Miami Beach, Florida

February 23, 2016

I just got back from Miami Beach...a wonderful, wonderful break from the frigid temperatures of Rochester. I had a bit of a long travel experience thanks to winter storm Olympia (got out just in time!), but 9 extra hours in the ROC airport was well worth it to get to this:

 

AHHH! As a misplaced southerner in Upstate New York, I cannot tell you how amazing it felt to step off the plane in Miami and feel some actual heat- and in FEBRUARY no less! I was born and raised in South Carolina, and believe me, it gets hot there, but we are not close enough to the equator to have such pleasant temperatures all year-round. So this was nothing short of AMAZING.

I have always wanted to go to Miami. It has been one of my dream trips for three main reasons:

  1. I love sunshine and warm weather.

  2. I love being near a beach.

  3. I LOVE me some Cuban food.

and Miami definitely has those things in abundance! I haven't been able to spend more than about 3 minutes at a time outside in Rochester for a few months now, so being able to wear a tank top and flip flops and step outside of my hotel to eat breakfast every morning on Miami Beach was a great joy. The fresh air, the warm sun on my skin, and the delicious food made this trip a winter break success. I wanted to write a little about my experience there and hopefully help you plan a future trip to this Floridian hot-spot!

 

So all I really wanted to do in Miami was....

  • Relax on the beach (Check!)

  • Eat some great food (Check!)

  • Get some fresh air and exercise (Check- well, maybe I didn't exercise as much as I should have, but I'm still counting the beach walk as a check!)

I had a great time doing all of those things. I stayed at The Raleigh Hotel, an iconic South Beach institution since 1940. Hailed as one of the top 10 hotels in South Beach by The Telegraph (UK), this place does not

disappoint. With a prime location right on Miami Beach, an award-winning chef behind the oh-so-chic bungalow style restaurant in the back (try the Wagyu sliders- ahem...YUM), to the famous designer-swimming pool, and the always cool mid-century modern decor, this hotel was the perfect place to stay in Miami. As you walk through the entrance, you feel as if you're being transported to another time. You get a sense that you're entering a special place- one that has an age old secret that you'll learn exclusively from its whispering walls. Then, you can join the ranks of previous guests that share that knowledge. This place shows off its true icon status with the large collection of photographs displayed in the lobby showcasing the vast amount of celebrity guests they've had over time. Whether famous or infamous, they remind you that you're in good company here. 

 

Above: Some recent celebrity sightings at The Raleigh, including Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Gigi Hadid - photo credit: @TheRaleighHotel (Instagram) 

 

 

As for the food scene in Miami, I could barely crack the surface in my 6 days there, but I do have a couple notable mentions: 

 

Casa Tua - This Italian restaurant had delicious food and an incredible atmosphere. A playful counterpart to it's Aspen, Colorado location, we ate outside and the romantic lighting set the mood just right. The outdoor area was right on the street but completely hidden by privacy hedges, which enhanced the exotic feel of the evening. The staff was friendly and could converse in English, Spanish, and Italian! (A+!)

 

Yuca - Young. Urban. Cuban. American. The name really says it all. Great Mojito, delicious empanadas, amazing short rib, and delightful fried plantains (one of my personal favorites!).

 

Rosetta Bakery - This small but popular Italian style bakery was right around the corner from the Raleigh and frankly I'm biased anyway based on my heritage so I had to give it a try. Simple and undeniably good sandwiches (much like in Italy), baked goods, flatbreads. Give it try for breakfast or lunch if you're in the area. 

 

In all, my trip was great! Miami is the perfect escape. It's so unique that once you get there, it's hard to believe that you're still in the U.S. This beautiful, fun, glamorous, exotic, and electric hotspot will never go out of style. 

Have you ever been to Miami? What are your favorite memories from your time there? Have any suggestions for potential travelers? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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Charleston, SC Photographer