1. Hernando

New assisted-living home in Spring Lake offers as much home as assistance

On a summer morning, residents at Country Acres Assisted-Living Facility “sit a spell” on an airy porch as caregiver-owner Jared Snow (in the blue shirt) engages them in conversation that often leads to nostalgic storytelling. BETH N. GRAY | Special to the Times
Published Jun. 17

BROOKSVILLE — As an assisted-living facility, Country Acres more resembles a high-end rustic lodge hosting a vacation gathering of friendly aunts, uncles and grandparents.

So say the half-dozen elders who've taken up residency since the facility's January opening in rural Spring Lake.

Ashley and Jared Snow, 32 and 34 respectively, converted the nine-bedroom former foster home into a seniors' respite when her parents, Bill and Sherry Leslie, retired as caregivers there.

"I grew up in care-giving since age 7," Ashley Snow said. "I was accustomed to it. It was my family."

Her husband came to safekeeping of others from another angle. He'd served 13 years as a deputy with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

The couple's priority is providing a family-like atmosphere at the two-level lodge, which features private rooms, two common sitting areas, a game solarium and two kitchens with adjacent dining spaces. Open-air decks reach out on all sides, while a broad front porch looks out on a shaded landscape.

April Herlihy, 40, a former certified nursing assistant, is a live-in caretaker. The Snows, who live less than a mile away, are on the premises daily.

Herlihy and Ashley Snow prepare meals, family-style lunch and dinner. If someone isn't a fan of the day's homemade lasagna, an alternative is quickly readied. Residents are welcome to cook with supervision.

"We're not into taking away their independence," Ashley Snow emphasized.

"People don't stay in their rooms," she pointed out during a tour. "We have people who want to be in the common areas. They want to be where everyone else is."

Activities entice residents out of their rooms. Mostly home-based, join-in attractions suit the residents, aged 63 to 94.

Some residents tend a small vegetable garden. They helped to plant it, water it and snip its herbs for dinner.

"It's something they can handle that's not overwhelming, but gives them responsibility," Ashley said.

An associated outing has elicited enthusiastic endorsement: a minutes-long trip to nearby Beasley Farms, where they buy mixed vegetables that they'll help prepare for the week's dining.

Bingo, trivia, jigsaw puzzles and storytelling are always on tap.

"It's like being at home, on vacation," said guest-resident Susan Sharp, 63. "They give you the structure, but it's freedom to be yourself."

Liz Nelson of Melbourne came to stay in January after breaking an ankle.

"It's a very nice place to go if you need help," said the 86-year-old. She noted its handicapped accessibility, exercise opportunities and family lifestyle as she recuperates.

The Snows aim to keep the resident roster at about six to maintain "a different level of compassion and care" compared to larger facilities.

"I think we have a positive environment. We always promote forward-moving." Ashley Snow said.

Residency is monthly. Rates depend on the level of care required. Tours of Country Acres Assisted Living Facility at 4063 Baseball Pond Road in Brooksville are available by calling (352) 754-2804.

Contact the writer at


  1. Hernando County School District
    The Hernando County School District’s overall premiums will go up about 10 percent. Unless it’s renegotiated later, the entire increase falls to employees.
  2. Elvis Presley gets a close-up look at one of the Weeki Wachee Springs mermaids during a visit to the park in 1961. HANDOUT  |  WEEKI WACHEE SPRINGS
    From its iconic mermaids to its signature statue, Weeki Wachee Springs will be considered for historic designation.
  3. Hernando County Government Center
    Neighbors worry about the impact on their equestrian community.
  4. Workers begin construction in 2010 on what would become Winding Waters K-8. That was the last new public school built in Hernando County, which faces capacity strains as officials ask for impact fee increases to keep up with growth. HERNANDO TODAY PHOTO BY HAYLEY M  |  Hernando Today
    The district first would add classrooms at three existing schools, but could need four new schools by 2039.
  5. A vistor at Harvest Moon Fun Farm's grabs a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch in Masaryktown. ANGELIQUE HERRING  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Things to do for Halloween in Pasco and Hernando counties
  6. Challenger K-8 School students, from left, Jeremy Gonzalez, 13, Jackson Hoyt, 12, Benjamin Harper, 12, and Gianni Labdar, 12, finish meals consisting of fresh salads, quesadillas and nachos during a lunch service on Oct. 15 at the school in Spring Hill during the county's Fresh from Florida Plate Day event. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Starting a farm-to-school initiative has been more complicated than district officials expected.
  7. Disco Freak will perform music from the 1970s in a free concert Oct. 27 at the South Holiday Library. Pasco County Libraries
    Things to do in Pasco and Hernando counties
  8. Hernando County sheriff’s sergeant  Louis “Lou” Genovese died Saturday after struggling for weeks with an undisclosed medical condition, according to the Sheriff's Office. He was 41. HERNANDO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE  |  Hernando County Sheriff's Office
    Sergeant Louis “Lou” Genovese, a deputy since 2006, was 41.
  9. Hernando County community news Tara McCarty
    News and notes from Hernando County
  10. Dr. Manjusri Vennamaneni (center) was awarded Businesswoman of the Year by the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce. With her are Matt Romeo, President of PrimeCare (left), and Dr. Pariksith Singh, CEO, Access Health Care Physicians. Vince Vanni
    News and notes on local businesses