The MANual

The latest trends, the fastest cars, a day at the spa: check out The MANual.

The need for Speed

Carmakers fuel man’s drive to go faster and faster.

Story: Chris Gerbasi

The quest to travel at high speeds on land has gripped man since the days of the first auto race in 1895, when the winner averaged a blistering 15 mph while driving from Paris to Bordeaux, France, and back, according to

More than 120 years of improvements in design, innovation, and technology have transformed the automobile from little more than a wagon with a motor to a high-performance machine. Today, Indianapolis 500 racers average more than 150 mph and hit top speeds in the 230s.

And still, man wants more. The never-ending race to produce the world’s fastest car changes annually, if not daily, depending on the latest model to come off the line.

Here are the world’s five fastest “supercars” that legally can be driven on the streets—theoretically anyway—according to

Koenigsegg Agera RS 278 mph

Hennessey Venom GT 270 mph

Bugatti Veyron Super Sport 268 mph

Bugatti Chiron 261 mph

Shelby SuperCars Ultimate Aero 256 mph


The subject of top speed is open to debate, however. Hennessey, a Texas manufacturer, also has a Venom F5 model that unofficially reached a staggering 301 mph, and other top-five lists have different candidates as well. Dodge promotes its Challenger SRT Demon as the “world’s fastest 0-60 production car” at 2.3 seconds, though its top speed with standard tires is 168 mph, says

There’s little debate about why men love fast cars, says Thiago Casal de Rey, who restores vintage vehicles at Rey Classic Cars in Eustis and also races a Ferrari and a Lamborghini.

“Speed brings adrenaline. It’s like once you have it, you want to have it again,” he says. “Once you push the gas pedal, the car is out of control, but you can control it, and that brings adrenaline. It makes you happy. It makes you smile. That is why we like so much these powerful cars.”

Of course, you probably won’t see a Koenigsegg or a Bugatti zipping through rush-hour traffic on U.S. Highway 441. They’re specialty cars made more for “art” than practicality, says Bruce Anderson, owner and chief mechanic at Maranello Autosport in Eustis.

But you can find an array of exotic sports cars—Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati—at Maranello, where Bruce repairs and restores them for a surprisingly large clientele in Lake County and beyond. His shop is “crazy busy” thanks to private collectors who send their cars from around the state and country.

Some models made by Ferrari and Lamborghini can reach the 195-210 mph range, says Joe Sabatini, founder and CEO of the Festivals of Speed. The Eustis-based business stages luxury car showcases locally at Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, elsewhere around the state, as well as in Atlanta.

Typically, about 60 percent of the show cars are privately owned, while the other 40 percent are provided by carmaker sponsors. While some auto enthusiasts are interested in rare, collectible cars, younger collectors between ages 25 and 50 are more likely to look for flash, horsepower, and speed, Joe says.

“They like to say, ‘I’ve got the car with the most horsepower’ or ‘My car goes faster than yours,’” he says. “They’re interested in the engineering, the design, and the style, and cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini are all beautiful cars. Overall, they like to be seen driving a beautiful car to make an impression.”

Bruce, whose business is involved in racing, says a sense of adventure and competition feed man’s need for speed. And collectors’ passion for fast cars may depend on where they were born.

“If they’re European, that’s what they know. It’s in their blood,” he says. “Americans are more about collecting and not necessarily driving as fast.”

Bruce naturally loves to drive fast, too, and he lives vicariously through racers by working on their cars.

“There’s nothing like these cars…the sound, the way they look, the way they perform,” he says. “There’s nothing in the world like it.”

Yet, one vehicle was out of this world. Modern supercars are like horse-drawn carriages compared to the Thrust supersonic car, which was powered by two jet engines and became the first and only vehicle to break the sound barrier, according to Guinness World Records. In 1997 at Black Rock Desert, Nevada, Andy Green realized the dreams of many men by driving the Thrust to a land-speed record: 763 mph.


Making a Splash

When it comes to luxury and high performance, pontoon boats leave other water vessels in their wake. 

Story: James Combs

Pontoons, once thought of as the ugly, slow vessels of the boating world, continue to make waves in the marketplace. 

In fact, they represent one-third of new boat sales, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Their popularity has grown locally among avid boating enthusiasts who appreciate the boat’s diversity. They can be used for all-out lounging or as tow boats to pull skiers and tubers. Their large decks offer ample space to entertain family and friends. And, of course, they can accommodate the faithful fisherman. 

Therefore, it’s little surprise that local boat dealerships sell more pontoons than any other type of boat. Just ask Sharon Nobles, owner of Nobles Marine in Leesburg. The Suntracker Bass Buggy 18 is the company’s top-selling boat and is especially popular with residents of The Villages. The 20-foot boat is powered by a 60-horsepower, four-stroke Mercury engine 

“This is a great boat because you could be fishing while your wife reads a book or drinks a margarita,” Sharon says. “You can also use this boat to take your friends on a sunset cruise. Simply put, it offers the best of all worlds.”

Scott Showalter, owner of Triangle Marine Center in Tavares, has enjoyed equal success selling Bennington pontoon boats, which range in size from 16 to 30 feet. Some go as fast as 45 mph, making them ideal to pull skiers, tubers, and wakeboarders. 

“They are very versatile, easy to maneuver, and ideal for our lakes and the type of boating we do here,” Scott says. “Bennington is the top-selling pontoon boat in the country. It’s a very quality-conscious boat line.”

Those who venture to Astor Marine can purchase a Smoker Craft pontoon boat without having to sacrifice speed. Owner Georgia Palmer says some of the pontoons she sells can reach speeds up to 67 mph. 

“When people see how fast they go, they’re all smiles because they’ve never seen anything like it,” she says. “It’s basically a pontoon boat on steroids. The pontoon market is extremely hot not only in Lake County but the rest of the country, as well. You have plenty of space to walk around, fish, or just suntan.”


Guy Grub  

Here are five Lake County restaurants for manliest fare and masculine décor. 

Story: Theresa Campbell

Red Wing Restaurant has the old, rustic hunting lodge feeling, with mounted critters on the wall and a man-pleasing menu filled with exotic game meats, including wild boar, bison, gator tail, elk, quail, duck, frog legs, game sausage, and sometimes ostrich.

Red Wing, at 12500 State Road 33 in Groveland, has been around since 1948. Patrick Borsey has been owner since 2005. 

“It’s in the middle of nowhere, which makes it a fun destination to go to,” Patrick says. “And the first thing you see are the deer antlers when you walk into the restaurant.” 

Quail, fried green tomatoes, and the hunter’s platter of three game items, which can include grilled or fried quail, elk sausage, boar chop, or grilled duck breast, are among customers’ favorites to order.

“Repeat business is what keeps us in business,” says Patrick, who notes the menu is not entirely on the wild side. Red Wing also offers grilled chicken breast, salads, soups, steaks, seafood, pork chops, side dishes, and fruit cobblers. 

Graffiti Junktion, 2400 S. Highway 27, Clermont, is hailed as one of the coolest sports bars with graffiti art on the walls, a full bar, more than 15 TVs with each airing a different game, and a menu filled with hearty burgers with a variety of toppings.

“Guys love our big burgers, the wraps, and that our nachos are a huge portion,” kitchen manager Michael Drnek says. “We have great beer specials and we have cold beer, and guys like that, and the atmosphere is a lot more laid-back than a lot of other places.” 

OakWood Smokehouse & Grill, 27745 U.S. Highway 27, Leesburg, features sportsmanship photos on the walls and the ambience of Southern hospitality. The restaurant’s signature baby-back ribs are the No. 1 draw for many men, and it’s not unusual to see large work crews at lunchtime digging into hearty smoked meat sandwiches.

OakWood appeals to men on all levels, staff member Emily Engner says. 

“You can bring your wife or boys out for dinner because the dining experience can be intimate or just casual with a man-cave feel,” she says. 

The restaurant takes great pride in knowing customers never say they didn’t get enough to eat. OakWood Smokehouse & Grill also has Lake County locations in Lady Lake, Eustis, and Clermont. 

1884 Restaurant and Bar, 12 E. Magnolia Ave., Eustis, features a masculine interior of brick walls and warm wood décor—all from when the building was constructed in 1884. 

“A lot of guys come in and ask for the 1884 Pork Chop, and that is our signature dish,” server Don Osburn says. “It’s about three-inches thick, it’s a double chop, and it comes with a bourbon glaze. You’ve got to give us about 40 minutes to cook it.” 

Don also raves over 1884’s ribeye steak. “It’s seasoned to perfection, they cook it slow, and there’s a little fat around the rim that gives it its flavor,” he says. 

The New Hampshire native also delights in savoring tasty lobster rolls from his home state. “These are the best you’ll get down here that is the closest to up there,” he says of 1884’s rolls. “The lobster rolls here are to die for.” 

Ramshackle Cafe, 1317 N. 14th St., Leesburg, opened its doors in 1989, and it features a fun, casual, rustic dining experience with old license plates on the walls, along with an old gas pump, and other manly décor items displayed throughout the eatery. Ramshackle is best known for its chicken wings—the No. 1 food item ordered by male diners—and the wings can be covered in a variety of flavorful sauces, including mild, medium, nuclear, teriyaki, BBQ, Jamaican jerk, Asian sesame, spicy garlic, Cajun, and more. 

“I get the medium grilled wings. I like that they are put on the grill with the medium hot sauce that’s not overpowering. They really do have the best wings,” says Curtis Jones, a regular customer who has been dining at Ramshackle for decades, often with his brother, Tommy, joining him at the bar. 

“They also have an awesome patty melt that is so good,” Curtis adds. “One of the gals who used to work here years ago turned me on to the Thousand Island with the patty melt, and I’ve been hooked on it ever since.” 


On The Street


“Why do you have a beard?” 


“I hate shaving. I’ve had a beard for 30 years. People say it makes me look older, but I don’t care.” 

–Paul Rottstock, Leesburg


“I usually grow a goatee, but I don’t like shaving.” 

–Joedy Carter, Summerfield


“’Cause I’m old and don’t want to shave. I like the looks of it.” 

–Joe Bynum, Leesburg


“It just started growing one day and I never started shaving.” 

–David Palmer, Grand Island


Women’s reactions to beards 


“Ewww. I think they’re hiding something.” 

–Kimberly Kalander, Ocoee


“I think they look younger without it. My dad had a beard. My son has a beard, but not my husband.” 

–Tonya Tibbetts, Leesburg 


“I like men with nicely trimmed beards.” 

–Sharon Atchley, Okahumpka 


“I think beards are fine as long as they are trimmed nice, kept clean, and smell good.” 

–Charity Mann, Wildwood


Be a man 

The region is a place for the adventurous.

Compiled by: Chris Gerbasi

Journey back to a time when men were men and “antiquing” didn’t exist as an activity or a word. Go all John Wayne with this brief guide to adventures for men in Lake and Sumter counties:

Blue Moon Ranch

4605 County Road 134, Wildwood. 352.578.4947.

Saddle up, partner. This public horseback riding and trail outfitter service appeals to both the landlubber, with professional instructors giving riding lessons and guides leading trail rides, and to water lovers who prefer to explore the area by boat tour. 

Bronson’s Camp Outlaw at Indian Bow

3726 County Road 626 N., Bushnell. 352.405.1530.

Get in touch with your primitive side at this camping site along the Withlacoochee River. Bring your fishing pole, tent, motorcycle, RV, boat, airboat, kayak, canoe, or hammock.

The Gun Shop & Gun Range

1310 State Road 44, Leesburg. 352.787.4570.

Go ahead, make your day with a little target practice. This site has a 16-lane, 25-yard pistol range and a four-lane, 50-yard rifle range, plus classes for concealed weapons licenses and special shooting events.

Clermont Balloon Rides

Clermont. 407.761.5964.

Florida Balloon Adventures

Lake County. 407.414.7451.

Would you like to fly in a beautiful balloon? These companies offer the thrill of floating on cloud nine in a hot-air balloon.

The Villages Polo Club

703 N. Buena Vista Blvd., The Villages. 352.750.POLO.

Forget the upper-crust vibe of the sport and get down in the dirt. The club is not just for professional competition. Instructors also offer Polo 101 classes, and riding, polo, and hitting cage lessons. The site includes three Bermuda grass fields, and state-of-the-art barns.

Quest Air Hang Gliding

6548 Groveland Airport Road, Groveland. 352.429.0213.

Get high on hang gliding with Quest Air’s “highest and best discovery tandem flights in the state,” along with top-notch instructors. A private lake complete with paddleboat, plus a swimming pool, treehouse, and clubhouse also are available.

Revolution Off Road

4000 State Road 33, Clermont. 352.400.1322.

Drive off the road and into the mud in ATVs, dune buggies, eight-wheel amphibious vehicles, and four-wheel-drive SUVs. Shooting, archery, and fishing also are available.

Seminole-Lake Gliderport

4024 Soaring Lane, Clermont, 352.394.5450.

Just let go and glide. Dreams of soaring above the clouds in a glider come true for local aviators and visitors at the largest glider operation in Central Florida.

Sources:,, and individual websites.


Man up for a day at the spa

Real men get massages…and pedicures and manicures, too.

Story: James Combs

About 30 minutes into my first-ever spa treatment, I began to dream. With my mansion in the background, I was sipping a cold margarita on a clear-water beach in Hawaii. 

This was strange. 

I’ve never been to Hawaii. I certainly do not own a mansion. I never order margaritas. 

And yet, I was in a wonderful state of complete harmony. 

Such is life at Renew Day Spa, a place where men like me—whose idea of relaxation is watching a ballgame with a cold beer—can admire their new, shiny fingernails and silky, soft feet. 

Admittedly, I struggled with the idea of partaking in a day-spa experience. It runs counter to the major tenets of masculinity. Then again, there are not many opportunities for dudes to feel truly pampered. And for too long I’ve shunned luxuries for more manly pursuits, like seeing how many empty beer cans I can let accumulate around my recliner. If buttery feet and clean nails would help me become enlightened, then why not partake in a unique opportunity?

My visit to Renew Day Spa, located in downtown Leesburg, began with a mini-tour. There’s a full-body wax room, a couple’s massage room, an esthetician’s room, and a wet room with showerheads above where clients receive a full-body scrub and exfoliation. Not exactly the ultimate man cave. 

But that’s OK because something special was waiting back in the main reception area: a tableful of goodies that included lemon cupcakes, blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls, and chocolate chip cookies. Now we’re talking. I scarfed down a warm oatmeal cookie.

Afterward, Brittany Goff, a licensed massage therapist, escorted me to the secluded client lounge. This is where the fun begins. The soft lighting and selection of drinks—champagne, beer, wine, hot tea, and hot coffee—help prepare your mind and spirit for the pampering about to come. I opted for water, which was served in a champagne glass, and chatted several minutes with Brittany. 

Now, it was time for my massage. I entered a dimly lit room and heard calming music, which Brittany describes as “tribe music that is very earthy and instrumental.” A burning candle emitted the aroma of cream pie. All this set the tone before the massage even began.

I positioned myself on a table and pulled a warm blanket over my body. Lying on my stomach and stripped down to my underwear, I remained still as Brittany effortlessly maneuvered around the table and dug her elbows into my upper and lower back muscles. Within minutes, she informed me of my problem areas. 

“Your rhomboid and trapezius muscles are rock hard. That’s a sign that there’s no elasticity in your muscles. You also have several muscle knots. Overall, you’re much tighter than I expected you to be,” she says.

That news was hardly surprising. Seeing photos of my slouching posture makes me grimace. I didn’t let her findings upset me, though. The tension in my shoulders began to release as I concentrated on the scent and feel of the massage oil and how my muscles eased with each touch. After about 30 minutes, the massage sent me into a euphoric, dreamlike state. Remember my mansion situated on a beautiful Hawaiian beach? 

Once my massage was finished, Brittany led me to Ginger Smith, a nail technician who performs manicures and pedicures. Uh-oh. The last time I had my nails meticulously cleaned was…well…never. What would she possibly find? Mold? Bacteria? Fungus? Germs? Dog hair? Motor oil?

The manicure began with me soaking my hands in sweet cream body milk lotion, a product made by Farmhouse Fresh that is full of vitamins and antioxidants. She then scrubbed my hands with a citrus and seagrass sugar scrub, which removes dry skin. Next, she broke out a metal manicure stick to remove dirt and grime underneath my fingernails, and then used a cuticle pusher to remove dead skin on my nail bed. A file helped smooth the edges of my rugged nails. She saved the best for last: a hot towel warmer that she wrapped around my hands to lock in the moisture of the body milk lotion. 

I actually enjoyed getting nailed, especially when mine, for the first time, looked shiny and healthy. The process involved in pedicures is similar to manicures with two major differences. First, I lounged in a cushy massage chair. Second, at the base of the chair is a stainless steel tub with jets, which allowed me to enjoy a hydrating, liquor-based foot soak. Yes, I said liquor-based. Ginger uses a product called Bourbon Bubbler, a combination of brown sugar, caramel, and real Kentucky whiskey that smells like pecan pie. Indeed, Ginger knows the way to this Kentucky boy’s heart. 

Warning: My pedicure did tickle at times when Ginger rubbed on soothing gels and lotions. However, even the most ticklish men will ultimately survive a pedicure. It’s worth it in the end because any gunk between your nails and skin is painlessly removed, and once dead skin is removed, the bottom of your toes reaches a level of softness you never knew existed. 

“Manicures and pedicures are not just about beauty treatments,” Ginger explains. “They both help treat ingrown nails, brittle nails, and bring out the natural health in your nails.”

Overall, I enjoyed every second of the two-and-a-half hours I spent at Renew Day Spa. Brittany and Ginger were knowledgeable, friendly, and lots of fun. 

I learned a simple lesson that day: It’s vitally important for men to relax, rejuvenate, and refresh their mind from time to time.

For that reason, day spas are one of the manliest places on earth.