When the Spanish explorer Ponce de Léon landed in Florida in 1513, he named it La Florida (“Flowery Land”). Of course, it was Spring when he arrived, so plants were in full bloom. As G and I made our way across Alligator Alley and up the east coast in the middle of July, we were both surprised by the lush, tropical landscape. Mind you, it rained almost every day. I thought of California and ruminated on how tragic it was that the West Coast didn’t get some of the rainfall that was so abundant in Florida. How random life – and weather – can be.
We stopped at The Galleria Mall in Fort Lauderdale to visit the Apple store (G was having phone trouble). As we stood at the entrance and debated whether or not it was worth it to hang around for 45 minutes waiting for his appointment, one of the salesmen overheard us and suggested we go have a drink at the Blue Martini on the other side of the mall. Since G really depends on his phone for so many things, we decided to do it. We had a fabulous martini, while surreptitiously watching a woman at the bar flirting with a man young enough to be her son. And then we noticed that the bar was full of women “of a certain age” and very few men of any age. Laughing, we finished our drinks and went to get a new phone before continuing on.
As we drove through the string of towns north of Fort Lauderdale, we began to take more interest in our surroundings. With the Atlantic to our right and the intracoastal waterway to our left, the scenery was often breathtaking. I made notes of particularly beautiful places, so we could look them up later. We stopped in Delray Beach, because I had read somewhere that it was one of the best places to live along the east coast of Florida. Impressed with the throngs of people walking around and the interesting-looking shops and restaurants, we decided to stay there for the night. We searched for a hotel and ended up back down the beach a little ways, at a newly remodeled Holiday Inn. It had the air of a boutique hotel and since it was right on the beach, we checked in. We freshened up before heading back to Atlantic Avenue for dinner.
We walked around as we tried to decide where to eat – there were so many great choices! It just happened to be G’s birthday, and we were still hankering for oysters, so we settled on a table outside at City Oyster & Sushi Bar. It has a menu that features a fantastic selection of fresh oysters from both the east and west coasts.
Oh baby, they were dee-lish-us! So good, in fact, that I can’t remember what we ate afterwards, although i know that was delicious, too. We filled our bellies, and on the way back to the car we stopped outside a bar called Johnnie Brown’s to listen to a Rod Stewart impersonator. He was really good and had the crowd all worked up.
Before leaving the hotel in the morning, we took a walk down the beach and went for a swim. We practically had the ocean all to ourselves. It was fabulous. Hence, we decided to add Delray Beach (and pretty much all of Palm Beach county) to the “list.”