May 24, 2018

Sights to See: 5-Hour Layover Tour at Fort Lauderdale Airport


5-Hour Layover Tour at Fort Lauderdale Airport

When you book a cruise out of Fort Lauderdale, you might find yourself getting off the ship in the morning, and with a flight that doesn’t leave until late in the afternoon, like I did.  Cruise lines usually offer some kind of shore excursion to fill that time--perhaps Sawgrass Recreation Park, like my Holland American Line cruise did.  But I’d already been to that venue and wanted to see more of Fort Lauderdale.  So I planned my own itinerary, and it turned out that it worked very well.  Here is how I spent that airport wait time to see more of Fort Lauderdale.

First up was dropping my luggage at the airport.  It is possible to check your bags for a fee, but since I did this after 10 a.m. I was able to check in my bags with my airline--Jet Blue--at no charge.

I kept my carry-on with me and headed out to the transportation area, where I called an Uber.

1.  I was dropped off at the NSU Art Museum (I was almost foiled here, because it didn’t open until 11 a.m.).

Frank Stella show at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Frank Stella show at NSU Art Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


2.  After viewing the show, we headed down a few blocks to the lively center of Las Olas Boulevard and strolled for a while, browsing shops and galleries.

Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


3.  We stopped for lunch at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante for my husband’s birthday lunch.  We did some people watching and enjoyed a tasty meal.

interior of Louie Bossi's Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
interior of Louie Bossi's Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


4.  Though I had wanted to tour the 1901 Stranahan House Museum--it is the oldest house in Fort Lauderdale--the timing was not right for us, so instead we rested on a bench under a huge sea grape tree in the front yard and called for an Uber pick-up.  We returned to the airport a little early.

exterior of Stranahan House Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
exterior of Stranahan House Museum in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


The Uber cost about $11 each way.


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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers

May 22, 2018

Things to Do: Graycliff; Nassau, Bahamas


Graycliff  West Hill St.  Situated on a residential street and next door to Government House, this historic colonial mansion is set amid lush tropical gardens.  It features many attractions as well as a tranquil oasis of a hotel (20 rooms; 2 pools; fitness center) with an unusual amenity--one of the largest menus of bottled water in the world (guests have a choice of more than 50 brands of sparkling and natural bottled water).  It also has the Caribbean’s first 5-star restaurant.

dining room of Graycliff restaurant in Nassau, Bahamas
dining room of Graycliff restaurant in Nassau, Bahamas


●The Heritage and History of the Bahamas shore excursion tour fits in most of these sites; $45 per adult.

Graycliff Chocolatier chocolate factory  I have such delicious memories of this tour that while I was writing about it here, I had to hit my chocolate stash.  Pay attention to my hard-learned words of wisdom:  Always eat chocolate right away.  Apparently some of my stash had been stashed too long, and it actually didn’t taste good!  Was I ever disappointed!  The chocolate factory here provides the opportunity to see the entire process and to do some sampling.

Graycliff chocolate factory tour in Nassau, Bahamas
Graycliff chocolate factory tour in Nassau, Bahamas






Graycliff chocolate factory tour in Nassau, Bahamas
Graycliff chocolate factory tour in Nassau, Bahamas


chocolates on Graycliff chocolate factory tour in Nassau, Bahamas
chocolates on Graycliff chocolate factory tour in Nassau, Bahamas


The Graycliff Cigar Company  Production began here in 1997 with a single human roller working in the foyer of the restaurant.  That modest start has expanded into an award-winning boutique cigar company with 16 master rollers, or torcedores, each an expert in their various format.  This company now produces five cigar brands.  Guests can arrange to take a cigar-rolling lesson.

Graycliff Cigar Company factory tour in Nassau, Bahamas
Graycliff Cigar Company factory tour in Nassau, Bahamas


thumbs up on Graycliff Cigar Company factory tour in Nassau, Bahamas
thumbs up on Graycliff Cigar Company factory tour in Nassau, Bahamas





Bahama Barrels  Housed in one of the oldest and most historical buildings in the Bahamas--a charming little church built in 1937--this winery’s owner jokes that it “went from one kind of spirit to another.”  The first winery in the Bahamas, it blends wines from grapes produced in other countries.  Guests can taste in a small tasting room and can also arrange to blend and bottle their own bottle of wine to memorialize their visit.

wine bottles and barrels at Bahama Barrels winery at Graycliff in Nassau, Bahamas
wine bottles and barrels at Bahama Barrels winery at Graycliff in Nassau, Bahamas


tasting room at Bahama Barrels winery in Nassau, Bahamas
tasting room at Bahama Barrels winery at Graycliff in Nassau, Bahamas


charming pourer in tasting room at Bahama Barrels winery in Nassau, Bahamas
charming pourer in tasting room at Bahama Barrels winery at Graycliff in Nassau, Bahamas


The Heritage Museum of The Bahamas  Located within the historic Mountbatten House, this museum opened in 2014.  It offers visitors an in-depth look at the history and heritage of the Bahamas, ranging from the pre-historic times to today.  The majority of the collection is owned by British antiques collector Hamilton White.  It covers Columbus, the piracy era, slavery and plantation life, the days of the Duke of Windsor, and the Royal Air Force.  The oldest artifact is a piece of a meteorite that is approximately 4.5 billion years old.

exterior of The Heritage Museum of The Bahamas at Graycliff in Nassau, Bahamas
exterior of The Heritage Museum of The Bahamas at Graycliff in Nassau, Bahamas


colorful pirate mural at The Heritage Museum of The Bahamas at Graycliff in Nassau, Bahamas
colorful pirate mural at The Heritage Museum of The Bahamas at Graycliff in Nassau, Bahamas


whale bladder canteen at The Heritage Museum of The Bahamas at Graycliff in Nassau, Bahamas
whale bladder canteen at The Heritage Museum of The Bahamas at Graycliff in Nassau, Bahamas


The Graycliff Heritage Village Artists Studios  Set in the restored Sisters of Charity nun's dormitory, these independently operated studios permit guests to meet and interact with talented local artisans and purchase locally created art pieces.  Artists work in a variety of mediums, including jewelry, paintings, photography, and pottery, as well as shell-carved ornaments and sneakers made from straw.

The Drawbridge Patisserie  Located at Mountbatten House, this patisserie serves a selection of housemade pastries and gelato.



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images and videos ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers 

May 18, 2018

Good Eats: Louie Bossi’s Ristorante, Fort Lauderdale, Florida


Louie Bossi’s Ristorante  1032 E Las Olas Blvd./SE 10th Terr., (954) 356-6699.  L-D daily.  We were lured in by the sheltered yet open-air, sidewalk-side seating.  That the Italian cuisine was so delicious was a pleasant bonus.  Turns out, all manner of seating is available, including in a leafy back garden.  It was lunch time, but instead of a panini or salad, we opted to share a tasty pasta fagioli soup and a gigantic portion of divine short rigatoni alla Bolognese (on the extensive menu, the pastas here are sorted into “long” and “short”).  Almost everything is made fresh in house--pasta, bread, pastries, cookies, gelatos.  For all the world, this Italian retreat has the atmosphere of a place that has been around forever.  But actually, it opened only in 2015!  Mama mia!  I look forward to returning next time I’m in town!

Louie Bossi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

entrance to Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
entrance to Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


dining room at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
dining room at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


open-air dining at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
open-air dining at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


wall of fame at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
wall of fame at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


back patio at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
back patio at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


complimentary bread basket at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
complimentary bread basket at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


fagioli soup at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
fagioli soup at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


rigatoni alla Bolognese at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
rigatoni alla Bolognese at Louie Bossi’s Ristorante in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


More things to do in Fort Lauderdale.

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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


May 15, 2018

Good Eats: Shooters Waterfront, Fort Lauderdale, Florida


Shooters Waterfront  3033 NE 32 Ave., (954) 566-2855.  With many seating areas to choose from, I’d opt for the waterfront patio every time.  Maybe even in the rain--if it ever rains in this town.  Out there, twinkling lights decorate the tall palm trees and you can watch yachts pull up and unload.  Popular menu choices include coconut shrimp, lobster roll, and fried calamari but also items such as butternut squash soup and flatbread.  The night’s fish plate special is usually a stellar choice--think cashew-crusted mahi with sticky rice and red Thai coconut curry sauce, or seared red snapper with fingerling potatoes and a fennel crushed tomato medley.  Cocktails and live music are also a big part of the fun, and Sunday brunch must be simply divine.  This popular spot has been here since 1982, making it pretty much a local institution.

waterfront patio at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
waterfront patio at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


palm tree at night at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
palm tree at night at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


calamari at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
calamari at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


salad at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
salad at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


flat bread at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
flat bread at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


mahi mahi at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
mahi mahi at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida


flan at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
flan at Shooters Waterfront in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Shooters Waterfront Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers


May 3, 2018

Things to Do: Sawgrass Recreation Park, Weston, Florida


Sawgrass Recreation Park  1006 N. US Hwy. 27, Weston, (954) 389-0202; www.evergladestours.com.  Though this family-owned and -operated attraction is located way out there, the experience is well worth the journey.  It includes a 30-minute airboat tour through the swamp grass of the Florida Everglades.  Though the fastest they go is 40 m.p.h., it feels more like 100 m.p.h., so hold on to your hat!  The amiable guides pass along some history and do their best to get you up close to the native wildlife.  Our captain took us to a fabulous spot where he stopped the boat and let us enjoy viewing several alligators, plenty of grackle birds (which are nicknamed “sky rats”), and some big turtles.  After, we toured the facility’s Exotic Wildlife exhibit--a small zoo that displays pythons and iguanas as well as the famous 1,000-pound alligator known as Cannibal.  We also saw the endangered Florida Panther in several hues, plus a too-cute big-eared fennec fox.  Also in the complex, the Gator Grill snack bar serves up gator tacos.  This is a popular shore excursion tour with cruise ships.


speeding airboat at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
speeding airboat at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



driver/guide at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
driver/guide at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



tour group at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
tour group at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



alligator plus grackel bird at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
alligator plus grackel bird at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



alligator at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
alligator at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



bird resting on sawgrass at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
bird resting on sawgrass at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



sea turtle at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
sea turtle at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



python in zoo at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
python in zoo at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



iguana in zoo at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
iguana in zoo at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



sign description of Cannibal the alligator in zoo at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
sign description of Cannibal the alligator in zoo at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



Cannibal the alligator in zoo at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
Cannibal the alligator in zoo at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



yawning black panther in zoo at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
yawning black panther in zoo at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



fennec fox in zoo at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida
fennec fox in zoo at Sawgrass Recreation Park in Weston, Florida



Things to do in nearby Fort Lauderdale.

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images ©2018 Carole Terwilliger Meyers