Florida. Livable Community.

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So my travels have begun with Florida. Florida is a place that I have been in and out of a few times for equestrian related things in my long ago past but I never really got to see it and never have I been to Hollywood or Miami where I’ve been able to go this Spring/Summer. Btw, anybody know any ideas on natural safe sunblock? I can’t stand slathering cancer causing chemicals on my skin only to prevent cancer but even staying covered up my skin is needing it here.
I am meeting family and playing tourist and living the food, art, walkability, of the community.

I am still surprised not to see much of a biking community here (In Hollywood area mostly) though the traffic, round abouts roads and such are a little scary. Though Miami Beach and St. Augustine, Florida are listed on Wikipedia as car-free communities in the world. And I have found Hollywood and Miami Beach to be incredibly walkable with a decent pubic transport. The grocery is easier and closer to get to than Galveston for me and the sidewalks and safe neigborhoods give me no reason to see why you couldn’t live car-free here.

The Street list’s Miami as a car-free place to retire.
But not everybody likes the Heat either.
I am a huge fan of both mid-century and art-deco architecture and living by the water. The water ways here are so awesome and the way it is but and laid out is just really…well thought I think. There are more yachts then boats and the amount of sailboats has me swooning.

I have lost some of my pictures from this trip but will take some more. Frankly I can’t get enough. It is so sunny and pretty here and the entire state seems to well thought out. From living young or retired to vacation and tourism to shops, Entertainment and restaurants and parks and greespace and on the water life and fun.

The food is very affordable. I have been really surprised, though Joe keeps reminding me that I live on what we call “Island Prices” back in Galveston. In one other comparison is how different the menu’s are from restaurant to restaurant and in a two bock radius there are no less than forty restaurants. The island really offers very little in type and then on top of that the problem there is that each place has the same menu…and usually even the same cooks who have rotated around to each place. Small town living. Sigh. I am not trying to bash but there it is.I love it. Sometimes I want to fix it. Like a bad relationship.

Joe and I have loved it here and got really interested in the thought of investing in a home here. We are still looking into that and I am still trying to figure out why so many homes are in foreclosure but also something about not being forced to move once you are? Not sure so if anybody can shed some light that would be great. Aside from foreclosure we are finding beautiful homes for half the price they would be on the island. Not bad at all…and swoon…many mid-century or art-deco ! And pools!

I’ve been a bit surprised by having read that a lot of people say that there is no diversity here….as in no Asian or Indian, very little African-American or black and mostly Spanish. I have found a wide variety of Spanish from all kinds of places (Cuba being only one) and a lot of Jamaican and Thai and even Indian (maybe not as much in restaurants is all.) Though Spanish is probably the heaviest of all of those it seems pretty even with white. Of course for me I change and travel to a lot of places and each place will be heavier in one or two than another so it doesn’t freak me out or even bother me. It just seems to be a heavy topic when looking things up about Florida on the www and an observation.

And how I love the Cuban’s for the food….my heart belongs to the Cubano sandwich.
BTW, a really cute recommended movie is the Chef , but be ready to be hungry is you watch it. It’s on Netflix.
I AM very pleasantly surprised at the huge artistic community that Florida offers, especially in the Hollywood area. There are Artwalks here and not far there is a (soon to be visited) Artist Lofts of Artspace. The parks and greenspace really blows me away…and the tree’s ! It’s very family friendly here but seemes a very bend of young and single, older and retired, lower and very upper class, family and children, business and art. I am still hunting out some live local music spots that aren’t about and for the tourists.

We haven’t headed to the keys yet and are actually planning to come back in winter for that and head up to Chicago before snow weather happens. But there is still so much more to see in Florida and cant do it all in one trip.

The trailer home parks and tiny old motels still fascinate me. The historic preservation . Especially in a hurricane hit state.
The colors…oh my…the colors.

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Florida Living. Food. Library. Coffee. Trees.

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I have lived in Galveston for six years and one of the things that brought me there was the architecture (more of the industrial and Down Town than the Victorian), and now it’s onto other travels and adventures and my first place, Hollywood, Florida, has really offered me a lot on the architectural front.

Not only that but the preservation that amazes me and the mid-century and art-deco that are my favorites. The city lay out (Hollywood, Miami especially which include the greenspaces, parks, trees, restaurants and shops, outside seating, bike boardwalks at the beach, a large spread of beach (and wash off systems and public bathrooms at the beach, which if Galveston took a lesson means that people will actually come off the beach to shop and eat at restaurants), the fact that they have recycling bins at the beach (eh hem, Galveston, stop making me compare.) And they have a more set up trash system at the beach which I see working for keeping it clean and making people care more than what I have seen in Galveston.

The boating, houses on water ways and the waterway/canals are so awesome and everything…traffic to boats to parks to beach to Down Town all seem to blend so easily. The bright and clean look of it here strikes me (on stucco and in the humid weather), and the art, and the recycling at the beaches, show that the city and the people put a lot into the beauty of Florida. There is seriously no dirty here. Everything is shiny, colorful and bright, and clean.

There is much to explore, and here I am absorbing it all.

The street art, artistic community of Hollywood, Florida, and the parks built for art are really awesome. The Art Park has an event just about every night and is only a bock away from where I stay, it’s beautiful with the most amazing huge trees by day, great picnic and reading. Classic Car shows, a Food Truck night, food and wine festivals, an Artwalk and more, every night. They have an entire gallery and stage building built just for glass blowing and have live shows as well as “make your own”. The city obviously puts a lot of money and focus into the artistic community and it’s a great blend of retired, young adult, families, and artists, and business. There are also a lot of art galleries and studios around here, too.

I’ve lost some of my pics but will try and replace/retake.

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In awe of Houston.

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I am off on other travels and experiences, but before doing so I had realized that in my time living back in Texas as an adult, rather than when I did as a child, and my six years on Galveston Island, I had not taken advantage fully of all the the big city of Houston had to offer.

When I first moved here I had been newly from many other travels after having left California. I had spent many days jumping on the metro bus system and letting it take me where it took me. I wandered all over Houston, exploring by myself. And yet I still never saw nearly at all what it had to offer. My favorite place was actually on the bus, people watching. People on the way to work, or tired after their day from it. I also explored the Down Town Houston Library. Bliss. And so very a place to visit. Museum like in its-self. Funny how public libraries are far from only stuffy shelves of books but often places in themselves a tourist attraction (Another reason to keep them open.) And always a place of learning and exploration.

 

I’d worked in Houston but my experience then was much of driving in traffic to and from work. Never something that makes a person fond of a busy city full of millions of people…doing the same thing, at about the same time. I had the chance to see inside a lot of beautiful homes, however, and the bliss of some of the architecture and design had me swooning. I then have spent years wrapped up in Galveston and recently decided to begin exploring Houston again before I left Galveston and Houston. I took my camera with me and foot to pavement or ride around usually as passenger with J as we let ourselves get lost and my camera often to my eye.

Enjoying many foods in Houston has been a fun thing, Galveston is pretty limited and there is much to explore in just the foods of Houston. Anthony Bourdain recently had much to say about Houston and what food cuture here teaches us, in Houstonia Magazine

My favorite go to for crunchy taco’s is still Taco’s A Go-Go, discovered years ago when up here for live music.

Which takes me to discuss the live music available in Houston. Aside from the amazing theaters they offer for music concerts, plays, dances, opera and more, the local live music scene here is hard to beat and not one to pass over.

Ellago Band

Wild Moccasins.

Two Star Symphony

And so many more. You can catch some great ones here.

But I also love the Museum Days and the days exploring the greenways, parks, gardens, and outdoors that this huge wide spread city has to offer. I’ve gone to many, spent hours tiring my feet out walking through them, and have yet to even begin touching on all that is available here.

The history of Houston, economics, and politics have always fascinated me. It is the home-base where my grandparents taught me of such things growing up. The first woman in office for me to ever know and learn about almost intimately was here, and also Houstons first female mayor, Kathryn Witmire. Not only did the decade of my birth bring Houstons first female Mayor, but also the first woman elected into any office in the city of Houston. A city built on oil….a good ol’ boys game. And women have played the game well ever since in creating the city of Houston into what it is today. One that goes far beyond the oil.

It is, a city of opportunity.

The city built on industry has turned into one now in the economy of some of the largest in multiple industries. The arts are hard to rival and between the arts, museums, music from rock to classic, big stage to local, foods, colleges, innovation, and melting pot of it all, this city has a lot to show you. Economy and industry are strong in too many fields to list. The Arts, Medical, Communications, Law, and so many that have nothing at all to do with oil, still a strong economy for us. Houston is a city that will never fold, never fail, never die.

So how could I leave before I had a chance to explore? To become reacquainted? to see the city that my grandparents had moved to? And the largest city near where I was raised during childhood with parents who had a love of museums?

I spent afternoons walking walking the streets, would turn each corner, stare up at the skyscrapers and revel at the architecture of such a new city, such a new place, one that sets perfect example of what can be started from very little or even nothing and beat all odds. And I am in awe.

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