Category Archives: Travel

The Flora-Bama Bar: Mullet-Tossing, Bushwhackers and Bikini Contests

Unlike the rest of America, in Florida, you have go north to go south. More redneck than refined, the rest of the Sunshine State is full of pick-up trucks, Southern twangs and country music. Head north just a few hundred miles, and it’s hard to imagine there’s a place called Miami.

And despite any lingering South Florida snobbery, there are lots of spots worth visiting elsewhere in the state — many of which happen to be unforgettable drinking dens. Arguably, the best of the bunch is the iconic Flora-Bama, a mainstay on Perdido Key since the mid-’60s. The bar, half of which sits in Alabama, half in Florida, is also known as the Flo-Bam — and it’s home to mullet-tossing, epic bushwhackers and bikini contests.

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When it comes to South Florida, what we lack in hills and valleys we make up for in stunning scenery. So why not take in a bit of that blue-skied beauty with a Key Biscayne Bike Adventure? This two-wheeled jaunt will give you an up-close and personal glimpse of our city’s picturesque barrier island. Let naturalist guides regale you with tales of the island’s history.

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South of all you know, across the vast blue ocean, a place like no other awaits. Far from the constraints of the mainland, the Hawaiian Islands’ caressing breezes evoke ancient enchantments. The same magic that enveloped ancient kings surrounds you. Step off the plane; you are charmed. At once, you are an islander. You are home.

Flip flops, sundresses and flowered shirts replace shoes, suits and ties. The hours slow and a peaceful rhythm permeates your days. No rush, no hurry, no incessant demands. Island time is upon you.

From one island to another, warm tropical breezes stir the air, rustling leaves and flowing skirts. The scent of plumeria and pikake hang heavy all around. Palm trees wave and rustle. The lush greenery and limpid blue skies are a constant reminder of your equatorial escape.

Though it is enough to revel in the islands’ beauty; they’re lush greenery, dramatic volcanic cliffs and impossibly blue water, you’ll be moved to explore the wonders of their ancient history. Try your hand at the graceful glory of surfing; soar like an uncaged bird in a parasail; dive beneath azure waves to the colorful habitat deep below. Opportunities to be amazed are all around you.

Each island across Hawaii embodies Aloha, in its own singular way. You can gaze on the majesty of humpback whales off the coast of Maui; meander through the ancient forests of Kauai; sit beachside for the charms of a luau on Oahu; climb the steep volcanic slopes of the Big Island; bask in the pristine wilderness of Molokai or turn back time on the dirt roads of Lanai.

You discover the fabric of a remarkable culture. You learn to speak words that once left the lips of former kings. You embrace ohana, and those you meet are new family. Hospitality is ingrained in the soul of this place – an unsurpassed ability to embrace visitors as friends.

Foreign yet familiar, these rare lands are the embodiment of old and new. This sense of the past dovetails with a vibrant and cosmopolitan culture where it’s possible to shop at the most elite stores, visit world-class museums, dine at unsurpassed gourmet restaurants and still feel immersed in the timeless cycle of tide in/tide out; of breaking waves upon a snow-white beach.

From the soft steps of a hulu wahine to the bold new sounds of a local band, modern creativity meets timeless tradition. The islands are steeped in mo’olelo – the ways and wisdom of generations past. But excitement and modernity will captivate you, too.

Once you feel the force of these enchanted lands, you’ll never be the same again. And the islands await, always.

Local reviews for

Abraxas Lounge: Drink to your health with Skullsplitters and Dogfish Heads.
AMC Theatres at the Shops at Sunset Place: Stadium seated escape from so-so shopping.
American Airlines Arena: Nosebleeds are literal in this big, shiny stadium.
Angi Corner Bookstore: Not much for English speakers. En Espanol? Libros metafisica.
Asian Fusion Cafe: Take a tour of Asia, linger at the Thai curries.
Avalon Hotel: Skating by on its art deco “charm.”
Azul: Best place for a marriage proposal – the view alone should insure a yes.
Bagel Emporium: Where homesick New Yorkers stock up on black and white cookies.
Bamboo Restaurant: Meaty & authentic.
Banfield Pet Hospital: Your dog may see heaven before seeing a doc.
Bar-B-Que Beach: Kitschy “beach” decor doesn’t make up for the so-so BBQ.
Barnes and Noble: Pop a squat for story hour.
Barnes and Noble: Disheveled arm of the popular bookseller.
Barnes and Noble at Sunset Place: Worth dropping by for the free parking validation.

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