South Beach and Week 17

South Beach, Miami for New Year’s Eve, tickets to the Patriots vs Dolphins game, what a great way to start off the new year.

If you’re a Canadian, and it’s January, you’re yearning for sunshine, beaches and warmth. And that’s exactly what we were lucky enough to experience in our recent pilgrimage to Miami. Record high temperatures were set during our 5-day visit, so the sun-screen came in handy after all.

 

Let me say this from the get-go: We love Miami. And we love South Beach. And when you throw in a Patriots game, well, it just doesn’t get any better. I’ll get to the Pats game further into this post, but let me first share a little about our stay in South Beach.

Our rented, two-bedroom condo was perfect for the four of us (we share these trips with my son and his wife, who are also huge Pats fans). We’re pretty adventurous and I must say adaptable to most accommodations, but we do our homework ahead of time to eliminate as much disappointment as possible. We’ve had pretty good experience with Airbnb, so we tend to travel this way.

Our condo was nicely situated at the corner of Lenox Avenue and 7th Street which was within easy walking distance to Ocean Drive and the beach. Art Deco buildings, galleries, boutiques, hotels and restaurants line Ocean Drive which runs for several miles up the Atlantic coast. If you’re feeling particularly fit, you can walk the few miles along Ocean from 1st Street all the way up the end at 15th Street and then reward yourself with one of these Margaritas (but you’ll probably need to cab it back).

We were lucky enough to arrive New Year’s Eve, so we had a chance to enjoy dinner and the massive fireworks display from the comfort of an outdoor patio. The city closes Ocean Drive for a few days over the holidays to through traffic, allowing all the restaurants to extend tables out into the street. Needless to say this was a people-watching event second to none, and quite a memorable way to bring in the new year.

Versace Mansion

If you’re planning a trip to South Beach, I highly recommend you invest in a dinner reservation at Versace Mansion. The Villa, Casa Casuarina, (also known as Versace Mansion) is a property owned by Italian fashion impresario Gianni Versace, located on Ocean Drive.

The house was built in 1930 and purchased by Gianni Versace in 1992 to become his residence in South Beach. He employed over 200 workers from Italy to restore and expand the building by adding a south wing and pool into a very Spanish-style casa!

As you may know, on July 15, 1997, Versace was murdered at the front gates of his mansion. Today the mansion operates as a luxury boutique hotel ($$$$$ recent guest Justin Bieber), and restaurant, Gianni’s (which we dined at).

Sunday, January 3rd
and it’s Game Day (Week 17)

Once a year we travel to a Patriots home or away game, and since we’re from Toronto, every game is an away game. Last year, 2014, we hiked it to Foxborough and nearly froze to death. As they say, what a difference a year makes – from fighting off Boston frostbite to fighting off Miami sun stroke. But as true Canadians, we weren’t about to complain.

Dolphins Fans N O T !!
It was the last game of the regular season for both teams. The Patriots had already locked up their divisional standing while the Dolphins were out of the playoffs. Brady and company put on a pretty lethargic performance – I think the Pats were most anxious to protect Brady’s health than winning the game. If that was Belichick’s angle, who are we to argue (with 7 Super Bowl rings). End result: Miami 20 – New England 10.

Regardless, it was a blast, and I can’t wait to choose next year’s destination (so long as it’s warm)!

Iceland in February.
What?

Northern Lights

Okay it’s a just a little contradictory and a little nuts. We’re complaining on one hand about the cold, yet we’re off to Reykjavik, Iceland in February! Yikes. But, having a chance to witness the northern lights (aurora borealis) has been on our bucket list since its inception. So here’s hoping that Iceland delivers.

I’ll be taking a truckload of images around the island and the night sky, so stay tuned for that post.

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