Solara Surfside Bluegreen Resort Surfside FL
I had driven down because I wanted my convertible with me this week. Also, because still even at 50, I like to drive. There is something about getting on the interstate, turning on some good music, and putting the peddle down that is relaxing, and it gives me a true sense of freedom.
Day One Arrival
I pulled up about 1 hour before check-in time. I had made good time on the interstate. I also did not put the top down until I hit Florida because that puts me in cruise mode mentally, and will slow me down.
Pulling in my first thoughts were, “yes, oh yeah, and this will do it!”. This location is a part of the Bluegreen Lighthouse Collection and every single one of these I have been to has been a keeper folks. These are modern, clean, well laid out, and in amazing locations.
What struck me about this resort was the Southbeach Inspired architecture and coloring. The building itself is a light blue with white balconies on all sides. Solara Surfside has the look and charm of an older resort on the outside, but on the inside, I would soon find out it was fresh and new.
I checked in early and just agree not to go up to the room. They offered to take my bags to the room so I could stop by the beach and say hello to the ocean for a while. I took my room key, and the number of the resort room with me along with my wallet, intent on finding a nice drink on my way to the beach.
Little did I realize that not only did my room have a beach view, but this resort is right on the beach. This was an ideal location for fun in the sun.
I had not been to the room, so I did not jump in the pool. But after a long drive, the idea of the drink sounded perfect, and there were tables with umbrellas just in a little dune break before the beach and after the pool. That is the direction I headed to after I found the bar. I ordered a mixed drink I started drinking in Florida in the 90s. At the first bar, I tried it, they called it a Dude Cooler and the name (lame as it is stuck). It is light and dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and a dollop of pina colada mix. You shake it up with ice and pour it into a highball or hurricane glass. If your bartender if feeling fancy he or she will add a flag which is a piece of pineapple with cherry added via a toothpick, or better yet a plastic sword.
That drink is just simply one of the most refreshing you will ever have on a hot day. It also is amazing after a drive. Not too strong to make you want to nap, just refreshing and light.
Well, two of those later it was time to go check out the room in person.
Now I can not guarantee you will get the room with the view I had, but oh boy what an amazing view. The room was also well laid out. I paint a little, so I appreciate it when a resort uses some local art in the rooms. It adds something that is hard to replace.
First impressions are that this would be a great spot for a family or a couple. A lot of room, big kitchen with granite counters. A pull-out sofa in the living room and a nice master bedroom with an attached full bath. The bath also had a door for the unit to access it as well.
My room was a single bedroom with an ocean view. They also have suites, and 2-bedroom units available. This was great for a person or a couple, but if I was bringing the family, I would get the suite or at least the 2-bedroom unit.
I forgot to mention that the valet service parked my car (that was a nice touch) too much of that being lost these days if you ask me. Then my bags had also been brought to the room and were here for me as well.
I had also brought a suit just in case, and they even hung that in the closet. Just a class act. Note to self “find the bellman for a tip”.
So I drove a long way, had a few good drinks. Heck, it is dinnertime. So, I settled in at il pastaiolo miamibeach the website had me when the first thing I saw were hands making fresh pasta. Then they said, gourmet. Instead of driving, I grabbed an Uber just to make life simple, and because both drinks were good ones.
For dinner, I chose RAVIOLI OSSO BUCO MEAT, which is Homemade ravioli filled with osso buco, rosemary, black peppers, nutmeg, garlic oil, parmigiana cheese, and red wine reduction. If you have never heard the term slap your mama. It is a joke that relates to food so good that you would slap your mama for keeping it from you in your childhood. This was that good. With the caveat that I would never slap my mother. The dinner however was amazing. Since I was not driving, I also had a bottle of wine with the meal and that too was great.
The wine was Aruma Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina. Which was great. One trick about wine I have found to be true for me is when you find a good importer of wine, follow what they import to the United States, and even the less expensive wines will be of high quality.
Pasta and wine meant it was back to the resort for a snooze.
Day Two Solara Surfside
Day two at Solara Surfside started early because I was so tired the night before that I did not close any blinds or curtains. But just as well since I went to bed early too.
Florida’s sun is bright, and I love it. Being from Virginia, even living in Virginia Beach it is like a whole other world in South Florida. Not just another climate, but another world entirely.
If you are a people watcher, Miami and Surfside FL have some of the most beautiful on the planet. They also tend to walk around functionally naked with thongs that do not really cover much. Sometimes that is intriguing, and other times it is a little horrifying. But in Southbeach and the surrounding beaches, many of the people are models so it is like living in an 80s Prime Time TV show. My brain was stuck on the Girl from Ipanema song for like the first hour down at the beach.
These people also know they look amazing so you do not feel as guilty as you might in other places in the world people watching. I think most thrive on the attention. But for me, I can only take a little of that without running madly into the ocean or going for a drink. The beaches here are amazing but it is the people watching that will develop rich memories in many. Other than myself, I do not think there were over 5 people near the beach with over 4% body fat. It was just crazy. After about 2 hours of sitting in amazement, I picked my jaw up off the sand. I reminded myself that I have a friend that lives in Miami now and close to here. So, I jumped on Facebook and sent a message to see if my pal was around. I did not get a response right away, so I headed out of the area and towards something else to do. I knew if I stayed on the beach, I would get a serious sunburn, and some level of heartbreak lol. All the should have “stayed in better shape” self-messages do not do me any good.
I know Miami has an aquarium that they are proud of it is called a Seaquarim so I thought I would go check it out. After a few hours of looking at perfect bodies walk by, I thought looking at some large sea life would make me feel better.
Their current deal would be great if you go to Miami or Surfside regularly. $49.99 one time and you can go for 12 months. That is a nice deal, especially if you have kids and want to come back several times while you are in the area. There is certainly enough to see.
I took advantage of the Dolphin meet and greet of sorts. Now after COVID it is a very personal experience that is like you and a Dolphin and one trainer for 10 minutes. Just flat-out awesome!
There is another option where you get in the water with the Dolphins and they swim up and shake hands with their fins and other fun tricks. That would be great for parents with kids that wanted the child to consider marine biology, or wanted to get them to watch flipper with them.
There is a ton more to do at the park (can not be just called an aquarium) so I took part in several more things. I also had enough fun to think about coming back again on the trip.
OK, I have not watched enough fish and animal life eat that I am hungry too. So, it was time to find another restaurant. I chose the Locust Bar and Restaurant which is also a theater. It is on Ocean Drive and easy to find. Again, I was starving because I skipped breakfast, and I had not had anything but water all day. This meant that even for a late lunch I chose to start off with an order of Nachos. These were not any old run-of-the-mill nachos either. They called them Mexico City Nachos, and they were huge. Not sure how I planned to eat more after that.
I decided to wait a bit before my main item was brought out. I explained my master plan to the manager, who stopped to check on me. Skyler was his name and never has there been a more friendly engaging host. He joked with me, had a laugh, and told me he understood and they would hold off on the entrée.
A moment later he returned with the next part of my master plan: a drink. Now if you have read my blogs before you know I am a sucker for all things touristy. The cheesier the better quite often for me. So, I let Skyler know he could pick the drink and give me a local favorite. Now I acknowledge this is a cool thing for a manager to do. Not only check on you but then jump in and encourage the fun and support your effort. Just truly a class act.
Later for dinner, I had the Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos. They were amazing. If Aquaman ate tacos, these were the ones he would have.
Today began with a breakfast. After yesterday’s no breakfast and an early start, I promised myself I would not do that again. I started the day at the resort with a quick and easy breakfast for myself.
I got a half dozen eggs, some cheese, and ham. Then I made an omelet and cooked some sausage links. All right in the kitchen, in the unit.
Alright, I can not believe I am doing this but listen close and I will teach you how to make a perfect omelet every single time. These are omelets that if you had to wager your life on, you would use this method.
The secret is boiling water, and a Ziplock baggy. You boil water in the largest pot available in the unit. For me this looked like a 4-quart pot. You let it heat to a rolling boil. Meanwhile, you take your ingredients for your omelet and put them into the Ziplock baggy. The brand does not matter that is just what I call all of those.
You mix everything right in the bag. Eggs, Cheese, Ham, Salt, Pepper, you name it. Whatever you like can go in. I use 3 eggs because I like a big omelet. You mix it well, massaging it in your hand or shaking whatever works for you.
Then once the water is boiling, you drop in your baggy so that it floats some with the egg below the waterline. You may need to remove some air from the bag. You also do not need to fill the pot to the top. Once in the water, you turn off the stovetop. About 12 minutes later you will have a perfect omelet every single time. I use this time to take a quick shower. Then I came out and cooked the sausage. The little breakfast sausages cook in like 3-4 minutes, the old brown and serve. Then I put those with the omelet on the plate and grab some freshly squeezed OJ.
Boom a breakfast fit for a king with most it cooking itself to perfection as I took a shower.
After breakfast, I reached out to my friend again and asked if he wanted to meet me at the beach. He agreed, and we hung out and people watched and talked about some fun times from years gone by. You know the normal things people talk about who have been friends for years.
Now if I was 20 years younger, I would not have written this blog. I would have been partying too much in Southbeach to remember enough or feel good enough to write. Southbeach and Miami are party areas for sure. But there is a great deal to do, even if your wild days are behind you. I had not taken my Mustang Convertible out since I got into town. So, I thought I could drive around and have my friend show me a few spots he likes to hang out at and go to himself.
It was still early in the night, but I realized I should not have driven after the first spot. I parked my car (after putting the top up) in a parking garage and we just walked from place to place, and had some drinks, and joked around. It was a blast.
I proved to myself that you do not have to be young to still have a ton of fun in this area. The people of Southbeach and larger Miami are fun, active, and very kind to travelers. It did not hurt that my friend seemed to know everyone and with a warm introduction as the visitor from out of town, everyone wanted to make sure I was enjoying myself.
Long story short, I made it back to the resort before midnight. But I was tired. I knew the next morning I had to hit the ground running for checkout time. I also wanted to get on the road before traffic picked up. I felt if I could get out of the Miami area and onto the interstate an hour ahead of other travelers, it would make the rest of the trip much easier.
The trip home would take about 14 hours, but I would stop once and stay the night on the way back. Maybe in South Carolina.
You too can have these kinds of dream vacations if you chose Tzort to travel resort style.