January 23, 2007
The weekend getaway to Miami Beach and Ft. Lauderdale could not have been more perfect. Kathy, Jim & I drove up on Friday afternoon and checked into our favorite little South Beach hotel, The Clay Hotel. The Clay, which is also the International Youth Hostel, is located in the heart of South Beach, on the corner of Washington Ave. and Espanola Way. It serves as a wonderful and economical base to explore South Beach.
It was only a short walk to the hive of activity that is Lincoln Road. Permanently blocked from all vehicular traffic, Lincoln Road has become a wonderful pedestrian mall with unique stores, bars, theatres, and a myriad of wonderful restaurants with both indoor and outdoor seating as well as the constant buzz of the fascinating array of people who flock to the place. While we were there, they had a huge stage set up with local comedians performing as part of the South Beach Comedy Festival. We had dinner at the Nexxt Café, a huge indoor/outdoor café with a massive menu (17 pages and over 200 selections). Usually with a menu of that size, you can count on poor quality, who could possibly prepare 200 items and do them all well? The Nexxt Café does a pretty good job, the food was great and the huge portions were enough for two.
Jimmy & Kathy
Saturday morning we were up early for a nice stroll down the beach to the infamous News Café. This South Beach institution is on the corner of 8th and Ocean and features a wonderful little café and a world class newsstand with an awesome selection of magazines and newspapers from around the world. It was a perfect breakfast spot. Soon afterwards we were on the road to Fort Lauderdale to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts to see the Tony award winning Broadway musical, “Spamalot”.
The wonderful irreverent parody of the Arthurian legend is “lovingly ripped off” from the Monty Python film, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and was a great afternoon of comedy. The play follows the film in large part, but it also has entire sections which pokes fun at Broadway musicals.
After the play it was back to South Beach and to Lincoln Road where we caught a showing of the amazing new Clint Eastwood film, “Letters from Iwo Jima”. Deservedly nominated this morning for the best picture Oscar, the film portrays the infamous World War II battle through the eyes of the Japanese soldiers defending the island from the American forces. It is a brilliant film.
On the way back to Key West, we stopped at the beautiful Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Coral Gables to see the latest installation by the famous glass artist Chihully. The artist has placed his incredible glass artwork throughout the natural beauty of the tropical gardens, creating an amazing landscape that combines the beauty of art and nature with beautiful results. The park also hosts a variety of wildlife, including alligators and a plethora of huge iguanas that roam freely through the park. It’s a pretty cool place.
We made it back just in time to be able to watch the thrilling AFC Championship game, won thankfully by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts will now be heading to South Florida for the Super Bowl!! It was the capper on a perfect weekend!!