Random Notes From Florida

Random Note #1: Is It Right for Someone to Own the Beach?

We fell in love with Delray Beach over a year ago. Something’s always going on here-the street festivals on Atlantic Avenue, live music outdoors and in cafes, the beautiful beach.

However, we didn’t realize not all beaches are accessible here in Florida. They say they are but they’re not. If you start a drive along Route A1A in Boynton Beach, where we are living for the time being, you cannot see the beach for miles because it is blocked by places like this:

 

Mansions that make Newport, RI look like a middle class neighborhood. The robber barons are alive and well in South Florida. Someone needs to call in Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders to clean things up again.

As you drive along this route you see a few signs that say public beach access but you will see far more signs that say No Parking. So if you don’t live in the house above (yes that is someone’s beach house) or live within walking or biking distance from your wealthy neighbors, how do you access the beach?  You do what we do,  keep driving until you get to Delray where not much is built up on the ocean side of the road and there is metered parking for all, at twenty five cents for ten minutes. Luckily, my friend lives a block from the beach so I park at her place and walk, but not everyone has a friend at the beach and most of us can’t afford a house within a five mile radius of this beautiful beach.

If you continue on to Boca Raton, you run into the same problem as Boynton. The beach is blocked by high-rise condos and mansions allowing no accessibility to the beach. You can call me a socialist, a communist, a hippie, a tree hugger, whatever you like, but I happen to believe the beach belongs to everyone. So does the town of Jupiter. My husband and I discovered this town during the first two weeks after he arrived here. The beaches look like this:

And they are all state parks. Street parking is unmetered and free plus there are beautiful parking lots with trees, covered picnic tables and grills, and changing rooms. This is the Florida of my dreams. Our eventual goal is to live here, not least of all because I want to say “I live on Jupiter.”

We found a decent, affordable condo here that we liked but there was one caveat. No trucks allowed. Which brings me too:

Random Thought #2: Florida is a Lawless Land With a Lot of Rules

People can still smoke in certain areas of bars and restaurants here. There are no car inspections. No one uses their blinker and they often pass on the right. You don’t have to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Now keep in mind, I moved here from the state of Live Free or Die. You can freely ride your motorcycle without a helmet in NH too, however you must accept the possibility you may die in an accident. It’s the state motto, right there on your license plate, Live Free or Die. Your choice.

So here in Florida, you can drive your uninspected truck to your local restaurant for drinks, dinner and a smoke but when the evening is done, where do you park that truck of yours? In most condo developments and gated communities and many apartment complexes, you cannot have a truck. Isn’t driving a truck an all-American kind of thing? Come on now, you’ve seen the commercials during the Super Bowl, right? Like this one:

Did you hear the message? “Ideals I think are right.” “This is our country.” “From the East coast to the West coast.” “This is my truck.”  Well in an awful lot of communities in Florida (and there are places like this in New Hampshire, just not as many) they are going to tell you what you can and cannot drive. That may be your truck but you ain’t parking it here.

So that decent, affordable condo we found on Jupiter? The truck rule was a deal breaker. My husband paints houses and does carpentry for a living. A truck is a necessary part of his livelihood. He has ladders, table saws and other things that apparently some people do not want to know about when they come home at night to their development with the rules. But just wait until their roof leaks or they want new kitchen cabinets. I guess they won’t mind seeing the truck in their driveway then, because of course you can work here. You just can’t live here.

Random Thought #3: “Your Produce Alone Has Been Worth the Trip” -Prot in the movie K-Pax

The produce truly is amazing here in Florida. I ate tomatoes in February that wouldn’t taste that awesome until August in New Hampshire.

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The farm stands and farmer’s market could make anyone become a vegetarian or at least introduce a lot more  fruit and vegetables into their diet. There’s even a spice vendor at the Delray farmers market.
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There’s always something going on here. I have been to a St. Patrick’s Day parade, numerous arts and crafts festivals, a dog parade and tonight we are going to On the Avenue, an event taking place on Atlantic Avenue. There will be live music, art, shopping, dining, and a Beerfest sampling. Attendance is always free and the weather always cooperates.

 

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3 thoughts on “Random Notes From Florida

  1. by comparison, our trees are just starting to green up, i’ve mowed my lawn once so far, and am now seriously thinking about rotating my winter clothes into storage to make room for summer stuff. and also, Florida has really crazy people that do really crazy things, and it has burmese pythons that can eat an alligator. oh yeah, those alligators….

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  2. On St. Patty’s day in the northeast we drink green beer and wear green bowler hats. When did green sombreros come into vogue? Oh, wait don’t answer that, I think I see somebody ticketing your truck…
    And by the way, is there affordable health care on Jupiter? I would consider the move.
    Happy Mother’s Day.

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