To my surprise, we’ve found ourselves in South Florida for the past few winters. I say surprised because my parents lived there for 30 years. Before my parents moved there from New York, my grandparents and several other relatives lived there. Friends and colleagues would tell me about trips that they took to Mexico and the Caribbean Islands and I’d feel jealous that I was obligated to go to Florida to visit family instead.
When my mother became too fragile to live by herself in Florida, she moved to Boston to be near my sister. Thus, we were free to travel to any exotic place we wished. We were blessed to visit Costa Rica, Guatemala, and parts of South America. Those trips were fascinating and enjoyable. Nevertheless, I was shocked to find myself missing Florida anyway.
After a couple of months of enduring a Chicago winter each year, I find that I’m thrilled to go to Florida. As I told people on our trip to Guatemala, “We’re from Chicago. In February, I love anyplace with warm weather.” I always say that if the only sight I see in Florida is the Florida sunshine, I’ll be very happy. This year we were fortunate to have had great weather i.e. weather hot enough to go swimming and to spend a lot of time in the pool and at the beach.
Yes, Florida has sunshine, but it also has sunsets. They serve as a substitute for the mountains in this very flat state. This trip we saw some awesome sunsets.
|sunset in Hollywood Beach, Florida|
We’ve spent a lot of time in Hollywood Beach north of Miami and just south of Fort Lauderdale. This area is unique with its meld of pricey high rises on the beach and its art deco architecture from the 1920’s. On the beach, the Broadwalk stands out as a place to stroll along passing many restaurants, stores, and of course, a great variety of other people both locals and other vacationers while viewing the beach at the same time.
|on the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk|
In town, the Young Circle and the downtown near it is being developed as an arts center. Cinema Paradiso, an indie movie theatre with 72 seats, was opened in 2013. The third Saturday of each month an art walk is held where artists open their studios to the public and musicians serenade the crowds outside of them. There are still only a few artists but the city is developing affordable housing with studios for artists to live in. Hopefully, as the area attracts more artists, this artwalk will grow.
|Cinema Paradiso in downtown Hollywood Beach|
|on the Artwalk in Hollywood Beach|
In recent years, there has been some gentrification in Hollywood Beach. When we came back this year, for example, a huge Margaritaville was added blocking many funky little 1920’s era motels from view. Locals hope that a balance can be struck that will allow locals who aren’t wealthy to stay there. Alas, this is an issue everywhere in the United States. I hope that the people of Hollywood Beach area can maintain its character allowing people of all income levels to enjoy it. My suggestion is that you see it soon just in case the character of it is lost in future years. We had a wonderful time there.