What fun! The Great Lawn adjacent to the Old School Square in Delray Beach was home to the “Chillounge Night” for one magical evening. Dotting the lawn were lounge-y outdoor furnishings—cozy orbs and fab couches—plus cocktail bars ...
I recall heading to the legendary Gulfstream Park Racetrack in Hallandale on more than one occasion in recent years—not so much to play the ponies—but to enjoy bands in the outdoor setting. With “Saturday in the Park” wafting through the air, the place always seemed sleepy and retro. That’s hardly the case anymore. The new Village of Gulfstream Park is a lively destination worth a visit (or two, or three ...).
These days, the Sunshine State is having a love affair with Key lime pies and blueberry wine, guava sake and mango margaritas, pomegranate mojitos and strawberry shortcake (after all, we are smack dab in the middle of Florida's strawberry season). Why happened to the orange's A-list status? Can't we give this bright orb a mother-peelin' break?
On a recent early morning road trip in North Florida I found myself driving along a stretch of Gulf coast in Panama City Beach when hunger pains set in. Like a mirage in front of me, a funky food stand with glaring lights appeared in the hazy dawn. The big blue-and-white sign read: Thomas' Homemade Donuts (850.234.8039). I thought I died and went to heaven.
While in North Florida for the Taste of the Beach food and wine festival earlier this month, I had the urge to play some golf. Locals suggested Shalimar Pointe (emeraldcoastgolftrail.com), which turned out to be a friendly course that the regulars couldn't stop boasting about-and a fox and troop of frisky fox squirrels call home.
Two weekends ago, I headed out to Palm Coast to explore the Florida Agricultural Museum (myagmuseum.com). Now before you yawn, let me point out that this so-called museum is tucked inside 460 acres of Florida wilderness and horseback riding is the best way to explore it - so giddy up. Riding Breeze, one of the stable's oldest quarter horses, I traveled a green trail across I-95 (see photo) to the Clark Homestead, an old Cracker House where Cracker cattle, a sassy dog named Sally and a hen house do a great job of portraying rural life in 1890.
During a recent week in Destin, I dined in an old house-turned-restaurant where the comfort food tasted like mom whipped it up – or in this case, dad. Tom Rice owns and runs the Magnolia Grill (magnoliagrillfwb.com) tucked behind massive oak trees in the slightly shabby historic district of Fort Walton Beach.
Old Florida charm fills sleepy Flagler Beach. The place for the best coffee in town and good eats is Java Joint (javajointflagler.com), just across Highway A1A from the beach. With seating inside and out, the place is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Lunch and breakfast are served all day. When there's a full moon, they're known for throwing the best party in town (check your lunar calendar).
Ever since living in South Florida where the mangos drip from trees in the thousands during summer, I can never sate my craving for this tropical fruit in two months. So coming back from a boating trip off Pine Island in southwest Florida, I made a swift u-turn when I saw Stephen Cucura's fruit stand (239.462.2341). Cucura has dozens of bins filled with the red-and-yellow oval fruit. "By mid-July I have 35 varieties harvested," he tells me as I examine his bounty under the shade of a canopy on Stringfellow Road (the main drag) at Mile Marker 12.