Some of OHP’s favorite things about Ocala and HITS
January 5, 2017
When we’re not playing matchmakers to buyers and their new homes, we’re hitting up our favorite hometown spots with each other, our friends, and our families.
My favorite slice in Ocala:
Chris & Rob – Both of us love Blue Highway Pizza. Having been in the business years ago, it always brings back great memories. Our favorite is their original location in Micanopy. It’s great pizza and a very laid back setting.
Mary – I have to say that Blue Highway is my fave! Love the pizza with portabella mushrooms and the one with eggplant! YUM! I especially like going to the location in Micanopy. My friends and I went for a 45-mile bicycle ride and we met there for lunch. The reward was great! Another fave place I go for flatbread pizza is Stella’s The Modern Pantry. We stopped there after another long ride on an exceptionally cold day…they also have the most delish homemade hot chocolate you have ever tasted!
Matt – I love going to Blue Highway and Roma’s but I have to say my favorite slice is the Lana’I at Pi on Broadway downtown. Pulled pork, caramelized onions, papaya BBQ sauce … soo good.
My favorite adult beverage in Ocala:
Chris – My favorite place for a cocktail is at Golden Ocala at their beautiful bar in Raspberry’s — anything with bourbon.
Rob – My favorite place for a cocktail is Mark’s Prime. They make the best martinis in town!
Mary – The best reward after a good workout, run or bike ride is the whole group getting together downtown or “uptown” Ocala at Infinite Ale Works, where you can sample over 40 varieties of craft beers. My fave is the grapefruit beer. For cocktails, I enjoy sitting on the patio at Mark’s Prime and watching the events; last month there was a Jeeptoberfest! It was amazing all of the tricked out jeeps parked downtown, and the colorful crowds!! Of course, the best time of year to sit out on the patio is the holidays! Enjoying a festive cocktail and blurring my eyes at the Christmas lights — it looks like a million stars!
Matt – My wife swears by the Cosmos at Marks Prime but I’m more of bourbon and whiskey guy, so as far as a cocktail, La Cuisine makes a great Old Fashioned. If I’m in a beer mood, I like going to Infinite Ale Works to check out some good craft beers.
How I spend my quiet time in Ocala:
Chris – My favorite thing to do with my quiet time is two-fold: I love to get out on the quiet country roads for a long run then come and sit on my back deck overlooking the horses in the pasture.
Rob – My favorite thing to do is unwind with friends around the fire overlooking our pond at sunset. No matter how busy of a day I will have, that will always settle my mind and brings me lots of peace.
Mary – For those of you who really know me, there is not much of that! Quiet time means peaceful time to me so I walk my three beautiful Rough Coat Collies through the neighborhood; meeting all of my neighbors and their fur babies makes me happy.
I also like to sit on my patio on one of the many fabulous fresh mornings here in Ocala, with my Collies and just enjoying a nice cup of coffee. I’ll also spend a day kayaking on the Silver River east of town. It is amazingly peaceful and you will see alligators, wild monkeys, and spectacular birds. I saw a beaver last time I was out there and the wood ducks are just feet from your kayak.
I’ll also take a mountain bike ride through the Santos Trails at the Cross Florida Greenway. I’ll see great horned owls, deer, and tons of nature’s creatures. Just don’t be the first one out on the trails in the morning or you will be clearing all of the (friendly) banana spiders! I enjoy golfing at Ocala National and Golden Ocala; you are supposed to be QUIET while golfing, right?!? Ha!
Matt – Rarely do I have time to play a full round of golf, but I do love the practice area at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club. I’ll put my headphones on and swing away. That facility is first class. There is so much good golf in Ocala. When friends or family from outside the area visit, they literally can’t believe how many good courses there are around here.
Best workout in Ocala:
Chris – As far as working out, I enjoy long runs and occasionally get into the gym a few times a week. Every once in a while, Rob and Matt will drag me to do hill sprints on the farm.
Rob – I try to get to the gym almost every day, but the one thing I that I enjoy the most and is a great short but high impact workout. I do wind sprints on our farm because the hill is just enough to take my breath away by the time I reach the top.
Mary – Working out is a great stress reliever for sure! I train two or three times a week with a super motivating personal trainer here in Ocala who just opened up his own facility, it keeps me pumped!!
As most of you know, I am a cycling enthusiast and support local charity bicycle rides like the 75-mile “Ride for the Arts” and the 80-mile “Hospice Ride.” I am currently racing in the FLCX series cyclocross races held here in Ocala and around mid-Florida. These rides and races are lots of fun and you meet great people while peddling away the hours!
Matt – Other than my traditional workout at the gym I love to run/walk Ocala’s beautiful roads. And, any time I can get my kayaks out for a day of fishing ends up being a great workout by days-end.
Favorite place to hear music in Ocala:
Chris – In my old age, I don’t go out too much past dinner. I love music, but I generally have never been one to go seek it out.
Rob – After a dinner out in town, I love to wander over to Pi on a nice warm night. It’s always a great time and it provides a lot of energy to the downtown area.
Mary – You can catch some fabulous bands on the rooftop at PI downtown Ocala. Also, there is live music at the new Tavern on the Square downtown Ocala, for a nice upscale “living room” experience the nice atmosphere and good music!
Matt – There are so many places to hear great music here. The downtown square can always lead to some great outdoor music … I usually just follow my ears until I find something I like.
My favorite meal in Ocala:
Chris – Gosh, this is a tough question. I love to eat! If I had to pick one place that I really enjoy, it’s Antonio’s in Micanopy. I also frequent Mark’s Prime quite a bit, but I love Italian and when I moved to Florida from NY, it was a struggle to find good Italian. But that is not the case today!
Rob – I eat out quite a bit, but if I had to pick one restaurant, it would be Raspberry’s at Golden Ocala. The food, in my opinion, rivals most any restaurant you can find in New York City.
Mary – I love to eat! Who doesn’t?! On my way home from the gym, one of my fave places to stop and get a comfort meal is Roma’s by Publix on 27. I order grilled salmon and sautéed spinach, with their yummy homemade bread and house salad. Of course, while I wait I have a nice glass of Chianti and chat with all of the locals and horse people that come and go while I’m waiting. And I love Gracie Sushi, too. The specialty rolls are the best. Oh, and always a fun experience is Bonefish — nice food and a great place to meet friends.
Matt – If I had to break it down, the appetizer would be Crabtini at Marks Prime or the Bacon Tomato Dill soup at Horse & Hounds. Then for an entree, maybe the Pork Jarrett at La Cuisine or one of the creative burgers at Dish/Blue Wagu — my favorite is the Suzutani. For dessert, I like to go to Hello Cupcake, which has a super cozy atmosphere.
What do you most like about HITS Ocala?
Chris & Rob – Going to the Grand Prix every Sunday is great but what we really we love is the people it brings to the area. HITS brings so many people from all across the world to Ocala and we really enjoy meeting new people and seeing old friends that come every year.
Mary– I really enjoy going to the Nations Cup. Getting a chance to cheer on your country while watching some of the best in the world compete, is just another reason why I love Ocala during the Winter months. We get to enjoy all of this right in our own backyard.
Matt– I think the excitement of the Nations Cup and the $1 million Grand Prix is just so much fun every year. I love going every Sunday with my family to watch every Grand Prix (in Ocala Horse Properties Stadium) but the energy behind those two events is second-to-none. I look forward to seeing many familiar faces as well, many who are very good friends.