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Thursday, May 31, 2012

THE OLTRARNO -- IT'S WHERE YOU WANT TO BE


An Artisan Walk Through the Oltrarno Quarter

We strongly recommended staying in the Oltrarno (the district south of the River Arno) when visiting Florence

You can pick an apartment close to the Pitti Palace, Ponte Vecchio and Santo Spirito, but you can still shop at local groceries, dine at less touristy trattorias, shop at the workshops of true artisans and people watch in small piazas populated by locals.

The brilliant folks at EveryTrail.com have come up with an exquisite 0.5 KM, one- to three-our stroll "through the narrow streets of this neighborhood that feature unique studios."

In the words of EveryTrail:

"Overview: Florence’s Oltrarno district is known for its artisans—"artigiani" in Italian—a dying breed of creative hands that carry on centuries' worth of Florentine traditions. 

From bookbinders to sculptors to metalworkers and gold-gilders, the little maze of streets between the Ponte Vecchio and Santo Spirito are quietly off the beaten track, overlooked by most visitors.

It’s a wonderful neighborhood to explore and get a peek into another era.

Some of these workshops look like something straight out of the Renaissance. 

While you are here, visit some of the great little cafes in the area. 

Also in this neighborhood are the Pitti Palace’s beautiful galleries—a visit here would complement this artisan trail that looks at the decorative arts in Florence.

Tips:
Note that Florence has a unique address system! Any street number with an "r" after it means "red." 

Look for red-colored numbers, which usually signify a business. 

Any numbers written in blue or black are usually a residence.

This means any street could have two separate places with the same number, one black, one red and they are not always near each other!

The best time for this walk is morning, from 9am to 12:30pm or the afternoon up until 7:30pm. 

Artisans usually have a schedule much like office hours—that is, Monday to Friday, but some will probably also be open on a Saturday morning. 

Try not to do this walk around lunchtime, as most will be closed from 12:30 to 3:30pm.

The Pitti Palace is also a wonderful place to explore and if you wanted to beef up this trail, visit the Silver Museum, the Costume Gallery or the Palatina Gallery of the Pitti Palace for more."

http://www.everytrail.com/guide/an-artisan-walk-through-the-oltrarno-quarter 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

FLORENCE RESTAURANT GUIDE




FLORENCE EATS FROM THE VIEWPOINT OF STUDENTS

Restaurants in Florence is a straightforward guide to Tuscan Cuisine.  In the website's own words:

"Before coming in Florence perhaps your main thinking weren't only directed toward the world famous masterpieces such as the paintings of Leonardo, the sculptures of Michelangelo, or the projects of Brunelleschi....

Restaurantsinflorence.com the best selection of Italian and International restaurants, pubs, bars, pizzerias, ice cream shops, all with direct links to their official websites and to their social networks (where available). 

We at restaurantsinflorence.com know that your interests toward the Italian cuisine masterpieces competes with your interests toward the Florentine art...and we understand you!!

The pleasure of a good dinner in an excellent pizzeria can, without doubts, challenge the intellectual satisfaction of visiting the main masterpieces of the town: a good Chianti can give you the same joy of the view of a beautiful Leonardo da Vinci painting, the famous "bistecca alla fiorentina" can surely compete with all the sculptures of Michelangelo and the view of a real Italian tiramisu can give to you no less interior happiness than the view of a beautiful Tuscan landscape.

In Florence you can find very good place where you can spend little money...the very important thing is to go off the tourist main beaten road!!!

We'll indicate to you the places where the real Florentines prefer to go, places where you can find the best quality for a fair price.

We've even inserted some of the very best restaurants They can cost a lot of money but, once in a life, you should do this experience.

www.restaurantsinflorence.com




Tuesday, May 29, 2012

TRATTORIA DA BENVENUTO, FLORENCE ITALY -- PART 2


TRATTORIA DA BENVENUTO, FLORENCE ITALY

Everything on the menu, including the wine, is amazingly affordable considering the quality and love that goes into each dish.

The kindly owner, using his limited English, surprised us with a delightful mascarpone cheese cake with fresh berries.  We really didn't have room to split one, let alone two generous slices. 

But hey, it was vacation, so we sinned with the rich mascarpone, trying to convince ourselves that the healthy fresh berries would balance out our indulgence.

One side note of interest to people with disabilities. My wife uses a wheelchair and the kind folks at Benvenuto helped her through the accessible entrance and seated her with no problems. The  restroom is not perfect, but that is often the case in centuries-old buildings in a city whose very well-intended preservation rules make it difficult to remodel even for wheelchair access.

Address: Via della Mosca 16/r, Florence, Italy
Comparison: less expensive than average
Directions: Not far from Piazza della Signoria
Phone: 055/214833
Price: US$11-20
Rating: 5
Theme: Italian

Monday, May 28, 2012

Trattoria da Benvenuto


TRATTORIA DA BENVENUTO, FLORENCE ITALY
Dining at Trattoria da Benvenuto is like being invited over to an Italian chef's house for dinner -- with the seating right in his kitchen.

We opened with the world's best and simple crostini of cheese, tomato and a single black olive on some small pieces of wonderful Tuscan bread.

It was our first full day in Florence and we had been thoroughly warned about the tourist traps right on the lovely Piazza della Signoria, many of which serve over priced mediocre food to visitors exhausted from a visit to the art treasures in the Uffizi.

Benvenuto is very close to the Piazza, but just far enough away to feel like a friendly diner where the locals gather for straightforward Italian home cooking.

We opened with a primi of spaghetti with hot pepper flakes -- perfectly al dente and with just a little hint of fire to separate it from typical red sauce.

Secondi was a whole sea bass -- grilled and served with broth, potatoes, zucchini and onion. The no-nonsense server expertly pried skin and bone off the wonderful fish like and made sure the every drop of savory broth made it onto the plate.

Our  other secondi was a soothing plate of rigatoni with eggplant. Like everything at Benvenuto, it was super unpretentious while being perfectly cooked, spiced and portioned.  

The house red blended well with our self-selected mini-grazing menu. Everything on the menu, including the wine, is amazingly affordable considering the quality and love that goes into each dish.

The kindly owner, using his limited English, surprised us with a delightful mascarpone cheese cake with fresh berries.  We really didn't have room to split one, let alone two generous slices. 

But hey, it was vacation, so we sinned with the rich mascarpone, trying to convince ourselves that the healthy fresh berries would balance out our indulgence.

One side note of interest to people with disabilities. My wife uses a wheelchair and the kind folks at Benvenuto helped her through the accessible entrance and seated her with no problems. The  restroom is not perfect, but that is often the case in centuries-old buildings in a city whose very well-intended preservation rules make it difficult to remodel even for wheelchair access.

Address: Via della Mosca 16/r, Florence, Italy
Comparison: less expensive than average
Directions: Not far from Piazza della Signoria
Phone: 055/214833
Price: US$11-20
Rating: 5
Theme: Italian

Sunday, May 27, 2012

FLORENCE WITHOUT BARRIERS



WHEELCHAIR-ACCESSIBLE FIRENZE

Overall, we are very impressed with the amount of ramps and elevators for help with getting inside and around such ancient treasures in the historic city of Florence.

The biggest difficulty is the bumpy stones on the sidewalks and pedestrian parts of the Piazzas. 

It is a difficult merger of historic preservation that makes the wheelchair ride very bumpy and painful for Heidi's arthritic bones.

But the good access far outweighs the bad and one can use taxis and accessible city buses to cut down on the distance bumped over stones from point A to point B.

The City of Florence's website says it best, when it explains access and challenges this way:

"Like all historical places, also Florence, at first glance, presents objective difficulties for visitors with mobility challenges: narrow sidewalks, the old “sampietrini” pavements on many of the small streets in the centre, stairways and steps, all certainly picturesque but not very practicable."

The City's website, in pretty decent English translations, has "practical suggestions to help travelers with disabilities enjoy their vacation in safety and comfort, including hotels and restaurants, parking lots with reserved spaces, the museums and churches with easy access, as well as suggestions for visits in the city and in the surrounding territory."

Check out the website (and be sure to click on the "Getting Around in Florence" tab - it has a wealth of information):
http://www.firenzeturismo.it/en/florence-accessible/florence-without-barriers.html

Saturday, May 26, 2012

WHEELCHAIR ACCESS ITINERARY IN FABLED FIRENZE






WHEELCHAIR ACCESS ITINERARY IN FABLED FIRENZE

The famous Ponte Vecchio (old bridge, pictured above lined with shops) is wheelchair-accessible.

But it is crowded, so watch out for window shoppers bumping into you as you bump along less than smooth sidewalks, or the less than smooth roadway (it's safe, no vehicles are allowed on the road.)

The Ponte alle Grazie bridge is less picturesque, but more wheelchair-friendly for commuting between the Oltrarno and Santa Croce's wealth of restaurants, markets, shops and art.

While the Ponte alle Grazie is east of the famed Ponte Vecchio, the Ponte Santa Trinita is a plain vanilla bridge west of the old bridge. 

It provides perfect barrier-free transport over the River Arno between the Oltrarno and central city attractions such as the Via Tornabuoni luxury shopping street, San Lorenzo church and Palazzo Strozi museum.

The fine folks at Turismo Toscana have put together a great one-day itinerary of  barrier-free exploring.

In their words"

"Some of Florence’s most beautiful areas and monuments that can be visited each day: here are the monuments and the beauties of the city that are accessible to disabled visitors.

Places that are accessible to the disabled:Palazzo Vecchio – Ponte Vecchio – Palazzo Davanzati - Duomo – Museo dell’Opera del Duomo - Palazzo Medici Riccardi – Museo di San Marco – Orto Botanico - Giardino dei Semplici - Galleria dell’Accademia."

For the full itinerary, step-by-step, visit their website at:
 
http://www.turismo.intoscana.it/intoscana2/export/TurismoRTen/sito-TurismoRTen/Contenuti/Itinerari/visualizza_asset.html_1107602141.html

Friday, May 25, 2012

LET ME TELL YOU A FLORENTINE SECRET


BARRIER-FREE BARGAINS IN FLORENCE

Here's a secret for disabled travelers in Florence.

Well, maybe it's not a secret, but it sure took us a long time to find out about this great deal.

The secret?  Just about every major museum allows disabled visitors and one guest to enter free.

Not only does this save you hundreds of euros over the course of a two-week visit, it also helps you cut the line.

Remember, in the busy summer, lines to get into the Uffizi can wrap around the gallery.

If you don't have a reservation, you might wait for three to four ours to get in.

But staff members have eagle eyes when it comes to wheelchair-using guests.  

Not only do they point you to ramps and accessible entrances, but they also bring you a pair of complimentary tickets in no time.

It's the greatest deal going. 

We used it at the Uffizi, Duomo, Acadamia, Duomo, Basilica Santa Croce, Pitti Palace and several smaller museums and historic churches.




Thursday, May 24, 2012

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY IN FLORENCE


THANK GOODNESS WE DIDN'T 
HAVE TO USE THESE CONTACTS

BUT IF YOU ARE A WHEELCHAIR USER, IT'S GOOD TO KNOW THAT YOU CAN GET A WHEELCHAIR REPAIR 
OR SEE A DOCTOR WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH

Unlike some other trips, when stupid ground crews have tossed Heidi's lightweight wheelchair around like a loaf of bread -- and we've landed in an exotic local with a broken wheel, footrest or seat support -- our two weeks in Tuscany were uneventful.

But we did our research before flying overseas and here are some crucial contacts:

FOR WHEELCHAIR REPAIRS:
Ortopedia Dei Giovanni
Via Pisana, 71/r  50100 - FIRENZE  (in the Oltrarno)

They are open Monday-Friday 9.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Saturdays they are open
9.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
 
The phone is +39 055 224090 and the website is: www.ortopediadei.it

The email (and someone will answer you in English if you write to them in English) is:


FOR AN ENGLISH SPEAKING DOCTOR IN THE CENTRAL CITY:
Dr. Stephen Kerr
Office:    Piazza Mercato Nuovo 1, 50123 Florence; Tel and Fax: 055/288055
Cell: 335/836-1682
E-mail at website
www.dr-kerr.com 
 
Office hours: Clinic by appointment: weekday mornings and afternoons
Without appointment: weekday afternoons 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Specialization: General practioner/Family physician trained in Britain.





Wednesday, May 23, 2012

FOR THE LOVE OF DONKEYS -- PART 10

A TRIBUTE TO FRANK J. BARTHEN

Although Barthen’s burros have had their brushes with celebrity, he said they are best-loved in the small towns.

He said little burgs out West, in the Southland, up in New England and down home in the Midwest turned out in droves for his braying showmen.

Along with Honey Pot, the audiences thrilled to donkeys with names such as Thunder Ball, Snuffy and Kilroy playing against burros called Beetle Bomb, Super Stupid, Rigor Mortis and Elvis.

Most of Barthen’s burros have two names -- a stage name and a farm name.

Donkey ball retirees Dingaling, who’s actually very smart, and Geritol, a very old, sweet and feeble burro, still welcome curious visitors who stop to pet them and feed them carrots.

www.donkeyball.com

Miami resident Wright is an Ohio native who lived most of his adult life within a half-hour drive from the tranquility of Bittersweet Burro Farm. He is a veteran writer and Pulitzer Prize nominee.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

FOR THE LOVE OF DONKEYS -- PART 9


A TRIBUTE TO FRANK J. BARTHEN
 
Barthen remembered that years ago, a Democrat on the rise from northeast Ohio was in search of a family pet that also served as the symbol for his party.

The young politico brought his wife and kids out to Bittersweet Burro Farm to survey some donkeys that Barthen had put up for sale.

“He sees this one in the meadow and he and his kids take a liking to it,” Barthen remembered with a sly grin. “Its name was Dopey, but I didn’t think that would be a good fit for a man who’d served as lieutenant governor. I was walking Dopey up the hill and only had a couple of minutes to think up a better name for him. I reached the man and his family and said `this is a fine animal, we call him Senator.’”

The man who bought Senator became a governor.

Barthen still has a snapshot of a youthful-looking Richard F. Celeste and family visiting the burro farm.

TRIBUTE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 23

Monday, May 21, 2012

FOR THE LOVE OF DONKEYS -- PART 8


A TRIBUTE TO FRANK J. BARTHEN

The original Honey Pot was a gelding, but that didn’t stop the shaggy brown burro from having several “offspring.”

From time to time, a new mild-looking, but wild-performing burro would be added to Barthen’s traveling show.

Each would be christened Honey Pot.

“Hey, I’m a showman. I figured I had license to make up a few things along the way,’’ he said with wink.

Launching a whole troupe of Honey Pots wasn’t the only time Barthen played fast and loose with a donkey’s name to put food on his family’s table.


TRIBUTE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 22


Sunday, May 20, 2012

FOR THE LOVE OF DONKEYS -- PART 7


A TRIBUTE TO FRANK J. BARTHEN

Former Cincinnati teenage pitching sensation and longtime Reds radio broadcaster Joe Nuxhall got more than he bargained for from an ornery beast.

Barthen recalled that Nuxie, the “Old Left-hander,” had been given a gentle burro, but demanded a wilder animal so he could show off for the folks during a game in his hometown of Hamilton, Ohio.

“He never really stayed on the creature,” Barthen laughed.

Barthen also lays claim to having scouted, signed and displayed the most famous burro in all the land, Honey Pot.

In the stable, Honey Pot was one pathetic-looking long-eared galoot.
“He was sway-backed, pot-bellied, lop-eared and knock-kneed,” Barthen recalls.

Donkey ball players who picked Honey Pot for a gentle ride got anything but. Barthen said the creature was “300 pounds of pure dynamite.”

TRIBUTE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 21

Saturday, May 19, 2012

FOR THE LOVE OF DONKEYS -- PART 6


 A TRIBUTE TO FRANK J. BARTHEN

Barthen staged games of donkey basketball and baseball and held celebrity donkey races.

Civic groups, high school sports boosters, fire and police departments used the donkey games for fund raising.

Barthen usually accepted a percentage of the take as payment.

Donkey riders often included high school principals, small town mayors and other local celebrities known to the people gathered to watch the donkey ball games.

Sometimes national celebrities made jackasses of themselves on the backs of Barthen’s burros.

He said several Ohio State University football players earned their bruises flying off bucking burros.

Mike Tomczak, a former Buckeye quarterback and signal caller for several NFL teams during a decade-plus pro career, road a ducking donkey, Barthen said.

TRIBUTE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 20

Friday, May 18, 2012

FOR THE LOVE OF DONKEYS -- PART 5


A TRIBUTE TO FRANK J. BARTHEN

Life as a donkey man required that Barthen be equal parts loving animal caretaker and outlandish carnival barker.

He said hour upon hour on the road driving to donkey ball games gave him time to think up slogans and promotions.

“The wheels were always turning,” said Kitty, Barthen’s wife of 50 years.
While Barthen was on the road for weeks at a time, Kitty was back at the ranch, raising their eight children and rounding up stray donkeys who wandered out of their pens.

On bright red burro transport trucks, Barthen billed the burro act as “Funnier Than a Circus” and “Wilder than a Rodeo.”

The trucks featured loudspeakers for Barthen and his crew to herald the arrival of his donkey show.

“I’d say `see Honey Pot – world famous comedy donkey. One of the roughest, toughest little donkeys in captivity.’ I tried to make it sound like Ringling Brothers was coming to town,” he said with a twinkle in his green eyes.

TRIBUTE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 19

Thursday, May 17, 2012

FOR THE LOVE OF DONKEYS -- PART 4


A TRIBUTE TO FRANK J. BARTHEN

A few dozen burros still graze the fields and live in a low-roof barn near the family’s ranch house on a hill.

Barthen’s son Pat, who lives across the street from the family homestead, operates Donkeys Unlimited, a business that rents well-trained, gentle burros for birthday parties, Nativity scenes and other events.

Frank Barthen concedes that burros can be ornery, but he confesses that he was at the root of much of their high jinx.

Barthen recruited burros that buck, duck and otherwise jostle their riders -- much to the cheers, jeers and laughs of donkey basketball crowds.

Bucker burros were called that because, well, they bucked.

That’s why riders wear helmets for protection.

Duckers are burros known to stop in a heartbeat and drop their chins to the floor, propelling shocked riders right over their big, silly burro ears.

Sometimes the duckers ducked on their own, sometimes they did it on cue from Barthen, who trained them to dip and duck.

TRIBUTE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 18

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

FOR THE LOVE OF DONKEYS -- PART 3


A TRIBUTE TO FRANK J. BARTHEN

Barthen was born in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, which is just north of Eau Claire.

He came to Columbus at age 16 in 1942, looking for wartime work.

To his great disappointment, a heart murmur and flat fleet disqualified Barthen from military service.

He ended up working in a Pearl Harbor naval yard as his way of contributing the war effort during World War II.

By the time Barthen made it back to Columbus in 1947, he decided he wanted to become part of donkey basketball.

Barthen bought into Donkey Ball with his brother-in-law, Spicer, for $700 in `47.

Spicer died at age 85 in 1997.

One of his sons, Jack, has four donkey ball teams in trucks traveling the country and more than 100 burros at his ranch in Marengo, Ohio.

Although paralyzed on the left side and slowed by the effects of a severe stroke he had in late 1995, Barthen still helps tend to the house that donkeys built. 

TRIBUTE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 17

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

FOR THE LOVE OF DONKEYS -- PART 2


A TRIBUTE TO FRANK J. BARTHEN

“The donkeys bought the farm; they built my house; and they fed my eight kids. I owe it all to a bunch of jackasses,” the 73-year-old Barthen said from his living room, not even pausing to acknowledge the sound of braying burros in the distance.

His Bittersweet Burro Farm covers 45 beautiful rolling acres in Darby Township near Orient in Ohio’s rural Pickaway County, south of Columbus.

In the 1960s, 150 head of donkey roamed the picturesque family farm.

That is, the “donks” roamed the fields when they weren’t on the road, playing basketball.

Until he retired a few years ago, Barthen was the driving force behind Buckeye Donkey Ball Co.

Founded in 1934, Buckeye has always been based in central Ohio.

Barthen and his original partner, John C. Spicer of Columbus, took donkey basketball to all 48 continental states and parts of Canada.

TRIBUTE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 16

Monday, May 14, 2012

FOR THE LOVE OF DONKEYS -- PART 1



A TRIBUTE TO FRANK J. BARTHEN

Editor's note:
As Memorial Day nears, we would like to honor one of dearest, kindest  human beings we have ever met in our lives -- Frank J. Barthen. 

Frank passed away in 2010 at age 83. 

This interview, conducted a decade before, is preserved and published in its entirety as a Memorial to a dynamic man who cared very much about his donkeys.

By Steve Wright

Frank J. Barthen has been bucked, bitten, stomped and kicked by donkeys, yet he loves the long-eared, furry and braying creatures.

People from all corners of Ohio and beyond call him donkey man.

He lives on Burro Lane; introduces himself as a Doctor of Jackassology.

For more than half a century, Barthen’s life has revolved around donkeys large and small.

TRIBUTE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 15

Sunday, May 13, 2012

HOLLYWOOD, FLA -- PART 12


THE PERFECT SOUTH FLORIDA SEASIDE CITY


IF YOU GO (all numbers within 954 area code):

WHAT TO DO: 

Hollywood Beach, east of A1A the length of the city of Hollywood, 921-3423. www.hollywoodfl.org

Dania Jai Alai Fronton, 301 E. Dania Beach Boulevard, 927-2841; www.dania-jai-alai.com

Hollywood Greyhound Track, 831 N. Federal Highway, 454-9400; www.mardigrascasinofl.com

Gulfstream Park, 901 S. Federal Highway, 456-1515; http://www.gulfstreampark.com

Hollywood Seminole Gaming, 4150 N. State Road 7, 961-3220; www.seminolehollywoodcasino.com

Anne Kolb Nature Center, 1200 Sheridan St., 926-2410. www.broward.org/parks/westlakepark/pages/annekolbnaturecenter.aspx

CONTACT: Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, 330 N. Federal Highway, 923-4000, or 1-800-231-5562. www.hollywoodchamber.org

Saturday, May 12, 2012

HOLLYWOOD, FLA -- PART 11


THE PERFECT SOUTH FLORIDA SEASIDE CITY

IF YOU GO (all numbers within 954 area code):
WHERE TO EAT: 

Jack’s Hollywood Diner is the king of all breakfast houses in a town that cherishes its eggs, bacon and hash brown potatoes. 

The institution, which also serves lunch and dinner, is at 1031 N. Federal Highway, phone: 929-2888. http://www.jacksdiner.com

Tarks is a clam stand that has been delighting locals since 1966.

 Look for the quirky seafood joint at 1317 S. Federal Highway, phone: 925-8275. www.tarks.com

Downtown Hollywood features the best array of dining, including: Mama Mia Restaurant, 1818 S. Young Circle, 923-0555.  www.miagrill.com

FEATURE CONTINUES WITH "IF YOU GO" 
RESOURCES  TOMORROW -- MAY 11


Friday, May 11, 2012

HOLLYWOOD, FLA -- PART 10


 THE PERFECT SOUTH FLORIDA SEASIDE CITY

IF YOU GO (all numbers within 954 area code):
WHERE TO STAY: The most famous of old Hollywood’s beachfront hotels was reborn a decade ago.

The Westin Diplomat Resort & Country Club, once famed as the home of the stars such as Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr., was rebuilt into a 998-room convention center-caliber hotel. 

To book a room at the 39-story luxury property at 3555 S. Ocean Dr., phone 602-6000, or 1-888-627-9057. www.diplomatresort.com

The best of the independent hotels with fewer than 50 rooms gain the endorsement of being a Superior Small Lodging, as judged by a Broward County program that inspects independent hotel properties. 

Members that have passed muster in Hollywood include:

Hollywood Sands Resort, 2404 N. Surf Rd., 925-2285; www.hollywoodsandsresort.com

Tide Vacation Apartments, 2800 N. Surf Rd., 923-3864; www.tideapartments.com

FEATURE CONTINUES WITH "IF YOU GO" 
RESOURCES  TOMORROW -- MAY 12

Thursday, May 10, 2012

HOLLYWOOD, FLA -- PART 9


THE PERFECT SOUTH FLORIDA SEASIDE CITY

Getting around Hollywood is easy.

The city contains four major north-south routes, including:

·       A-1-A, which hugs the Atlantic Coast.

·       U.S. 1, the Federal Highway that passes by independent hotels and old time diners.

·       I-95, the state’s major freeway.

·       The Florida Turnpike, the Sunshine State’s toll road.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades, an increasingly active cruise hub, are minutes from the beach or downtown Hollywood.

Famed South Florida attractions such as Butterfly Word, Flamingo Groves, Sawgrass Mills and the Everglades are but a short drive.

With year round warm weather, the blue waters of the Atlantic and the warm sands of its beaches, it’s no wonder why millions are flocking to South Florida.

With a perfect mixture of international attractions and unpretentious restaurants and lodgings it’s easy to see why Hollywood is the region’s perfect place.

FEATURE CONTINUES WITH "IF YOU GO" 
RESOURCES  TOMORROW -- MAY 11

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

HOLLYWOOD, FLA -- PART 8


THE PERFECT SOUTH FLORIDA SEASIDE CITY

The Hollywood Seminole Gaming features a round the clock casino on the west side of town,

For activity that doesn’t involve wagering, Anne Kolb Nature Center features more than 1,500 acres of coastal mangrove wetland.

The Broward County facility is home to an abundance of plants and animals, including some threatened and endangered species.

Five boat trails offer access to this wilderness area for fishing and sightseeing near the Intracoastal Waterway.

The park also includes a five-level observation tower, a fishing pier, and two nature trails – all accessible to wheelchair users.

FEATURE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 10

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

HOLLYWOOD, FLA -- PART 7

  
THE PERFECT SOUTH FLORIDA SEASIDE CITY


For the sporting life, Hollywood and its neighboring cities offer a cornucopia of events that combine action with wagering.

For decades, people have flocked to Florida to watch Jai Alai – the curious game in which players use wicker baskets to hurl goatskin-covered balls.

At the Dania Jai Alai Fronton to the north, fans bet on the ancient Basque game in which balls reach speeds of 185 m.p.h. while bouncing off the walls and floor.

Just south of town, the Hollywood Greyhound Track features pari-mutuel betting on the pups.

The thoroughbreds race almost next door at the famous Gulfstream Park.

 FEATURE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 9

Monday, May 7, 2012

HOLLYWOOD, FLA -- PART 6


THE PERFECT SOUTH FLORIDA SEASIDE CITY


As fabulous as Hollywood’s beach and broadwalk are another whole world of activity lies less than two miles inland.

Some go by car, but others walk Hollywood Boulevard due west – over the Intracoastal Waterway along a Royal palm-lined grand thoroughfare dotted with historic homes – to reach the revitalized downtown Hollywood.

Like many cities, Hollywood’s downtown had suffered greatly while stores and restaurants moved to new buildings along freeways and other routes.

Thankfully, picturesque art deco structures were spared from the wrecking ball even during downtown Hollywood’s darkest days.

With a great deal of effort from city and business leaders, those magnificent structures from the ’20s and ’30s are now filled with restaurants, shops and clubs of every kind.

Downtown Hollywood’s Harrison Street, Young Circle, Hollywood Boulevard and dozens of streets in between feature more activity on a weeknight than most city’s downtowns can boast on a summer Saturday night.

Music can be heard inside jazz, blues and rock clubs – or outside on street corners most any night of the week.
Dining runs the gamut from homestyle diners with dirt cheap breakfast specials to fine dinner houses serving Italian, Thai – even Romanian fare.

FEATURE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 8

Sunday, May 6, 2012

HOLLYWOOD, FLA -- PART 5


 THE PERFECT SOUTH FLORIDA SEASIDE CITY

Very few hotels along the broadwalk have more than 100 rooms.

Some feature classic art deco or Mediterranean architecture, while others have more pedestrian 50s and 60s design.

Most of these mom and pop operations are low-rises, no taller than three stories, with on site swimming pools and poolside bars.

Some properties cater to families, others to seniors.
Some have benefited from expensive renovations, while others offer low rates to make up for their aging facilities.

The tapestry of lodging makes for a diverse stretch of resorts from Hallandale on Hollywood’s southern border to Dania on the city’s northern edge.

FEATURE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 7

Saturday, May 5, 2012

HOLLYWOOD, FLA -- PART 4

 
THE PERFECT SOUTH FLORIDA SEASIDE CITY

The wide broadwalk promenade features a very busy portion set aside for those on bicycles, scooters and in-line skates.

All those modes of beach transit can be rented at shops along the bustling broadwalk.

On many evenings, locals and visitors alike gather at the band shell to watch free concerts as the moon rises above the Atlantic.

Beyond the thin strip of sand, clear water gently lands against the sand as the tide comes in.

People watching is another prime activity from the hundreds of park benches set up along the broadwalk.

At night, brightly-lit cruise ships can be viewed as the towering vessels leave from Port Everglades, which is only a few miles north of Hollywood’s broadwalk.

FEATURE CONTINUES TOMORROW -- MAY 6