DOROTHY GALE WAS RIGHT — there’s no place like home. But there’s also nothing like boarding a plane on a frigid, gray day, and then arriving, exactly two hours and forty-eight minutes later, in the land of sun, sand, and palm trees. A few highlights from my trip to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida:
Our blue and white room was almost too-restful. I set up my lap-top at the glass-topped desk, with the intention of organizing the chapters for my cookbook. But how can you work when you have a view of the ocean on your left, and a flat-screen TV on your right?
We spent our indoor-hours watching movies. Like Life of Pi. And Sinister. And Rust and Bone. We also watched the Academy Awards in the room.
And speaking of the Academy Awards…how did you like Seth McFarlane? I thought he rocked the house.
Between watching movies and not working on my cookbook, I spent a little time sight-seeing, accompanied by my partner and our friend Dan. First up? Flamingo Gardens. This not-for-profit organization provides sanctuary for injured wildlife. Like alligators. And bobcats. And lots of fascinating birds.
The flamingos pictured above also have injured wings. But they live productive lives in the safety the garden affords. (Update: hat-tip to reader Robert Barr, who noted these pink beauties are not flamingos, but Roseate Spoonbills — Platalea ajaja.)
If you’d like to learn more about Flamingo Gardens, I encourage you to visit their website.
We also toured Bonnet Museum & Gardens, if only because it was walking distance from our hotel. In the center of this 35-acre estate is a large, eclectic house that I could happily live in. It was built in 1920 by the artist Frederic Clay Bartlett. I did not take any pictures of the house, because it seemed inappropriate to do so. But here’s the rundown:
Because of massive, inappropriate development near the house (i.e., the aforementioned Westin Hotel), the house and grounds are now listed on the National Trust’s 11 most endangered sites.
And that’s a shame. Frankly, I can’t imagine a better argument for historic zoning.
When not sight-seeing or lounging by the pool, I ate. And ate. And ate. At Casablanca Cafe. At Tundra. At H2O. At Blue Moon. But our best dinner was at Market 17, a restaurant that offers fresh, local meat, fish and veggies, and first-class wines. You can see their menu here.
Well, it was great to visit a place where winter-sowing is basically unheard of. But oh, is it nice to be home again, snow or no snow. You should have seen Lily the Beagle when I returned. She cried and cried, and then followed me throughout the house. What a greeting!
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