Tired of shielding my face in a scarf from chilling wind gusts that a typical New England winter day brought, my husband and I decided to book a trip somewhere warm and sunny. We thought of St. Thomas, where we had gone before, but there were still some travel restrictions, so we decided to stay in the US. We booked a flight to Miami, Florida, because it was farther south than any other town we visited in Florida and would probably be warmer. I couldn’t wait to sit in some sunshine—outside. With an average temperature of 75 degrees. I counted down the days.
Some Fun Facts About Miami:
o With its high rises, sandy beach, palm trees, and tropical sun, Miami Beach has been referred to as the American Riviera.
o South Beach, also nicknamed SoBe, is a neighborhood in Miami and the most popular. It is known for pastel-colored lifeguard stations and celebrity sightings.
o Miami is the only major American city founded by a woman. It was founded in 1896 by Julia Tuttle. She is the only woman in the United States known for establishing a significant city.
o The port of Miami is the busiest cruise port in the world. Millions of cruise passengers go through Miami each year, and it is home to the largest cruise ships on earth.
o Downtown Miami is home to more international banks than any other city in the USA.
o Miami is one of the significant tourist spots in the world. It currently hosts over 23 million tourists per year.
o Patricia Cornwell is a very famous American crime author. She is mainly known for books like Postmortem or Scarpetta. She was born in Miami on the 9th of June 1956.
We looked at many hotels situated on the strip of South Beach and decided on the Cadillac Hotel and Beach Club, located oceanside and along the boardwalk. The minute I walked in, I immediately loved the laid-back vibe. The music was light jazz with a twist.
This hotel had a friendly staff and embodied the spirit of the European Riviera — from its impeccable hospitality to its fresh seaside cuisine — mixed with Miami’s iconic Art Deco design.
We walked along the boardwalk, sat outside as much as possible and drove with the car windows open.
A light ocean breeze, salt air, and the rolling sound of waves lulled me to sleep every night.
Should I rent a car?
Because it was a quick ten-minute drive from the airport, we didn’t have to rent a car but decided on it anyway. We drove around and made several stops, so the car rental was worth it for us. Otherwise, if you plan to go to the beach and not travel around much, you could save the $500 that we paid for a car. Ubers are plentiful.
At the Cadillac Hotel, lunch at Bungalow by the Sea was lovely. An alfresco lunch on a patio was what I needed. The fresh oysters and the Caesar salad with shrimp were my go-to for lunch. My husband enjoyed oysters and a cheeseburger with French fries. We both could not resist the Key Lime Pie.
We ate breakfast at the Donna Mare, also at the Cadillac Hotel. You could also have dinner there. I liked that if we didn’t feel like going out to eat, we had options here.
The K'Alma Spa was awesome. We splurged on as couples massage outside under a cabana, and it was well worth it.
The Lobby Bar had a lounge area with comfy corner-tucked comfy chairs that created little nooks of quiet ambience. It was a great place to sit after the beach to relax and have a glass of wine and a light snack.
I wanted to check out the shops in this a high-end shopping area, with designer stores like, Gucci, Prada, and Salvatore Ferragamo. It was fun browsing and seeing what the new styles were. Plus, it had a book shop I wanted to check out.
A great place where you will find shopping, cafes, restaurants, galleries, gelato shops and people watching. I love the open-air shopping there. There is also a movie theater. Because there are many restaurants there, I don’t think you’ll have difficulty finding one that fits your taste.
Books & Books is a book shop located in the Bal Harbour shop area with a relaxed feel and a counter café.
I find myself drawn to memoirs, and the one that caught my eye was a book by Meg Nocera, a local author who shares her grief in the loss of her mother to breast cancer. In Butterfly Awakens, she writes how this life experience shifted her world, questioning her life and place in it— awakening her to pursue another path in life.
Places to visit:
The Miami Beach Botanical Garden is a three-acre tropical oasis located in the middle of Miami. There were butterflies everywhere, a pond with turtles and a quiet walking path. This was a charming place.
In 1984, a small group of Holocaust survivors joined together to develop a permanent memorial in Miami to the six million Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis. The Holocaust Memorial Committee was formally established as a private non-profit organization.
The committee decided that Miami Beach was the perfect location for such a memorial. South Florida has one of the highest populations of Holocaust survivors in the United States, many of them residing within the city limits.
From Albany, New York, we traveled with Southwest Airlines. We had a quick layover in Baltimore, Maryland, and landed in Miami before lunchtime.
The sun was just what I needed, and Miami provided that and so much more!
Susan Frances Morris is the author of The Sensitive One, a memoir dealing with childhood trauma, abuse, health, and healing. Susan was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, and has been vacationing on Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket since she was a child.