While many Canadians celebrated Queen Victoria’s birthday yesterday I was thinking about Miami. Why Miami instead of this woman, a monarch, who reigned for almost 64 years? (I wasn’t even thinking about Charles and Camilla who were both in town for the holiday.) Well, this first long weekend of the summer reminds me of another set of firsts.
Yesterday was all about our Miami vacation, our Miami Firsts. Our first real vacation together.
It was my first trip to Miami as an adult and D’s first ever trip to Florida’s most populous city. It was the Easter long weekend, the first long weekend of the year, and our vacation plans included the following: lazing on the beach; drinking mojitos; more lazing on the beach.
Oh, and cruising around in a convertible! (This was a first for both of us.)
After an uneventful flight we found ourselves in Miami’s midday heat. It was hot but as the weather was absolute crap in Toronto that weekend we weren’t about to complain. After picking up our rental car we headed downtown to the Hilton Miami Downtown and checked in before taking a quick look-see of the neighbourhood. We walked to Bayside Marketplace to grab a bit to eat and sample what would be D’s first taste of a mojito.
After dinner we headed back to our hotel to plan the rest of our stay.
The following day, Thursday, we headed over to South Beach. Being Art Deco lovers, Ocean Drive was definitely the place to be. From Ocean Drive we headed up to the Lincoln Road Mall for some window shopping.
Of course, the biggest attraction for two water-babies such as ourselves was the beach itself. We found a spot on the beach-side of the Rtiz-Carlton DeLido Beach Club Hotel to relax and people watch. The only thing that would have Frenchified the day would have been a picnic lunch with some ratatouille, a fresh baguette, some cheese, and a chilled bottle of rosé. It was a perfect day.
On Good Friday we took the car and drove to Key Biscayne. I admit that we asked ourselves “what are we going to do at Key Biscayne?” We had no plan other than to keep it low-key (no pun intended) and we decided to visit the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. With nothing much going on — it seemed everyone was at the park with the same plan — after a mini walking tour we headed north and found a spot on the beach and passed the time.
That night for dinner we headed back to South Beach. We dined at Quinn’s right on Ocean Drive where the pedestrian traffic was just as
attractive interesting as the food. Seriously, I’ve never seen hemlines so high or necklines so low. Dinner, however, was tasty enough and we celebrated our mini vacation with a bottle of Perrier-Jouët. We headed back to our hotel right after dinner as we had plans for Saturday.
What were we up to, you ask? Another first. We had plans to head south, waaaaayyyy south. Destination: Key West and the southernmost point in the continental US. It was a long and memorable drive. Bien sûr, we hit the road with the top down. This meant that I spent a fair amount of the drive slathering sunscreen on D’s thighs, ears and nose. We had the tunes going too –we had created two playlists with road-trip worthy songs — and with a few bottles of water we were set. It was a fun drive punctuated with moments of sheer frustration of finding ourselves on a one-lane highway stuck behind slow-moving traffic.
Still, it was a beautiful drive as we passed from one island to another. The sky was blue with nary a cloud in sight; the water was gorgeous too and we were looking forward to lazing on the beach on Key West. After a casual lunch in the shade we found yet another beach to make our own.
We waited until the sun had set before heading north to Miami. To say that we were happy to reach our hotel would be an understatement. We were weary and tired and just wanted to hit the bed and the beautiful drive south was less beautiful on the way back once the sun had set.
D and I have shared other firsts — speeding along the autobahn, enjoying hot days in Madrid to name two — but we always come back to Miami. And why not?