Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Sunday in South Florida: A Moving Experience

February 3rd, 2018

After living in South Florida for nearly two decades, I felt I would always return here to my friends and the ocean and the wetlands and the food and the …. You get the point. This whimsical coastal area is home, isn’t it?

That’s what I thought until a few months ago when everything changed. That’s when I realized I would be leaving my friends and moving to South Dakota. NOT temporarily traveling, but actually putting down roots in a new community.

It came time for visits and saying my goodbyes to all the people that I have known and loved in this community for 15+ years and its bittersweet. We’ll keep in touch, however that’s not the same as looking in each other’s eyes and laughing together at a movie or over a plate of chicken livers.

My friends and I have shared many grand adventures exploring unique nature and great restaurants across Palm Beach county. This week I have indulged in a few including visits to Johnny Mangoes, Gumbo Limbo, Fran’s Chicken Haven, Green Cay and Wakodahatchee.

Fran’s Chicken Haven – no frills, just good food

 

 

Bromeliad

Green Cay Nature Center overlooks 100 acres of manmade wetlands with 1.5 miles of elevated boardwalk allowing visitors to enjoy the migratory birds and alligators safely. This is the 2nd constructed wetlands after Wakodahatchee opened in 1996 with ¾ mile boardwalk that crosses pond areas and is prime breeding area for wood storks. Each day, the Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility pumps approximately two million gallons of highly treated wastewater into the Wetlands, which in turn acts as a percolation pond, returning billions of gallons of fresh water back into the water table. I’ve put many miles in at both locations of the years with family & friends. http://discover.pbcgov.org/waterutilities/Pages/Wakodahatchee.aspx

Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is another natural gem in Palm Beach County. This coastal preserve and training center covers 20 acres and is surrounded by a rare remnant of tropical hardwood hammock, located on a barrier island in Boca Raton. The preserve has changed much over the years and once included a tower that you could climb and view both the ocean and intracoastal waterway. Today the focus is mainly on sea turtle protection and includes a turtle hospital and release program. It’s a fun and informative place for families to enjoy. http://www.gumbolimbo.org/

I’ll be visiting Morikami with a dear friend next week, but I want to include it in today’s post. Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens is a very special treasure in Delray Beach, Florida. I consistently maintained a membership and watched it expand into a premier destination founded on century old farmland owned by a Japanese colony that intended to revolutionize Florida agriculture. When it didn’t come to fruition many returned to Japan while Morikami stayed behind to fulfill his vision. Today the 1-acre park has strolling paths, a world-class bonsai collection, and lakes teaming with koi. I enjoy how each area flows into the next seamlessly while walking. It’s a very special place. https://morikami.org/

Moving is change. Change is difficult for most people. But I believe this move is going to be the experience of my lifetime. And I’m going to continue to encourage each of you to love one another and explore your outdoors.

 

Week 1 in Palm Beach County

February 1st, 2015

Did you hear what happened to me this week? I’m amazed at how many visits with friends start out that way and decided to try it. My friend’s lives are never dull and each person has a story to tell. The following is the story of my first week back in Florida after leaving Reno.

Monday I arrived at the Palm Beach International Airport only to be picked up by my host and whisked directly off to the movie theater for the premier of Jude Law’s Black Sea. (http://emiling.com/black-sea/)

Tuesday I woke bright and early with anticipation of going to the YMCA pool. Oh, that was fabulous! By the time I joined my friend Bill for a stroll around The Morikami Japanese Museum & Garden (http://emiling.com/photos/morikami-museum-japanese-gardens-delray-beach-florida) I was fully exhilarated. At The Morikami Japanese Garden I experience peace and tranquility like being on the beach without sand between my toes. The Morikami provides authentic Japanese events year round and is worth going out of your way to visit if you’re in the area. When you go, if you don’t eat at their café, drive across the street to Henry’s for a classic lunch in a very comfortable setting. You’ll be glad you did! (http://www.rapoportsrg.com/restaurant/henrys/)

With my friend Bill in our "happy place" at the Morikami.

With my friend Bill in our “happy place” at the Morikami.

And because I didn’t want to miss a thing, I joined a group of movie friends for the premier of Kingsman: The Secret Service. Great action movie. You can read my review at: http://emiling.com/kingsman-secret-service

Wednesday I ready for some beach time and drove south to Boca to meet with my friend William. Not only did I put my feet in the Atlantic, but I was treated to a plate of melt-in-your-mouth fried chicken livers at Fran’s Chicken Haven. Oh, had I missed these! Cooked to order and right out of the fryer, hot and fresh, the batter was just enough to crisp up nicely. Fran’s livers are in my top 5 favorite foods and the sounds I make eating them are nearly indecent. That’s how good they are!

Fran's Chicken Haven

Fran’s Chicken Haven

Imagine being on the beach with a good friend. Life is good.

Imagine being on the beach with a good friend. Life is good.

Of course, a trip to Fran’s is only as good as driving across the street to Chocolates by Mr. Robert. I can’t have one without the other when I’m in Boca. I started purchasing the chocolate when Mr. Robert was still living. He was born in Vienna and studied the craft of making chocolate in Switzerland. The same recipes are used today and my purchase was gone before I got home. It never fails. (http://www.chocolatesbymrroberts.com/index.htm)

Chocolates by Mr. Roberts

Chocolates by Mr. Roberts

To walk off the calories, we stopped by the beach and at Gumbo Limbo Nature Center to take the boardwalk through the mangroves. Started in 1984, Gumbo Limbo is a free nature center, but it’s unique because of the various tanks and turtle hospital used for research and educational purposes. Yet another favorite haunt in Palm Beach County. It one of my favorite places to take visitors. You can climb the tower to see both the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal. (http://www.gumbolimbo.org/about-us) I had passes for the premier of Project Almanac, but thought sleep was a better option at this point.

Boca Raton Gumbo Limbo boardwalk 2

Gumbo Limbo life size sea turtles

Gumbo Limbo life size sea turtles

Thursday I spent swimming and visiting with friends literally from one end of the county to the other. I am so fortunate to have several true friends that have remained with me over the past year even though I’ve been traveling. It’s humbling to sit at their tables and share their generosity. Thank you to each of you, and you know who you are. One of my special friends treated me to dinner at La Cigale in Delray. I was delighted by the elegance and quality of the meal. Thank you Mike for sharing the experience with me. (http://www.lacigaledelray.com/page.asp?display=Restaurant)

By Friday the week was winding down and so was the South Florida Fair. I could not possibly be in Palm Beach County, in January, without visiting the fair. It wouldn’t be right! Bill took me to pet the bunnies and chickens, watch calves being born, eat a turkey leg the size of a California Redwood … then walk it off at Yesterday Year Village so I can go home with a half-dozen deep fried Buckeye’s.

If you aren’t familiar, Buckeye’s are peanut butter balls covered in chocolate. To deep fry them, they are dipped in funnel cake batter, fried and coated with powered sugar. ONCE a year only. There’s a theme each year, this year the giant sand sculpture was Las Vegas. Somehow I missed the pig races AND the alligator wrestling. Weird. (http://www.southfloridafair.com/ and photos at http://emiling.com/photos/south-florida-fair/)

Riding Kraft Macaroni and Cheese ferris wheel at the South Florida Fair

Riding Kraft Macaroni and Cheese ferris wheel at the South Florida Fair

Still feeling a need to work off those Buckeye’s I decided to call Pam and go kayaking Saturday morning. We rented Kayaks and stayed in the Intracoastal due to wind conditions. We saw a crab and a giant blue heron, but no manatees or gators. No worries, I saw a black bear on the way to my girlfriend Irina’s house later in the day. Irina set up a VERY special, traditional multi-course Russian dinner for me and invited her family. I was a bit overwhelmed at the effort she made. To say thank you doesn’t seem adequate.

Last course to be served with coffee

Last course to be served with coffee

First course of chilled offerings.

First course of chilled offerings.

Fun with Pam at Adventure Time Kayaks

Fun with Pam at Adventure Time Kayaks

After falling into a food induced coma, I woke Sunday in time to join friends at both the St. John Missionary Church as well as the First United Methodist before meeting my friend John for lunch at Toojay’s Gourmet Deli in exchange for updating his computer. A classic chopped liver on rye seemed a fair price. Toojay’s is also famous for their black and white cookies, but I’m too full to think about it. I settled for a choclate rugala to go. (http://www.toojays.com/)

Toojay's Gourmet Deli bakery counter

Toojay’s Gourmet Deli bakery counter

It’s back to the pool for me first thing Monday morning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.