I moved to Key West, at the end of the Florida Keys, a few years ago when I had had just about enough of living out in the Boondocks of Big Pine Key. Not that there is anything wrong with BPK, it is a delightful little island about 30 miles North up U.S. 1; that most scenic of bi-ways also known as the Overseas Highway, but it is a rather lonely place if you’re looking for love. Let’s just say that no one lives there for the “Life in the Fast Lane” existence. So, for both the love of fishing and the love of fishing for a relationship, I learned to:
Select the right bait, choose the right tackle, and get ready to make my first cast – Fishing, Key West Style!Read More
Florida also known as ‘Sunshine State’ is the most popular state for its huge attractions, admired theme parks, world-class beaches and sensational cities, the key paradise to your Floridian holiday!
If you are looking for a bit of excitement on your Florida holidays, you can find reasonable and inexpensive deals with independent tour operators such as Ocean Florida including accommodation and even car hire if required. All 100% ATOL protected!
Choosing a destination is an important first step in planning your vacation or getaway. However, there are several other destinations that draw millions of visitors to the Sunshine State each year. If you’re looking for a can’t-miss place to go on vacation, you should consider one of these tried-and-true Florida vacation destinations.
With twin centre holidays you have a great opportunity to visit more than one city in one big holiday. Discover Disney World, the worlds largely visited entertainment resort where it captures the enchantment of fairy tales with exciting pursuit, classic attractions and beloved Disney characters. Or visit the other side of the state;TampaBay located on the Gulf Coast of Florida known for its best beaches and outdoor recreational opportunities, the perfect time to chill! There’s never been a better time to take a trip to beautifulTampaBay- this is the place to be!
Orlando holidays in 2013 are also a great choice. Treat the kids to breathtaking and fun packed attractions such asDisneyland and Universal Studios and even better get the free Disney Dine plan with you holiday package.Florida is the perfect choice for families, couples and those travelling with young children.
The resort ofOrlandois where it all gets wild on your visit toFlorida; wander the numerous theme parks, discover the infamous Walt Disney World, SeaWorld and wet ‘n wild amongst others. Holidays toOrlandoare full of exhilaration, from the deluxe accommodation to the delectable dishes and thrilling rides and resorts to see,Floridais a dream come true!Read More
Nicknamed The Magic City, Miami, Florida was originally inhabited over 10,000 years a go by the Tequestas natives. The Spanish secured the area in the 16th century. The area would be conceived as a city by a woman orange grower in the late 1800s. Today with thousands taking a flight to Miami it is a well known vacation destination.
The city proper is now home to approximately 400,000 people from a multitude of ethnic backgrounds and has been dubbed The Gateway to Latin America. An international banking capitol, the city is a natural tourist haven. The Port of Miami is considered the cruise capital of the world.
Moderate tropical like temperatures, ocean breezes and sun streaked sandy beaches lure thousands of tourists to sample the delights of Miami. The South Beach area of the city beckons to the art enthusiast as well as the pleasure seekers and sun worshippers. South Beach is rich with nightlife and a visual experience that turns back the hands of time. The concentration of Art Deco architecture in South Beach brings back the era of the 1920s and 1930’s.
Many of the grand hotels in South Beach built in the Art Deco period have been restored to the original architect’s vision. Features of the architectural style include rounded corners that played to the fast and sleek masculine style that was replacing the prior flowery female style of the Art Nouveau period. Smooth wall structure was achieved through the use of stucco. Windows drew emphasis from eyebrows, cantilevered window shades that were part of the building structure. The eyebrows were practical as well as decorative. They provide shade and helped to keep interiors cool. Porthole windows were often featured. Glass block, decorative tiles of myriads of colours and contrasting paint colours added further artistic appeal to the structures. There is a devotion to groupings of three in the Art Deco period. It is believed that this is due to the influence of Egyptian Archaeology. King Tut’s tomb was found in 1922. The Art Deco style played homage to one of the major events of the decade.
The Essex House is an excellent example of the Art Deco style. Considered to be one of the best examples of Maritime Art Deco Architecture, the hotel was erected in 1938. Rounded corners and porthole features on the top floor are crowned with a tower that features the Essex name in neon. Al Capone and cronies could occasionally be spotted playing cards in the hotel’s card room. A neon spire sits atop another rounded corner structure currently known as The Hotel. Originally named The Tiffany, the hotel relented to the pressures of the jewellery store of the same name and changed its name. The Chelsea built in 1936 is an excellent example of eyebrows as part of the architecture of the building. The neon lighting of the name adds to the electric feel of the Art Deco district. One of the most photographed hotels in the world, the Colony Hotel features bands of teal stripes that separate the floors. With a colour palate of blues and a large neon sign of black on lilac, this hotel is a visual treat for the eye which highlights the Art Deco colour scheme.
The Art Deco design can be seen in many cities throughout the U. S., a building here, a building there. But, South Beach Miami has captured and encapsulated all of the features of this artistic period in one square mile. This square mile is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and Art. Step into the past with the Art Deco architecture. Celebrate the present with the sun, the water, the beaches and the nightlife.Read More
Beyond the plasticity of manufactured entertainment, hidden behind the planned neighborhoods, and endless miles of manicured fairways exists a Florida that breeds the spirit of Hemingway.
On the South West coast, a few short miles from Fort Myers is small fishing village named Matlacha. This tiny strip of land, forgotten by developers, ignored by the traffic masses headed south to the Keys, is the manifestation of “Old Florida” that inspired countless tomes of literature by authors such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams. Matlacha has been immortalized by author Richard Powell in his novel Pioneer Go Home, which was made into the Elvis Presley movie “Follow that Dream”.
Matlacha has been considered an “Old Florida” retreat for more than 50 years. During World War II, soldiers from Page Field in Fort Myers would use their weekend passes to experience the “Fishingest Bridge in Florida”. Today people still flock to this bridge to catch the much sought after game fish teeming the sound and shallows of Matlacha Pass. World records have been broken on this bridge.
The main strip, Pine Island Road, is lined with fishing shacks, colorfully converted into art galleries that boast magnificent examples of creativity and world class talent. These examples of converted history are not to be mistaken as the tacky t-shirt shops found in the heavily populated tourist destinations scattered throughout the state. Matlacha offers the real deal in Florida Cracker ambience.
Recently I had the privilege of staying in a vacation rental home provided by Cape Coral Real Estate and Property Management. The moment I stepped through the wooden gate into the palm strewn garden I felt a physical transformation take place. The hat of a fast paced digital nomad blew away and was replaced with a straw hat of a taciturn gentleman of leisure. As a writer I am usually plagued with a head full of cliché adjectives and loquacious ramblings. Of the entire visual stimulus associated with a new place, one word stuck out above the rest, “Real”.
For once I was not brought through doors of pseudo-reality into a fabricated version of the old south created by developers. This wonderful little cottage laid out amongst the tropical flora, protrudes over the still water of Matlacha Pass. As if on cue a pair of dolphins breached a few yards beyond the old wooden dock emitting a misty welcome. A great blue heron stood like royalty amongst it’s serf like egrets scattered along the worn planks.
It became instantly apparent that while a certain attention to historical detail for the sake of charm had been maintained, there would be no omission of comfort and amenity. The crystal swimming pool, tempting and secluded by over hanging palms, offered a vision of moonlight swimming. Many satisfying hours of pail and shovel construction would be had on the raised sandy beach by my anxious little girl, while my wife would while away the hours under the warm winter Florida sun. The hammock informed me that little work would be accomplished during my stay.
Through the polished French doors a tastefully decorated home away from home was filled with all of the creature comforts. Two spacious bedrooms with private baths reminded me of the difference between the dull hotel vacations versus the significantly more comfortable option of a vacation rental home.
We spent the first night settling in and shedding everyday life away easily. The following morning I served eggs benedict with fresh Florida orange juice on the deck. Prepared in a well equipped kitchen and enjoyed under a cloudless sky painted with a gentle sun.
The afternoon was spent with a vigorous paddle in the provided kayak which carried me across the open sound and through some quiet and twisting mangrove lined passages. Wildlife everywhere – above and below. After a swim and a shower we walked the short distance to the fish market to purchase a fresh catch of grouper and oysters. Both were later cooked on the gas grill and enjoyed under a starry sky accompanied by several bottles of Pinot Grigio.
The night grew chilly and we retired inside for a night of games. There is something about a vacation rental, no matter if it is a winter ski trip, a summer on the lake or a tropical getaway, that entices a gathering of family for board games. A victorious ending in Monopoly capped off the ending to a perfect day.
Staying in hotels becomes routine and mundane. More often than not a vacation rental home provides so much more at a considerable savings. The ability to enjoy the privacy of well prepared meal at the fraction of the cost of eating in a restaurant is only one of the many benefits of staying in a vacation home. Comfort and the room to relax cannot be discounted. Overall the vacation rental experience shines far above the hotel stay option.Read More