Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fort Lauderdale by water taxi -- a relaxing way to see the sights, homes, foliage

GET A BIRD'S EYE GLIMPSE OF THE HOMES AND LIFESTYLE OF THE FILTHY RICH
Fort Lauderdale's famous Water Taxi takes tourists and locals on the city's famous waterways, with ease and beauty. 

STORY By CHRISTENE MEYERS
PHOTOS By BRUCE KELLER

DECADES AGO -- before the white man set foot here --  water was the only way to get around in what is now Fort Lauderdale.
It's still the most relaxing, prettiest and most interesting way to see the sights.
One sees the beautiful back yards of the mansions from the canals.
If you love star gossip and wouldn't shy from a glimpse of the rich and famous, Fort Lauderdale's your place.
NFL stars, singers, musicians, actors, writers and, yes, porn stars invested in Fort Lauderdale.
TO YOUR LEFT ladies and gentlemen:  that's where Sonny and Cher lived for years.
Down the way, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz loved their little white home on the corner. Andy Griffith lived nearby.  He loved to come out in his own boat. ("Little" in Lauderdale may mean 5,000 square feet, so keep that in mind.)
Over there -- that's the palatial estate where many "Magnum P.I." episodes were shot. There's the home of an oil sheik from Saudi Arabia.  He bought his daughter a little place down the canal for a wedding gift last fall.
WE'VE BEEN to Fort Lauderdale many times, always on the prowl for new adventures.
Fort Lauderdale at night is aglow with street and water traffic.
The town has exciting nightlife, beautiful waterfront dining, and gorgeous shops on fashionable Las Olas Boulevard, the Rodeo Drive of southern Florida.
But the town's Intracoastal Waterway system makes its canals a unique and beautiful way to see the sights. You'll learn the city's history from the draw bridges of the historic Esplanade area, to the "spring break" beaches, resort areas, new homes and stately old ones.
WHETHER YOU want history, scenery, eateries or a blend, Fort Lauderdale's Water Taxi service will deliver.  Its main route travels in two directions, upbound and downbound.
Is this croc for real?  See for yourself on Fort Lauderdale's water taxi.
DOWNBOUND takes you down to the New River, and the downtown Fort Lauderdale and the trendy yet historic Las Olas area. Upbound takes you “up” north, towards the Galleria Mall and Shooters Restaurant. The Hollywood Route, heads south to Hollywood Beach, the young crowd and beach life.
It's a thrill to move via water taxi under one of the several Fort Lauderdale bridges.
WE'VE HOPPED on and off many times and have always had entertaining, helpful crew. They know their stuff, like to chat about the locals and their mansions, and help you get where you need to go.
In fact, the crew will happily help you plan your time in Fort Lauderdale, as you cruise past the town's sites. They know the history, the mansions, the stars, the sales prices and new and former owners of the sleek mega yachts. They share tips on the hottest restaurants, bars and attractions steps from water taxi stops. They offer discounts at the eateries and attractions for water taxi travelers.

THE FORT Lauderdale Water Taxi runs year-round, closing only Christmas Day. During the huge upcoming Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, service will be limited because the waterways are the main boat show venues.

Fort Lauderdale's water life is at the heart of the city.
 THE WATER taxis glide by the town's exciting nightlife, outdoor eateries, the famous shops of Las Olas Boulevard, beautiful beaches, yacht clubs and majestic cruise ships traveling in and out of Port Everglades. Nothing worldwide compares to Fort Lauderdale's Intracoastal Waterway. Its lovely canals are so unique and beautiful, they have earned Fort Lauderdale the moniker “Venice of America.” Water Taxi is the best way to see them!

Cookie waits in the wind for
a water taxi to take her to dinner.
Violinist Yale Strom got a standing
ovation at last year's klezmer summit!
THE WATER Taxi can also take you to Hollywood! Hop on in Fort Lauderdale at Stop 5 -- The Hilton Marina/Convention Center -- and hop off in the heart of Hollywood Beach, steps from fabulous dockside eateries. The Hollywood trip allows visitors to transfer in Fort Lauderdale. And when much of the world is snow-covered, the Hollywood Water Taxi is prepared for any weather.  It runs December through April and features a cabin with both air conditioning and heat, a full bar, snacks and restrooms.

NEXT UP: Highlights from the annual Lipinsky Jewish Arts Festival, which again features the talents of Yale Strom and other gifted musicians.  Saturday's post shares highlights and concert times on the Lyceum stage in downtown San Diego.

Flamingos abound in their brilliant plumage, and we visit them next.














ON TAP: Fort Lauderdale's wildlife and flowers are world famous. Bonnet House beckons, with gorgeous gardens and the inspiration for the estate's name, the bonnet lily. In mid-Ft. Lauderdale sits a verdant acreage and home, show piece of a history-minded, arts loving family who gave it to Florida. Lauderdale has the bustle and hustle of a beach town, but with playful flamingos, crocodiles and a wildlife refuge. How does nature survive and thrive among high rises, condos and mega-mansions. The welcoming Hyatt Pier 66 puts us in the center of the action.  We're about adventure tips with a sense of fun so take time to explore, learn and live. Visit us Wednesdays, weekends and as the muse invites, at www.whereiscookie.com 








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