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Posts from the ‘Florida’ Category

How To Escape in Key West

As the guide stopped to point out alligators, birds, and fauna, my daughter chatted it up with a nice gentleman who was likely in his 70’s. Not exactly the Spring Break that a single graduate student had in mind

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Calle Ocho Carnival Miami & The Cuban Sandwich Smackdown

The Kiwanis Club welcomes visitors from all over the world to Calle Ocho where visitors numbered 1-1.5 million. NBD. On the streets, there is music stages on every block, dancing, and conga lines, food, vendors, children's areas and more food.

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Kicking It In Key West On The Cheap

Casual Key West and your fun on the cheap, quirky, colorful and bike friendly town, you had me at hello and cuban coffee.

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Meg Visits Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum – Key West Florida

I love his hard hitting truth. Some of my favorite quotes came from this contraption and here are a few.

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian Home of Florida’s Lakeland College

It is hard to fathom that these designs were lost to time, and yet, this is exactly what happened. During the tour, we learned that the plans were found in the archives at Florida Southern College.

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Out Of The Ground And Into The Light, A Child of The Sun-Frank Lloyd Wright Tour Florida

Either you are an architecture fan or you're not.

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I Threw A Mullett Across State Lines And All I got Was A T-shirt, Flora-Bama Mullett Toss, Gulf Shores, Alabama

I thought a mullet was all about “business in the front-party in the back.” But, it is a fish with no hair.   Apparently, someone got an idea at a big ole beach party to throw a fish across state lines.

Flora-Bama State Line Sate of Mind!

Flora-Bama State Line Sate of Mind!

I wonder how this idea was formed?

Party much?

Party much?

Think this party is not a family friendly place?

1402682199867 Not my bra and “I’m a little bit older and a lot yet bolder than I used to be.”  Flora-Bama actually does accommodate all ages during this event.  It is a beach party after all. I was there to witness my nephews in this epic event.

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Seriously, each year over $20,000 is raised and contributed to local charities, and especially the Youth Organizations. So, it is about the kids, well done folks. There are rules, like no gloves.

Three older women in line, I mean the over 70 set, chatted me up. Apparently, these chicks have been throwing dead fish for many years. They were missing their fourth friend this year. They shamed me into throwing.

Winner fish come to mama

Winner fish come to mama

Don’t worry, they are dead (the fish, not the 70 yr olds.) You put the slimy thing back into the bucket after you are finished. I wonder if those over 70 year olds ever slipped weights into their mouth to get a leg up? Anyway, they are fed to fish once their carcasses have been used up.

MEGathrow

MEGathrow

This is now part of my legend. Yep, I chucked that that fish from Florida to Alabama.  I got 17th place in my age bracket. Whatever.

Bonus*There was some pretty darn good food here.

YUM! MEGASTARS **** Although this bucket list did not culturally, enrich me, I am giving this shindig 4 stars. I am glad I went.  I bonded with family and conquered.  Met some inspiring women, ate some great food and enjoyed the beach. I got a T-shirt and wear it like a badge of honor. Not a bad day. MEGATIPS;

  1. People come from all over the world for this shindig. Get your hotel rooms booked early. If you are not going to party, you can drive from Pensacola or Pensacola Beach.
  2. Drive to a shuttle point. This year it was in Orange Beach. There is paid parking but it is really slim.
  3. Great Low Country Boil on the grounds when I visited. A lot of other food is offered here. You may wait in line.
  4. In this area? I also like Lulu’s for fun and food. See my Tuesday blog.

Not Beach-ing About It-Pensacola Beach, Florida, Fort Picken’s National Park and Margaritaville Hotel

Pensacola Beach, Fort Pickens National Park  and a Margaritaville Visit.

I am lucky to live not too far from this area, and while I am a frequent visitor to Pensacola Beach, I wanted to check out Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Beach Hotel.

The beaches in this area are truly fantastic.  In March and April, the water is a bit cooler but I happened to hit a warm week and swam in this beauty.

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This photos above is from The Pier on Pensacola Beach.  Margaritaville is that beauty in the background.

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The color of the water is dreamy.  This  public beach, there are lifeguards.  The sand is white and soft.  Perfecto!

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It is fun to watch people fish from a nearby beach and the pier.  There are many geared-up fishing boats that pass the beach.

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This Bob and Barbara

This Bob and Barbara

Margaritaville was really a great stay.  I got a room by the ice machine, which was loud.   Aside from that, it was near perfection.  No detail is overlooked in this hotel.

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Lobby, Gift Shop and restaurant called “Frank and  Lola’s Lounge. ”  A beautiful bar area that leads out to pool and Tiki Bar.

A warm welcome and rooms with a view!  Quiet and beautiful beaches.  Straight out the hotel door. Since I love my OWN beach, this area of Florida is quite megapproved.  Next to Margaritaville, is the ever fun hangout called “The Landshark Lounge.”   Live Music

Sunset from Landshark Lounge

Sunset from Landshark Lounge

Margaritaville lost pic

Nearby, there is this…. 

However, in the other directions is Fort Pickens National Park.  I LOVE this park.  Great camping, biking, history, fishing, private beaches.

Private beaches, wildlife, clear blue water, white sand, biking, hiking, fishing..Megahit!

Before Sunset

Before Sunset

One of my favorite moments in Fort Pickens has to be watching the sunsets that are visible over the bay from atop the cannon wall.

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I found this sign very funny in a 10 year old sort of way. Fun places to eat breakfast? Why not have breakfast “At The Weinery” ummm wiener? Hot Dog House.

MEGASTARS *****5

MEGATIPS

1. If you visit this area, watch The Blue Angels.  I have seen them but did not take any photos.  You can catch them from a viewing platform at The Naval Aviation Museum OR check them out from the peninsula at Fort Pickens.  Bring a brunch.  They are magnificent to watch.

2. Love nature, quiet beaches, history?  Visit Fort Pickens

3. Rent or bring your bike.  there are bike lanes, bike trails and safe places to bike around Fort Pickens.

4. Catch a sunset on top of the cannon wall at Fort Pickens

5. Stay at Margaritaville and check out the happenings at The Landshark Lounge.

6. Fun to eat on the beach at Flounders.  The Shrimp boat is loaded with shrimp eats. They have this seafood nacho dish that serves a table full of people. Get a table out near the volleyball courts and bay.

7. Breakfast at Native Cafe

8. Fine Dining at The Grand Marlin.  Try to get a table at the bayside.  This restaurant has many “best of’s.”

Miami SoBe

SoBe-South Beach, Miami -Travel Thursday

Part 2 of  Miami 3;  1. Little Havana, 2.The Everglades 3. So Be

Warm weather, awesome beaches, food to die for and a chance to knock out one of my U.N.E.S.C.O.  bucket list wishes. I found a four leaf clover. There is that association with; Ferrari’s, clubs, Kardashians, yachts, overall hectic frenzy, plastic and bro-filled streets.  There is that, but with an open mind one can spend some time finding peace and beauty.

Walk This Way

Walk This Way

The beaches here are ridiculous. Warm water, soft sand, safe and sunshine.  Away from the party.

 Blue and green with some white sand

Blue and green with some white sand

Life guards

Life Guards

Quiet area with mix of people. Calm and peaceful!

SoFi Beaches were quiet a  mix of people. Calm and peaceful!

Characters are plenty.

Charachters-weed world

Just your average ride

lemur in a diaper on a bike, just your normal day.

lemur in a diaper on a bike, just your normal day.

This photo shows a lemur, in a diaper, in a bike.  No big deal.  (Thanks to Macaira L for this photo)

Fast and furious 24/7

Fast and furious 24/7

Fast and crashed.

Fast and crashed. 24/7

Lots of wealth. A place where; Bentley,Porsche, Ferrari,Maserati’s are pretty much like Toyota and Chevrolet in the real world.  Then, there are the fast and furious, so pretty much everyday I saw some type of crash where airbags were deployed. . The last photo was someone crashing  into a bus stop. Fortunately, no one was in this bus stop.

Lots of food choices.  Espanola way has a beautiful setting.  I ate there a few times and had  one good meal and one overpriced meal with meh service.

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A side trip to deep sea fish  with a hometown friend. Deep sea fishing was on my bucket list. Check!

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Not a bad day at all

Not a bad day at all

My Fishy

My Fishy

Art and culture is abound.   I really loved my visit to The Holocaust Memorial.  In memory of six million martyrs. Fact, Miami has one of the largest Holocaust survivor populations in the world. Built with Jerusalem Stone and surrounded by a reflecting pool of still water.

The Sculpture of

The Sculpture of “Love and Anguish”

The Sculpture of

The Sculpture of “Love and Anguish” with a closer view

“The lonely Path”

This path was meant to give an illusion of the diminished self. The names of death camps are listed on the side walls and are meant to “stare out at you.”

A Memorial Wall filled with names of those lost.  Many in groups of families and from different places in Europe.

Profound

Profound

Never Forget..we are ONE

Never Forget..we are ONE

Would have loved to take photos there with my good camera. Simply moving.  I took a million photos so check out my instagram at kickingthebucketwithmeg@instagram.com

Anne Frank....HOPE

Anne Frank….HOPE

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.-Desmond Tutu

Last of all, take in a sunset or two.

From Smith and Wollensky

From Smith and Wollensky

City View

City View

Gorgeous!

Gorgeous!

I really LOVED my time here.  I give my whole experience on SoBe 5 MEGASTARS *****

Megatips;

1. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.

2. People watch, better yet bring a friend and share some laughs.  this place can be a trip.

3. Due to traffic, it can be difficult to drive on and off SoBe. Either stay for the beaches and sightseeing or, plan your trips at non traffic peak times.  I saw so many accidents and I was there for one week only.

Traffic sucks

Traffic sucks

4. If you are a walker and most humans should be, one can walk nearly anywhere or use public transportation quite easily.   There are rental bike spots everywhere, just put in your credit card. I was going to bring my bike but changed my mind.  After seeing so many car accidents, I would caution bikers to be very very careful

5. Have a big wallet? Go to Smith and Wollensky for a sunset dinner.  Go a decent time before sunset and asked to be seated outside by the water.

6. Like quiet?  Research quiet areas.  I stayed SoFi or South of fifth and had excellent stay.  Great location. Try to find a place with parking included.  Towing of luxury cars is an entertainment best enjoyed watching.  As usual, I did get one ticket.

7. Traveling to South Florida?  DO buy a Sun Pass.  You will save a LOT of time and traffic headaches.

Little Havana Chowdown-A Tasty Tuesday Megabite

Tasting food in Little Havana was on my Miami Bucket List. Before this trip, I found a great article on “11 Latin Dishes in Miami To Try Before You Die.”   http://www.miamiandbeaches.com/featured-articles/native-latin

Art Love Life

Art Love Life

The Versailles Restaurant seemed to pop up on every article that I read.   i really loved it!  There is a bakery room where you can pick up the most amazing foods and that great coffee! I give Versailles 5 MEGASTARS *****

Yum  Take your number and shop while you wait.

Sandwiches to die for! The Cuban Sandwich was on my list and in my belly.     Cuban Coffee, Cuban pull, Cuban espresso, cuban shot.

Just what is cuban coffee?  I learned it is a specific roast from Bustelo or Pilon brands, owned by Cuban exiles.   It is an expresso like drink brewed with demera sugar in the beginning and it forms a syrup, topped with a head called espumita.  I found it in many places and on the cheap.   You can also buy these little cups, I mean tiny like smaller than a shot-glass.    There are entire blogs written about the ways to order your Cuban Coffee.  Me, I went for the double double Cortadito, which has a bit of milk. I had a second thanks to the two days and two red eye flights.  The second cup, I ordered with sugar free sweetener.   Of course it was best with the sugar, but a girls gotta be careful when chowing her way through Lil Havana.

On that note, I had breakfast one morning at Versailles and I was curious about the Cuban toast.  I felt ashamed of myself for eating the entire piece slathered with butter, I got over it. So Good!  Perfection.

Down the street from Versailles on Calle Ocho I ate at Exquisito.  This restaurant was recommended by The Travel Channel website for traditional Cuban meals.  I tried their suggestion of Vaca Frita with a side of Malanga, which is described as an edible ornamental, sub tropical plant. The portion of the root is fried and served with garlic sauce.  What’s not to like about that?  5 MEGASTARS *****

Exquisito

Exquisito

Vaca Frita With Malanga

Vaca Frita With Malanga and Plantains

Exquisito - shrimp with rice. NOM

Exquisito – shrimp with rice. NOM

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Steak with frita and cuban rice.

Across the street is this super cool artisanal ice cream  and sorbet “boutique” called Azucar.  I was reading an article about Cuban Sandwiches, and this place was mentioned as a celebration if Miami’s diverse cultures. I learned the flavors rotate weekly. With flavors such as sweet plantain and rum cake with walnuts, it’s tough to be just passing through.  5 megastars for Azucar *****

Azu

Azu

Megatips

1. Go straight to Versailles. It’s good and the prices are reasonable. Nice service and a fun menu.

2. Flying in and out of the Miami Airport on the red eye? Great Cuban coffee to be found there.

3. Azucar was pretty special-save room for this place.

4. Go with a purpose because there are so many wonderful choices!

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