Archive for July 11th, 2019

July 11, 2019

Las Olas, beaches, Ft Lauderdale!

Ok so lets get back to the fun youthful days and my time in Florida (18 years strong!) . We were west of I75 expressway and we enjoyed a lot coming to the beaches especially in Ft Lauderdale that were straight east of us.

Again, I have written some posts on the city but felled in debt to do one on the beaches of Ft Lauderdale so here it is ,hope you enjoy it as we did.

fort lauderdale

 Las Olas Beach, has a small stretch of sand that attracts beachgoers of all ages. It is a smaller beach right of the chic Las Olas blvd and so beach amenities are not as plentiful as those offered at the bigger  and equally nice Fort Lauderdale Beach Park. However, visitors have access to beach chair and water sports equipment rentals, restrooms and metered parking. Restaurants, bars and shops are also available across the street. Just do not come during college Spring Break time as it gets rowdy and crowded otherwise is a great place to be at the beach.

fort lauderdale

The transportation to the beaches here is king Car but there are nice public transports from the city to the beach and back. The local bus lines 11 and 40 will do the trick. Here is their schedules in Broward county (where Ft Lauderdale is located).

fort lauderdale

The particular buses that comes to the beach are the No. 11 or 40 bus, see their schedules here: http://www.broward.org/BCT/Schedules/Pages/default.aspx

Another option is to take Sun Trolley’s Las Olas sort of like a little train on wheels : https://www.suntrolley.com/routes-schedules-fares/beach-las-olas/

Or the wonderful Water Taxi: https://watertaxi.com/

In the same venue of beaches , if you’re looking for more out of your beach day head over to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park just south of Las Olas blvd. At the bigger Ft Lauderdale Beach you’ll find a calmer and less chaotic version of other well known beaches in Florida, but with the same sugary sands and crystal clear water. There ,you’re more likely to find families relaxing or leisurely walking the waterline . Backing the shoreline, the palm tree-lined promenade bustles with visitors looking to shop and dine in the many establishments along it. All  just south of the wonderful Bahia Mar Resort, at 1100 Seabreeze Boulevard, this picturesque park has everything you need to maximize your fun in the sun time, from sand volleyball courts to a boat ramp to outdoor showers. There are grills for cooking, a basketball court if you get bored with the sand and a kid’s playground to keep the little ones busy. Park Facilities and Amenities available daily from 06h ( 6 a.m.)  to 21h (9 p.m.) include: Boat Ramp – non-motorized, Grills and Picnic Tables, Outdoor Showers, Restrooms,  Basketball Full Court, Children’s Playground, and a Volleyball Court. The above Broward bus schedule look for No 40 that takes you here. More info from the city of Fl Lauderdale here: City of Ft Lauderdale on the beach park

fort lauderdale

Here you will see closed by the Bonnet House , this came to be when in 1919, a wealthy settler gave the 35-acre property (named after the bonnet lily flower that grew on the grounds) as a wedding gift to his daughter . In 1920, began construction of Bonnet House, and later was donated to the city now open to all to marvel at its gardens and architecture along the beach! More info here: https://www.bonnethouse.org/

You will have another memorable spot for us there and lots of walks indeed in the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park located a few blocks north of the above Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. The park is position between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean makes it a fun locale for all types of folks. Those looking to get a little wet can canoe or kayak in the largest of the park’s coastal dune lakes. Adventurers who want to get their adrenaline pumping can bike along the nearly 2-mile paved park drive. Meanwhile, visitors who prefer to explore by foot can hike the Coastal Hammock Trail, which snakes through a native maritime tropical hardwood hammock ecosystem, one of the last of its kind in the county.(marvellous indeed!). More info here: https://www.floridastateparks.org/HughTaylorBirch

The Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea welcomes visitors to enjoy its beautiful beach, multitude of sidewalk cafes, frequent live music and enticing public plazas, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is widely acknowledged to be the South Florida shore diving capital. Snorkelers and divers come from all over to swim from the beach to reefs alive with tropical fish, turtles and even lobsters. And the Sun Trolley Las Olas can take you here too! You are worth coming up to El Prado Park( at 4501 N. Ocean Dr.) , this is the town’s most popular beachfront park and parking facilities just across at El Mar Drive (st)

And to close out let me tell you a bit on my fav Las Olas Blvd. A very chic place in So Florida which fame has relegated behind the more famous SoBe in Miami-Dade county. However, for my tastes this is more private, cosy, and chic a family event. Therefore, let me show you a bit of Las Olas Blvd, Ft Lauderdale, Florida, USA!

fort lauderdale

Las Olas Boulevard  runs from Andrews Avenue in the Central Business District (downtown/city center)  to A1A (road along the beachfront) and Fort Lauderdale Beach. The easternmost section of the boulevard is interlaced with canals and waterfront homes. The commercial stretch, approximately 1-mile (1.6 km) or the Golden Mile ::)  in length, features cool sub-tropical breezeways and courtyards with bars, nightclubs, bridal stores, shops, boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and the historically nice  Riverside Hotel. https://www.riversidehotel.com/

fort lauderdale

The name “Las Olas” means the waves in Spanish. All but the westernmost fourteen blocks are also signed as State Road 842 (SR-842) . Las Olas has its own historic house, a nearby IMAX cinema and movie theater within a short walk. Las Olas Boulevard can be accessed by the water taxi. The boulevard is a popular dining and shopping destination for locals and visitors as it is situated close to Fort Lauderdale beach, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades. (cruise ship terminal), and has a wonderful arts museum such as http://www.moaflnsu.org/

The boulevard was constructed in 1917, when Las Olas was just a dirt road that crossed the swampy wetlands to the barrier island at Fort Lauderdale Beach. The boulevard begins at the famous Elbo Room bar where the beach meets the boulevard and ends in the west at the Arts Museum.  A few of the most notable who lived here are: Johnny Weissmuller, actor who played Tarzan and invented the signature yell. Wayne Huizenga, CEO of Waste Management, Inc, Blockbuster Video and AutoNation. Connie Francis, actress and movie star who was featured in the movie, Where the Boys Are which was filmed on Las Olas Blvd at the famed Elbo Room. Lee Majors, actor who played The Six Million Dollar Man and former husband to Farrah Fawcett. Sonny and Cher, singers and actors. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, television and movie stars. Stars of I Love Lucy fame. Gloria Vanderbilt, designer and socialite. Frank and Ivy Stranahan, founding pioneers of Fort Lauderdale and the first residents of Las Olas Boulevard. Their trading post Stranahan House is located between the boulevard and New River. More info on the house: Official Stranahan House

Official Tourist office of Florida on shopping at Las Olas blvd

fort lauderdale

Some additional webpages to help you plan your trip here and is a must when in Florida are

Official webpage of Las Olas Boulevard

Official tourist office of Ft Lauderdal, SUNNY

Official tourist office of Florida on Ft Lauderdale

This is a wonderful art festival on its 32nd edition! and has grown very nice right at Las Olas well recommended. Art Festival of Las Olas blvd

And there you go , a nice hommage to my last home in the USA. There were very nice 18 yrs in Florida and before that 13 yrs in New Jersey. Memories forever, as do not think will ever go back as France is awesome too, but the visits yes, and the memories forever, after all was married and my 3 boys were born in Florida! Enjoy Fort Lauderdale!!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

 

 

July 11, 2019

St Augustine, Florida!

So looking back into my blog I sadly realised have not written a post on the city of St Augustine, Florida! It is a shock to me as used to lived for many years just 55 minutes from it and went there even for lunch/dinner, played soccer/football, and just plain sightseeing first with my parents and later with wife and kids. Oh well busy traveling and writing elsewhere and you tend to forget what you had next door lol! Time to remedy that even if photos are scarce on a period where my youthful hormone did not allow for picture taking lol!!! Bear with me please.

St. Augustine is a Florida town in the southeastern United States on the Atlantic coast. This is the county seat of Saint Johns. about 60 km (37 mi) from Jacksonville and 90 km ( 56mi) from Daytona Beach. Today, Saint Augustine is one of Florida’s most popular destinations.

It is considered the docking place of the first European explorer and the oldest city in the United States, following the Spanish maritime explorations of the 16C, the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, arrive on the future territory of the United States, on March 27, 1513, as well as more widely on the American continent proper (Columbus and Cabot in the previous century had only landed on islands). Founded by the Spaniards on September 8, 1565, under the leadership of Admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, the city is also the oldest establishment of European origin that has remained continuously occupied on the continental United States!

The French tried in vain to come here! The French explorer Jean Ribault, on April 30, 1562, was commissioned by Admiral Coligny and recognized the coast of Florida. He then went north to the St Johns River near Jacksonville. There was raised a column with the arms of Queen Catherine. Further north, Ribault settled on Parris Island by building a home he named Charles fort in honor of King Charles IX. In response, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés came to expel the French from these lands in the name of the King of Spain.

In 1565, during a second French attempt to colonize Florida, Laudonnière took the lead of an expedition of 300 persons. There they built Fort Caroline on the shore of the St. Johns River, which, justifiably, can be considered the origins of Jacksonville (name after American General Andrew Jackson and later President of the USA) . The resumption of the place by the Spaniards ended the war between France and Spain for the control of Florida. It was during this year that the final settlement of the Spanish in Saint Augustine began ,after been massacred by the Spanish in a great battle Fort Matanzas (massacre in spanish).

The Treaty of Paris (1763) ended the Seven Years ‘ War and altered considerably the map of the North American colonies: Spain must cede Florida to the English in exchange for Cuba. The Treaty of Paris (1783) gave Florida back to Spain, without specifying its borders. The United States wants the old pre-1767 limit to be resumed. The Treaty of San Lorenzo ratified this choice in 1795. Florida was ceded to the United States by the Adams-Onís Treaty, signed in 1819, and formed a territory in 1822. The capital is located in Tallahassee, halfway between Saint Augustine and Pensacola. On March 3, 1845, Florida became the 27th state of the United States.

It has wonderful beaches we enjoyed at St Augustine Beach and Anastacia Island. Briefly , vehicles are permitted on  St. Augustine Beach  within designated areas. However, access may be limited dependent on weather, sand, or tides. Traffic is regulated and a ten mile per hour speed limit is strictly enforced.   St. Augustine Beach is located on Anastasia Island where you can enjoy white sand beaches, the St. Johns County Pier, a playground, pavilion, fishing pier, volleyball courts, bait shops, fine restaurants, shopping and more. RV and cabin camping areas are located nearby.  Location: Old A1A Beach Boulevard south of State Road 312 at the St. Johns County Pier, less than five minutes from downtown/city center St. Augustine.  Anastasia State Recreation Park is a protected bird sanctuary and consists of 1,700-acres and five miles of beautiful, sandy beaches. It features swimming, lifeguards, a bath house, hiking, nature trails, a boat ramp, fishing, a volleyball court, beach equipment rentals such as umbrellas and beach chairs, canoes, nature trails, grills and picnic areas, concessions, a covered pavilion, gift shops, playgrounds, and camping. Vehicles are prohibited from driving on the beach in this area.  Location: 1340 A1A South between the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the Surf Station approximately one mile from the Bridge of Lions on Anastasia Island.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip are

City of St Augustine on heritage

Tourist office of St Augustine Ponte Vedra on things to see

Tourist office of St Augustine

Tourist office of Florida on St Augustine

There is a huge amount of things to see in St Augustine and even my favorite over those years are many so will condense as much as possible. My favorites were/are:

Colonial quarter St Augustine , 33 St George St Historic District: Visitors can experience three centuries of St. Augustine’s vivid history through interactive activities and more at the Colonial Quarter.

St Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum , 12 S Castillo Drive Historic District: Explore the world’s largest collection of authentic pirate artifacts in a city that has seen its share of pirates.

Fountain of Youth Archeological Park , 11 Magnolia Avenue Historic District: The Fountain of Youth gives visitors a chance to experience history at this important archaeological site and to drink from the famous springs.

St Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum , 100 Red Cox Road Anastasia Island: Climb 219 steps to the top for breathtaking views of the nation’s oldest city and the Atlantic Ocean.

Oldest Wooden School House 14 St. George Street Historic District : Take a lesson from the Oldest Wooden School House in the country, complete with replica displays and museum on the inside!

Oldest House Museum  14 St. Francis Street: The Oldest House Museum Complex offers guided tours, two museums, a colonial kitchen, ornamental garden and museum store to its visitors.

Oldest Store Museum 167 San Marco Ave.: Step back in time and explore the “modern” wonders of an early 20th century general store.

Ripley’s Red Train Tours  19 San Marco Avenue Historic District:  our the nation’s oldest city and learn its fascinating history while hopping on and off at various attractions, restaurants, and more with Ripley’s Sightseeing Trains.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum  19 San Marco Avenue Historic District: Amazing exhibits and unbelievable artifacts from around the globe make Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! a one-of-a-kind experience.

Mission of Nombre de Dios & Shrine 27 Ocean Avenue : Founding Church mission in St Augustine Walk the scenic grounds dating back to the city’s founding. Discover the role of Christianity in Florida at the Mission Museum. https://missionandshrine.org/

Father O’Reilly House Museum  32 Aviles Street:  Built during the first Spanish Period, the Father O’Reilly House Museum is one of the oldest structures in St. Augustine.

Marineland  Dolphin Adventure: Discover the oceanfront playground that has delighted visitors since 1938. https://marineland.net/

Ximenez-Fatio House Museum 20 Aviles Street Historic District: Welcome to 1800s St. Augustine with a fascinating tour of this beautifully restored colonial house and museum.

Villa Zorayda Museum 83 King Street Historic District: The Villa Zorayda was built in the late 19C to replicate a portion of the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain.

Potter’s Wax Museum 31 Orange Street Historic District: The whole family can enjoy interacting with famous figures from history as well as modern movie stars and more at Potter’s Wax Museum in St. Augustine.

Lightner Museum 75 King Street Historic District: Enjoy the atmosphere and artwork of another age at this elegant Museum, formerly the Alcazar Hotel.

San Sebastian Winery  157 King Street Historic District: Come by for a free wine tasting and fascinating behind-the-scenes tour of how wine is made.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine 38 Cathedral Place: America’s first parish and the oldest Catholic Church in the city. Explore this exquisite building and view the Spanish-inspired architecture. Official First Parish on the Cathedral

St Augustine

St Augustine

Flagler College 74 King St.: (played football/soccer against them!) Flagler College built in 1884  is a unique combination of the past and present, and an architectural icon of the city of St. Augustine.

st augustine

Fort Matanzas  8635 A1A South (along the bay next to the Bridge of Lions) This park and historic site offers a glimpse into history as well as scenic trails and shoreside access for fishing and collecting shells. Fort Matanzas

Castillo de San Marcos  1 South Castillo Drive: The oldest masonry fort in the continental U.S. and a National Monument, the Castillo is the focal point of historical St. Augustine. https://www.nps.gov/casa/index.htm

Government House 48 King Street: Located on the Plaza de la Constitucion, the Government House site has served colonial governors in St. Augustine for centuries.

Old Jail 167 San Marco Ave.:  Home of St. Augustine’s most violent criminals from 1891–1953.

Peña-Peck House 143 St. George Street: The Peña-Peck House is a historic house that offers guided tours to visitors and locals.

Pirate & Treasure Museum  12 S Castillo Drive: Explore the world’s largest collection of authentic pirate artifacts in a city that has seen its share of pirates.

Spanish Military Hospital Museum 3 Aviles Street: This museum offers an intriguing look into colonial medicine and early settlement life in St. Augustine, Florida.

St. Augustine Alligator Farm 999 Anastasia Blvd: See wild reptiles, lemurs, Komodo dragons and toucans at the only place in the world to see all 24 species of crocodilians. https://www.alligatorfarm.com/

St. Augustine Aquarium 2045 State Road 16: This family-friendly aquarium offers exciting encounters with a variety of marine life. https://www.saaquarium.com/

St. Augustine Distillery  112 Riberia Street: Explore St. Augustine’s first legal distillery since Prohibition and sample some of the award-winning spirits being crafted there. http://staugustinedistillery.com/

Whetstone Chocolates  149 King Street: Take a chocolate tour at this classic St. Augustine chocolatier, which offers a sweet look behind the candy-making process. http://www.whetstonechocolates.com/

This is a must when visiting FLorida even if most go down to S Florida, the Central North section is awesome. Enjoy St Augustine, and again sorry for the pictures, but feld a must to tell about it in my blog.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

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