Framed by the distant peaks of the Helderberg Mountains, Western Turnpike Golf Course's 27-hole layout blankets 250 acres of scenic terrain stitched by pine trees. Though the three nines connect to form three distinct 18-hole courses, the presence of multiple ponds, streams, and small, well-fortified greens act as a unifying feature across the entire grassy labyrinth. The horticultural haven is also peppered by a relatively sparse population of 37 sand bunkers, their scarcity due to the abundance of water hazards and previous issues with disoriented sunbathers. With three courses offering various levels of difficulty and five tee options on each course, Western Turnpike presents a sound golf challenge for bona fide aces, mid-handicappers, and those trying to play with a croquet mallet.
Lori and Matt Sames founded Hannah’s Hope Fund (HHF) in 2008 when their 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with giant axonal neuropathy (GAN). They set up an office at their kitchen table to raise funds to help treat and cure GAN. Over time, HHF expanded into an internationally recognized organization that mobilizes volunteers and sponsors fundraising events that range from lemonade stands to galas. Through their efforts, research into GAN has grown exponentially. Before HHF began, only one doctor worldwide was studying GAN, but now scientists have developed gene-replacement therapy that they believe will save patents’ central nervous systems. They have started human clinical trials to test the treatment and seek a cure.
Motherhood the Musical, the brainchild of singer and songwriter Sue Fabisch, whose album Music 4 Mommies bore multiple Top Ten Billboard Comedy hits, celebrates the joys and travails of parenting in uproariously melodic fashion. Praised by the Tampa Bay Times for its "genuine laughs and relatable observations on the job that never ends," the show first takes place at the baby shower of a naïve first-time mom, whose impressive record of never killing a Tamagotchi pet has convinced her she's prepared for motherhood. Over the course of 18 toe-tapping songs, her three experienced friends share stories about the frustrations and triumphs of raising their offspring. The production's spirited music ranges from the heart-tugging ballad I'm Danny's Mom to the exultant barnburner The Kids Are Finally Asleep.
Even from outside, where the red-orange door and window frames pop against the dark-gray façade, it’s clear that Marotta's takes contemporary eating to a new level. Inside, patrons immediately notice that their traditional menus have been replaced with Apple iPads. And once minds are made up, attentive servers place orders through iPods Touch, feeding tickets immediately into the kitchen. Even credit and debit cards can be conveniently swiped right at the table. Though traditionalists can still pay at the register or place their orders with Old-World Italian robots, owners Chris and Dee Marotta hope the digital options broaden and improve their customers' overall experiences.
To ensure their 50-seat bar-risto is steeped in just as much traditional flavor as technological convenience, Chris and Dee hired Executive Chef Edward Bradt. Chef Bradt brings his culinary experience as the former head chef at The Van Dyck Lounge to classic offerings such as juicy filet mignon, veal, and seafood in a cornucopia of sauces, from a tart, sherry-infused marinara to a peppery madeira demi-glace. A full wine menu assures a complementary pairing with any of the 12-inch red or white pizzas, each slow baked in a wood-fired oven with pancetta, goat cheese, and fresh basil. Patrons can two-hand signature sausage burgers as they attempt to ask muffled questions of Marotta's tech guru, Joe Leverett, about the restaurant's other wireless wonders, including tabletop children's games and iPad-accessible valet service.
Since opening the first location in 2004, the crew behind Hot Harry’s has attracted a slew of press for their Mexican-fusion fare. Chefs marinate six varieties of meat in cilantro, lime, and fresh-squeezed oranges before stuffing them in warm flour tortillas or piñatas designed for a butcher's retirement party. In addition to the classic triad of guacamole, sour cream, and cheese, they can enhance burritos with drizzles of thai-peanut and buffalo sauce.
Colorful items line the shelves Checkerhills Farm's two stores as pet owners peruse a wide selection of premium and organic dog and cat foods from brands including Eagle Pack, as well as durable toys and enticing treats. A dedicated wild bird section supplies such avian necessities as black oil seeds and feeders, and a horse area is awash in Mister Ed DVDs. On weekends, the store hosts pet adoptions to place needy animals in the homes of loving owners.
Checkerhills Farm’s related business, Pet Lodges, offers private boarding suites and indoor and outdoor play zones for dogs and cats of all sizes. Their daycare center prioritizes the exercise and socialization vital for animal health, while also ensuring that pets get the proper food, medicine, and time for meditative reflection before midday naps.: