Friday, March 15, 2019

Finding fun in fantastic Fort Lauderdale, from fine digs to water taxi

Fort Lauderdale's beautifully renovated Hilton Double Tree Gallery One offers all-suite accommodations, gorgeous
views of the city's famous waterways, a handsomely designed patio for relaxing and dining, fine contemporary artwork and easy access to the city's famed Water Taxi service which makes a regular stop here. Here's the view from our suite. 

On a recent sunny day, Fort Lauderdale's popular Water Taxis were enjoyed
by an international group of tourists happy for this leisurely way to get around.
FORT LAUDERDALE is a city of pleasant surprises.  It has invented itself through the years to become an internationally popular destination for relaxing and enjoying water life.  It has also developed into a world-class shopping paradise, with fine theater, galleries and museums. And just down the road, the Everglades beckon!
Variety is the spice of Fort Lauderdale's allure. We saw the "Hamilton" touring show one night, and listened to a country band the next. Cuban food for one tasty dinner and fine grilled fish at our hotel another evening.
The Bonnet House is near Gallery One, a unique historic home
named after a lily with a fascinating history and manatees. 

It's fun to watch the bridges go up and down in Fort Lauderdale.
Broward County boasts a series of unusual bridges. 
THE HOTELS and eateries are as unique and varied as are the millionaires' homes dotting the canals and waterways.
We based at DoubleTree by Hilton's attractive  Gallery One hotel. The newly renovated property is beautifully designed with pretty public spaces and roomy suites.  It boasts attentive, cordial service from check-in to farewell, and its inviting digs include a cozy bar, top restaurant and happy hour specials.  An eye-popping collection of jazzy contemporary art hangs in both the suites and the public areas.  The welcoming Vue restaurant offers delicious seafood, excellent room service and a platform to showcase  regional artists.  (Bravo for this inventive idea, Gallery One. Let's hope it catches on worldwide.)
No matter how often we fly in to Lauderdale to set sail, we sing the praises of this  exciting yet relaxing town.Where else can you gaze at the water from the 20th floor of a top hotel and in five minutes be on the very water taxi you admired from your balcony?
FORT LAUDERDALE is ever changing. We saw cranes and new construction all along the canals, except in the most exclusive areas where old money and strict zoning laws have kept things much as they were when the sleepy little town's population numbered around 25,000.  Now nearly
Enjoy a leisurely ride on the water past homes where
stars once lived. You might find your dream house.  
200,000 people live here.  Named for a war fortification built in the 1880s, Fort Lauderdale is only a half-hour from bustling Miami, but we prefer a few calming days here in Fort Lauderdale, as we explore the Caribbean, Panama Canal and Central America. We feel "low key" here, yet with "big city" amenities.
Light and water are two of the draws of Fort Lauderdale, where millions
are spent on yachts and mansions yet the city remains pleasantly accessible.
Because we spend a lot of time in our room -- taking photographs, reading, planning our day, writing on deadline -- we insist on a room with a view.  Gallery One delivered in spades.  Because of its unique structure, with many corners and angles facing the waterways, there are beautiful views from many vantage points.
You can contemplate the city's history as you watch the water life below.  Many stars and sports figures keep yachts here.  Stephen Speilberg's was anchored near our hotel. If you're flush, you can rent it for $1 million a month.  But in ages past, the simple kayak was the mode of transportation.
THREE THOUSAND years ago, the Tequesta Indians fished the winding intracoastal waterways of Fort Lauderdale, enjoying the beauty of the waterlilies and living off the bounty of the agricultural land the waters nourished. They glided on kayaks past flamingos and peacocks, tangling with and harvesting the crocodile for their meals.
New construction is everywhere in Fort Lauderdale,
and you can take it all in from the Water Taxi.

They likely enjoyed the friendly presence of the manatee, who still gives birth in the waters that are now part of Fort Lauderdale. We saw two in the waters at the historic Bonnet House.
Famous people have come and gone from the city.  Dozens of movies and TV shows have been filmed here, including many of the episodes of "Miami Vice" and "The Golden Girls." Mayberry's Andy Griffith loved Fort Lauderdale and lived here many years.  Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had a home here and liked to take their small boat out on the canals, enjoying a cocktail or two at sunset.

An alligator takes a leisurely swim across the waters of the Everglades.
UP NEXT: Look in front of the  greenery, a bit left of center. What do you see? Might it be an alligator? Yes, it is, so climb aboard a jet boat with us and venture into the heart of the "river of grass" for an exciting Everglades airboat ride. We'll depart from Fort Lauderdale to the famous  Everglades to show you some of Florida’s exotic wildlife with its miles of gorgeous wetlands. We'll get close up with an alligator while we learn about the beautiful habitat. Meanwhile, remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekends for a fresh look at travel, nature and the arts.


  1. Fun look at a lovely part of the country. Our neighbors, too. Thanks!

  2. We love the Everglades. The unique flora and fauna are second to none in the world and we've been nearly everywhere! Thanks for sharing this with your global readers.

  3. Thoughtfully rendered with nice photos, too. You two get around. We armchair travelers enjoy!

  4. Cruising in ClevelandMarch 16, 2019 at 11:47 AM

    Pretty place and we appreciate the Gallery One recommendation. Will try on our next cruise!

  5. The Bonnet House is a national treasure, as is the entire town. You explained its roots so well. Love this and the photos. Fine job.