Temperatures rise come June, windows close and the blessed flee for cooler climes. The rest of us seek solace by the water. So here are some aquatic specials to refresh your memory and help ease the pain. Water comes in many shapes and manners — downpours, pools, puddles, sparkling and fountains. It runs deep when still, is troubled with a bridge over it, is worth keeping a head above, a mess if you are in it and it’s hot, and not worth throwing the baby out with after a bath. You can be a tall drink of water like Chris Bosh, a fish out of water like a salsa dancer in Martin County, or as dull as dishwater like Rick Scott. It also surrounds us here in Miami- Dade County, and we who love it very deeply always hope to share it with others.
Close to home, the Matheson Hammock lagoon is the most visually aesthetic watering hole as long as you don’t plan on swimming, even though the filtered water is not as bad as it looks. Now I know that many folks nowadays rail on and on about government waste, but if this swimming hole is any indication, no money is being wasted. The beach is uninviting and peculiarly overcrowded at times. But for an early morning or late afternoon stroll or bike ride, no place does it better visually.
Palmetto Bay has three places with some water access within only a few blocks. Behind the Visitors Center at The Deering Estate sits the People’s Dock, aka the fishing hole, where walkers and bike riders congregate a few minutes from the plaza at Old Cutler and 168th Street. Just south of the canal around 173rd is Thalatta Park, open these days from 9-7 every day but Friday or during weddings, which also seem to occur every day but Monday.
In between Deering and Thalatta is more access to the bay with lots of parking, lots of rocks and one bench to sit on. Again, great for bike riders. The final bonus for those down south is the lake at the former Burger King hq, which is always open with the sun, never crowded, home to a crocodile, has a Frisbee golf course, occasional car washers, hosts food trucks once a month and contains a mini-path through the woods. Double bonus goes to Ludovici Park with its almost never used bandshell by the library. The trifecta goes to Black Point, where one can hike virtually into the water and have a beer and fried food while listening to music beloved by pickin’ and grinnin’ denizens of most Red States.
Yet for mo’ money views and funkier confines, head north. All the boats in the Grove and Kennedy Park are worth a stroll and pit stop, with Scotty’s Landing and Monty’s offering old-fashioned sustenance. Better views are on Grove Isle where onetwenty will get you a poolside club sandwich or bacon cheeseburger. But for my money – no money – La Ermita and Alice Wainwright Park offer the best views south of that long, arching Key Biscayne Bridge.
When this old world starts getting me down and people are just too much for me to face, I take the elevator to the top of the stairs and all my cares just drift right into space up on the roof of the Epic and the Viceroy. Here, I can see for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles.
Brickell has a number of other sweet spots including the path around the Mandarin Oriental, the terrace at Crazy About You, and the strange but true poolside LOL Resto behind the strange but old Four Ambassadors where you can get Argentinean wine and victuals for a reasonable price without being fleeced by a slick wait staff. It is far from elegant there, but most important, we are in Miami and it is by the water.
Carl Rachelson is a teacher at Palmer Trinity School and a regular contributor to the Pinecrest Tribune. He may be contacted by addressing email to firstname.lastname@example.org.