Ft Lauderdale, FL
Ft Lauderdale is a fast moving city with a great deal to offer.
Cars move fast, people rush around and even the wind, wildlife and foliage seem to
be in a hurry. Now, mind you I do live in one of the most laid back places on
earth so maybe, just maybe it is me. We tend to do things slowly. In Ft Lauderdale
they do not. We stayed in a town called Weston outside of the city. It offered the
Walgreens, Publix, and lots of fast food restaurants. Weston
was beautifully manicured and comfortable. Near-by there is Markham Park which
offered something for every kind of sport enthusiast. Each activity had its
own controlled area. General admission was $1 per person. There were
sections for remote controlled airplanes, shooting ranges of all kinds, ski mobiles,
boats, bike paths, swimming pools and lots of parking. This is a great park to bring
the family for the day. They even have a doggie park with a Frisbee area. You
can rent kayaks, canoes, and small boats as well as bikes. It really is a well
thought out facility.
We decided to explore downtown on Saturday hoping there might be
less traffic on the weekend making it easier to navigate and learn our way around.
We headed for Las Olas Boulevard which is renowned for shopping and dining. We
parked by the canal and headed up the street. Las Olas was bustling with
people enjoying the beautiful day shopping and dining al fresco. We decided to
eat a light lunch and chose Mangos. It was a large restaurant with two bars,
plenty of table space and live entertainment at night. We decided to eat at
the bar which had windows facing the street so we could watch the fashionistas walk
by. We had a lovely lunch of snow crab soup and house salads. We had
been searching for guide books for information but had not found any yet. When
I went to the restroom I found a pile of information which we perused over a glass
of wine. The only plans we had for the entire week were to visit friends in
Key Largo and eat at the Greek Taverna Opa. I had seen an ad for this
restaurant on the travel channel and went to their website to check it out. It
sounded like a fantastic way to spend an evening so we were going to check on
In the materials we found a handout on "The Water Bus" which
traveled the city canals. between Las Olas Boulevard and the area where Opa was
located. It was only $10 a person for all day and ran until after midnight.
The water bus made 10 stops and was one and a half hours from stop 1 to 11. It
was mid-afternoon and we had no plans so we jumped on. This is a MUST DO when
you come to Ft Lauderdale. The cool
canals are refreshing and the views of
mansions and yachts are hard to match. It was absolutely gorgeous and
something a person would never see if they just traveled by car through downtown.
We traveled about halfway and decided to disembark at Beach Place to check out the
beach. The beach was positively breathtaking. Pastel blue water with
soft white sand and palm trees just blowing in the wind. We had a large cold
beer at the Oasis Cafe which begins the beach drive at Ocean Blvd. This was a
neat little spot located in a triangle with an outside bar and covered swing tables.
It was captivating and a welcomed refreshment.
We hopped back on the water bus and headed for the final
destination at Shooters which Opa turned out to be right next to. Another
absolutely MUST DO on your trip to Ft Lauderdale is a trip to Opa for dinner. We had
such an incredible fabulous time.
The restaurant is located right on the canal
two steps from the water bus landing and our table was right over the canal. The
food was both inexpensive and excellent. They serve a delicious rustic hummus
with pita and we ordered two different Greek white wines to try. Our waitress
Kimberly, who was gorgeous, warned us that one was very floral and had a finish of
pine. She was right and that became my husband's glass. We ordered stuffed red
bell peppers and Pasticcio, a macaroni, ground meat, and béchamel sauce casserole.
They were both $9 and incredible. We ordered two red Greek wines to try which were
under $5 and a Baklava to take home. During our meal the wait staff locked
arms and danced around the restaurant while the hostess threw cocktail napkins into
the air and belly dancers danced on tables. It was so much fun. I mean
it you must go there.
One day we headed to the beach after the morning commute was over.
We already knew where we wanted to head after stopping at the beach from the water
bus. We found convenient parking at Beach Place which not only offers parking
but a center of shops and restaurants. A fun thing to do or watch at the beach
here is parachute surfing. Surfers use a small board attached to a multi
colored parachute and use that to guide them. It makes a spectacular site with
all the parachutes in the air like kites.
We spent some time on the beach and
then headed back to Beach Place for lunch. Another incredible thing about the city
of Ft Lauderdale is they have managed to keep over 23 miles of beach for the public.
That is so unusual now adays. There was a multitude of restaurants there but the one
with all windows overlooking the beach caught our attention. At Max's Palm
Grille a lovely relaxed lunch with excellent service. Ft Lauderdale beach is
extremely beautiful with incredible blue water and soft comfortable sand. We
brought a small blanket we always keep in the car and sat under two palm trees
watching boats, people and incredible athletes. It was another perfect restful
We had planned to drive two hours to Key Largo to meet up with
great friends we had not seen in years. This is a great side trip while
vacationing in Ft. Lauderdale. We spent the day on the water on our friend's
party boat passing through mangrove groves and enjoying life. We docked the
boat at the Island Grill where another friend was performing that evening and we all
had dinner together. It was a grand reunion. Paul the performer and Billy our
boat captain have performed as Case and Davidson for many, many years. Paul
was performing and he and his family were getting ready to head back to NY where
they live. Billy had the night off but also performs at the Ocean Grill, Lorelei and
Mirada Beach. We got to spend time with their families and hear Paul play an
excellent first set. Docking your boat for dinner after swimming in the clear blue
water of the keys is something you don't often get to do but it is spectacular.
On our last night there we picked up good friends at the
airport flying in from St Thomas and took them to their hotel in Pompano Beach for
Seafood Festival. After many times around the block, many phone calls to the
travel agency it did actually turn out that the Ramada Inn he had reservations for
was the half crumbled building we were staring incredulously at. We had such a
fantastic laugh, after we found them another place to stay. We had a wonderful
home-style dinner at Briney's Irish Pub, bid our friends well, and headed back to
Weston to pack. It was a great trip.
More Travel Articles