Sunday, December 12, 2010

Symphony in Lights - The Village at Gulfstream Park

The old Gulfstream Park race track has recently been transformed into The Village at Gulfstream Park. If all the new shops and casino aren't enough to get you to visit, you might want to check out Symphony in Lights. 250,000 lights and music by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra make for quite a spectacle. The show runs about 15 minutes every hour from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm. Shows will run through Dec 31st. I was expecting a bigger display but I certainly was not disappointed. The best views are from the ground as the palm trees block the lights from the surrounding balconies. The Village is a vast improvement from the old horse track I remember as a kid. There are plenty of shops and great restaurants to make the trip worthwhile. I've enjoyed several of the eateries but none better than the III Forks. So far that is. I decided this trip to use my casino money for a nice dinner. I definitely ended the evening feeling like a winner.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winterfest Boat Parade - Fort Lauderdale

If you have lived in South Florida for any length of time, you have very likely been to the
According to their web site, they have taken to the water for the last 39 years. I have not gone that many times but I have gone fairly regularly. The trick to seeing the boat parade is to find a place to actually see it. There are only so many places along the intercoastal that are not privately owned. Some of the best views I've had were from a boat anchored in the intercoastal or a friends condo along the route. Some of the worst were getting hassled by condo owners or the police or in crowds so thick you couldn't possibly see the water.  This weekend the weather will be perfect and I have the perfect place to see the show. Birch State Park at Sunrise and A1A. Get there early if you want to get in. I actually walked down from the Galleria mall last time but it's quite a hike. All depends if you want to pay $10.00 just to park your car. Bring a picnic basket and some chairs and you are set. The best spot is right on the sea wall between the park entrance and the grandstands. Taking pictures of moving boats in the dark is a little tough but these are a few from years past.  The boat parade has always been impressive but in the last couple of years they have been sponsored by the Hardrock Casino making it a must see holiday event. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Art Basel - Miami

My favorite South Florida event even at the $36.00 admission. This will be year nine for Art Basel Miami. I have been fortunate to attend almost every year. Art Basel is no ordinary art show. It's more like a total assault on the senses disguised as a world class event. No one minds that I can't afford much more than the entrance fee while they plunk down $3.2 million bucks to buy a statue. Yes, that actually happened one year right in front of me. What can you expect? The show is huge. It fills the Miami Beach Convention Center without an inch to spare. Some pieces and installations will shock, amaze, bring tears, stir emotions, and challenge your reality. It's a guarantee most pieces will invoke an emotional response. Some are such utter garbage they redefine insanity. No matter what, every single item can invoke endless conversation. This is art in it's purest form so if you are not ready to have your understanding of the universe challenged, best to stay home. Every year I find something that completely blows me away. So much so that I can't wait to go back.

Art Basel will take a full day to enjoy so plan on a nice lunch or dinner on Lincoln Rd. Make a day at the art show a complete event. Art lovers travel from all over the world for this show. I just have to hop in the car to be part of it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Yellow Green Farmers Market - Hollywood

As I write my blog today, I am enjoying a lovely Maifanite Longevity tea with a dash of raw honey. Two of the many great items I found this morning at the Yellow Green Farmers Market. I had a few items in mind to look for. I easily found what I wanted and a whole lot more. Raw honey is something I enjoyed back in the days I lived on an orange grove. Going even further back to when I lived in Amish country, my family had fresh eggs and chickens delivered to the house. Head straight to the very back of the market and ask the folks at "The Good Earth" to set you up with a dozen. Then you too can experience that fresh off the farm taste. In addition there are cheeses, breads, pastries, and of course fresh veggies making it well worth the drive. It is not easy to get a vine riped tomato or a big jar of homemade half sour pickles in South Florida. Until now that is. It's not all about the food though. There are as many, if not more booths filled with unique or handmade items.
My trip to the Yellow Green Farmers Market was more than the items I put in my bags. I had a great time talking to the people working in the booths. I liked the memories it brought back when shopping was a "one on one" experience and not a cart pushed through a super Walmart. I will defiantly be back but a little closer to lunch next time. There were some awesome sandwich shops, smoothie and fruit juice booths, and pastry makers not to mention a picnic area to enjoy them. If you have not been yet, what are you waiting for.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Toys in the Sun Run - Fort Lauderdale

Is that thunder in the distance? No, I think it's 23rd annual Toys in the Sun Run. That's how Santa gets it done in South Florida. Each year, bikers from all over ride down I-95 to I-595 so they can deliver toys on the back of motorcycles. Last year some 30,000 bikes with toys spent the day roaring up and down the road. This year the fun starts at Isle Casino Pompano Park and ends at Markham Park. Be sure to mark down Dec 5th as a day to stay off the roads, unless of course you ride. There are several places along the route you can watch and feel the show. That many bikes can kick up quite a racket and shake the earth. However you choose to enjoy this event, most importantly be safe out there.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Art in the Park - Plantation

I went to this event last year and actually bought some art. It had been a while since I last attended and I found it quite by accident driving by. This year I made the effort to check the schedule. Plantation's "Art in the Park" has been going on as long as I can remember. As far as show size and advertising, it's a fairly small show by South Florida standards. It's also one of the few shows that have enough affordable art, you will likely go home with some. Last year I circled a booth several times before I committed. I have very much enjoyed the piece I bought and it has been commented on regularly. It was the price that got me. If I had not gotten it, I would have kicked myself. Check it out this weekend and see if you can find a must have piece at a "get your wallet out" price.

Sorry - I have been neglecting my Blog

Sometimes I like being a tourist in my own back yard. Sometimes I want to take a trip to say.... Europe. Living in South Florida is pretty much like having the whole world over for the weekend. At any moment, in any location, you can run into someone from another country. I just wish they would leave their home town driving skills at home.

If you are interested in seeing the other side of the planet, or if you are from there, follow the link to my Vacation Photos. They are best viewed as a slideshow. Enjoy views of London, Norway, Shetland, Faroe, Iceland, Scotland, and Ireland while I work on a few more local blog entries.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Vista View Park - Davie

Mount Trashmore no more. Vista View Park has just completed a major expansion. It's hard to beleive this beautiful park was once the Davie dump. From the top of this relatively new Florida mountain, you can see all the way to Fort Lauderdale.

Looking for some family activities? How about bicycling, fishing, fitness trail, horse back riding, skating, and basketball to start. Two monster playgrounds will keep the kids entertained for the day or until they run out of sugar. Lots of picinic area. If you need a place to fly your model airplane or even yourself, there is room for that too. No kidding. If you get there early on a day with low winds, you can watch the paraplanes take off and land. There is a charge now but you get a lot for the $1.50 per person admission.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bike Trails - Davie

I started exploring the Davie Bike Trails soon after moving to Davie five years ago. My typical ride is about 20 miles. While a lot of Davie's bike trails are sidewalks, I've managed to find a route that is mostly away from traffic and pedestrians. Some of the trails are well marked with mileage and direction. There are a few parks along the way for a rest and water break but it's best to bring plenty of water with you. I was bringing twice what I thought I needed and required a refill along the way. Even though many of the trails run behind housing developments, you get the sense you are on a private path all to yourself. You will see a lot of trees, canals, and nature and not much else. The trails that run along the road are far enough away from the traffic that you won't need to be endlessly vigilant for fear of getting run over. The trails are smooth for the most part and grass and trees well trimmed and out of the path. You will still need to watch for sand, pot holes, and areas where tree roots have lifted the pavement. Sometimes the occasional tree branch may be on the path or a group of horses may be crossing. No matter what part of the trail you are on, you are never far from a house or a main road should you run into trouble. This is one adventure that requires a lot of effort but you can't beat the price.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Miami Metro Zoo

The last time I paid a visit to the Miami Metro Zoo was before hurricane Andrew. This trip was long overdue. I had gone several times, years ago, and always enjoyed it. I knew the aviary was rebuilt but I had no idea the zoo had doubled in size. It's now a full day visit if you want to see everything. Maybe a little more if you want to stop and take pictures. So where are mine? Well funny thing about that. My camera had an issue on the very day of my visit. I'm sure I'll go back again.

Admission is $15.95 but there are plenty of discounts online. We walked the whole day but for a few bucks, you can get the monorail pass. If you are bringing the kids and all the stuff that goes with kids, consider the Safari Cycles. $32.00 seems steep to rent a 4 wheeled bike but it could save the day when the kiddies (or adults) poop out at the far corners of the zoo. We saw plenty of people peddling along and by the looks of it, they all thought it was worth the price.

The Miami Metro Zoo has put a lot of effort into making it appear the animals are running free and that means giving them plenty of room. You can get within inches of a gorilla. To him it looks like you are the one behind the glass. From huge cats to tiny poison dart tree frogs, they cover it all. I would suggest going now while the weather is still cool but if you want to wait a while, there are misting stations along the path. Check the link above for special events and make some plans for a great day out with family and friends.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Florida Renaissance Festival - Deerfield Beach

I have been neglecting my blog lately but not my favorite South Florida event. The 2010 Florida Renaissance Festival looks to be the best ever if opening day is any indication. Low temperatures and high winds did nothing to dim the enthusiasm of the performers or the crowd. I have been a regular visitor to this event for the last 10 years. If laughter is the best medicine, then this is the place to get a huge dose. So many acts this year I did not even catch them all. Click on the link above for the complete listing. My personal favorite was MooNie. Half mime, half acrobat, and half comedian. That's right! It's like a show and a half for just a dollar. I will be going back again this year to see the rest no doubt. Between shows, there are plenty of beautiful items for sale. "The ugly ones don't sell as well my lord" I was told. Makes good sense right? You can be certain a good many of them are not made in China. In fact many are made right there in front of you. I collect coins so this year I splurged and had a coin minted while I watched. Most of the vendors are a mini show themselves. Yes I even bought a bag of nuts from the guy who I remember seeing in a nightmare once. Just a tip - don't go to the Limeybirds show with your nuts in your hand. Trust me on this.
Every year I leave the Ren Fest with a sense that I've done something special. If it were not for these dedicated people who work rain or shine and sometimes risk their lives in gale force winds to entertain me, I would have been home watching old DVDs. Everyone I know has been at least once. Have you?
$20.00 gets you in. Have plenty of singles for the shows. Yes, these people make a living at this and work for tips. The food court is the best of any festival I've been to and $10.00 gets you fed. There is an amazing assortment of items for sale so bring a few extra bucks. Do your part to save the American economy and get yourself a big fat dose of comedy to remedy that stressful life.