It’s A Date

Hearts, roses, candy. Those are the things February typically brings to mind. It’s time to switch things up a bit and take your partner on an extra special date. Whether you and your significant other are adrenaline junkies, art and culture lovers, athletic and sporty, or sappy romantics, we’ve got a date for you. And if you’re somewhere in between, mix and match the parts you like to make your own perfect date.

The Adventurous Couple

In Marion County

Do you and your partner love exploring, going on adventures and trying new things? Go on an adrenaline-packed adventure in the canyons of an abandoned limestone quarry at Ocala’s Canyons Zip Line & Canopy Tours. With zip lines of varying lengths and heights, this adventure has something for the mildest and wildest of heart. Choose the short and fast Super Tour, the two-and-a-half-hour-long Full Tour or the slightly shorter Express Tour. You’ll get to soar over canyons, lakes and cliffs with each one.

Make reservations at the Hilton Ocala for the Canyons Zip Line Adventure Package, and you’ll get an exclusive discount on your zip line fun, along with an in-room movie and a breakfast buffet for two at Arthur’s–An American Bistro in the morning. When you’ve finished ziplining, check in to your hotel room to get ready for dinner.

Cozy up in Mesa de Notte’s intimate setting for delicious, Italian fare. Choose one of their locally sourced wines, start with the filet mignon and baby arugula appetizer, and then try one of the pasta, chicken or fish entrées. Finish out the meal with the chef’s featured dessert, and head back to your hotel for a comfy movie night.

Book It

Hilton Ocala:, (352) 854-1400

Canyons Zip Line & Canopy Tours:, (352) 351-9477

Mesa de Notte:, (352) 732-4737

In Citrus County

Take your date underwater and explore Kings Bay with Plantation On Crystal River’s Manatee Tour and Breakfast Package. Along with the manatee tour for two people, the package includes a night’s stay and breakfast for two in the morning. Leave for your tour from Plantation’s dock, and be sure to wear a swimsuit and bring a towel, snacks (if needed) and a camera.

Allow plenty of time between the tour and your dinner reservations to get cleaned up. Start your evening off at Copp Winery and sip on fine wines and brews before arriving at the nearby Italian restaurant La Casa di Norma. You’ll find everything from traditional favorites like chicken piccata and seafood dishes to beef, veal or pork options. The restaurant promises fresh and delicious food prepared to order at the cost of a longer wait, so order an appetizer to munch on while you wait for the main event. And don’t forget to save room for dessert—we’re sure you’ll want to try the cannoli.

Book It

Plantation on Crystal River:,

(800) 632-6262

Copp Winery:, (352) 564-9463

La Casa di Norma: (352) 795-4694

The Cultural Couple

In Marion County

For the couple who appreciates culture, arts and history, we’ve got a date for you. Start the afternoon at the Appleton Museum and browse art exhibitions ranging from photography and animation to outdoor sculptures. Then, if you’ve scheduled your date on the first Friday of the month, make your way downtown for the monthly First Friday Artwalk on the square. February’s art walk will feature more than 40 artists, live entertainment on the square, extended shopping hours and a variety of vendors.

If you’re aiming for a different weekend, head downtown and grab a few craft brews from the local brewery, Infinite AleWorks. Add a weekend show to the mix and catch the Star-Crossed Lovers performance by the Ocala Symphony Orchestra at the Reilly Arts Center on February 13 or 14.

When you’re ready for dinner, just walk up the street to Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille. Start with the crab cakes or fried green tomatoes, and be sure to try one of the Bourbon Street Favorites, like shrimp and grits or jambalaya. When it comes around to dessert, surprise your date with bananas foster, NOLA-style.

Then, for your night’s accommodations, drive just a few minutes down Fort King Street for an exotic stay at Seven Sisters Inn. Rooms are themed from around the world in a Victorian-style building in the heart of Ocala’s historic district.

Book It

Appleton Museum:, (352) 291-4455

Reilly Arts Center:, (352) 351-1606

First Friday Artwalk:, (352) 629-8447

Infinite AleWorks:, (352) 512-0212

Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille:, (352) 840-0900

Seven Sisters Inn:, (352) 433-0700

In Citrus County

Grab locally roasted coffee at Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters in Hernando for a strong start to your day. Then, explore some of the county’s art at the Art Center of Citrus County. Browse the different exhibits and catch the film Barefoot in the Park at the Art Center’s theater. Be sure to call the box office in advance for dates, show times and tickets.

Check in to your room at The Lake House Bed and Breakfast, located about 20 minutes away in Inverness. The restored 1930’s hunting and fishing lodge has six beautifully decorated rooms and is surrounded by lakes, creating a perfect getaway. Relax on the sundeck or outdoor patio, and then head to downtown Inverness for dinner.

Your reservations at the McLeod House Bistro should be waiting for you, and it’s just a quick drive from your bed and breakfast. Sit inside the 100-year-old home or outside under the oaks and start with the bruschetta or shrimp cocktail and a glass of fine wine. Try anything from the filet mignon or duck breast to the raspberry stuffed chicken, and finish off dinner with the chocolate torte or piña colada bread pudding.

Book It

Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters: (352) 249-3166

Art Center of Citrus County:,

(352) 746-0924

McLeod House Bistro:,

(352) 726-7700

The Lake House Bed and Breakfast:, (352) 344-3586

The Romantic Couple

In Marion County

Ride over cliffs, through canyons and along lakes on horseback at Canyons Zip Line and Canopy Tours in Ocala. Your guide will take you on a trail ride through the 100-acre property, and you’ll get to see some of the most beautiful views in the area. The popular trail ride is about an hour and a half long, so book yours well in advance to get the date and time you want.

Check in to your hotel room at the Holiday Inn & Suites, and be sure to upgrade your stay with the Romance Package when reserving your room. You’ll find chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne waiting for you and your partner. Before you dig in, get cleaned up and head to your evening’s destination at Ocala’s downtown square.

Start at The Corkscrew Winery, and taste different wines by the glass. When you’ve enjoyed enough wine, walk just around the corner to your dinner reservation at La Cuisine French Restaurant. Try the rich duck l’orange or the beef bourguignonne for a little taste of France. Don’t fill up too much, though. Choose either chocolate sauce, jam or caramel to top La Cuisine’s crepe gourmand dessert to sweeten the end of your meal.

A date well done, head back to your hotel accommodations, complete with strawberries, champagne and a made-to-order breakfast the next day.

Book It

Canyons Zip Line and Canopy Tours:, (352) 351-9477

The Corkscrew:,

(352) 402-0158

La Cuisine French Restaurant:, (352) 433-2570

Holiday Inn & Suites Ocala Conference Center:, (352) 629-9500

In Citrus County

Ride horseback through part of the Withlacoochee State Forest on a guided trail ride at Lady Hawk Farm in Inverness. The farm offers 90-minute and half-day rides at either 11am or 3:30pm and full-day rides from 11am to 5pm. You’ll likely want to book either a 90-minute or half-day ride to make sure there’s enough time for the rest of the day’s activities. The farm is a little more than half an hour away from your night’s stay at Crystal Cove, so we’d suggest reserving your trail ride for the earlier time slot of 11am.

After the trail ride, check in to your room at Crystal Cove to get cleaned up. Your first stop? A private sunset cruise along Crystal River. You’ll watch the sun go down over the water while enjoying crackers, cheese and fruit. This romantic cruise lasts from two to three hours, so plan enough time between the cruise and your dinner reservations.

Arrive at Vintage On 5th in downtown Crystal River for an eclectic and intimate dinner. Take a seat in the beautifully renovated building from the 1940s, and finish off a meal of truffle fries, chicken roulade and crème brûlée. Once you’ve eaten your fill, you’re within walking distance of your room at Crystal Cove. Because it’s backed up to a natural spring and located near the city’s downtown, the next morning promises even more fun.

Book It

Lady Hawk Farm:, (866) 892-4797

Crystal Cove:, (352) 586-3532

Native Vacations Sunset cruise:, 1-866-Go-Native

Vintage On 5th:, (352) 794-0004

The Sporty Couple

In Marion County

Hit the water and kayak down the Fort King Waterway for the afternoon. You can rent kayaks or canoes by the day or by the hour at Silver Springs State Park. Row independently or go on a guided excursion. The last rental is at 3pm, and all kayaks and canoes must be returned by 4pm. Start earlier in the day so you can take a break and enjoy a picnic lunch. Just watch out for gators!

After an afternoon in the water and sun, check in to the Hilton Ocala. When making your reservations in advance, request a late checkout so you don’t have to rush in the morning. Re-fuel with dinner at Ipanema Brazilian Steakhouse. Get your fill of delectable cuts of meat and poultry, along with other unique options at the salad and vegetable bar. When it comes to dessert, Ipanema features a variety of blended desserts that we know you’ll want to try.

As the last stop for the evening, catch a new movie at Regal Hollywood 16. Get your tickets in advance so you’re guaranteed seats.

Book It

Hilton Ocala:, (352) 854.1400

Silver Springs State Park:, (352) 261-5840

Ipanema Steakhouse:, (352) 622-1741

Regal Hollywood 16:,

(844) 462-7342 ext.200

In Citrus County

Spend the day in the great outdoors on the nature trails of Citrus County. Don your hiking boots or take to the trails on wheels at Withlacoochee State Trail Park. With 46 miles of trail available, you can hike or bike along the Withlacoochee River for as long as you’d like. Pack a picnic lunch and a few snacks to enjoy together.

You’ll want to shower up for dinner, so head to your room at The Lake House Bed and Breakfast. It’s a waterfront stay with homemade breakfast from 8 to 10am each day. Relax before sundown outside on the patio or spend time together by the stone fireplace inside. But before you get too cozy, head downtown to Fox Den Winery & Cellar. Enjoy a few samplings from the cheese platter first, then try the pierogi. Finish your meal off with an after-dinner drink and an apple strudel.

As a fun end to an active day, catch a comedy show or play at the downtown Valerie Theatre. You’ll just need to call ahead to check on dates and times. Or, if you’d rather see a movie, drive a few minutes up to Regal Citrus Cinemas 6.

Book It

Withlacoochee State Trail Park:, (352) 794-5506

The Lake House Bed and Breakfast:, (352) 344-3586

Fox Den Winery & Cellar: (352) 341-0305

Valerie Theatre:, (352) 341-7850

Regal Citrus Cinemas 6:, (844) 462-7342 ext. 187



Posted in Marion Features

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