Monday, July 5, 2010

On Falling in Love...with my hometown (Or, After 43 years, I get it)

It takes some people a day and others a weekend to fall in love with South Florida beaches. I, on the other hand, am a slow learner. Born and raised in Miami, I took the beach for granted. I was never a sun worshipper, preferring a chlorinated swimming pool to the stinging salt of the ocean, and I found sand a pervasive nuisance. Apparently, the sun was blinding me from the bigger picture.

After four years away at college and three years of European living, I had determined that my hometown did not rank on my top-10 list of beautiful cities. And even 14 years after moving to the next county north, I still tell people I only live here because I was born here and my extended family is here. As if I'm trapped in some pissant town where no one would ever want to be.

Except that all that changed this weekend. It all started with a bike ride and ended with me saying, "I had no idea this existed in my city. Where in God's name have I been all these years?" But since a picture is worth a thousand words (and you certainly don't want to read 1000 words in this post), I'll start here...

Here I'm standing on the veranda of the Pelican Grand Beach Resort on Fort Lauderdale Beach. I swear I could spend all day sitting in one of these rockers just reading or working on my WIP. Glorious. And to find out that low season is actually affordable, especially for a resident like me who doesn't have to pay airfare to get here.

And just down the road is this gin joint...

The Casablanca Cafe, complete with piano bar and Moroccan decor. Dining on the porch provides a beach view (directly behind me as I took the picture). In fact, here I am...

Ta da!

After discovering these fabulous landmarks (and enjoying a delicious Cobb salad rich with avocado!), I happened upon actual neighborhoods right on the beach.  With cottages that look like this...

and this...

Okay, so this one isn't exactly a cottage, but you get my drift. Point is, I thought Broward County was all condos and boring suburban communties that look like mine. But I am so wrong.

I also discovered Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. What??? Yes, right off the beach is this gem, where my friend Linda and I rode our bikes forever just wandering the myriad of paths that resemeble this one...

Anyway, for the first time in 43 years, I am in love with my city and all its yet-to-be-discovered nooks that I'm finally willing to take the time to seek out. My daughter agrees with me. In fact, here's her take on Fort Lauderdale Beach...

I call this shot "Alegría"

So to all potential visitors I may host in the future, I send out a hearty Welcome! and an advisory to bring comfortable walking shoes and strong legs for bike riding. I promise you that my town will blow you away, and it will have nothing to do with a hurricane.


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  2. What a beautiful area you live in. Isn't it funny how sometimes we don't see what is right in front of us, I'm glad you discovered it now! I'm a walker, and it looks like a great place to explore on foot too, wandering down that perfect pathway, past those charming cottages ...

  3. Fun and beautiful pictures! I used to live in Ft. Myers and definitely took the sunshine and nearby sand for granted. I would love to work on my WIP in a place like that :)

  4. It's beautiful! I love the beach. I'm not a sun worshipper either (no point, I just don't tan) but I love the sound of the waves crashing to shore and I love jumping and playing in the swells. I could easily spend the day reading under an umbrella and bouncing in the water. AHHHHH, total relaxation! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Fascinating post. Lovely photos.
    Thanks for this.

    All the best, Boonsong

  6. Wonderful photos! Especially the one of your daughter.

    I've only once lived somewhere I didn't find pretty at all, and that was when I spent a year in the Ardennes in France. I remember it as flat and dusty but that could be because I was homesick!

  7. These are beautiful photographs. My favorite is the "cottage." How lovely that you feel in love with your city.

  8. I'd love to see your modern day take on Matheson Hammock ... I remember we all thought it was such a gross place but looking back I bet the park was beautiful. Growing up we didn't do the resort aspect ... going back ... it is wonderful to visit Miami Beach and appreciate all the beauty.

  9. It's absolutely stunning! How lovely to find these gems so close. I'm jealous. Must find some of my own, I guess. :)

  10. fairyhedgehog~ You must have been reeeally homesick to find France ugly.

    Monica~ I hear ya on the Matheson Hammock thing. I'm sure today I'd find it lush and exotic. I guess that's what age does to people ;-)

    Susan (Mom)~ I hear ya. So no campaigning for me to move up to N.C., right?

    Anissa~ Haven't seen you in ages. Yay, you're back! Definitely go searching for your local gems. They're there, I'm sure.

  11. You're right. Your hometown looks pretty spectacular. But, I totally get it; I am the same way about where I grew up. Still kind of am.

  12. I'm in love with your home town. I *thought* my quaint town of Trail, BC was pretty...and then this... Sigh. When I visit, should I bring a year's worth of luggage or just pack it all?

  13. Dawn~ I just checked out images of Trail on Google. Whaddya say to a home swap? I'm not completely kidding here.

  14. I started liking it here a bit better when we started riding bicycles on the trails...I really started liking it when we got the Harley. Of course winter is just around the corner. I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune come November.

    Have a nice weekend!

  15. Oh, gorgeous. I loved the pictures. Beaches are the best. I need to go to one next year. I'm so glad you're enjoying the good things your hometown has in abundance. Thanks for the excellent post!

  16. What a beautiful hometown you have! I've never been a fan of beaches since I don't do well with heat, but it's so nice to walk out when it cools down a bit and just enjoy the wind and water.

  17. My current WIP takes place in Fort Lauderdale! Love me some Florida!

  18. Oh how lovely! I love those deckchairs, what a fab place to sit and watch the world go by. And I love the look of those 'cottages' - where I live a cottage looks completely different, to me these would be detached fancy houses! Where you live seems so green, with so much to do. I am so glad you have discovered how much you like it - makes such a difference. And the pic of your daughter is fabulous!