Sunday, September 25, 2011

South Beach, Miami - Daylight Visit

Everyone around the world has heard of South Beach. Not only has South Beach played back drop to numerous movies, and television shows, it's one of the hottest places on the planet.  Hot as in trendy, hip, and cool. Visit enough and you will spot your fair share of the rich and famous. Maybe even a big time celebrity. At night, South Beach is ablaze with neon, and is a mile long party that lasts till dawn. Like most party places, the action takes place after dark.

South Beach is a hot spot during the day as well but not with crowds of people. At noon in September, like most of South Florida, it's hot enough to melt your flip flops to the sidewalk. Only the hardiest of locals and most unwitting of visitors would spend a day pounding the pavement taking pictures. Lucky for you, I am one of those hardy, sun baked locals.

This was going to be an all day hike with a fabulous lunch mid way so a double dose of sun tan lotion was in order. That and a camera with a full charge and off I went. 

I prefer to park at the garage near the convention center, directly across from City Hall on 17th. I never know how long I will be there and it's nice to have a central location and not worry about meters.  I always go to South Beach hungry so I can enjoy an amazing meal. South Beach is mostly Art and Food. I can't afford the art but I can manage a great meal once in a while.

The day began with an early morning walk down Ocean Drive. The street is lined with beautifully renovated Art Deco hotels and the most exciting outdoor restaurants in all of South Florida. I have eaten along the beach road many times over the years and never had a bad experience. On this day, my morning hike turned into a quest for a unique dining experience on Lincoln Road. The choices are delicious and endless, and it's hard to go wrong. Not wanting to jump at the first opportunity, I actually walked the entire dining and art district. Along the way, I checked out some amazing galleries and stores. In some cases just to get a little relief from the oppressive heat. If you are interested in the art scene around South Beach Click Here for an introductory list. My favorite on this trip was the Peter Lik gallery. Blown away just begins to describe my impressions of this photographers work.  Lunch at the Books and Books cafe was the final touch to a perfect day in South Beach.

To see my photos from my day on South Beach Click Here. Not quite ready for my own gallery showing but it should give you a good feel of South Beach in the daytime.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Downtown Jensen Beach

Hey Mom & Dad, you're in my shot!
The first thing you will notice about Downtown Jensen Beach is that it is not exactly in the "South" part of South Florida. Florida is a really long state. It's not quite far enough North to be called Central Florida so it counts.

The second thing you will notice about Downtown Jensen Beach is it's not on the beach. Probably a wise move as it is right smack in the middle of hurricane alley.

I am spending a lot more time in Mom and Dad's neck of the woods these days. I never let pass by an opportunity to turn a blah day into a blog day so I took them on a little adventure while I was there.

Jensen beach is old time Florida with a lot of the original houses still lying around. Some are converted into business but they still retain their charm. The pavements are made of crushed sea shells and cement. There are the usual quaint restaurants and gift shops. The perfect outing for the parents but I like a little more out of the day. How about a drive.

A little tip about Florida housing. Florida is mostly a swamp. To build anything you need to get higher than the water table. To make it economical, we dig gigantic, 40 foot deep lakes and then build hundreds of all the same houses on the fill. BORING....

Ok - back to the drive. From Jensen Beach to Fort Pierce is the most unique road in all of Florida. The Intercoastal Waterway on one side and a huge, natural sand dune on the other. It is miles and miles of the most unique homes Florida has to offer without gates to keep you out. S. Indian River Dr is a narrow, harrowing, fast paced, twisty (by Florida standards) bit of highway with the oddest collection of homes from mansions to shacks. The opposite side of the road is the most beautiful waterway views anywhere in Florida. To keep from viewing that waterway from under it, the driver must be ever vigilant so be sure and call shotgun on this tour. At Fort Pierce, hang a right and zoom back home on a scenic beach highway complete with the ominous cooling towers of a nuclear power plant.

Whether you plan a laid back experience or invite your parents to scream "Slow Down" as you hang a few curves along the river, Jensen Beach is definitively a great place to visit.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Hollywood Beach

When I am not running around South Florida looking for fun things to do, I will usually be found on my local beach. There is nothing better than a morning walk with the sea air and a little breakfast complete with a cup of coffee. Yes even at 90 degrees. Parking at the beach is pretty expensive so I park at the Anne Kolb Nature Center on Sheridan Street. It's about 1/2 mile East of the sand and the parking is FREE! My favorite price. Just cross the draw bridge (center shot) and you are there. I walk an 8 mile loop so another few steps is not much of a problem.

I most often arrive at 7:30 AM and head South till I can't go South any more. 4 Miles exactly. Half way back I stop for breakfast. It's then only 2 miles back to the car - 15 minutes to home. Another few to get the photos off the cell phone and by noon I've posted my adventure and ready to start my day. Enjoy!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

South Florida Sunrise

Anyone can take beach sunrise shots in South Florida. I couldn't make it to the beach this weekend so I made do on my morning walk. So many people never notice the sky. I'm never so busy in my life to ignore a beautiful sunrise. These photos were taken with a cheap digital camera and a cell phone over the long weekend. Even so they are pretty amazing. The time from dark to light was about 5 minutes. These photos were captured in those fleeting moments.