No Direction Home

This humble blog was started to document our travels around the country during the summer of 2006, We have opted to continue updating it due to the requests from family & friends. Enjoy!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sprung Beer Fest

March 10, 2015

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Sprung Beer Fest

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Another weekend, another road trip to Miami, this time to attend the Sprung Beer Festival at Peacock Park in Coral Gables. The advent of social media has made it so much easier to find out about events happening in the region and when I read about Sprung, it did not take much convincing to get me to make the drive up to attend the festival.

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I enjoy beer festivals immensely, being a huge craft beer fan and after reading that had listed Sprung as a “must-do” springtime event, I was convinced. Unlike many beer fests across the state, this one was relatively easy to attend and I purchased VIP tickets to get early entry and a VIP section that featured free food and specialty beers that were not available to the general attendees. 

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The festival featured over 200 beers with many available for the first time in the Florida market, it also included almost all of the breweries in South Florida and many of the best of the ever growing state beer market. It was a fantastic line-up. The event also included live musical entertainment, a huge game area featuring a variety of beer-related games and more.

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The weather was mostly cooperative, it was bright and sunny for the first couple of hours before a light but steady rain-storm moved in, which made the VIP tent come in even more handy. Florida’s best breweries were pretty much all represented with booths from the likes of Cigar City, Funky Buddah and Wynwood Brewing all on hand.

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Many, many of Miami and South Florida’s exploding craft beer market were there as well including J. Wakefield Brewing, Miami Brewing companny, and M.I.A. brewing. There was even representation from the Florida Keys as the Islamorada Brewing Company was there with a huge presence.

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Many regional breweries were featured as well lead by Sweetwater out of Atlanta, Abita from New Orleans and Terrapin from Athens, Georgia. There was an amazingly good selection for the large crowd. Being held during the midst of Spring Break tended to trend the crowd in a younger demographic with Spring Breakers mingling with beer geeks at about an equal clip.

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The same people will also be hosting a fall version of the beer festival when Groovetoberfest is held in the same Peacock Park location, not sure if my schedule will allow a return visit, but if at all possible I will try and return.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

River of Grass

March 8, 2015

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River of Grass

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“Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.”- Thoreau

Marjory Stoneman Douglas wrote her landmark book, “Everglades, River of Grass” in 1947 and lived to the age of 108, in time to see the 50th anniversary of the influential book that did so much to convince the world that the Everglades was much more than a worthless swamp, but rather a National treasure to be protected and celebrated. Her book is widely seen as paving the way for the creation of Everglades National Park which set aside about twenty percent of the Everglades to be protected.

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I love the Everglades and I try to visit when I get the chance, it is so close and yet so foreign and is full of wonderful exotic plant and animal life. I never get over the excitement of seeing alligators up close. There is something primeval and dangerous about them that I am drawn to and I never tire of seeing them. The Everglades offers literally thousands of opportunities to see them in their natural habitat.

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I get a sense of awe when I see the first one, which dissipates only until I see the second one and so on and the thrill doesn’t end even when there are hundreds to see as there was when I took the stroll around the Annihinga Trail. There were countless gators, and birds of countless variety as well as snakes, fish and other swamp dwelling creatures. It was magical to me, such beauty in what many consider a horrible swamp.

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I also took the opportunity to stop at another of South Florida’s beautiful National Parks, Biscayne National Park. Biscayne is a mostly underwater park with only a small percentage that is land based, which is where I stopped to view the shoreline and was fortunate enough to see a Manatee mother and baby, lazily grazing along a mangrove-lined canal. 

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South Florida is fortunate to have three National Parks, multiple nature preserves, animal sanctuaries and the National Marine Sanctuary to protect the natural beauty and flora and fauna that are found here. The variety of ecosystems in close proximity make it a wonderful place for nature lovers to explore.

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This time of year is generally a time when we tend to get a lot of visitors from the Northern climes and with the horrible winter that much of the North experienced, this year was no exception. Kathy and I enjoy the visitors though and love having family and friends here. Kathy’s father Jim was here for two weeks visiting from winter-ravaged Marshfield, Massachusetts and we had our good friend Shanda here for a brief visit as well.

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We also had another visit from our friend Mike, from Estes Park, Colorado and it was so great to get to spend a little time together during his vacation here in Key West. Hopefully more of our friends will follow suit and come down to Key West for some relaxation.

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