Things didn't start out too well. I arrived a little after check-in time of 4pm and they didn't have our room ready yet. I waited over an hour before it was ready. Once in the room, I noticed the plastic cover on the door lock was broken and the toilette seat in the master bedroom was on the bathroom floor. So I called maintenance, then had to rush out to head back to the airport to pick up my sister, Carolyn. By now it was raining cats and dogs again. I waited at the cell phone lot for quite awhile past her arrival time. Suddenly the "Arrivals" board changed to list her flight as "Cancelled". What????? It took off! Where was it??? After a frantic call to home to have Ken check the internet, Carolyn finally called to say her plane had landed----in West Palm Beach, about 50 miles away. She was given the option of getting off the plane there or waiting for the weather to get better and continue on to Fort Lauderdale. We decided she should get off and I'd drive to West Palm Beach to get her. About an hour later we were on our way back to Pompano from West Palm Beach.
Back at Sea Gardens, things started looking up. The repairs were made before we got back. My fears of the older Key West Building not being nice was unfounded. It had just been renovated and was actually very pretty, not as fancy as Ocean Palms, but quite acceptable! It didn't look like much from the outside, but it did have it's own pool---albeit cold pool.
I probably have almost the same picture on my previous Pompano blog when Ken and I were here in the Ocean Palms building, but it deserves another picture. This is just part of the beautifully landscaped grounds of the rest of the resort. We did go to the jacuzzi over there a couple times and also to kareoki one night. We were given a couple coupons for free drinks for the late check in, so we enjoyed them while listening to kareoki and eating free nachos and snacks.
courtyard with table and chairs by main office
On our first full day there, we took a ride down A1A all the way to Miami's South Beach. This area was the first section of Miami Beach to be developed, starting in the 1910s. The population was growing in the 1920s, and several millionaires built homes here. In the 1930s, an architectural revolution came to South Beach, bringing Art Deco, Streamline Moderne, and Nautical Moderne architecture to the Beach. South Beach claims to be the world's largest collection of Streamline Moderne Art Deco architecture. Now almost one square mile of South Beach is on the National Register of Historic Places. We didn't do much here other then drive up and down the main streets a few time admiring all the unique architecture.
The waldorf towers was designed in 1937 and had a multi million dollar renovation in december 2001.
Art Deco first appeared in France during the 1920s, flourished internationally during the 30s and 40s, then waned in the post-World War II era.
When we left South Beach, we accidentally came upon the Ancient Spanish Monestary in Miami. It was originally built in northern Spain starting between 1141 and 1141. In 1925, William Hearst purchased the Cloisters and the outbuildings, dismantled them, packed them in more then 11,000 wooden crates, and brought them to the United States. Due to financial problems, most of his collection was sold. One year after Hearst's death (1952) the remaining crates were bought and assembled by 2 entrepreneurs for use as a tourist attraction. In 1964, Colonel Robert Pentland, Jr., purchased the Cloisters and gave them to the Bishop of Florida. Today the parish Church of St. Bernard de Clairvaux is an active congregation. Tourists can still tour the monestary and the small museum by the gift shop for a fee of $8.
We happened to get there shortly before a wedding was about to start. I couldn't help but snap a picture of the bride as she was getting her bridal pictures taken in the beautiful gardens surrounding the monestary.
Another day we headed the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach. It is a 55-room mansion and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Henry Flagler, one of the founders of Standard Oil and builder of a railroad to Key West, built Whitehall between 1893-1902 for his third wife, Mary Lily Kenan. Flagler died of injuries sustained in falling down a flight of marble stairs at Whitehall in 1913, at the age of 83. Mary Lily died four years later, and the home went to her niece Louise Clisby Wise Lewis, who sold the property to investors. They constructed a 300-room ten story addition to the west side of the building, demolishing Mr. Flagler's offices, the housekeeper's apartment, and altering the original kitchen and pantry area. In 1959, the site was saved from demolition by one of Henry Flagler's granddaughters, Jean Flagler Matthews. She established the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum non-profit corporation which purchased the building in 1959, opening it as a museum in 1960. The upper ten stories of the hotel addition were demolished in 1963 in preparing the museum for the public. We thoroughly enjoyed our audio tour which was included in the $18 admission fee.
Conservatory and Flagler personal train car.
Those were just a few of the 55 rooms in the mansion. I'd love to go back there someday. It's a lot to take in at one time!
On Nov. 2nd we decided to take a day trip to Key West. Determined not to use the toll roads, our long trip was made even longer, but we had a great time. The approximately 400 mile roundtrip took us about 11 hours---with about 8 of that on the road. But it was a pretty drive.
Even the ride back was nice. We stopped along the way to get a few sunset pictures from the Keys.
Our last full day in Pompano, Nov. 3rd, we decided to ride the water taxis in Fort Lauderdale. The fare is rather spendy at $20/person, but the whole trip without getting off is about 3 hours. The fare was good for all day so we chose to get off at one of the 10 stops and have lunch at the 15th Street Fisheries. We had a great lunch on the patio overlooking the small marina.
We boarded the taxi at stop 10, the far end of the route from Fort Lauderdale. Here the houses were rather small in comparison to the ones that we saw later.
The next day Carolyn flew back to her home in Oregon. I dropped her off at the airport and waited for Ken's flight to arrive. He and I spent one more night in Pompano before catching our HAL Eurodam 7 night Eastern Caribbean cruise the next day. Nothing like having a vacation within a vacation! And a great one at that!