Who needs snow anyway?
We’ve been in Florida for the last six weeks or so. February on Marco Island on Florida’s west coast and the last couple of weeks in Fort Lauderdale on the east coast.
Both coasts have an ocean, lots of sandy beaches and sunshine (frequently), but that’s where the similarities end. Marco Island is quiet. It’s residential. It’s suburban. Even in the high season, there are no major traffic issues. It attracts a lot of visitors from Cleveland. Fort Lauderdale, on the other hand, is loud, commercial and a traffic nightmare. It’s urban. It attracts a lot of folks from New Jersey. I live in Cleveland. I was raised in New Jersey. I fit in well in both places and I like both. How great to get away for a few weeks to each.
When a blogger has anxious readers like I do waiting for the next edition - and is on the road like I’ve been recently - it’s essential to write columns in advance. So, I confess today’s DY: In Just A Few Words was written back on January 17. You might say it’s all made-up, but I’m pretty darn sure it’s consistent with my experiences over the last few years. Come along with me on a wonderful trip based on real past experiences.
Our Florida adventure started in Cleveland on a cold and snowy day. Who would want to leave home in that weather? I would. That’s for sure. Fortunately, the flights were going and Denny was on time to take us to the airport. Off we went to Fort Myers, a great little airport in the midst of an area that was clobbered by last fall’s deadly hurricane. Off to the right as we land is Sanibel Island that took such a terrible pounding.
The first stop on the way to our condo rental on Marco? The grocery store, of course. Just enough to get us through till breakfast, Karen said. Orange juice, milk, cereal, bread and - for some reason that escapes me - a pot roast with all the fixings and some wine. Gonna be some breakfast.
A typical day on Marco Island means a long walk (or possibly two), a nap in a lawn chair in the sun (or possibly two), and an excursion to one of the nearby nature preserves to see, well, nature… You know, birds, perhaps a snake or two and the ever elusive gators. Saw one the other day that was over 25 feet long. Some said he was world-record size. He was snacking on a tourist when I moved on.
Low salt food is also popular here on Marco Island. In fact, most of the older folks (and most of the folks are older) seem to be thriving on it. I feel right at home.
Alas, it’s time to move on. Enough of Marco. Look out, Fort Lauderdale. Here we come. The drive over from the west to the east coast is known as Alligator Alley. It’s like driving a pencil from one side of the state to the other. There is one very modest itty, bitty jog to the left. Other than that, it’s straight as the proverbial pencil for a bit over 100 miles.
Into view comes Fort Lauderdale. The first time I was there was nearly 60 years ago. Tracy was just two and my destination of choice was a place called the Elbo Room, a beer joint for college kids. It’s still rockin’ and rollin’. Yes!
I thought about stopping at the Elbo Room for a quick pint, but Karen informed me beer has too much salt in it. I think she was just trying to keep me away from the young co-eds there. But who am I to question her?
Putting the Elbo Room into my distant past I set about locating some Everglades-like nature parks. You can find them here, too. And, Karen says they are low salt (as long as you don’t drink the water).
The 24/7 view from the condo Denny and his in-laws share has spectacular views. In the daytime, we look just below to watch boats worth mega millions floating by on the Nu River. Must belong to lottery winners..
At night, we have the most spectacular and colorful view of Ft. Lauderdale after dark. And, anytime of the day or night, we can go to the rooftop pool for a look at the cruise ship terminal and the bustling Ft. Lauderdale Airport.
A short walk across a bridge lands us on Las Olas Blvd., home of world-class food and entertainment.
So, just like on Marco Island, we hang out. What’s not to like in either place? To combine both on a single trip is a dream come true.
Now, it’s time to go pack our bags for Cleveland. Home beckons.
DY: In Just a Few Words is a blog that comes out when something needs to be said or every Tuesday - whichever comes first. Davis Young is a communications professional who adds 50+ years of experience and perspective to issues of the day. His emphasis in DY: In Just a Few Words will be humor (a touch of sarcasm here, a pinch of facetiousness there...). Once in a while, he will touch on something a bit more serious - but hopefully not too deep or depressing.
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