Home Uncategorized Get Out of Town – Orlando Magazine

Get Out of Town – Orlando Magazine

by TheOviedoVoice
Able to take a springtime trip in Florida, even when it’s just for a protracted weekend? Listed here are 13 locations—some you might have by no means thought-about and even heard of—which might be close to and much from dwelling.

The Secret’s Out About Delray Seashore

I bear in mind pondering once I first visited Delray Seashore 4 years in the past that it wouldn’t be lengthy earlier than this quiet South Florida metropolis would start to generate some buzz as a getaway hotspot. It had all of the substances of an amazing weekend vacation spot for {couples} and households searching for high quality time collectively: a phenomenal soft-sand seaside with blue–sure, blue!–ocean water washing as much as it; a burgeoning city scene with eating places, bars and artwork galleries; and a walkable downtown retail strip largely unspoiled by chain shops.

A return go to final yr revealed that sleepy Delray Seashore has woken up and smelled the espresso—and it prices $4.50 a cup. Starbucks has moved in, with two caffeine-pushing shops situated solely three blocks aside on Atlantic Avenue, the principle, east-west drag working to the seaside. The arrival of the overpriced espresso franchise wasn’t the one signal of Delray Seashore’s awakening.

Additionally new on the Ave (the nickname for Atlantic Avenue) are an idea gastropub, The Workplace, the place a two-handed cheeseburger runs $15, and The Seagate Resort & Spa, an independently run luxurious class resort that opened in late 2009. Only a few blocks north of Atlantic is the Pineapple Grove arts district, the place condominium growth has spawned an city life-style. 

Delray Seashore is buzzing with breakout potential as a getaway vacation spot, although town of 64,000 residents has virtually no probability of rivaling the noise coming from the jet-set locales of Palm Seashore, solely 20 minutes immediately north of it on A1A, and South Seashore, an hour and a half additional south off I-95.

However that works in its favor. Varied journey media retailers have taken credit score for locating Delray Seashore (each town and seaside itself) as a hidden gem. Final summer time, Delray Seashore and The Seagate bought nationwide publicity on an NBC At the moment Present phase titled “Nice Weekend Getaways” when an editor with Journey + Leisure journal raved concerning the metropolis as a “secret, little hidden city” with nice buying, nice nightlife, and so forth, and known as the lodge “incredible.”

Having stayed on the 162-room Seagate, I do know what she meant. It is among the higher accommodations I’ve stayed at in Florida, and a discount in the course of the summer time months.

The resort’s employees is immediate, skilled and aggressive in a great way. My guestroom was spacious and quiet, insulated from outdoors noises in addition to devoid of these annoying buzzing noises that A/C programs and minibars typically make. Among the many room’s furnishings had been a big sofa and a snug mattress, on high of which will need to have been a half-dozen pillows. The toilet was roomy as nicely, with an outsized jet tub, attractive bathe and personal bathroom.

The outside of the LEED-certified resort exudes a British Bahamian look, whereas its inside defies a design-style label. The ethereal foyer units the tone for the lodge’s aesthetic make-up, a wedding of stylish trendy furnishings and marine-inspired décor. The centerpiece of the foyer is a 2,500-gallon saltwater aquarium (considered one of 4 within the resort) illuminated in blue mild and framed by a teak wall. Overhead are sculptural lighting fixtures resembling outsized sand {dollars}, and behind the check-in desk is a textured white wall embossed with a wave sample.

These design touches circulate into different components of the property as nicely: A round, blue-lit aquarium containing jellyfish dominates the bar within the lodge’s signature restaurant, Atlantic Grille, and a softly lit “wave wall” leads you down a protracted hallway to the therapy rooms in The Seagate’s top-drawer, 8,000-square-foot spa. (I normally overlook spas, and the therapies I’ve in them, 5 minutes after leaving them. That I even remembered to say the spa says one thing in itself.) Equally memorable is The Seagate Seashore Membership, a number of blocks from the resort.

The Seagate lodge, which occupies an entire metropolis block, isn’t on the seaside. You could possibly stroll about 5 minutes to the Atlantic Ocean, however why would you when a well mannered lodge staffer is standing by to shuttle you to the seaside membership and again in a Mercedes SUV? The British Colonial-style, two-story clubhouse is about close to a pristine and secluded spot of Delray Seashore, overlooking an Atlantic that’s the colour of Frank Sinatra’s eyes.

Consider the seaside membership as a small nation membership, with restaurant seating inside and outside, bar service, and a pool and seaside space reserved for membership members and lodge friends. Consider your self on the membership, lounging on a poolside recliner below a sky-blue umbrella, giving the signal that you just’re prepared for one more cool drink.

And identical to that, it’s in your hand.

An expertise like that’s onerous to maintain to your self, which is why the key is getting out about Delray Seashore.

The Seagate Seashore Resort & Spa
1000 E. Atlantic Ave.
Delray Seashore, FL 33483   
877-577-3242  |  theseagatehotel.com
Charges: In-season, from $529; low season, from $179 (costs are for guestrooms solely)


In Clearwater Seashore, a Good Inexperienced Citizen

Sandpearl’s foyer displays the resort’s aquatic theme.

At Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Seashore, they bottle their very own water in reuseable glass bottles and warmth the pool utilizing geothermal power. The lodge’s A/C system recycles air and doesn’t use ozone-damaging Freon. And the property’s meals and beverage retailers use biodegradable merchandise, whereas the eating places serve free-range and organically grown meals.

See a sample right here?

Sandpearl takes the surroundings severely, going to nice lengths—at nice price—to go simple on ol’ Mom Earth. A lot so, the truth is, that it was the primary resort in Florida to attain LEED Silver Certification by the U.S. Inexperienced Constructing Council.

To the typical visitor, nonetheless, the resort’s inexperienced initiatives would barely register—till, that’s, she or he takes a bathe. Beneath the low-flow showerhead, it takes twice as lengthy.

That’s a minor inconvenience when staying at a resort named one of many high 50 “Finest Resorts within the U.S. and Canada” in 2010 by Journey + Leisure. Sandpearl is a luxurious resort in a laid-back seaside city form of manner. Every little thing about it suits in with its location on a barrier island, from the water-themed art work hanging on the partitions to the shells and starfish within the glass vases within the foyer to the title of the resort’s AAA 4 Diamond rated restaurant, Caretta on the Gulf. (“Caretta” is Latin for loggerhead).

And on the Gulf it’s, with an orange sundown as a backdrop whilst you dine on corn soup as an appetizer, adopted by pan-roasted grouper and, for dessert, a medley of chocolate candies. Caretta’s Sunday champagne brunch takes the eating expertise up a notch, with a buffet that tempts you to graze for hours, lest you miss something.

Clearwater Seashore is a mild stretch of sand, with retailers, bars and eating places on both sides of Mandalay Avenue, the principle drag. Boating is a well-liked exercise over right here, and the bayside marinas are stocked with all method of crusing, energy and fishing boats for rent.


Sandpearl Resort 
500 Mandalay Ave., Clearwater Seashore, FL 33767  |  877-726-3111  |  sandpearl.com
Charges: $350-$600 per evening


Amelia Maintains Its Good Nature

Amelia Island’s marsh gives a tranquil setting.

The parents at Omni Amelia Island Plantation have some fairly dreamy catch phrases to explain their venerable resort. Issues like “Man and nature in concord—with nature in management.’’ And “You come for the seaside and keep for the marsh.’’

They may add yet one more: “The place you will get away from all of it—however nonetheless have all of it.’’

It’s been almost 39 years since growth started on the barrier island north of Jacksonville, and from all appearances, nature nonetheless reigns. Though Amelia Island Plantation is dotted by 950 houses, 1,150 condominium models and a flowery lodge, greater than 70 p.c of the tree cover stays, consisting primarily of reside oaks draped in Spanish moss. The majestic bushes tower over most each resort exercise, whether or not it’s climbing, biking, jogging, horseback driving, {golfing}, taking part in tennis and even getting a therapeutic massage. That’s proper, the spa is nestled amid a stand of oaks, and the second-floor yoga room opens out onto a phenomenal tangle of limbs. Yoga in a treehouse—are you able to get extra religious than that?

You definitely could really feel such as you’re in heaven as you lie on or stroll alongside the uncrowded seaside, or indulge within the resort’s 54 holes of golf, the place you’re challenged to information your Titleist safely over
tidal swimming pools, serpentine marsh and mammoth sand dunes (the heaven half comes once you play a number of holes that  are a pitching wedge away from the ocean). And for a slice of solitude, take a naturalist-led kayak journey by means of the marsh, the place you’ll uncover that, sure, there actually are locations left in nature the place you’ll be able to hear a pin drop.

Lodging vary from the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, with its 249 ocean-view lodge rooms, to the Villas of Amelia, which function one- two- and three-bedroom abodes with kitchens, and ocean, golf or resort views. There are 9 plantation locations to dine or chill out with a libation: You’ll want to try Falcon’s Nest, a energetic aviation-themed pub the place you’ll be able to take pleasure in a tacky bacon canine along with your hazelnut chocolate martini.

Ahh, concord.

—Barry Glenn

Omni Amelia Island Plantation
6800 First Coast Freeway
Amelia Island, FL 32034
On the Net: For common info or to guide a villa, go to aipfl.com. To order a room on the lodge, go to omniameliaislandplantation.com
Charges: One-bedroom villas begin at $239 per evening; lodge lodging begin at $197 per evening. Quite a few spa, tennis, nature and limitless golf packages can be found.


 A Quiet Escape to Marco Island

Nice getaways can are available in plain-looking packages.

Take Marriott’s Crystal Shores on Marco Island (left), for instance. From a distance, the resort’s major constructing seems boxy and bland, however that’s the one abnormal factor about this beachfront jewel, run by Marriott Trip Membership. All 65 of its high-rise two-bedroom villas are lavishly furnished and have some view of the Gulf of Mexico, with greater than half the models really fronting the water.

The Gulf just about dominates the view it doesn’t matter what you’re doing at this laid-back resort south of Naples—whether or not enjoyable on a spacious balcony, understanding within the health heart or sinking comfortably right into a hammock. All villas boast floor-to-ceiling home windows with separate dwelling and eating areas and full kitchens that will be the envy of any condominium dweller.

That form of spaciousness makes Crystal Shores best for escapes with family and friends (you’ll be able to squeeze as much as eight folks right into a villa). Enhancing the household/group feeling are a number of spots to collect for good occasions—dialog pits, two swimming pools that function quite a few non-public cabanas, and an open-air bar and grill known as Stilts, the place you’ll be able to take pleasure in dishes like chili-glazed grouper and coconut shrimp. There are healthful actions aplenty—from pie and cider socials to Ping-Pong tourneys to Youngsters Night time In (which retains the youthful set busy with actions from 4 to eight p.m.).

However the most effective exercise could also be merely strolling the seaside. Get there early within the morning and you’ll find an incredible array of starfish and shells scattered alongside the shore, a still-life association perfected
by nature.

And don’t fear about that “Trip Membership’’ moniker. Positive, Marriott would really like you to hitch, however you don’t need to be a member to order a memorable getaway that’s quiet and relaxed.


Marriott’s Crystal Shores
600 S. Collier Blvd.
Marco Island, FL 34145
1-888-236-2427  |  marriott.com
Charges: $519-$599 per evening for two-bedroom villas by means of mid-February. Charges rise to $719-$799 after that for the spring season.


Residence Course Benefit

The sixteenth gap on Reunion’s Jack Nicklaus-designed Custom course

Though the title Reunion Resort & Membership could spark photos of a hotel-centric megaplex of towers and eating places, this sprawling property southeast of Walt Disney World feels extra like a residential retreat. Trip houses and villas are clustered round three wonderful golf programs and geared up with kitchens, washer-dryers and even non-public swimming pools. There’s a tower, the Reunion Grande, but it surely’s stuffed with one- to three-bedroom villas lavishly completed with granite counters, marble flooring and stainless-steel home equipment; the downstairs foyer is likewise elegant, and an excellent restaurant, Eleven, gives views throughout the resort from the highest of the tower.

The unique developer, Bobby Ginn, needed to construct a resort that will appeal to prolonged households or teams of associates, and the residential scale and facilities are well-suited for a women’ getaway or a household trip.

Reunion isn’t within the coronary heart of Orlando’s tourism hall, so that you received’t be strolling to any points of interest or eating places. Nevertheless, these on-site facilities have lots to supply. A big group pool, simply throughout from the Grande, has poolside eating and loads of loungers. There’s additionally a separate water park with its personal restaurant for youths, in addition to miles of footpaths and bicycles for lease, six lighted tennis courts and a well-equipped exercise facility. The spa is small however surprisingly full, and, after all, there are these three attractive golf programs.

—Steve Blount

Reunion Resort
7593 Gathering Drive
Reunion, FL 34747
888-418-9610, 407-662-1000  |  reunionresort.com


In Palm Seashore, Opposites Entice

Brazilian Court docket has a historical past with Palm Seashore institution.

When you’re not ranked on Forbes’ World’s Richest Individuals listing, you could really feel such as you don’t belong in Palm Seashore. The inferiority advanced units in as you move a Jaguar dealership’s showroom en path to Royal Park Bridge, the principle artery into the guts of the South Florida barrier island’s blue-blooded wealth. At almost a metropolis block in measurement and loaded with luxurious autos, the showroom tells you one thing about who lives right here and the way they get round.

Fortunately for me, it’s summer time, when Palm Seashore is principally a ghost city. So I slip into the wintertime enclave of the (choose an adjective: filthy, stinking, absurdly, super-) wealthy with out a lot as having to provide a credit score report. Nonetheless, my hybrid automotive offers me away as an outsider as I drive as much as the Brazilian Court docket Resort, the place a pink Ferrari is parked out entrance together with a spiffy two-seater Mercedes and a Vary Rover. Possibly they belong to residents who can’t afford to summer time in The Hamptons anymore, their funding portfolios hollowed out by Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernie Madoff, as soon as the grand poobah of the Palm Seashore Nation Membership set and now a federal inmate serving a 150-year sentence.

I determine to park on the road.

The Brazilian Court docket is an in-town lodge a few quarter-mile from the shoreline. In-built 1926, the Spanish-Mediterranean-style lodge was dwelling to visiting excessive society. In 2008 the property emerged from a six-year renovation led by proprietor and inside designer Leslie Schlesinger, who recaptured the 80-suite resort’s spirit as a gathering place for individuals who have at all times had it.

The lodge’s Café Boulud (named for New York-based chef Daniel Boulud) is a four-star rated attraction amongst Palm Seashore’s outdated guard, who saunter into the eating room as if it had been suppertime at their property houses.

Apparently, the Schlesinger household additionally owns one other native lodge that might be the antithesis of the Brazilian Court docket’s outdated cash appeal. Six miles south of downtown, The Omphoy Ocean Resort is focused to enchantment to younger upstarts who would discover Palm Seashore’s conventional luxurious accommodations, just like the 4 Seasons subsequent door to it and The Breakers,
out of step with their nouveau riche life.

The Omphoy (a made-up title linking the “om” related to meditation with the Gaelic phrase “phoy,” which means “feast,” for “feast of excellent power”) is a 130-room inn Schlesinger designed to place friends in synch with the calming state of Zen. It’s an uncommon resort, what with the dimly lit sitting areas, Asian-influenced décor and a employees as low-wattage because the amber lighting at midnight hallways. However it’s price visiting if solely to dine at Michelle Bernstein at The Omphoy. Named for the James Beard Basis’s 2008 Finest Chef within the South, the restaurant, with floor-to-ceiling window views of the ocean and creative seafood delicacies, is splendidly out of synch with The Omphoy’s much-too-serious character.

Right here’s a novel thought: Keep on the lavish Brazilian Court docket, which epitomizes what Palm Seashore really is all about, and dine at Michelle Bernstein’s. However make sure you go to Palm Seashore when it’s at its opulent greatest—now, throughout our winter and spring months. That’s when the privileged reoccupy their houses on Billionaire’s Row and frequent Price Avenue, the so-called Rodeo Drive of Florida.

Simply arrive in a car that matches in and nobody would be the wiser.


Brazilian Court docket Resort
301 Australian Ave.
Palm Seashore, FL 33480
800-552-0335 | thebraziliancourt.com
Room charges: $299-$699.

The Omphoy Ocean Resort
2842 S. Ocean Blvd.
Palm Seashore, FL 33480
561-540-6440 | omphoy.com
Room charges: $299-$599


Costa d’Este: A Hit Single

Gloria and Emilio Estefan

Guess who owns a way-cool resort in Vero Seashore.


Gloria and Emilio Estefan. Sure, Miami’s Estefans, she a Grammy Award-winning famous person solo singer and he a music producer, and each previously of the Miami Sound Machine. They moved right here a number of years in the past and, in 2008, opened the 94-room Costa d’Este Seashore Resort.

A two-hour drive south of Orlando off I-95, Vero Seashore could also be greatest referred to as the onetime spring coaching dwelling of baseball’s L.A. Dodgers.  The staff packed up and left Dodgertown in 2008, so there’s even much less to do right here, frankly. However much less enhances the Estefans’ unpretentious resort and spa.

The rooms are glossy, a mix of wooden, marble and glass within the furnishings and décor, and have very snug platform beds.  From the second you drive as much as the porte-cochère entrance you discover the geometric designs, which circulate by means of the resort’s interiors. Home windows resembling portholes give the impact of being on a yacht. At evening, the foyer glows with gentle backlighting, the atmosphere enhanced by the picture of a purple orchid projected on a see-through display.

Costa d’Este was named one of many high 10 celebrity-owned accommodations on the earth in 2010 by TripAdvisor.com. Inns owned by Robert Redford, Robert DeNiro and U2’s Bono additionally made the listing, so the dignity has some avenue cred.

The  Estefans, some lodge staffers informed me, are exceedingly good folks. They cease in from time and time to dine of their Cuban-fusion restaurant, Oriente (didn’t knock me out), or to sit down out by the beachfront Infinity edge pool, performing like abnormal friends.


From the seems of the resort (previously the hurricane-damaged Palm Court docket Resort), which the couple renovated inside-out and from high to backside, there may be nothing abnormal about Gloria and Emilio Estefan.


Costa d’Este Seashore Resort
3244 Ocean Drive
Vero Seashore, FL 32963
877-562-9919  |  costadeste.com
Charges: $256-$566 per evening


Bi-Coastal Settlement

Hammock Seashore Resort’s Ocean Course options six seaside holes.

Once I deliberate a seaside vaca-tion with my teen-age daughters final summer time there was some debate over which coast to spend it on, the east or west. Every coast has distinctively totally different upsides-–the Atlantic Ocean has waves, which I take pleasure in physique browsing in, whereas the Gulf aspect has stunning sunsets and, to my youthful lady’s liking, no surf.

So we determined not to decide on. As an alternative, we break up our seaside trip in two, with a day layover in Orlando between journeys to Palm Coast on the east aspect and Lido Key on the west.

Why Palm Coast and Lido Key, you ask? As a result of we had by no means been to both spot, although we’ve been near them–St. Augustine Seashore above the previous and Longboat Key, only a few miles north of the latter.

Hammock Seashore Resort was our first cease. It’s solely 90 minutes north of Orlando off I-95. The women discovered loads to do at this family-friendly resort, from lounging by the swimming pools to sliding down the corkscrew slide into the lazy river to getting facials and taking a yoga class on the resort spa to trying out the outlet shops in St. Augustine, a 40-minute drive from the resort.

Whereas they did their issues I performed golf on the resort’s Jack Nicklaus-designed Ocean Course. The course will get a whole lot of hype for its beachside location, with six holes fronting the Atlantic. Large whup, my taking part in associate and I agreed. You possibly can catch glimpses of the ocean every so often, however the true star of this format is the course configuration. It’s a hybrid of parkland and seaside golf holes, the previous hemmed in by bushes and lateral water hazards whereas the latter is as open because the Atlantic past them.

Pretty much as good because it was to play the Ocean Course, the membership professional hinted that I would discover the Tom Watson-designed Conservatory Course, a links-style format additionally on resort property, much more to my liking. However I used to be all golfed out. One other time, maybe.

Moreover the golf, the highlights of my keep had been an unspoiled seaside and our three-bedroom, absolutely furnished condominium in the principle tower. At 1,800 sq. toes, house was not a difficulty. For a household or group getaway, resort residential leases are the best way to go. Eat a number of meals in and also you save a whole lot of {dollars} vs. eating out.

The courtyard of the Ringling Museum of Artwork in Sarasota

The second leg of our trip was as laid-back because the light waters of the Gulf simply past the balcony of our visitor suite at Lido Seashore Resort, a family-oriented lodge with kitchenettes within the rooms.

A 2½-hour drive from Orl-ando, Lido Secret is a skinny, flat sliver of white sand linked to Sarasota by the John Ringling Causeway over Sarasota Bay. It’s a part of a collection of keys that make up Sarasota County’s shoreline on the Gulf. One good Atlantic-size wave may wash all of them away.

My youthful daughter, Tess, prefers this aspect of Florida, and together with her 14th birthday falling throughout our summer time trip, she bought her want to frolic within the Gulf’s 90-degree waters. The entire lake impact doesn’t do it for me, nonetheless, so with Tess and her sister, Emma, 16 on the time, veggin’ on the resort, I took in some sights and tradition.

To enter and exit Lido Key you need to move by means of a tiny island that’s a brief stroll from the resort. St. Armand’s Circle is a superbly streetscaped site visitors roundabout encircled by 130 upscale boutiques and high-end eating places.

In 1917, John Ringling, the king of the touring circus, purchased the island and developed it. Ringling put circus elephants to work lugging timber planks to assist construct a causeway connecting his Ringling Estates to Sarasota.

Ringling’s fingerprints are throughout Sarasota. At one time he owned 25 p.c of the land right here, and, in 1927, he moved the winter headquarters of his Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus to Sarasota, the place he and third spouse Mable had constructed one of many grandest mansions on the earth.

You could possibly spend a pair days touring their 66-acre property, on which sits the 56-room, 36,000-square-foot Cà d’Zan (which means “Home of John” in Venetian dialect) that the Ringlings furnished with valuable artwork. Additionally on the grounds are Ringling’s Museum of Artwork, the place he saved his assortment of masterpieces, together with works by Rubens and van Dyck, and the Circus Museum, a repository of circus historical past and the house of mannequin grasp builder Howard Tibbal’s 1/16-scale mannequin three-ring circus. Tibbal’s assortment is a favourite with kids.

The courtyard of the Museum of Artwork alone could be well worth the $25 admission that it prices to tour the complete property. In it, a towering forged of Michelangelo’s David watches over the handfuls of Greek and Roman figures in addition to replicas of two sixteenth century fountains, the Fountain of Tortoises (from  the Piazza Mattei in Rome) and the Oceanus Fountain (from Florence, Italy)

Whereas I wouldn’t categorize the 222-room Lido Seashore Resort as a luxurious lodge, I discovered it to be an excellent place for a seaside weekend with my youngsters. It’s inexpensive, clear and has first rate (if unspectacular) eating choices. However higher but, it put us close to St. Armand’s Circle and downtown Sarasota, two locations my daughters found of their pursuit of buying.


Hammock Seashore Resort
200 Ocean Crest Drive
Palm Coast, FL 32137
866-502-6228  |  hammockbeach.com
Charges: Costs differ relying on measurement of unit and views (ocean or intracoastal); one-bedroom unit begins at $250 per evening

Lido Seashore Resort
700 Ben Franklin Drive
Sarasota, FL 34236
800-441-2113  |  lidobeachresort.com
Charges: $289-$639 per evening throughout excessive season; $207-$387 throughout summer time


Loosen up, You’re in Steinhatchee

Steinhatchee Touchdown’s Cracker-style cottages

For these of us who battle with the patience-zapping, traffic-choked, strip-malled streets of Orlando, the invention of a Florida the place there are extra cows than folks, in addition to areas—extensive areas—between homes, is a welcome aid.

Steinhatchee is a type of locations: This little city is in Taylor County (density: 18 folks per sq. mile), fewer than 200 miles northwest of Orange County (density: 1,198 per sq. mile). The dearth of crowds retains the depth dialed manner down, however because of Dean Fowler and his spouse, Loretta, Steinhatchee doesn’t miss a step with regards to hospitality. A local Georgian, Fowler was drawn to the world within the Nineteen Eighties by the fishing within the close by Gulf of Mexico. After a profitable enterprise profession, he got down to construct a Cracker-style village that seemed and felt just like the small cities he remembered from his youth on 35 pristine acres alongside the Steinhatchee River.

Steinhatchee Touchdown Resort—Fowler’s assortment of wood-frame, Southern vernacular-style houses and cottages—comes near being a type of small cities. Sited alongside winding paths overhung by centuries-old oaks, the cottages are luxurious with out ostentation. The unique designs had been created by Ron Haase, a College of Florida architect who actually wrote the guide on Cracker homes: Basic Cracker: Florida’s Wooden-Body Vernacular Structure (Pineapple Press, 1992). The guts pine flooring and beams within the homes had been recycled from a nineteenth century lodge and there are stone fireplaces, sink-in-to-your-ears mattresses, jet tubs, kitchens, tin roofs and extensive porches geared up with cozy chairs that full the phantasm of being at grandma’s. When you can’t chill out right here, you’ll be able to’t chill out.

Whenever you’re prepared for one thing extra lively, there are boats for cruising or fishing on the river and, in summer time, a number of the greatest scalloping and crabbing on the West Coast. The flats across the mouth of the river are a hotbed for redfish, mullet and, when the offshore waters calm down within the fall, waves of noticed sea trout.

—Steve Blount

Steinhatchee Touchdown
228 U.S. Freeway 51 N.
Steinhatchee, FL 32359
800-548-1709, 352-498-3513
Weekday/weekend Charges: One-bedroom cottage, $140/$172; two-bedroom, $170/$215; three-bedroom, $286/$359; four-bedroom, $382/$466 (per evening, two-night minimal)


At The Ritz, SoBeautiful

The Ritz South Seashore’s foyer

Step inside The Ritz-Carlton, South Seashore to test in and you could really feel disoriented at first as a result of the foyer doesn’t match the mildew of the elegant however businesslike reception areas that you just usually discover in five-star accommodations. It’s an expansive room with a sky-high ceiling and an enormous curved wooden veneer wall with rows of gold, reflective domes-as-sconces on it, 60 in all, and every dispersing a glow like a photo voltaic eclipse. Beneath your toes is a terrazzo flooring that borders a teardrop-shaped gold rug on which sits ultramodern furnishings that’s much less for consolation than for grandeur.

This is among the beautiful- folks accommodations in Miami Seashore, so its aptitude for the dramatic is an effective match for SoBe, a winter playground for celebrities on lists A by means of D and an working base for the humanities crowd. At The Ritz right here you get the superstar therapy in addition to an immersion in artwork, with each coming collectively particularly nicely in early December at Artwork Basel Miami Seashore, one of many glitziest, star-packed artwork reveals on the earth. Consider it because the U.S. model of the Cannes Movie Pageant, however for a unique type of artwork.

Positioned in Miami Seashore’s historic Artwork Deco district, The Ritz is a murals in itself, initially in-built 1953 by the late architect Morris Lapidus, a controversial–and, for fairly a while, critically dissed—determine for his curvy and flamboyant postmodern buildings. Lapidus constructed, within the ’50s, two of Miami Seashore’s most unique resorts, the Fontainbleau and Eden Roc, simply two miles north of the DiLido Seashore Resort, which was restored and reopened below the Ritz flag in 2003.

The Ritz is a showcase for a few of Lapidus’ trademark aesthetic touches, together with round and swirling shapes in ceilings, colourful lighting, and assorted elevations in lodge open areas. Complementing the constructing’s design is a multimillion-dollar modern artwork assortment that Miami artwork gallery proprietor Diana Lowenstein put in within the resort. Lowenstein is a principal proprietor of the 375-room lodge.

It’s no surprise, given the lodge’s roots in Lapidus’ philosophy of “an excessive amount of isn’t sufficient” (additionally the title of his 1996 autobiography), that the SoBe Ritz caters to extravagant tastes as nicely. That is the place overindulgent mother and father spend $175 to ship their adolescent daughters to

Appeal Camp whereas these mother and father get in some me time in The Ritz spa (rated 4 stars by Mobil) or out by the pool or on the seaside, the place the lodge has “tanning butlers” standing by to use sunscreens on lounging friends.

Appeal Camp is a half-day program wherein women, ages 12-18, study magnificence care, etiquette, poise and the artwork of dialog, in addition to wholesome cooking (as taught by Ritz cooks) and dance choreography, as a result of what younger lady doesn’t wish to dance just like the
Miami Warmth dancers who educate the category?

Partying being a aggressive sport in hedonistic South Seashore, The Ritz seizes the event of a full moon on a weekend evening as trigger for celebration. Set on the out of doors DiLido Seashore Membership, the one oceanside restaurant on South Seashore, the lodge’s Full Moon Get together mixes locals and friends in a free-to-attend evening of music and performances by hearth dancers.

It’s a energetic however tame affair by South Seashore requirements, however an excellent starter occasion earlier than setting out for close by Ocean Drive, the principle strip of bars and eating places the place the attractive folks go for late-night indulgences.


The Ritz-Carlton, South Seashore
One Lincoln Highway
Miami Seashore, FL 33139
786-276-4000  |  ritzcarlton.com
Charges: Rooms begin at $479 per evening throughout excessive season; $299 throughout summer time.
Finest Deal: Pay the $100 upcharge per evening to remain on the non-public Membership Degree ($150 for entry to it from different flooring), the place 5 meals displays a day and a full complement of alcoholic drinks await friends.


A Hideaway’s Star Enchantment

Seclusion is among the facilities friends benefit from the Key Biscayne Ritz.

President Nixon got here right here to get away from all of it, and greater than 35 years after the Watergate scandal pressured him to resign, Key Biscayne nonetheless has the attract of a hideaway.

The seven-mile-long island—and, no, it’s not a part of the Florida Keys—is quiet and secluded, however its distance from the each day grind is extra of a frame of mind. You simply really feel fully lower off from the skin world, although this southernmost barrier island of america actually has quick access to the mainland, with downtown Miami solely six miles away through a causeway.

So what’s there to do right here?  When you’re a sedentary kind, that is the place to be, since you received’t look misplaced doing nothing right here. The seashores are uncrowded and delightful, particularly the shoreline at Invoice Baggs Cape Florida State Park, the place a historic lighthouse stands watch on the southern tip of the island. Sand-and-sun professional Dr. Seashore put the state park seaside on his 2010 Finest Seashores in America listing.

However in the event you’re lively, then that is the appropriate place to be, too. Loads of water actions can be found, together with crusing, deep sea fishing, and world-class scuba diving and kite boarding.

If tennis is your factor, The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne owns the excellence of being dwelling to the biggest tennis heart in The Ritz household, with 11 lighted courts, all however one with a soft-clay floor, plus a employees of educating execs and packages for youths.

The AAA five-star rated resort, which just lately went by means of a renovation, is a surprisingly inexpensive trip spot in the event you make the most of the packages it gives, together with offers for households, tennis lovers and simply plain lovers (suppose eating below the celebs and getting massages within the spa, listed as one of many “2010 Prime 99 Resort Spas within the U.S.” by Condé Nast Traveler).

When you’re lucky sufficient to be visiting The Ritz on the evening of a full moon, make sure you reserve a desk for its “Moonrise Dinner” on the oceanfront patio of the Cioppino restaurant. It’s a four-course meal you received’t quickly overlook, and never simply because the setting, the Tuscan delicacies and repair are excellent.

A “constellation concierge” factors out celestial our bodies to friends, holding up an iPad within the path everyone seems to be wanting. With a constellation viewable intimately on the pill, the concierge talks about its origins, delighting friends along with his data of astronomy. The eating expertise is like none different, all for $90 per individual with wine pairings.


The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne
455 Grand Bay Drive
Key Biscayne, FL 33149
305-365-4500  |  ritzcarlton.com
Charges: From $459 per evening by means of March; $549 by means of April; $329 by means of Might; $239 from June by means of September.


Florida’s Panhandle, Again from the Brink

The Panhandle is returning to regular within the wake of the oil-spill hysteria.

After watching countless protection on the BP oil spill within the Gulf of Mexico final yr, I feared the pristine Panhandle seashores of my childhood could be ruined perpetually. However there wasn’t a tar ball or oily sheen to be seen, nor, for that matter, CNN or another nationwide broadcasters, once I visited my hometown of Fort Walton Seashore in September.

The Panhandle’s story is switching from impending catastrophe to financial restoration, as the world will get again to regular. Business and sport-fishing boats are going out into the Gulf once more and guests are returning.

The attractive stretch of surf and shore right here will at all times be the principle attraction, however guests who solely hit the seaside miss out on the world’s many inland charms. Skirting the shoreline between Panama Metropolis and Destin, south Walton County is dwelling to charming cities, nice galleries, top-notch eating places and pure magnificence.

The group of Seaside is the geographic and figurative coronary heart of the area, and its affect is seen within the Victorian-inspired structure and master-planned developments which have sprung up east and west of it over time. It’s an excellent place to get your bearings alongside Freeway 30A, which hugs the coast. Alongside it you’ll discover a number of the funkier retailers, galleries and eateries within the Panhandle.

There are luxurious resorts up right here as nicely, some with their very own golf programs and self-contained communities, like WaterColor in Santa Rosa Seashore. However for Orlandoans, the Panhandle would possibly as nicely be in California, the six-plus hour drive to it being a significant turn-off.

Southwest Airways final yr started flying direct into Panama Metropolis airport out of Orlando Worldwide, however at $120-$150 per roundtrip ticket, plus the price of a rental automotive, air journey is probably not a beautiful various to driving six hours to get right here.

So, simply consider a street journey to the Panhandle as going to Key West, however in the other way and with out the back-ups on the Seven Mile Bridge.

The Panhandle doesn’t appear too distant now, does it?

—Denise Bates Enos

The place to Keep
There are many accommodations, bed-and-breakfasts and resorts to select from in south Walton, however in the event you desire a spot the place you’ll be able to take pleasure in all of the comforts of dwelling, try ResortQuest at resortquestbeachesofsouthwaltonvacations.com. ResortQuest has greater than 800 condominium and trip dwelling leases within the space to lease.

Related Articles

Leave a Comment