Yacht Filled Waterways

Tropical warmth, yacht filled waterways and lush vegetation can mean only one thing. My husband and I have arrived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, often called the Venice of America. If you have been following along, you know that we chose to drive down the east coast on Interstate 95 with stops in  Alexandria, Va. and Charleston, S.C. before reaching our destination of Florida to visit family and friends.

Ft. Lauderdale has long been a destination for people seeking to escape the cold of winter. Made famous in the movie Where the Boys Are, it has long been known as a wild party town for college kids on spring break. The city has worked hard to change that image and it  is now thought of as the yachting capital of the world by people associated with the boating industry.

Yacht Filled Waterways

Many people would choose a hotel on the beach with views of the Atlantic and ocean breezes. If you are young, single, have a perfectly tanned body and are ready to party, then the beach location would be perfect. If you are seeking a more tranquil, laid back Florida vibe with a little luxury, then you would be very happy staying at The Pillars.

We have been staying at smaller, boutique hotels on this trip and The Pillars is perfect. It is a member of the Small Luxury Hotel group and only has eighteen rooms. Instead of being located on the beach, it is located on the Intercoastal Waterway with views of mansions and yachts docked outside the huge homes.

Mansions With Yachts In The Back

The charming hotel is decorated in a modern deco style with dark woods, white walls, large mirrors, black and white photos, and original art. It has a casual yet sophisticated feel. The friendly ambiance and personalized service will keep us coming back to this lovely hotel.

Upon check in, we were offered a glass of wine which we enjoyed poolside with our friends who flew in from Connecticut to meet us. (That explains why we couldn’t stay longer in Alexandria or Charleston.) It is always nice to unwind at the end of a long day of driving and this spot couldn’t have been nicer.

Relaxing Poolside At The End Of A Long Drive

The hotel has a very nice restaurant. If the weather is nice, you can eat out on the dock for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

You Can Eat Dockside On A Nice Day

The evening was very windy and threatening rain so dinner was served inside in the lovely small restaurant. All four of us enjoyed delicious fresh seafood.

Roasted Chilean Sean Bass With Cauliflower

Pan Seared Snapper With Pineapple Rice

Grey And Windy Day Poolside

The next day was cloudy and very windy so it was not a good day for sitting out by the pool. (I know…it is winter and I can’t complain that I can’t sit by the pool. There is snow on the ground and it is freezing at home. I can dream though, can’t I.)  We decided to drive down to Miami Beach and have lunch at the world famous Joe’s Stone Crab restaurant.Joe’s doesn’t take reservations and the wait for dinner can be hours. Tip of the day…go to Joe’s for lunch. Order their famous cole slaw, creamed spinach, hash browns and of course,  their world famous stone crabs with mustard sauce.

The Famous Stone Crab Meal

This is beginning to make up for not getting a little tan today (see…I’m still dreaming). Now there is just one thing left to make this the perfect meal, key lime pie for dessert.

Key Lime Pie

This restaurant has changed over the years, but one thing remains the same…you must go to Joe’s. After you have had your meal or if you must wait for a table, take a walk around the restaurant. There is a lovely courtyard with beautiful tropical plants, antique clocks everywhere and great black and white photos of early Florida.

Photos of Times Past

Our time in Ft. Lauderdale felt like a real vacation.  Now this may sound strange to you but when we travel to Florida we are going to visit family and friends. We lived in Florida for years…it was home. We didn’t do touristy things…it was home. This trip was different because I was with new friends, you my readers.

I wanted to look at Florida through your eyes…as a first time visitor. I hope you have enjoyed this visit as much as I have.

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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65 Responses to Yacht Filled Waterways

  1. Mad Dog says:

    I’ve been there and it really does look like a modern day Venice – I was impressed by the canals. That’s fantastic looking food too and good sized portions!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for your nice comment, Mad Dog. Ft. Lauderdale is fun to see by boat…going up and down all the canals. I don’t know which is more impressive, the large homes or the large yachts.

  2. We drove down A1A from Fernandina Beach to Ft. Lauderdale year before last…an amazing drive and my husband is from Ft. Lauderdale but it was my first trip. It is a very pretty and interesting city. We also drove to Miami to go to Joe’s but it was closed that day (it was around a holiday) so ended up going to a Cuban restaurant. Thanks for taking me back, and we’ll consider the Pillars next trip!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, Thank you for your comment. Driving down A1A along the Atlantic ocean is really beautiful on a sunny day. I think you would enjoy The Pillars…we really did.

  3. ChgoJohn says:

    I, too, have been to Ft. Lauderdale and it, like so much of Florida, has changed greatly over the years. A state cannot accommodate so many new residents without changing at least a little bit. Still, Lauderdale’s canals, the mansions that face them, and the yachts that cruise them, are really something to see. Thanks for taking us along, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, I’m glad you are enjoying the trip. The population explosion has really changed Florida. My husband hates the traffic in south Florida. All of our children live in Florida so we continue to make the journey…but New England is our home now and we love it.

  4. Linda says:

    Welcome to my home!! We are having some dreary weather though this week but hopefully you’ll get a bit of sun for your tan!! So fun to read about where you are and so close to me!!! Did you live near Ft. Lauderdale?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, I have thought of you during this stay in Florida…wondering if we were close. We used to live in Coral Gables, before that in Key Largo. Dreary weather is right. I love that when discussing the weather on TV they refer to the rain as tropical moisture.

  5. Enjoy your vacation Karen! Your pictures look fabulous and I love Charleston! My father lives close by, in Hilton Head, SC, and I loved your take on the city.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lauren, Thank you for stopping by and your nice comment. We are enjoying our trip and Charleston was so nice. I think we will be returning on our way home if the weather is nice.

  6. I´ve never been to Ft. Lauderdale so it was good to get to know it through your post – thank you! The food you ate looked wonderful (and I do remember eating very well in Miami). I know what you mean about seeing it through someone else´s eyes – that is often how I feel when i go back to London now and I love the feeling :)

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Tanya, for your nice comment. It is fun sharing our adventure with people who have never been to wherever we happen to be. I try to see it as they would instead of what I have grown accoustmed to…just like when you are in London. There is definitely some good food to be had in the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale area.

  7. spree says:

    How lovely to see a familiar place with fresh eyes. Very happy to have shared this time with you – thanks for inviting us along!

  8. I love traveling with you! All the luxury without the pricetag or pounds…thank you for that. : ) Next time in Ft. Lauderdale, Joe’s will be a stop–no doubt about it.

    • Karen says:

      I’m glad you like traveling with us Bliss. There will be a few pounds extra when I get home and get on the scale, but there will be plenty of time to take it off. Definitely put Joe’s on the list…it is probably the most famous restaurant in Miami.

  9. You guys should live it up a bit more. Your vacations seem so dull. Ha, that wasn’t in the least convincing was it? Looks like a great time.

    • Karen says:

      Not convincing at all Greg, but you sure did make me laugh. We are having a great time…just wish the weather was sunny but I’m not complaining. It sure does beat snow and cold. We keep hoping we don’t run into snow on the drive home.

  10. France says:

    What a nice trip. My husbands spent a lot of time there growing up but I have yet to visit Florida. I could use a trip like that to get out of the North west cold. The food looks fantastic too!

    • Karen says:

      Hi France, Thank you for your nice compliment. We travel south to visit our children in the winter to get a break from the cold. They travel north to visit us in the summer to get away from the heat. It works out well. The food really has be terrific on the trip. I know the meals won’t all be winners but so far we are doing good.

  11. Judy says:

    Looks lovely and relaxing. We have always enjoyed smaller, more personable places. We have never been to Florida, but would love to see it someday. Thanks for the personal preview.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Judy, Glad you are enjoying our trip down to Florida. A hotel that gives personalized service just makes you want to return again and again. The Pillars is just that kind of a hotel.

  12. What fabulous photos! Am following your trip which is cheering me up as we have snow here! I’ve not been to Florida but I have been to Venice several times and from your photos it does look beautiful. Am loving hearing about the different hotels you are enjoying too! Hope you continue to have a wonderful time.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nikki, Thank you for your comment. Winter and snow can get you down, so it is a nice break for us. I’m happy that you are enjoying the trip with us.

  13. lulu says:

    I’m glad you didn’t leave out Joe’s soft shelled crabs and key lime pie. I grew up in Ft. Myers and know there aren’t many places better for good fresh seafood, but then that’s one of the things I also like about Maine.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Lulu, There is no way to do posts about south Florida and not take everyone to Joe’s. The stone crabs are in season now and just great. You are right…Maine does have wonderful seafood.

  14. Sissi says:

    Karen, your trip sounds is like a dream. Wonderful hotels, gorgeous meals and even meetings with friends… Not to mention the warm weather (even though it wasn’t perfect it’s not freezing Winter!)! Thanks for sharing this trip. I like virtual travels through beautiful photos and fascinating texts.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sissi, I can’t believe the horrible winter that Europe has been experiencing this year. It was fun meeting up with our friends in a place neither one of us live in…we had a good time together. I’m happy that you are enjoying the trip with us.

  15. Cayla says:

    ahhh! i went to Joe’s over thanksgiving… the Chicago location! food was amazing! loved it! Hope you had a great time!! :)

  16. Sue says:

    Even gray and windy, that pool looks inviting. Certainly beats the weather up north.
    Sounds like your having a marvelous time. Enjoy!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sue, The pool was lovely and we did get an hour or two of sun our first day. Not very pretty pictures when the sun isn’t out though. Looking at the weather forecasts, I don’t know if we will get any sun for the rest of the trip. You are right though…it is much better than at home.

  17. I had the good fortune to dine at Joe’s Stone Crab oh-so long ago—1988! But it was a marvelous meal, complete with hash browns, creamed spinach, and that famous mustard sauce. And, lotsa stone crab claws, and good company. You must be having a wonderful vacation. (I love road trips!)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nancy, Thank you…we are having a wonderful vacation. Do you know that the only thing that has changed about Joe’s over the years is the building. They have made it much larger. Other than that, everything is the same. If you are famous and everyone loves with you do…why change.

  18. Purely.. Kay says:

    Okay.. I was falling in love with the architecture of the home and the beautiful yachts of course. And then I saw these delectable and amazing dishes. Yes, my mouth is watering as we speak. Such a great post

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kay, Thank you for your nice compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. There are too many foodies out there…I have to keep photographing the food we are enjoying.

  19. ceciliag says:

    You know honey i know absolutely nothing about Florida, though i know a little more now and thank you for the lovely photos.. How wonderful to be able to stay somewhere lovely and truly appreciate it.. You have a skill for that! c

    • Karen says:

      Hi Celi, Thank you for your nice comment. I have a feeling that if you toured the state of Florida that some of it would remind you a lot of home. We enjoy getting to spend time with all our children…they all live in Florida.

  20. This has been a wonderful trip, Karen. I’ll bet the warm weather (even if it did get turn a little stormy) must have felt good, tan or no tan! We spent a week in Florida and I really felt at home. It is a lot like Southern California, climate anyway, but has it’s own distinct vibe, of course, and I would be quite comfortable there. Thank you for taking us on your trip. Hope we didn’t take up too much room! Debra

  21. Tandy says:

    My grandmother lived in Ft. Lauderdale, in a complex, across the way from the complex her first husband lived in – you have reminded me of her so thank you :)

  22. It’s been awhile since I’ve been back to Florida. I usually visit the West Palm Beach area, but Ft. Lauderdale looks wonderful as well!

  23. Sartenada says:

    How wonderful photos. They bring to my mind memories dating back “hundred” years. Then we were on vacation in West Palm Beach and made many short driving tours around Florida. Thank You presenting these photos.

    Have a wonderful day!

  24. megtraveling says:

    It looks dazzling! And since it’s February, it gives me hope that the warm weather will return eventually… :) Thanks Karen!

  25. Thank you Karen for my trip down memory lane, I remember those waterways and the luxury houses, pools, and yachts so well. In fact it was one of my first sights of Florida as I flew down the coast into Miami. It was a sight to behold.

  26. That brings back fun memories of my Florida life; lived in the Orlando area for a couple of years, but loved taking trips down south for fun and writing — even covered Miami for Nat’l Geo Traveler! I’m a coastal girl through and through! Have fun!

  27. hotlyspiced says:

    Well, the weather wasn’t the best but you found so many great things to do besides lying by the pool. That Joe’s restaurant looks incredible. Love the look of that key lime pie – they sure are generous with the cream! I hope you enjoyed your break from the cold.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charlie Louie, We haven’t been blessed with sunny weather but it is warm. Joe’s is “the” restaurant in Miami that everyone wants to eat at.

  28. Your trip has progressed beautifully hasn’t it. Ft lauderdale looks just as expected it too. I love the dockside dining and the pool. Sad it was a bit grey and dull. Still you managed to eat none the less !

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tania, This hasn’t been a sunny trip but it has been a nice break from the cold. The one thing you have no control over is the weather when traveling.

  29. cabinet stew says:

    Forget about the mansions – I will take a yacht!!
    I do love traveling through your eyes as well, thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, The yachts were gorgeous…I’d like one two. If I’m dreaming, I think I’ll take a house to go along with it. I’m so happy that you enjoy traveling with us. Thanks for the nice comment.

  30. Carolyn Chan says:

    I can totally see why they call it the Venice of America ! That stone crab meal looks wonderful !

  31. Pingback: A Secret No More…The Pillars Hotel | Back Road Journal

  32. What a lovely place to vacation. We have a friend who owns one of those mega mansions. It is indeed a very beautiful area.
    Sam

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sam, Your friends home must be lovely. Every time we visit, another house on the water has been torn down and a huge one built in its place. Lots of changes since we used to lived in Florida.

  33. Oh, stone crab…to die for. I miss my visits to FLA.

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