Dolphin dive

Islamorada – Get Away to the Florida Keys – Part 2

Islamorada Part 2!  It’s such a glorious place that I just couldn’t bring myself to squeeze all of my tips into one post.  So, now that you’ve read my last post about Islamorada and where to stay, you can get into the business of planning things to do and where to eat.  And the kind of eating I’m talking about is the kind where you don’t have to prepare anything or even clean up – I know, it’s crazy!

Theater of the Sea

The Florida Keys have some of the best fishing and snorkeling in the world.  See my last Florida Keys post about snorkeling.  If you are more of a land-lubber then go explore some of the marine life that can be found in its waters.

Theater of the Sea
Theater of the Sea!

We reserved an afternoon to check out the Theater of the Sea, just a short drive north of our hotel. The Theater bills itself as a safe place for marine animals and an educational opportunity for us humans to learn more about conservation and environmentalism to protect the animals.  What it boils down to is a really fun way to interact with dolphins, sea lions and see some fish and reptiles closer than you would ever get, or want to get, in the wild.   We saw parrot fish, barracuda, green turtles, parrots, nurse sharks, tarpon, alligators and crocodiles.  My favorite feature of the Theater is they have 3 rotations of continuous animal shows throughout the day.  So, no matter what time you show up you won’t miss seeing anything.  They give you plenty of time to walk between the lush waterways and even stop and admire the orchids before the next showtime.  And, you don’t have to feel guilty about having to duck out with a child who just can’t sit still.  Our favorites were the dolphin and sea lion show because the animals were so entertaining and the trainers did a great job interacting with the guests.

All in all, it was super-educational and a fun way to take a break from the sun for an afternoon.  The admission price wasn’t too high either.  They have more personal interaction opportunities with mammals like the dolphin, but we thought it was a little steep – a 30 min swim was $195/pp.  Maybe a special birthday gift for your future marine biologist perhaps?  The biggest takeaways for us:

Parrot
Parrots – Look pretty, are annoying
  • Alligators and crocodiles have huge jaws and have really big teeth.  Never get close to them.
  • Parrots do not make good pets, even though they are pretty.  It’s like owning a toddler who never grows up and will probably outlive you.
  • Dolphins are adorable and super smart!
  • Sea lions can be really funny if you feed them lots of fish.
  • Take care of the environment by not leaving trash at the beach and eat sustainable seafood.

    Nurse Sharks
    This is not an up close picture of tadpoles they are Nurse sharks and they are HUGE.
Dolphin pose
The dolphin show was our favorite by far! Lots of fun and minimal splashing.
Dolphin jump
The dolphin trainers took the show to new heights!

Tips for Theater of the Seas:

  1. Any of the local coupon books have a few dollars off the entrance fee to Theater of the Seas.  Grab one!
  2. Bring a bathing suit and towel if you want to check out the “beach” or swim with the dolphins, sea lions, rays or sharks.
  3. They have snack food, ice cream and hot dogs at Nicky’s Grille for a fair price.  You cannot bring in food or drinks so plan on bringing some money for beverages, especially if it is a hot day.
  4. The gift shop is large and has some cute beachy merchandise in addition to local crafts and artwork.
  5. Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Dining Out in Islamorada

There are so many delicious places to eat in Islamorada and many are kid friendly because of the laid-back vibe in the Keys.  These are our favorites:

Green Turtle Inn
Get a side of grits with those eggs

Green Turtle Inn – They serve meals all day, but we really loved their breakfast.  And take it from a Southern girl, their grits are legit.  They have a sticky bun that is so sweet and sticky that you’ll have to (and want to) lick your fingers.

Hungry Tarpon – Located at Robbie’s marina, it’s a “must do” stop with the kids.  And, bonus if you eat at the Hungry Tarpon you don’t have to pay the $1 fee to go on the

Tarpon feeding
Grab some bait for the Tarpon and watch those fingers at Robbie’s Marina.

dock to look at the hundreds of hungry tarpon just waiting to be fed.  If you want to start your day by slowing it way down, go for the Trailer Trash Bloody Mary and enjoy a liquid breakfast with beef jerky and candied bacon.  The restaurant gets busy throughout the day so it may be best to go with kids earlier so you don’t have to explain why the clientele is so rowdy.

OO-Tray Restaurant – Sit outside and enjoy the music and sip a cocktail from the whisky bar.  Look over the farm to table menu, but promise me you will order the eggplant fries with honey rosemary.  And enjoy any of their local seafood dishes.  You will be smiling and tapping your toe in no time.

Lazy Days – If views of the water is what you’re after, head on over to Lazy Days for a dizzing aray of seafood options.  It ain’t fancy but it’s good and the beer is cold.

 

Helpful web sites

Cheeca Lodge

Theater of the Sea

Green Turtle Inn

Hungry Tarpon

OO-Tray Restaurant

Lazy Days

Islamorada “The Scoop”

Sustainable/responsible seafood

Islamorada sunset

Islamorada – Get Away to the Florida Keys – Part 1

If you don’t know by now, I just love the Florida Keys!  Oh, let me count the ways.  The Keys are not too far from Miami, about an hour, depending on which Key you stop on.  The vibe is so different from other places in Florida.  It’s a “grab a cold one, come as you are” sort of vibe.  And, in my opinion there’s no better invitation for relaxation than that.  Just ask Jimmy Buffet and the Beach Boys.  We recently traveled to Islamorada, the second major Key south of Miami for my mother-in-law’s big birthday celebration.  And we returned with a suitcase full of wet bathing suits, beautiful pictures and full bellies.  I think I can speak for my whole family when I say that we are ready to plan our next trip to paradise.

Cheeca Lodge

We stayed at the luxurious Cheeca Lodge (Gigi loves luxurious things) and they have the perfect set up for families or extended families, in our case.  My in-laws had a suite with a mini kitchen and living room and we had an adjoining room with two double beds.  The living room couch pulled out to a bed so we could have crammed a few more kids in too.  The resort is top-notch and frankly we were pleasantly surprised at all of the amenities that were included in our stay.

Cheeka Lodge
Ocean front rooms at the Cheeca Lodge in the morning light

 

Cheeka pier
Grab a rod and head to the fishing pier and watch for shark fins.

As you walk out to the private beach you can’t help but notice the huge fishing pier.  Rods are included so you can just grab one and see what you catch.  But be careful, the local pelican are nearby just waiting for you to drop your treasures.

Cheeka family pool
Some nice shady spots to park while your kids splash around in the pool.

If you want to head off shore, the Lodge will happily schedule a family fishing or snorkeling trip.  All sorts of water sports are included in your stay like paddle boards and kayaks.  For a small fee you can rent a paddle boat, sailboat or even go parasailing. If you are water lovers like my children, you’ll spend 90% of the time in the awesome, kid-friendly pool.  The Tiki Bar is conveniently only steps away.  They also have an adult-only pool with a fitness room if you need to escape to recharge.

Cheeka adult pool
Ahh, the serenity of the adult pool. Don’t you just want to do a giant cannonball?

We didn’t get to the 9 hole, par 3 golf course, but clubs are available to borrow and it looked like a great way to spend some time with the kids.  They also have tennis courts, bikes to borrow, and a spa.

The grounds are pristine and lush so walking to our room was a nice respite from the sun on a hot day. Watching the lizards scatter as we strolled was a treat.  Overnight, the resort fairies freshly rake the sand on the beach and wash the pool deck so each day is just as beautiful as the last.

We highly recommend the Sunset Cruise, a little extra cost but a beautiful way to end a day at the beach.  The friendly boat captains also provided fun commentary about the area while sipping on cold adult drinks.   If you like being a nosy neighbor, just ask about some of the prices of the houses and boats you ride by.

We also enjoyed several of the restaurants on the grounds of Cheeca, but I think it’s more fun to explore a bit and check out the local restaurants and boy are there a ton to choose from!

Part 2 of our adventures in Islamorada is coming!  Stay tuned for our pics for activities with the kids (if you can peel yourself away from Cheeca) and our favorite places to grab a bite.

Tips for Cheeca Lodge:

  1.  Check Cheeca Lodge’s web site for any discounts or coupon codes.
  2. They have a kids club so if you need an afternoon away to read a book or take a fishing trip, take advantage.  And, they have an evening option as well.  Date night!
  3. Pack your own snorkel gear or pick some up at a nearby store.  They don’t have any masks or fins at Cheeca for guests.
  4. You don’t need to bring tennis rackets or golf clubs.  They have them on site for your use for free.
  5. If you want to take professional photos of your family, choose a photographer that is approved by the resort and has insurance.  If you have a big crowd you’ll need to coordinate with the events staff on site.
  6. Service at the resort was hit or miss when we were there.  Sometimes they were on top of things but a few times we had to call twice for things like extra towels.  Hopefully it will improve by the time you go.
  7. When in Florida, don’t forget the sunscreen!

 

 

Atlantis

Blast Off to the Kennedy Space Center

If you were obsessed with the 1986 classic movie Space Camp like I was, (didn’t every girl want to be Tish Ambrosia and have photographic memory?), your dreams will come true when your kids are finally old enough to take a trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL.  I say “old enough” because the Kennedy Space Center or KSC – just channeling NASA’s love of acronyms – is more fun if your kids are elementary age or older.  Middle school and high school-age may be ideal.  I recently went with my 8 yr old, 6 yr old and my hubby and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

We only had one day and we quickly realized that a space enthusiast could plan on a couple days at the Center.  Thankfully the KSC gives you a suggested itinerary based on your audience and timing.  We should have listened to the rocket scientist’s recommendation and allowed for 8 hours to visit the park.  Who knew that they would be accurate?  We had about 6 hours and fell a little short of the items on our “wish list”.  The KSC is not an amusement park but more of a hands on educational immersion into the history and the future of space travel.

Kennedy Space Center
Happy space cadets

We did the bus tour first to get a sense of the history and scale of the place.  The bus tour is the only way to get up close to see the Vehicle Assembly Building and the launch pad.  The launch pad is several miles from the assembly building and the command center because the vibration of the launch is so intense that it is deadly to humans.  It’s mind-blowing to comprehend the Herculean task of moving the space ships from the assembly building to the launch area.

Vehicle Assembly Building
The Vehicle Assembly Building is massive! Excuse the Florida rain shower.

After driving around various launch pads, including the one that SpaceX is working on modifying, the bus tour drops you at the Apollo/Saturn V Center to explore.  You get to participate in a reenactment of the Apollo 8 liftoff that will rattle your nerves and your senses.  Afterwords you can stand next to the largest rocket ever made – Saturn V.  Talk about feeling small!  You can also enjoy the progression of prototypes for space suits over the years.Saturn V

After you finish the bus tour, whatever you do, don’t miss the Atlantis exhibit.  Your experience opens with dramatic flair as you enter the gallery at the tip of Atlantis.  There is a real rocket scientist standing by with samples of materials from the ship to touch.  Bonus, the scientist that day was a woman and she was happy to answer questions.

Atlantis
Walking in the room and being nose to nose to this old gal is breathtaking!
Cockpit
Driving the space shuttle
International Space Station
Crawling through the International Space Station isn’t for people with claustrophobia or short skirts.

 

 

There are tons of other hands-on activities like sitting in the cockpit and pressing all of those buttons (a kids dream)!

 

Getting to crawl through the International Space Station (ISS) was also a highlight.  We loved talking about researchers living in space and working right now!

But, the most fun by far was practicing exiting the space shuttle by slide and coincidentally the fastest way from the second floor to the first.  The giggles heard from the giant slide sounded the same coming from 6 year olds as they did from 60 year olds.

Shuttle slide
Disembark the shuttle like an astronaut, with an audible girlie giggle!

I love the age-appropriate lessons that bring to light the engineering roles needed to build the space shuttle.  They encouraged kids to do their own flying experiment with paper airplanes to

Space toilet
Bet you didn’t think you’d see a space toilet in this blog post!

see which shape went the furthest, highest, fastest.  Great analogy!

They also do a great job of answering those questions that we all want to ask like, “How do you go to the bathroom in space?”

We also really enjoyed the hands-on video games where you can work on the ISS or land the space shuttle.  We missed the Shuttle Launch Experience because my daughter throws up like clockwork when taking off and landing on a plane.  I didn’t come prepared with a change of clothes.  But, we heard it was excellent as long as you don’t go right after lunch.

One of our favorite experiences was the Astronaut Encounter, a 30 min presentation from a real NASA astronaut.  You get to hear about their history and experience in space.  And they leave time for questions at the end!  If your kiddos are setting their sights on a career as an astronaut, this is an excellent opportunity to reinforce the importance of an education. Parent bonus!

In general it was a really cool multi-cultural experience.  The kids played with kids from all over the world in the Children’s Play Dome.

Childrens Play Dome
A great opportunity for your kids to roll around and get some energy out without accidentally pushing a launch button.

The future of space travel is looking bright as NASA and a few commercial groups, like SpaceX and Boeing, prepare to explore Mars with a goal of 2030.  One of the greatest challenges will be how to live off of the land and grow food in the harsh elements.  Scientists are doing research right now to tackle this and other challenges on the red planet.

We left with a new appreciation for what astronauts go through and with dreams of what the new frontier has to offer.  Will we be traveling to space in our lifetime?  There’s a chance, I should probably go ask my kids!

Rocket Garden
The rocket garden is not only beautiful but also interactive because you can climb in some of the rockets for some great photo ops

Did you know?

We learned some cool space exploration facts while at the KSC.

You know the white stuff that comes out of the launch pad when a rocket/space shuttle lifts off?  It’s not smoke, it’s actually steam!  During a launch, they flood the launch pad with water to muffle the sound of the lift off because the vibration is so harmful to human ears.

The astronauts use liquid salt and pepper in space and they love using hot sauce!

When the astronauts are in space they have to exercise for 2 hours a day so that their muscles don’t atrophy.

They only used the giant tires on the space shuttle once, because the landing was so hard on them.

Tips For Busy Moms

  1. You don’t need to buy tickets online, but, you can if it makes you feel better.  They offer discounts all year round to military, seniors and teachers, but sometimes they have other specials for Florida residents.
  2. We visited a weekend in September and the crowds weren’t bad at all.  I suggest going at non-peak times.  Any time other than the summer, holidays or spring break.
  3. Arrive close to the opening time to take advantage of the day.  Keep in mind that the center is about 45 minutes from the Orlando airport.
  4. This is a great multi-generational trip.  There’s a lot of history so the grandparents can recount “remember when” stories and there isn’t too much walking.
  5. I recommend you do the bus tour first to beat the crowds, get a little history lesson and get your bearings.
  6. You can bring in water and snacks but, eating at the restaurants there is easy and tasty.  They have make your own salad options with hydroponic lettuce that they grow there.  And the cookies are outta this world.
  7. You can have lunch with an astronaut and hear about space travel first-hand while enjoying a buffet lunch. We didn’t do this but, the price wasn’t much more than the regular lunch.  We’d do this next time.  Lunch with the astronaut for adults is $30 and kids are $16 (check the web site to confirm)
  8. You need to be 44″ tall to go on the Shuttle Launch Experience.  If you are shorter, you can just experience the pre-show briefing.
  9. A new experience is opening in late 2016, Heroes and Legends with an astronaut hall of fame.
  10. You’ll want a souvenir but, keep in mind that they aren’t cheap.  And yes, they have space ice cream.
  11. Check the web site to see their launch schedule from Cape Canaveral and witness one in person or tune in online on the NASA web site to watch.
  12. Coincidentally National Geographic Kids Magazine November issue has a cover article Mission to Mars.  Pick it up for your little astronaut and plan a trip to Kennedy Space Center.
  13. When in Florida, don’t forget the sunscreen!
Astronaut
My kids loved getting to strike a pose with an astronaut and checking out his space suit up close.

Young At Art Museum – Creativity Awaits

Don’t be fooled by the name, the Young at Art Museum isn’t just a great spot for the kids, grown ups can have fun too.  Located outside of Ft. Lauderdale in Davie, the modern museum hosts an afternoon’s worth of activities to get your creative juices flowing.  The YAA’s ultra-modern structure is anything but chilly.  The colorful exhibits draw you in and begs you to shout, “play with me”.

The public library shares the space and both take advantage of the other’s existence.  Glass windows allow little ones to peep into the library and check out ways to learn more about artists.

There is an area for younger children based on Alice in Wonderland.  Crawl through a tea pot or snuggle into a book in Alice’s Reading Forest.  There are lots of opportunities for pretend play and a few soft spots for adults to sit down and watch.  My kids loved the water room.  Decorated with an intricate mosaic of a woman.  We spent at least 15 minutes – hours in kid time – using plastic dividers to manipulate the water to push boats around and creating waterfalls.  Little did my kids know that they were getting a lesson in hydraulic engineering.

Learn about water pressure and water movement in this awesome exhibit

The Stomp room is a dream come true for the child who loves to bang on pots and pans and who you promised to never buy a drum set.  Adapted from the Broadway show Stomp, kids can bang on anything, even things bolted to the walls. Trash can lids, PVC pipes and wood blocks are all fair game.  And, they can scream while going down the slide (insert ear plugs here and wave).

What?  I can’t hear you!

My kids really loved the puppetry room.  The museum has all the supplies you need to make your very own puppet and a stage to act out your “show”.  We spent at least 30 minutes creating and it was a great place to take a load off.  Even I got inspired!

Bins full of materials like papers, fabrics, plastic, and scraps of any ‘ole thing are perfect for puppet making.

 

My son showing off his work.  And, don’t worry he isn’t really a lifeguard, just a wanna be.  The lifeguards at Palm Beach are well-trained.

If you have climbers, they are going to love this play structure inspired by the Japanese print, The Great Wave of Kanagawa by Hokusai.  Not only is it beautiful but according to my kiddos, the view from the top is “super cool”.

A great place to get the wiggles out and to see the whole museum.

 

A description of the piece that inspired the play structure.

There are other examples of culture-specific art forms in this room including hands-on opportunities to weave, do stencils, fold origami and do rubbings.  One of my favorites was a display of Japanese wallpaper.

I may need one of these for my powder room.

This isn’t just an art museum where you look at paintings on the wall, kids can try their hand at creating different types of art.  They can make a moving picture or mini movie.

Draw your picture over and over and over again and then insert it in the circular wooden piece and watch it come to life.

Sculpt a masterpiece out of clay, practice figure drawing and even curate their own gallery.

Literally get your hands dirty and try your hand at sculpting.

 

There is an art form to arranging pieces in a gallery.

A couple of nice touches for parents or extra curious kids.  The museum does a great job of including images of classic and modern art on the walls so if your kids are happily playing, you can take a minute to learn something yourself.  Some of the artist spotlights have an option to learn more about their biography and their work via a QR code.  What a great way to use technology and save paper!

Take a break in the open-air courtyard and enjoy the vibrant colors and warm southern Florida breezes.  Pack your own snack or enjoy the munchies from Super Duper Grub.  They even have veggies.  I love how they have veggie sticks with most of their sandwiches.  My kids loved the Rock n’ Rollup – Nutella, strawberry preserves and banana rolled in a tortilla.  They did not forget about the grown ups, they have healthy and delicious offerings.  Don’t miss the afternoon milk and cookie happy hour.  This happy hour is kid friendly.

Super Duper Grub
It’s hard not to feel inspired eating lunch outside of the Super Duper Grub Cafe.

If a quick visit to the YAA doesn’t get your right brain synapses sparking then you may need to check out some of their more intensive art classes or camps.  We poked our heads into some of their art classrooms and just wanted to do something to get our hands dirty.  And when we got home, not one electronic device turned on.  The kids rode that creative high and played for another hour or so.  Now THAT is how art impacts life.  Get inspired!

Tips for busy moms

1.  Children of all ages will find something fun to do at this museum.
2.  Broward County residents get a discount on entrance tickets.
3.  Give yourself 2-3 hours
4.  If you are a Broward County resident, bring your library card and you can check out books and return them to your local branch
5.  If you are lucky you may catch live music playing on one of the stages.
6.  This is a slam dunk birthday party for a budding artist, call ahead to reserve.
7.  There are traveling exhibits so check their web site to see what is on display before visiting.
8.  There is an outside play area and you know what I say about being outside!  Don’t forget your sunscreen.

Snowbirds

The Snowbirds Are Coming!

I had no idea what to expect when people said, “the Snowbirds are coming” until I experienced the influx first-hand last winter.  “The season,” as they call it starts from about mid-October and runs through the end of March with a few stragglers lingering through April.  So, just about the time the weather starts changing from hot and unbearably humid (think of your worst hair day and multiply it by 4 months) to warm breezes and delightfully comfortable; an estimated 145,000 temporarily move down here to share in the delight.  That’s about an 11% increase in a short amount of time, according to the Palm Beach Post. And, what that means to those of us that are just trying to get through the day-to-day is everything, and I mean everything is just a little bit more of a pain.  It’s like adding a 3 yr-old to your family any time you are trying to get somewhere quickly.  And some of my friends actually have a 3 yr-old in tow so may the Lord be with you!

You start the day off with positivity and deep breaths.  Your inner voice says, “We all want to enjoy this paradise that is south Florida!  Relax, try not to think about how it took you 30 minutes to get somewhere that took 10 minutes just one month ago.  Why oh why is everyone on the road at 7:25 AM???”  By lunchtime even your most well-practiced yoga breathing can’t get you through the long line at the deli counter at Publix.  Your smile has faded to the gritted teeth emoji.  And by dinner you are downing glasses of wine to take the edge off.  Don’t even think about doing that in public though, because you would have to wait at least 2 hours to sit down at dinner and enjoy those sips (or gulps). Drinking behind closed doors in the winter is encouraged here.  Well, actually in the winter it’s drinking on the lanai (covered porch for my southern friends, y’all).

But as we all know, with the Snowbirds come an influx of money that helps support many of the businesses that we get to enjoy all year long.  And, getting to see some of their amazing cars on the road is a dream come true for my kids.  I just hope they don’t expect to get a Maserati for their 16th birthday.

Now that my family is a little more prepared for the population surge this year, I genuinely appreciated reading this article on how to get ready for “the season”.  If you need me in the next few weeks I’ll either be at the doctor, the library, the mechanic, the pool or Costco.  And after all of those errands, let’s meet at a beach bar and enjoy the calm before the storm.

Thanks for the great list, Florida Weekly!

Do it now – Florida Weekly

 

Adult Time – Check – At Eau Palm Beach

Now that the kids are back in school and you’re starting to hit your stride with the weekly routine, it’s time to start thinking about Mommy and Daddy time.  Every once in a while it’s nice to take a break from the kids to reconnect, relax and rediscover your partner.  You know, the person that signed up to go on this parenting journey with you.  Maybe the grandparents are in town to take over or maybe you just found a sitter for 24 hours.  Trust me, it will be worth the time away, especially if you check in to this amazing resort for the weekend, or just a night like we did.

Eau Palm Beach is located in Manalapan, FL a short drive from West Palm Beach and the West Palm Beach airport and only 42 miles from the Ft. Lauderdale airport.  Pronounced “Oh” as in, “Oh, what fun it is to have a vacation without the kids!”  Formerly a Ritz Carlton, this hotel has all the glamour of a Ritz but, with a little more modern swankiness of a boutique hotel.  Famed designer Jonathan Adler designed the decor for much of the hotel and it is so refreshing and so chic at the same time!  The staff at Eau are almost as excited for you to be there as you are, so much so they give you champagne upon check-in.  Don’t mind if I do!  Walking in the door to our room, champagne in hand, it just screams, “I have arrived at my incredibly sophisticated vacation!”  I resisted the urge to take a nap upon arrival on the immaculate bed for fear that I would mess up the pillow arrangement.

Jonathan Adler designed bedroom
Jonathan Adler, this bedroom is sophisticated perfection.

 

Nautical hallway
The hallway to the rooms set the Palm Beach-nautical mood
Hallway with Asian accents
Hallway with geometric and Asian accents

 

Marble bathroom
This is my dream bathroom!  Marble tiles, navy, waves of iridescent blue wallpaper.

Instead, I immediately changed into my bathing suit and explored the grounds in search of the adult-only pool.  The pools have delicious fruit-infused waters for sipping while you relax.  The lounge chairs are plush and shade is plentiful if you want to avoid the sun, like me.  And, no fear if you’ve forgotten your sunscreen, Eau has you covered!  They must have known I was coming.

Sun Bum
Sun Bum sunscreen with little shot glasses for dispensing.

Every afternoon they have a champagne toast in the pool.  Don’t miss seeing the bar staff walk around the pool with their floating bar tray filled with champagne flutes.

For the ultimate luxury, do yourself a favor and book spa appointments.  I am in no way a spa connoisseur but, I’ve had a massage or two in my day and this spa has some of the most unique treatment options I’ve seen.  And, the couple’s treatments even convinced Matt to put aside his male bravado and join me for an afternoon of relaxation.  They have everything from a customized scrub and polish bar to buff out those rough spots to couple’s treatments in your own garden suite for romance and luxury.  When you check-in you receive a glass of champagne (notice a theme here) and you’re asked to make a wish in their wishing well.  If yours has anything to do with forgetting where you are or what is on your running “to do” list, you wish is granted.  We were guided to the male/female bath lounges to enjoy the sauna, steam rooms and hot tub while soothing music played.  Before our treatment, I nibbled on a cupcake and sipped cucumber water a bit of a contradiction but, I don’t care.  Our treatment was phenomenal and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep for a few moments while suspended in the dry float bed (whatever that is) while Matt enjoyed his massage.  Afterwards we made our way to the “Self-Centered Garden” to relax some more!  The garden was beautiful and the perfect place to enjoy a light lunch, a good book or an intense game of life-sized chess.

Spa lounge chairs
Napping is encouraged!

Spa seating
It’s really hard to be stressed in a suspended chair while your feet dangle in the water.

Life size chess
Game on!  Unfortunately you have to use your brain for this one.  Checkmate.

Self-Centered Garden
The Self-Centered Garden awaits you.  Really, it’s okay to think about yourself sometimes.
Relaxed parents
This is what two relaxed parents look like.
After an intense day of pool time and spa treatments, you can’t forget about dining on delicacies and sipping something by the ocean.  Throw on that plush bathrobe and enjoy the serenity of getting ready for dinner without interruptions.  We opted to stay at the hotel and eat beachfront at Temple Orange, a Mediterranean inspired restaurant that took our breath away.  The food was light and fresh and the service was impeccable!  We toasted to the end of an amazing day in paradise and dreamed about the next time we could escape to Eau Palm Beach to recharge.  Cheers!

Tips for busy moms:

1.  Plan ahead a bit and book a room reservation. Go ahead and sign up for a spa treatment to make sure you get a time that works for you.  The treatments aren’t cheap but, they are excellent and worth the splurge.
2.  The hotel has great restaurants but, you aren’t far from Palm Beach if you want, venture out and enjoy some of the swankiest and delicious places to eat in South Florida.  Or just be lazy and stay at the hotel.  We got away with not booking a reservation ahead of time.
3.  The hotel is happy to work with you to make it a memorable stay.  They have bikes you can grab to enjoy the beach scene and flat roads.  You can get into water sports like paddleboarding  (SUP) and fishing.  They also have plenty of options if you like to party like it’s 1999, think hand-crafted cocktails and DJ music.
4.  Pack a bathing suit, cute cover-up, book/trashy magazine, something fun to wear to dinner and flip flops.
5.  For all of my Florida friends.  Ask about the Florida resident rate.
6.  Don’t forget the sunscreen!  Well, you can forget it this time since they have it poolside.