Stetson Mansion - November 29th The "Christmas Spectacular!" Holiday Home Tour is a Central Florida Holiday tradition! The Stetson Mansion is part of Florida's First Luxury Estates and the grandest home ever built in Florida before the 20th century.Built in 1886 for famed hat maker and philanthropist John B. Stetson, this winter retreat is Florida’s only richly detailed mansion actually built in the “Gilded Age” which ended in 1899. After touring the Mansion, we will have lunch at Blackwater Inn on the St John's River. So come join your fellow Zer's for this unforgettable tour.
It's Our Very First Z-Fest! - October 16 Our first Z-fest will take place at the Whispering Oaks Winery, October 16, 2pm-5pm. There will be food, spirits, games, door prizes, 50/50 drawing, and live music for dancing! Come enjoy a wine, beer, or soft drink along with delicious full chicken BBQ dinner. All this for only $24/pp payable at the door. Enjoy additional wine courtesy of the VillagesBMWZclub (cash bar also available) This is a PRIVATE party on the winery grounds.
Crystal River – September 27 Drive to Peck’s Old Port Cove on Crystal River for lunch. Peck's is a fresh fare casual restaurant specializing in seafood. The restaurant is located in Crystal River on the water and the ride there consists of winding back roads, just the way we like them. After lunch, we will board airboats at the dock at the restaurant for a scenic, informative, educational and exhilarating 1.5 hour trip around Crystal River and into the Gulf. The airboats hold six people. We have committed to a minimum of two boats, so we need at least twelve people to sign up. If we get more than twelve, they will provide more boats.
Let's Canoe/Kayak the Withlacoochee River - August 31 We’re going to paddle down the Withlacoochee river to Hog Island on August 31. Hog Island is part of the Withlacoochee State Park and has plenty of wildlife including: alligators, bullfrogs, many varieties of turtles, tortoises, deer, raccoons, bald eagles, limpkins, egrets, cardinals, various ducks, snake birds, many song birds, falcons, hummingbirds, lunar moths, monarch butterflies and more. This is a secluded rural spot on the fourth largest river in Florida and there is MUCH wildlife here. We leave the Withlacoochee Canoe Outpost at around 11:00am and return about 1:00pm for lunch and schmoozing at River Ratz Cafe.
A Ride to Lovely Mount Dora - August 9 The City of Mount Dora truly is 'Someplace Special,' a charming, one-hundred plus year old historic village in the heart of Central Florida on the shores of beautiful Lake Dora in the Harris Chain of Lakes. Join us to simply relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life in The Villages and enjoy an old-fashioned, all town celebration. First, we will be having lunch at the beautiful Pisces Risingrestaurant, a Fresh Florida Seafood and Steak House on the edge of quaint downtown Mount Dora. Pisces Rising overlooks Lake Dora and the setting sun. Their focus is fresh seafood and hand-cut Certified Black Angus Beef served with fresh seasonal vegetables and flair. Lovingly wrapped around a Florida cracker bungalow style home built in the 1920s, the modern addition blends seamlessly with its gracious past. Then, after satisfying your tummies, you can visit the many shops in and around Mount Dora's downtown area that are full of nostalgic items, valuable antiques and collectibles, and even estate jewelry.
Beach Day for Beach Bumz - July 19 Established in 1926 on the water’s edge of Lake Weir, Gator Joe’s is a family friendly restaurant with a laid back atmosphere and island cuisine. First we'll hit the beach for some lounging and swimming. We can enjoy the beautiful sandy beach with cocktails and snacks from Gator Joe's Bar and Grill all afternoon. Bring beach chairs if you have a favorite or you can use theirs as well. Getting wet and bathing is part of the fun although optional. Changing clothes is no problem as we are encouraged to use the facilities there. Also, please bring beach toys, towels and sunscreen. Then around 6:00pm we will have dinner as a group inside the air conditioned restaurant where we can cool off, relax and each order dinner from GJ signature menu. The Manager has assured me we can all sit together and have a leisurely meal and dedicated wait staff. After dinner it's back outside to enjoy the beautiful lake breezes and majestic sunset until we depart. Let's all be BEACH BUMZ for a day!
Golf & Wine? Oh, Yes! - June 22 We will test our putting skills at the Himalayas Putting Course next to Arnold Palmer Country Club. This challenging course is difficult to master, but provides a lot of fun, laughter, and frustration. You need to bring your putter and some balls. After tearing your hair out on the putting green, we then take a short skip and jump to the Backyard Barn Winery & Microbrewery in Wildwood. BBW&M is a family owned business offering farm based, small batch, hand crafted wine and beer in a peaceful country setting. In addition to the home-made alcohol goodies, they also serve specialty pizza and other snack items to help dilute the libations. There will be entertainment starting at 6pm.
Gentlemen & Ladies.....Start Your Engines! - May 19 On Friday May 19, we will travel to Bushnell Motorsports Park where we will race wheel to wheel against each other in GO CARTS! They have a whole fleet of brand new carts that can reach speeds of up to 55 mph over their course that features 16 turns on a 2/3 mile asphalt race track. Fridays are Seniors day where a 10 minute race is priced at $15 plus tax and a one-time fee of $3 for a head sock you get to keep. No experience is needed to be part of the fun. You will be required to wear closed-toe shoes and a helmet that will be provided. Racing starts at noon that day. As usual we will take the inland roads for a spirited drive in our ‘Z's. Following the racing, we will motor over to River Ratz Café on the Withlacoochee river to eat and discuss our time on the track. Spectators are welcome if you just want to watch and root for a bunch of old geezers playing race car driver.
Romantic Riverboat cruise in Sanford - April 26 We will be caravanning across the state to take a lunch cruise on the historic St. John's River aboard an authentic sternwheeler paddleboat. The River ship Barbara-Lee is the only authentic sternwheeler sailing the St. Johns River. Measuring 105 feet from stem to stern, the ship was built in 1986 and was extensively refurbished prior to its inaugural St. John's cruise in 2012. Featuring ornate wrought iron railings and massive wooden paddle wheels, the five-story river ship features enclosed decks that are climate controlled with air conditioning and heating. The narrated cruise includes a chef-prepared entrée, live entertainment and endless hospitality. The trip should take about an hour and a half. The boat leaves the dock at 11:00am for the three hour journey.
Festival of Speed - March 26 On Sunday, March 26th were invited to attend the Festivals of Speed event at the Mission Hills Country Club in Howie-in-the-Hills, Florida. The perfectly manicured fairway of this magnificent property played host to some of the world’s most exotic supercars, American muscle, rare custom motorcycles, and countless other unique and exciting vehicles. The 5th Annual Mission Inn Festivals of Speed showcased both vintage and contemporary vehicles of all makes and models, the show field was diverse with vehicles placed into an exquisite setting. Ken attended last year and was blown away by all of the exotics, race cars, movie cars and other luxury cars being displayed. Must be well over $100 million in vehicles there (there was a $23 Million Ferrari)!
The Sharon - March 22 We have been granted a behind-the-scenes backstage tour of the facility on March 22nd.. Those who have taken the tour say it is quite interesting and informative. This isn't a "Ride" per say, just an outing with the Club, so just park at the square and meet at The Sharon at 2:45pm. The tour starts at 3:00pm. The tour will take about 45 minutes and then we will have dinner at Demshar's restaurant on the square.
Lunch Ride to Hurricanes - March 5 Take a lunch ride to Hurricane Dockside Grill in Tavares. It's a short 30 minute ride (only 18 miles). The trip is scheduled for Sunday, March 5th. Hurricane's is a casual beach-type restaurant/bar on the water. If lucky, you can see the baby alligators swimming around the dock. As a special treat, there will be entertainment by Anita Drink and her three piece band playing from noon to 4:00pm. So you can stay the afternoon to enjoy the music or leave any time after lunch.
Classic Cars - February 17 Our next club ride is to the private classic car collection at NPD (National Parts Depot) in Ocala on Friday, February 17th. This is a very private collection of over 100, mostly US made, vintage cars. The public is allowed in by confirmed reservation only, and we are part of the privileged few who got a reservation!. We will travel to Ocala via CR475 starting from a Mulberry Rec Center. Please be there by 8:15am. CR475 will be a more pleasant drive by avoiding Interstate 75. We should depart TV no later than 8:45 am to ensure that we make the 10 am tour start time. A fun lunch destination following the tour is also planned (location yet to be determined). This should be a fun and educational outing.
Z Tempting Fate Ride - January 13 A trip to Cedar Key is hereby scheduled for Friday, 13 January, 2017. Yes, Friday the 13th! We'll call this "Z Tempting Fate Ride". We will expect to depart for the destination no later than 10 am as it is about a 2 hour drive and I hope to arrive around noon. It's about an 85 mile trip to the Key. We will have lunch at one the three restaurants on the water and then be free to roam the beautiful waterfront.