Florida East The Gold Coast
by Christine Rex


Just think, when the snow is making it hard to get around and you have to dig out the snow blower or the snow shovel to get your car out of the driveway, and the temperatures drop below freezing, there is a place to escape to when “Old Man Winter” is taking its toll on the snowbound northerners. Escape is possible for those that do to enjoy some of the most beautiful and restful vacation spots in Florida and experience its eastern shores that stretch from Jacksonville along US Route 1and A1A and all the way down to Key West. The following link will take you to the beachcam of Daytona beach and New Symrna Beach and see and hear the waves rolling on to the beach. Daytona Beach

The selections of tranquil beaches along with a mired of fun spots for the nightclub crowd will give those who desire it a variety of great choices to choose from. Restaurants are abundant to fulfill any gastric craving one can wish to experience. Florida’s Gold Coast has much to offer for those who are looking for sun and fun with peace and tranquility. The coast is lined with pristine beaches open to the public as well as time-share condos and cottages to rent along the sparkling blue-green waters of the Atlantic Ocean where one can soak away the winter blahs in the warm Florida sun. Imagine waking up with the sunrise over the water just steps away from your bedroom door, with a fresh cup of coffee in hand. With this link anyone can find beach rentals in the historic old city of St. Augustine. Then wander the old downtown area and see the slave market in the square. Take a carriage ride though the city streets and let your imagination wander as you tour the old fort along the coast.

http://www.4beachnuts.com/Vacation_Rentals/northeastflorida.htm

From anywhere along Florida’s Gold Coast it is only a short drive to all four Disney’s centrally located theme parks. But for those who are looking for the nostalgic old Florida of the 1930’s to the 1960’s, the one that flourished before theme parks and the mad rush traffic jams can be found if you just look for it. There are seaside golf courses for the golfer who desires to discover new fairways or meet new friends on picturesque manicured courses.

http://www.seniorlivingtoday.net/Articles/golf_getaway.htm or maybe consider playing tennis in December outdoors wearing your shorts or tennis dress under a Florida sky.

Surf the foam on waves that speed you pall-mall toward white sandy shore, or scuba dive in the deep coal reefs finding lost treasure and discovering the marine life. Charter a boat to catch the biggest Marlin in the sea on a deep sea fishing excursion. http://www.1fghp.com/flecdw Sign up with the many links here for deep-sea fishing.

For the young crowd and spring break, Cocoa Beach is famous for it’s beaches and the surf. A wide variety of nightlife can be found among the neon lights on Route A1A along the beach. For the best surfing supplies and souvenirs the place to shop is Ron Jon Surf Shop. Open 24 hours a day. The store is also a fascinating place just to wander through and see all the clothing and souvenirs available to all. Buying online is just as easy. www.ronjons.com

The space race had its beginnings here in Florida. Cape Canaveral is home to the NASA space museum and a tour of the Vehicle Assembly Building on the grounds. The building is constructed of one tall structure in which the rockets are assembled before the liftoff to space. It is said that there is a sign half way up the inside of the building near a crane. The sign is the same size as the bus that brings the tourists to that location and it looks like it is not much bigger than an arm when viewed from the floor of the VAB. It is also said that it rains in the building at times. At the visitors center museum what can be seen is the history of the space program and one can experience the feeling of what it is like to go beyond our earthly boundaries. Staying beachside could afford one the opportunity to watch some of the smaller commercial rockets that blast off toward outer space every so often. That spectacular vision is one that will never be forgotten as groups watch the bullet-shaped projectile speed upward to the celestial heavens while its flame lights up the clouds in stages as it reaches its trajectory.

Visit the Kennedy Space Center and get a good look at how the Space Shuttle is processed today.

Plan to spend all day here - there is much to see and do.

The Space Center Bus Tour provides the most in-depth view of the entire center. A trip to the Air Force Museum at Cape Canaveral Air Station will take you back to NASA's beginnings and past the launch structures that were used to launch the Mariner, Explorer, Viking, and Voyager spacecraft to the planets. And as you watch future launches and landings, you can remember back to the day you explored Kennedy Space Center.

The IMAX Theater is an interesting experience with excellent film content. Inside exhibits are very educational, while outside Rocket Garden features many full size examples of United States rocketry & weaponry.

Admission: various options available.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER
NASA Parkway (FL Route 405)
South East of Titusville
North East of Cocoa
(407)452-2121

http://www.ksc.nasa.gov/ will take you to the website for Cape Canaveral/ Cape Kennedy.

Just across the causeway from Cocoa Beach on the east side of the Indian River lies Merritt Island where the Disney Cruises dock. Booking a weekend or weeklong cruise can be done online at Disney Cruiseline with a cruise on the Disney Magic or the Disney Wonder.

Melbourne, Florida located along the Indian River offers fantastic vistas as you drive along the Indian River on US I. Known for its famous Indian River Fruit where citrus fruit is bought in season that is sweet and juicy like no other. Melbourne International Airport makes it easy to get to your destination in and around Brevard County. The best thing about Melbourne and the coast is the drive down Rt. A1A with its views of the ocean and the new art deco style high-rise condos that dot the seaside. Living there would be a dream come true. Hometown restaurants dot the coast here and there. My favorite for breakfast is located at 1130 Highway A1A in Satellite Beach just across the street from the high rise pictured above. The Blueberry Muffin (pictured below right) is the busiest little seaside restaurant and makes the biggest mouth watering muffins anyone passed beyond their lips. For those that love omelets for breakfast, be prepared to savor every bite as you give your palate a treat. Their coffee is nectar for the Gods and when you ask for an orange juice, remember to ask for a small one because we northerners think very small and here they think big.

Then travel down the coast to Palm Beach as you rub elbows with the rich and famous. Or do the tourist thing by seeing the history of railroading in Florida and Flagler County. Tour Whitehall the home of Henry Flagler and the Gold Coast Railroad Museum. Palm Beach has something for everyone. The ride up the beach past Donald Trump Mansion and the Kennedy Mansion is worth the time just to gawk at the timely architecture of the stately homes. Take in the shopping on Palm Beaches down town courtyard.


Whitehall, the home of Florida's East


Coast Railroad Baron

Henry Flagler His railroads and luxury hotels established tourism and agriculture as the mainstays of Florida's economy during the Gilded Age.

Whitehall rivals the mansions of Newport Rhode Island for extravagance. Call in advance to be sure to be there for the very informative guided tour.

Admission Charged
HENRY MORRISON FLAGLER MUSEUM
Cocoanut Row
P.O. Box 969
Palm Beach FL 33480

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving, exhibiting, and operating historic railroad equipment. The Museum was formed in 1957 by a group of Miamian's who were trying to save pieces of Florida history that were taken for granted and rapidly disappearing. Some of the earliest pieces in the collection are the FERDINAND MAGELLAN, the private railroad car built for President Franklin Roosevelt; the Florida East Coast Railway locomotive 153, the engine that pulled the rescue train out of Marathon, Florida after the 1935 hurricane; and the 113, an FEC locomotive built in 1913 and used in regular revenue service over the entire Florida East Coast railroad.

The Gold Coast Railroad Museum is located at 12450 SW 152nd Street, Miami, Florida, U.S.A. on property adjacent to Metro Miami-Dade County's "MetroZoo".

From the North, take the Florida's Turnpike south to exit #16 (S.W. 152 Street). Make a right turn (west) on S.W. 152 Street and continue for one mile to the Miami's MetroZoo entrance on the left (south) side of the road (S.W. 124 Avenue/Zoo Drive). Turn left and enter MetroZoo's complex and look for the Museum's parking on the right side
http://www.goldcoast-railroad.org/directions.htm (561) 655-2833


The Florida Keys are as far south as one can go and are the most tropical of Paradises here in the U.S. http://www.clydeskeywest.com/ From this link can be found all that a heart can desire for leisurely sport fishing to Scuba diving, beaches, and more.

Southernmost Point of the Continental United States. Located at the south end of Whitehead St. one of the most photographed features in Key West.

The northernmost island of the Florida Keys island chain, lies only an hour’s drive from South Florida’s two major airports. Yet it is a world away. http://www.fla-keys.com/keylargo/?source=overture

As you look at the tropical hardwoods, the winding creeks, and the stunning coral formations, it is no wonder Hollywood chose to film scenes from the movies “PT 109” and “Key Largo” here.

Key Largo is sandwiched between the watery wilderness of the Everglades to the west and the fish-covered coral formations of North America’s only living coral barrier reef to the east.

Six miles offshore in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary you will find the wreck of the Spiegel Grove, a 510-foot Navy ship intentionally scuttled in June 2002 as the backbone for a new coral reef.


Locals consider their home the Diving Capital of the World but the island is nearly as famous as a sport-fishing destination. The adventuresome folk can find some of the best charter captains and fishing guides in the world that work out of Key Largo. You can go after sailfish offshore, bonefish along the Atlantic shallows, or redfish and tarpon in Florida Bay.

Key Largo’s proximity to the Everglades makes it a premier destination for kayak enthusiasts, birders and other eco-tourists. All this beauty, not to mention the island’s rich history, has inspired a vibrant community of artists who show there work at several local galleries.

When the day is done, you can trade stories at any of a full-range of restaurants, bars, hotels, motels and resorts. Each is as unique as Key Largo itself. and of course Key Largo was made famous by Hollywood in the 1940’s movie with Humphrey Bogart. Key Largo was also the home of Earnest Hemmingway. Today, that house is a museum and often there are more cats there than visitors. The place is literally crawling with in-bred cats all having the wrong number of toes. The largest cat he called Gertrude Stein. One of the other features was a large urinal that Hem had ripped out of the walls (probably at Sloppy Joes) and set it up in the garden as a water trough for his cats. Key west has their annual Hemingway look-alike contest. It was interesting how many people looked like him. Like Elvis, there are still many Hemingway wannabes around.

We have taken a tour of Florida’s Gold Coast and only touched on a few of the wonderful things it has to offer. One only has to pick a destination beyond the theme park scene and find the old Florida still alive and thriving. I invite you to come experience the Sunshine state when old man winter is barking at your heels. The welcome mat is out and the light is on so pack up your old gym bag and head south for a break and a wonderful time.







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