocked with a nice variety of liquors and mixers, and many of the necessary bar tools used to create basic and more sophisticated cocktails. When it’s time to entertain, it’s easy to add ice and garnishes such as lemons, limes and olives.



toasting to your health more of a preemptive strike than a simple social tradition. Spirits in plastic bottles are also more likely to have the type of poor quality distilling components that contribute to hangover symptoms or make a hangover worse. You can do better!


While it may seem like an afterthought, for many the garnish is the crowning touch on a finely prepared cocktail. You will want to have the following on hand: green cocktail olives (pitted and often stuffed with cheese or pimento; Manzanilla is a popular choice), cocktail onions (a small sweet pearl onion pickled in a brine), Maraschino cherries, limes and lemons (used as wedges or as twists) and oranges (to slice or to use the peel, which is sometimes singed for dramatic effect).


You will need a variety of sodas necessary for classic cocktails: cola, diet cola, club soda, tonic water and ginger ale, as well as a supply of fresh fruit juices such as orange, lemon, lime, pineapple, tomato, cranberry and grapefruit.

Essential Extras

Drink recipes often call for specific ingredients, including bitters, grenadine, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, sugar and simple syrup. To make simple syrup, combine equal parts (for example, three cups each) of sugar and water. Bring to a boil, then let cool. Voila: simple syrup!

Bar None

While the primary focus of a home bar is for cocktail creation, not everyone you invite over will necessarily be seeking spirits. Keep a few bottles of your favorite wines on hand, a selection of imported and domestic beer, as well as some nonalcoholic cocktails, so no one feels left out.


The way you present your finished cocktail is how many of your guests will judge your final effort and a lot of that comes down to serving it in the right glass. If you want to keep it simple or slowly build up your glass collection, The Thin Man start with a nice set of chardonnay glasses. These are versatile enough to be acceptable whether you are serving either white or red wine or even a cocktail. If you want to cover all your bases, however, you will need martini glasses, rocks glasses, highball glasses, wine glasses, brandy snifters, pilsner glasses, shot glasses and champagne flutes.

Bartending Tools

While special tools may seem intimidating for bourgeoning cocktail makers, they are absolutely essential and serve a distinct purpose in the drink preparation. We suggest equipping yourself with a shaker set (metal and glass), long cocktail stirring spoon, wine opener, bottle/can opener, cocktail strainer, paring knife, muddler, jigger

and a cutting board. One of the best sites for contemporary barware is cocktailkingdom.com

Cocktail Recipe Books

These three are must haves: The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff, The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan and The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan and Chris Call. If you want to go back in time and see how the professional bartenders of days gone by mixed cocktails, try to get copies of How To Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion by Jerry “the Professor” Thomas, 1862, or The Savoy Cocktail Book, by Harry Craddock, 1930. Both are out of print, but worth seeking out.

Extracurricular Reading

Imbibe! by David Wondrich, Bottled Wisdom by Mark Pollman and Cocktails of the Ritz Paris by Colin Peter Field.


For the best memoir of a bartender ever written, read Hemingway’s Paris, by James Charters as told to Morrill Cody. (Original title: This Must Be the Place). Charters was a bartender in 1920’s Paris. His book is a memoir of his bartending experiences in Paris. His customers included Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Harpo Marx, James Joyce, Silvia Beach, Gertrude Stein, Sinclair Lewis, Oscar Lewis, etc. Unfortunately, this is also out of print but, again, worth seeking out.


Some good films with bar/cocktail/drinking scenes include Casablanca, Guys and Dolls, The Seven Year Itch, Where the Buffalo Roam, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Naked Lunch, Bar Fly, The Strawberry Blonde, The Thin Man and Cocktail. Setting up a home bar can be a fun exercise that will make for more festive times with friends and family members. It can enhance your space, delight your guests and inspire you to try some new things. So, enjoy being a “home bartender” and cheers to you and yours! November ‘21


Small Start, Big Moves At just 20 years old, while still in college, Ocala native Carlie DeLuca is carving out a distinct space for herself in the event planning industry. By Nick Steele | Portraits by Meagan Gumpert

Event photography courtesy of Events by Carlie DeLuca

here is an oft repeated piece of advice, subscribed to by the likes of Steve Jobs, who said, “Start small, think big.” Confucius is credited with issuing a similar sentiment: “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” So, it begs the question as to whether Carlie DeLuca was of the same mindset when she began her micro-event business Not The Playground. Of course, in that case, the “he” was a she and she was carrying pillows not stones. DeLuca says she was inspired to step into the event planning arena because she wanted a new challenge and saw an opportunity created by the pandemic. “I was looking for a fun side hustle to start during college. I had seen other picnic companies in different states, but there weren’t any in Ocala or Gainesville, where I attend college. So, I started one,” she explains. “Within 30 minutes of launching my picnic business Instagram account in January, I had already booked my first client. I found my creative outlet in tablescaping and event design. Because these picnics were outdoors and intimate in size, they were the perfect pandemic activity.” Her stylishly produced picnics, set in locations surrounded by lots of natural beauty, like Sholom Park in Ocala, were defined by her ability to create on-trend events that allowed her to stand out from the crowd. Beyond tablescaping, which refers to the art of beautiful and intricately decorated tables, DeLuca’s picnics were more an exercise in eventscaping (Yes, it’s a real thing!). In addition to producing artfully curated November ‘21


picnics for couples or groups celebrating events such as Mother’s Day, DeLuca also offered elaborate teepee slumber parties for girls. “People have been looking for something fun and special to do during the pandemic, while still respecting social distancing,” she notes. “Being outdoors in small groups has made people feel more comfortable gathering, yet still allows them to experience some social normalcy.” As quickly as her business took off, it has expanded to the point where she is now being engaged for bigger events averaging about 125 to 150 guests and that has led her to focus on more traditional social gatherings. “It just kind of took over my life. Within months, planning picnics turned into planning baby showers, birthday celebrations, housewarmings, bridal showers,” she recalls. “By May, I was planning two weddings and now, nine months later, I am planning and designing five weddings.” The change in direction inspired DeLuca to reinvent her business under the banner Events By Carlie Deluca. She has already stopped booking slumber parties and her last picnic is scheduled for December. “I’m so thankful to everyone who has supported me,” she offers. “While I plan on focusing my attention on larger events, I will still be offering my tablescaping service for smaller events. I will also continue bringing unique and thoughtfully curated tablescapes and design elements to my events as they grow in size. I want to offer quality designs that go above my client’s expectations.” She says her typical client is usually someone in their 20s or 30s. “I definitely think younger clients decide to hire me because I am more boho chic than classic and traditional, which is appealing to younger people,” she shares. “I also use lots of bright, fun colors. I

think that is something younger clients look for.” As busy as she is with her business and academic studies, she finds time to give back. In August, she created a Girl Power donation drive. “I saw lots of flyers for back-to-school drives collecting the essentials for students but there wasn’t one collecting non-essentials,” she explains. “I remember how it felt to go back to school shopping with my mom and get new makeup, nail polish, hair products and jewelry. I wanted to help other girls experience this feeling before the new school year too. There is more to life than just surviving and, with the help of everyone who came to bring donations, we donated an entire truck full of beauty and hygiene products to teenage girls through The Rock Program (A program of the Ocala Outreach Foundation created by Rondo and Toby Fernandez, which provides clothes, food, school supplies and counseling to local schools). She credits her parents for inspiring her love of community service. “My parents taught me to be aware of the sufferings in our world, to recognize my privilege,” she shares. “Every Christmas, we would create a list of gifts I would like to receive myself and then they would purchase the items for children who wouldn’t get to open presents otherwise. I cherished doing this, knowing another kid was going to experience the joy of unwrapping something exciting and unexpected. I loved knowing my parents were behind making a stranger feel special.” And now its DeLuca’s moment to make others feel special, which she is excelling at through both her creative event execution and service to the community. For more information, email eventsbycarliedeluca@ gmail.com November ‘21


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Seasonal Sipping Whipping up some statement-making cocktails can add a festive touch to your holiday entertaining. By Jill Paglia | Photography by John Jernigan



love a themed party, whether I’m hosting it or attending as a guest. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the Super Bowl are good reasons to go all out. And now that it’s Fall, I enjoy creating food and drinks that celebrate the flavors and colors of the season, from pumpkin spice and cinnamon, to cranberries and apples. I have hosted parties that were basically all-day affairs filled with pumpkin carving, football, food, harvest ales and some delicious seasonal cocktails, like the ones I’m whipping up this month. One of those gatherings turned into my favorite party of all time because my daughter Lauren won the pumpkin carving contest and her “prize” was that my now son-in-law got down on one knee and proposed. The holiday season offers ample opportunities to spend time with family and friends, even if the past two years have been scaled down from what we’re used to, but that also creates the opportunity to add more special touches to your celebrations. For me, this will often mean creating special cocktails to add a little more fun and festivity to an event. One of my favorite drinks, no matter the season, is a Dry Dirty Martini, but I also love to splash out and introduce my guests to something

like an indulgent Pumpkin Spice White Russian or a refreshing Cranberry Apple Moscow Mule. If you do decide to have more of an outdoor or backyard bash for a larger group, consider hiring a bartender and customize a set of signature drinks for the event. You can even plan your menu to coordinate with your cocktail choices. Some great options might be to serve a charcuterie board of cheeses, meats, olives, pickles, nuts and crackers or a baked artichoke dip with crusty bread or pita to offset the sweeter cocktails and to balance the saltiness of a Dirty Martini, something like brie baked in phyllo dough with cinnamon and pecans would be a nice option. I personally enjoy prepping for an event, from planning the menu and arranging the table to cutting up fruit garnishes for drinks, like professional bartenders do. The day before a party, I prep as much as I can, so I won’t have as much to do on the day of the gathering. My consistent advice, even for a seasoned hostess, is prep, prep, prep. Now having said that, I realize that may not be practical for everyone, especially with how hectic the holidays can be. In that case, keep it casual and easy with a pot of homemade chili (let the crock pot do the work) and some corn muffins from the bakery section of your local market. If mixing cocktails is too much to consider, pick up a couple of bottles of your favorite wine or beer and let your guests help themselves. Gatherings should be about more than the decorations and getting dressed up, it’s about sharing time with friends and family. So, greet your guests with a smile and enjoy the moments. And, if you do decide to try out these delicious seasonal cocktails for your next soirée, I say, Cheers! to you and make mine a Dirty Martini… dry, if you don’t mind!

Maple Old Fashioned 2 ounces rye whiskey or bourbon 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup 1 teaspoon water Dash of Angostura bitters Orange peel for garnish Mix whiskey or bourbon, maple syrup, bitters and water in an old-fashioned glass and stir until the syrup is dissolved. › Add a single large ice cube. › Garnish with orange peel.


Cranberry Apple Moscow Mule 4 ounces vodka 1 can ginger beer 1/2 cup sparkling apple juice 1/4 cup cranberry juice Fresh cranberries and sliced apples for garnish Fill two glasses with ice and add equal amounts of vodka, cranberry juice and sparkling apple juice. › Stir to combine. › Fill with ginger beer and stir gently. › Garnish with cranberries and apples.

Pumpkin Spice White Russian 3 tablespoons graham crackers, finely crushed 2 ounces vodka 1 1/2 ounces pumpkin spice creamer 1 ounce Kahlua 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus extra for garnish Cinnamon sticks Honey Combine pumpkin pie spice and crushed graham crackers on a shallow plate. › Dip the edge of the glass in honey, then into the mixture to coat the rim. › Fill the glass with ice. › Pour in the vodka and Kahlua, then top with the creamer. › Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Ultimate Dry Dirty Martini 3 ounces vodka or gin 1/2 - 1 1/2 ounces olive juice (to taste) Green olives Chill a martini glass by swirling in ice or putting in a freezer for a few minutes. › Put ice into a cocktail shaker until it is three-quarters full. › Add the vodka or gin and olive juice (to taste) and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. › Put two or three olives on a skewer and place in the glass. › Strain the martini from the shaker into the glass.

November ‘21


Years of Giving This generous nonagenarian couple hopes their example will inspire others to volunteer. By Lisa McGinnes Photography by Meagan Gumpert On-set beauty touch ups by Linda Lofton


rank Rasbury served more than 20 years in the U.S. Army, retiring as a lieutenant colonel with medals including the Bronze Star. Most would call that a life of service. But Frank went on to serve his community with a civilian career that included 11 years as executive director for the Nassau County, New York Chapter of the American Red Cross. A gifted young performer, Naida Rasbury made her Broadway debut at age 7—at George Gershwin’s request—in his original production of Porgy and Bess when it premiered in 1935. She later appeared in two revivals before she started high school. After college, she worked as an educator and then rose through the ranks of city government. Most would also call that a successful career in service to others. But the Rasburys’ legacy of service was just beginning. When they retired in the late 1980s and moved to the Silver Springs Shores area, Frank and Naida were ready to spend much of their golden years giving back—to the extent they would earn the nickname “professional volunteers.” The young and vibrant retirees were ready to put all their energies “into becoming bona fide ‘Ocalans/Marion Countians’ and not just ‘former New Yorkers,’” Frank says, explaining that it was important to the couple to “make a positive contribution” to the community

they “care about and love.” Over the past three decades they’ve given the gifts of their time, talent and treasures to close to two dozen local causes, including Interfaith Emergency Services, the March of Dimes and the Military Officers Association of America, just to name a few. The couple, who will celebrate their 50th anniversary next year, shares their philosophy, which they say is pretty straightforward: “See a need, address a need.” “A lot of times people see things and say, ‘Oh, isn’t that a shame,’ and then turn their back and walk away,” Naida explains. “But if you have a mantra in your own head that there’s a need and there’s a way that you can help take care of that need, do it. That’s one of the things I think both of us have no problem doing. If you do one thing and then another thing piles on top of that one, the next thing you know, you’ve got other people interested and they will come along and work with you. That’s community.” “That’s leadership, too,” Frank adds. “You get started doing something that needs to be done. People think, ‘I’ll help out there.’ They come in and you start building a team of people doing stuff. Somebody has to step forward to lead the way. We’re prepared to do that.” Now, at age 93 (Naida is five weeks younger than Frank), the couple volunteers for a more

focused list of charities. “We are very grateful for our longevity,” Frank remarks. “We kind of feel an obligation to do as much as we can for as long as we can, to be productive. Actually, I think the key to our longevity is continued involvement.” Naida is passionate about the Ocala Royal Dames for Cancer Research, which she joined nearly 25 years ago. “I want to see what I can do about helping to eradicate cancer,” she declares. “I don’t know if you know this, but 40 percent of women that die from breast cancer are women of color. And when I heard that I said this is an organization to become a part of, so I joined. We’re never going to really be able to eradicate cancer completely, but there will be a cure for some.” After serving as treasurer and helping to coordinate many fundraising events including the Royal Dames’ Tiara Ball and the Shop Talk community education series held at the College of Central Florida, Naida makes a point to recruit new members who can help the organization with its mission to support educational programs and activities that promote, enhance and further cancer research and education. Frank’s longest standing civic affiliation is his membership in Rotary International since 1975. He joined the Rotary Club of Ocala in 1988 and says the November ‘21


group serves the community, which sometimes means meeting a need right here at home and sometimes refers to the larger world community, including projects to provide water for people in Zimbabwe and helping to nearly eradicate polio worldwide. Frank was pleased to be the project manager for a community beautification project that celebrated the Rotary Club of Ocala’s 100th anniversary in 2019. The arbor 56


in Tuscawilla Art Park includes four pillars engraved with the words “truth,” fair,” “goodwill” and “beneficial.” The inscriptions, he says, stand for the Rotary code of conduct. “We ask ourselves four questions,” he explains. “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? And, our attitude is that if the answer to any one of those four questions is no, then you don’t do it.” One of the best personal outcomes of their volunteer work, Frank says, has been the interaction with other people who share their vision. “We’ve had the opportunity

to work with some outstanding people,” he notes. “They freely give of themselves and what they have, and they treat everyone with a great deal of respect. It’s good to be a part of that and to contribute to that kind of community. We’ve had a wonderful opportunity to contribute.” The Rasburys urge their fellow Marion Countians to “find something you’re interested in that can benefit from what you do.” “Service is the price you pay to live in your community,” Frank maintains. “Those are your dues. If you’re not serving in your community, I ask the question, ‘What good are you?’” For more information about the Ocala Royal Dames for Cancer Research, visit ocalaroyaldames. org and for information about the Rotary Club of Ocala, visit ocalarotaryclub.com.

Happy Hour Specials: 2-7p every day $3 Draft Beer $4 House Wine & Premium Cocktails $5 Super Premium & $6 Harry’s Signature Cocktails $7 off bottles of wine We are open for dine in, carryout and delivery through Doordash and BiteSquad

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(352) 840-0900 › hookedonharrys.com Mon-Thu 11a-9p › Fri & Sat 11a-10p › Sun 11a-8p Located in the heart of downtown Ocala, Harry’s offers traditional Louisiana favorites like Shrimp and Scallop Orleans, Crawfish Etouffée, Jambalaya, Shrimp Creole, Blackened Red Fish, Louisiana Gumbo and Garden District Grouper (pictured). Other favorites, like French Baked Scallops and Bourbon Street Salmon, are complemented with grilled steaks, chicken, burgers, po’ boy sandwiches and salads. Their full bar features Harry’s Signature Cocktails, such as the Harry’s Hurricane, Bayou Bloody Mary or the Cool Goose Martini. They also feature wines by the glass and a wide selection of imported, domestic and craft beer.

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Air Paws Pilot Frank Gulla has parlayed his passion for flying into making a difference in shelter dogs’ lives. Pilots N Paws, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit, connects 6,000 volunteer pilots and shelter/rescue volunteer coordinators across the country to transport more than 15,000 rescue animals each year. By JoAnn Guidry | Photos courtesy of Pilots N Paws


any dog owners will tell you their pet loves to take car rides. Turns out, dogs like plane rides too. “In a plane, dogs are kind of like young children who fall asleep during a car ride. Once you turn on the engine and start moving, most of the dogs fall asleep and some sleep through the whole flight,”



says The Villages resident Frank Gulla, who has been flying dogs for Pilots N Paws since 2018. “I’ve flown more than 60 transports, more than 80 dogs at this point, and I’ve never had a dog freak out in the plane,” he shares. “And I’ve had only one dog have a little motion sickness. The dogs really handle flying well.”


So well, in fact, that Gulla occasionally has a dog who wants to be a co-pilot for his four-seater Piper Arrow IV, which is housed in an Ocala International Airport hangar. “I don’t crate the dogs and generally only fly one dog at a time. If it’s two dogs, then I put one in the baggage area with a blanket and the other in the passenger seat right behind me,” he explains. “Once I was flying two huskies, Bonnie and Clyde. I put Clyde in the baggage area and he fell asleep right away. Bonnie sat in the passenger seat and would put her head, sometimes a paw, gently on my shoulder and look out the window. I think she would’ve gotten in my lap and tried to fly the plane if I had let her.” Unlike Bonnie, Gulla was able to transition from passenger to pilot 36 years ago. At the time, he was an audit project manager with the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Inspector General and Naval Audit Service, based at the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. “I always liked flying. While in Stuttgart, I had a friend who was a pilot and I went flying with him all the time,” recounts Gulla, 69, who logged three years in the U.S. Army and then added a 29-year career in civil service. “So, one day he tells me that I should get my pilot’s license. I took my first lessons in 1984 and got my pilot’s license in 1985. I’ve been flying ever since; first in rented planes and then I bought my Piper in 2003.” Gulla moved to South Riding, Virginia, in 1996, while continuing to work for the federal government, including spending two years in Baghdad, Iraq. He retired from civil service in 2008 and returned to South Riding. Not one to retire and take up playing golf, Gulla became a real estate agent and emergency medical technician (EMT). And, of course, he kept flying. “Every year, my flying buddies and I would fly down to Lakeland, Florida, for the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo. The Sun ‘n Fun flying show is the second largest flying show in the country,” he

offers. “While in the area, we’d visit other places and that’s how I first visited The Villages. I liked it so much that I moved there in 2014 and found the perfect place for my plane at the Ocala airport.” Just like it was a friend who led to Gulla getting his pilot’s license, it was another friend who introduced him to Pilots N Paws. “I rode along with my friend on a Pilots N Paws flight with a mother Chihuahua and her five puppies,” remembers Gulla. “It was a fun thing to do. When we landed, there was just such joy when the dogs were picked up. I decided right then and there to become part of Pilots N Paws.”

A Volunteer Network

The Pilots N Paws website (pilotsnpaws.org) operates as a facilitator between volunteer pilots and shelters/rescue groups. Volunteer coordinators post their transport needs and connect with available pilots in their area. Gulla works with several shelters/rescue group coordinators, including Cathy Ellsworth, the volunteer rescue/transport coordinator for the Bainbridge-Decatur County Humane Society in southwest Georgia. Ellsworth, who lives in Tallahassee, has been involved with Pilots N Paws for 10 years. “The capacity, counting dogs and cats, at Bainbridge is 125-135. When we reach that number, we start moving animals to other shelters or rescue groups where they will have a renewed chance to be adopted. My personal mission is to save as many animals as possible and find them a forever home,” explains Ellsworth. “I post on Pilots N Paws and then get connected with a pilot. We have pilots from all walks of life. Some, like doctors, lawyers, veterinarians, can only fly on the weekends. Others, like Frank Gulla, are retired and can do weekday flights. Frank is wonderful, is one of our regulars and we can always count on him.” Ellsworth notes that “sometimes the pilot ends up adopting the dog or cat that’s being transported and that’s a great outcome.” When he gets an assignment to pick up a dog(s) from Bainbridge, Gulla makes the hour November ‘21


and 15-minute flight from Ocala to the Decatur County Industrial Air Park. He is met there by a Bainbridge volunteer with his passenger(s). From there, he transports the animals to the nearest airport for ground transport to a shelter or rescue group. “I fly a lot into the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, but really have probably flown into every airport in Florida,” says Gulla. “Monica Marshall, a volunteer coordinator in Stuart, works with Siberian husky rescue groups. One of those groups is GTS Husky Rescue in Jupiter. I’ve picked up huskies that are flown in from Louisiana and Texas to the Williston airport. Then I fly them to Stuart and then they’re driven to Jupiter.”

A New Purpose

While cats are also flown, Gulla has only transported dogs. He grew up with dogs as pets, but currently doesn’t have one. “I flew a beagle puppy once and he was just the cutest thing,” says Gulla, who is an avid pickleball 60


player and enjoys riding his motorcycle when he isn’t flying. “The person coming to pick it up at the airport was late. And I started thinking that maybe I’d adopt the beagle. But then the person showed up and told me the puppy had already been adopted. But who knows, there might be a dog for me one day.” While he still enjoys recreational flying, his involvement with Pilots N Paws has given him a new view from the skies. “My flying buddies and I have always liked to do breakfast and lunch flights to different places. The saying among pilots who do that is that by the time you pay for fuel, you’re paying $100 for a hamburger. But after a while you get tired of $100 hamburgers,” reveals Gulla. “Flying for Pilots N Paws gave me a purpose, gave my plane and flying a purpose. I never get tired of flying for Pilots N Paws and always look forward to the next flight. It’s my way of giving back.” His efforts are surely appreciated by his passengers…especially those wannabe-caninepilot types.

Driveable Destinations:

Plantation on Crystal River If picturesque seascapes, fresh seafood and encounters with sea creatures are on your bucket list, head to this historic Gulf Coast getaway. By Brooke Pace | Photos by Brooke Pace and courtesy of Discover Crystal River


ithin a short onehour drive, you can find yourself in the beautiful city of Crystal River, the only place in the country where you can legally interact with manatees—but that is far from the sole reason it’s worth a visit. Crystal River’s first known settlers were a Native American tribe in 500 B.C., who named the town Weewahi Iaca. Then, for some unknown reason, the town was abandoned until it was incentivized by the Armed

Occupation Act of 1842. At that time, our two cities were connected by the horse and buggy stagecoach that would bring mail from Ocala to Crystal River. The area continued to grow due to its mild climate, turpentine industry and vast wild citrus groves brought on by earlier settlers discarding orange seeds. One of the biggest industries the community boasted, however, was James Williams’ cedar mill, located on Kings Bay. The mill provided

employment to many in the area, including women and Black residents, and shipped pencil boards to Jersey City, New Jersey. When the railroad entered the picture in 1888, goods could more easily be moved in and out, and Crystal River became a popular place for sport fishing for tourists from the northern states. It was learned in 1889 that the region contained one of the largest phosphate deposits in the world and that would continue to be the main industry until World November ‘21


Relaxing Resort

After a full day on the water paddling, snorkeling and swimming, one of the best places you can rest and refuel your body is the Plantation on Crystal River. When driving up to this 50-year-old, 230+ acre estate, you will be drawn in by a stately fountain, adorned with manatees, as if mirrored by the peaceful canal that runs behind the resort. Upon entering, you are greeted with a grand staircase and inviting smells from the in-house restaurant, West 82º Bar & Grill. The bar area hosts live music you can continue to enjoy after being seated in the dining room, which features large windows that showcase the outdoor amenities. It goes without saying that the menu is brimming with the freshest seafood, available at breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hardest part about eating here will be to make sure you leave room for the handmade dessert specials that vary from day to day. After your meal, you can relax and look over the canal from the patio that is accessible from your room. Dog parents will rejoice that the property is dog friendly, allowing you to crate your furry friend while you’re out on the water. On-site, you will find the Plantation Adventure Center, with tour guides who

West 82º Bar & Grill

Resort golf course

War I caused the halt of shipping of the mineral. After a few county changes and renames, Crystal River was named a town in 1903 and incorporated as a city on July 3, 1923. Today, when you arrive in the 6.8-square-mile city, you will undeniably be attracted to the Southern charm and enticing sea breeze coming off the Gulf of Mexico. When walking through the quaint downtown area, you will see an abundance of local stores and restaurants, and rental and tour shops for outings such as viewing and swimming with manatees. You don’t have to venture too far down the side roads before you encounter one of the many waterways that wind through the area.

go above and beyond to make sure you have the experience of a lifetime. The Adventure Center hosts tours for manatee encounters, scalloping expeditions and fishing adventures. While you may be able to see manatees yearround, the best chance to see hundreds of them is NovemberApril. Manatees are drawn to our Gulf waters because, in part, many of the areas, such as the springs, stay a constant 72 degrees year-round. Despite their incredible size, manatees have no body fat to help keep them warm, meaning going on a tour during these months will give you the best chance of seeing as many as possible.

Magnificant Manatees

Tours typically begin early in the morning, and most often by watching a manatee etiquette video, bundling up in the provided wetsuits and loading onto pontoon boats with the rest of your group. The guides take you to multiple locations, making sure to find the most populated sea cow communities. Descending into the warm water is a welcome feeling on brisk mornings and it’s easy to see why it lures in the gentle giants.

When in the water, the goal is to act like a fishing bobber, lying at the surface with your feet up and snorkeling mask watching the world below. You move around only by using your arms to make sure you don’t kick any of the slow-moving sea cows that may be inadvertently sneaking up on you. If you are lucky enough to have one come up to you, you are not allowed to initiate contact, but there is a good chance they will be curious about you and use their whiskers to investigate and “boop” you with their impressive snouts before they descend to the depths of the water to munch on some sea grass. Once back on the boat, guides often provide coffee or hot chocolate as guests prepare to swim at Three Sisters Springs before heading back to the resort to take a warm shower and watch the underwater GoPro videos your tour guide filmed. Then it’s on to the Tiki Bar by the pool for a brunch cocktail.

There are many other amenities that Plantation on Crystal River provides, such as a spa, 27 holes of golf and kayak rentals, to name a few. From July through early September, you can go on scalloping tours and, as a fun perk, the resort offers a “cook your catch” deal where they will clean and cook your catch of the day. With so many great options and amenities, you certainly won’t be bored during your stay in Crystal River. For more information, visit plantationoncrystalriver.com or discovercrystalriverfl.com November ‘21


To Do’s for Crystal River

Paddle and Hunter Springs Kayaks. Swimming at Three Sisters Springs boasts crystal clear water, allowing you to easily see manatees, native fish and

gathering on the second Sunday of each month. Visiting the Crystal River Archaeological State Park will give you a glimpse into the indigenous people who once

Fort Island Beach

Where to eat and drink?

Amy’s on the Avenue This restaurant, boutique and sweets shop is your all-in-one stop. The menu is light yet filling, including a pressed bacon, basil and tomato sandwich that pairs wonderfully with the caramel latte. Inside you will find a multitude of handmade gifts and desserts such as the wildly popular and locally made truffles. Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters Located right downtown is this houseturned-coffee shop. It is open from breakfast to early dinner, providing offerings like croissant breakfast sandwiches and flatbreads alongside your afternoon pick-me-up. Seagrass Waterfront This waterfront restaurant is worth the drive to nearby Homosassa. If seafood, like their red fish offerings, isn’t your pick, they also make delicious burgers, tacos and ribs. They carry local brews and can mix up some unique cocktails sure to complement any meal.

What else should I do?

There are lots of businesses where you can rent paddling equipment for your day out on the water, including Manatee 64


Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

natural sand boils. These three springs feed out to Kings Bay and provide a safe space for manatees. You can only access the springs by water, however. Otherwise, you can take a stroll on the boardwalk and watch from above. You can visit Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park to see more manatees in this protected area along with panthers, a hippopotamus, many species of birds and experience the famous “Fish Bowl,” where you can be surrounded by hundreds of fish. Chasing the sunset will lead you to Fort Island Beach. This quaint Gulf beach offers a fishing pier, picnic area and a sunset drum and music

inhabited the area. Walk up the mounds and learn more by reading the plaques scattered throughout the Native American burial grounds. There are always plenty of events going on around town, such as art festivals, manatee appreciation events and fishing competitions. You can find an up-to-date calendar at discovercrystalriverfl.com/ events

When to visit?

Crystal River has events going on year-round, but there are better times to visit depending on what you want to do. Manatee season runs from November to April and scalloping season runs from July to early September.

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