Florida

Florida – No Kids Allowed Days 1-3

Back in 2008, our family bought a Marriott timeshare.  Now we know that a lot of people don’t like timeshares, but we love ours.  We deposit it in Interval which opens up a large variety of resorts for us to trade.  Our timeshare is a week and not points, which we feel is still the best way to go.  With all that being said, we had an extra week available, our daughter’s 10 year anniversary was coming up and she wanted to book a week in Florida for a get away.  She was able to secure a 2 bedroom unit right on the beach for $199.00 for the week, so she called and said “Hey, we have room, would you like to join us?”  We were literally swamped with construction work, but never wanting to pass up an opportunity for adventure we said, “YES!!!”  We booked our flight using Southwest points, secured a rental car, and headed to Florida for an Adult Only vacation.  They only thing we booked ahead of time was a boat tour of Biscayne National Park, other than that, we thought we would see where the wind blew us 🙂

We flew out of SLC, through Las Vegas and encountered a pretty intense storm over the Gulf of Mexico.

Jodi and Wade arrived a bit before us and were our Welcoming Committee.

We settled into our resort.  Our balcony had a great view of the back bay of Fort Lauderdale.

The pool area was wonderful.

We spent our second day, relaxing and walking the beach.

We walked over the draw bridge

The bridge itself was pretty cool

But you couldn’t beat the views

The evening sunsets from our balcony were a highlight of the week

When we got to Ft. Lauderdale we read about a culinary tour of Little Havana.  Without kids in tow, we thought this would be a good adult activity.  We met Mirka of Miami Culinary Tours, who was our guide and started with an art history lesson.

Little Havana was established between 1950 and 1968, by Cuban refugees.  The rooster is a symbol of the area, representing Courage and Loyalty.

Our first stop was for coffee and empanadas.  We don’t drink coffee, but we were told it was very sweet and creamy.  The empanadas were pretty amazing.

We also met the peanut vendor of Little Havana.  He made sure to show us his vending license.  He hand rolls the peanuts in paper and sells them for $1.00

Our next stop was a cigar shop. The owner, still sits out front greeting guests

It is a small store, but very interesting.

They gave a demonstration of how cigars are made/rolled…

We stopped for mojitos at the Ball and Chain. (They were kind and made us non-alcoholic versions)  This started as a blues nightclub. Black musicians were allowed to play here, but were escorted out of Little Havana after the show.

Our next stop was Domino Park.  This is a free area, where residents come and play dominoes.  There are strict rules…no swearing, betting, or drugs allowed.  They even have an attendant on duty.

Next we stopped at a local restaurant for Cuban sandwiches and croquettes.  The Cuban sandwich is an American tradition created in Little Havana for cigar workers to eat after work.  It was a “midnight sandwich” made of sweet bread, pickles, mustard, ham, and pork.  Mirka was quite animated in telling us the history of the sandwich.  The sandwich was really good.  The “sample” was huge!!

In copying the Hollywood Walk of Fame, there is a Walk of Fame honoring Cuban heroes.

We then stopped at a bakery, for a traditional Cuban pastry made from rhubarb.  Wow, we could have eaten several of those.

We stopped at a Cuban fruit and vegetable shop and were served a watermelon slushy.

Next we stopped at Cuban Memorial Plaza.  This is considered a very reverent place of Cuban-Americans as it is a symbol of their fight for freedom.  It was the gathering place when news of Fidel Castro’s death was announced. Mirka said that it was not reverent, but was a celebratory atmosphere.

Our last stop was at Azucar Ice Cream Company.

They had really unusual flavors, maybe the most unusual was Burn in Hell Fidel.  It was created after his death and has cayenne pepper.

Wade said it had a real hot kick to it.

It was a great tour of the history of Little Havana.  The food was awesome and we were so full afterwards.  We had another beautiful sunset view to end the day.

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Categories: Florida, Food, fun, History

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