What? Why is there a post on Florida when you are in Asia? I know what you’re thinking…we’re all over the place. I’m reviving the “My Town Series”, which so far has only had one post. This is a guest post from Caroline over at Caroline Made This – She lives in the Fort Lauderdale area, which I think is more on the travel radar than say Taiwan, which is where Jen and I are right now. Check it out. – Kiki
Caroline take it away…
Florida. The land where grandparents go to retire, Spring Breakers come to get drunk and ridiculous news stories tend to prevail.
What? That’s not your impression too?
When we moved to Ft. Lauderdale nearly 3 years ago so the hubster could start medical school, I never thought my Midwestern soul would adjust and be happy. Even after all my international travels, South Florida was still very much a culture shock. I mean,there’s still a very real possibility of getting kissed on the cheek when you go to shake hands during business meetings because of the heavy Latin American influence here. I always end up looking like the awkward middle schooler who has just been asked to dance for the first time when that happens. “Oh. We’re doing this? Oh. Okay. Be cool.”
I’ve learned to love the Latin American influence here. In fact, my Midwestern heart has really learned to love Fort Lauderdale.
I’m really happy we live here.
Let me tell you why.
Fort Lauderdale often gets overlooked because of it’s big sister to the south, Miami. But I’ve found a certain honest, rustic, Florida charm that I appreciate more than the glitz and glamour of South Beach. In fact, Forbes just named Fort Lauderdale the #2 happiest city for young professionals to live.
We settled in the suburban town of Davie just 10 minutes west of downtown because it was close to the hubster’s school. Even when we had the chance to move closer to downtown last year, we still stuck by our little condo on a golf course with our favorite elderly neighbors. (Plus, it may be the only time we can say we live on a golf course!) Davie is known as a western town, with a rodeo and tons of horseback riding trails.
We specifically chose the neighborhood we now live in because of the recreational areas and parks that surround us. I need a place to run or more accurately, jog at a moderately slow pace. We live on Pine Island Ridge, the highest point in Broward County (so 2 inches above sea level). It has provided, hands down, some of the prettiest running paths I’ve ever run on.
Our favorite bar:
The Mack House is within walking distance of our home. It’s even quicker if you cut through the golf course and get yelled at by elderly neighbors. (Imagine them waving their canes. It’s way funnier.) We stopped in by chance the week The Mack House opened right after we moved here. They had us at the blaring red sign reading, “BREWERY.” Plus, hello, Nintendo.
The obligatory Craft Beer scene:
We were happy to discover that Florida actually has some delicious craft beer. This is coming from a gal who lived in the land of Oberon. But it’s true, the craft beer selection in Florida is fantastic. For a funky taste (pun intended), try the Funky Buddha No Crusts (a peanut butter and jelly explosion in your mouth) or for a beer that packs a seriously delicious punch, try Holy Mackerel Brewery’s Panic Attack. With 10% ABV, it’s a favorite of the hubster’s after a tough exam. Okay, mine too.
There’s never a shortage of culture in South Florida. While some people immediately get defensive hearing another language spoken besides English, I revel in it. My coworkers are a melting pot of Latin American countries and have helped improve my Spanish immensely since moving here. I’ve learned so much about Cuban, Colombian and Venezuelan cultures since being here that I’ll never be able to eat a ham and cheese croquette without thinking of South Florida. Plus can we talk about how fun watching the World Cup was here?!
People, including myself, have said that there’s no way they could go without four seasons and they’d never survive the heat of a Florida summer. Well, I’m living proof that I’ve survived and I’m fantastically okay with an all-the-time season of sunshine and an average temperature of 76 degrees. I made it through 22 Michigan winters, so 3 months of hot and humid weather are okay by me. Plus, air conditioning solves a lot of that dilemma… In all seriousness, I didn’t realize how much grey Michigan days affected my mood until I lived in sunshine year-round.
In Part 2, I’ll be discussing how we spend our free time at the beach and downtown and the many cool things to do there.
Caroline is senior copywriter in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She’s also a part-time globetrotter, half-marathon runner, rejector of keeping up with the Joneses, lover of good beer and expert at British accents. You can find her musings on a spectrum of topics ranging from health and fit-nass to taking you off the beaten path on her travels at Caroline Made This.