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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hollywood...by the Sea

I just returned from a quick retreat (for me!) in Hollywood, FL. Mac Daddy had a conference to attend last week...so I went along for the ride. And boy am I glad I did!!!

We stayed at the Westin Diplomat...one of our favorite properties along the south Florida coast...just north of Miami Beach and just south of Ft. Lauderdale. This impressive property has changed since our last visit...there's a BEACH again. (The beach had been totally washed away by a hurricane on our last visit. )

What did I do for 3 days? Absolutely nothing!!! .........unless you count reading, napping (on the wonderful "Heavenly Bed"), sketching, and photographing the property as activities. I was a "lotus eater". And it felt good! (Poor Mac Daddy was "on" from 7am until midnight each day...I hardly saw him.)

Here are a few images of the hotel property...and some of the images I sketched.

This is one of the floral displays in the lobby...it's a cypress branch, about 12 feet long, with bromeliads and orchids wired onto the trunk. Spanish moss filled in the gaps. These trunks were "planted" into very large urns. They were spectacular! (I want to copy this planting for my lanai.)




Thanks to a reclaimed beach project, there was now a beach at the resort. Although narrow, there was room for the kids' club activities, a lifeguard hut, a couple of rows of chaises, and room for a long stroll up and down the coast. I especially loved the giant checkerboard! Alongside the checkerboard were children digging deep holes (heading to China?) and building castles in the sand...all under the watchful eyes of chaperons provided by the hotel.


My favorite spot was in the shade of the beach-side restaurant. (I am very careful with my fair skin...year round!) Early November is a quiet time of year for Florida tourism, so there were few people to crowd the tables....and the wait-staff was kind enough to allow me to sit and sketch...and read under the shade of the umbrellas. I did, however, have an interesting companion for lunch. He did not talk much, but carried on a lovely tune throughout my meal. Do you think he was trying to sing for his supper?


This is the view from my (our) table...AHHHHHH......
Maybe one day you will see a painting of this view.
It certainly was calming..........



The Diplomat features 2 levels of pools...the upper pool has a gradual entry, perfect for children, and those who do not handle steps well...even wheelchairs are allowed. In the center of this pool is a large round circle...a window to the pool below on the lower level. So cool!
















(the above photo is from the Westin Diplomat website. Note the crescent of a pool at the top left...that is the corner of the lower pool...a large, freeform structure.)

This property is a wonderful destination...especially in the fall or the spring...before and after the tourist season.

On our journey home to the west coast, we stopped at our favorite restaurant on the beach in Lauderdale By The Sea (Fort Lauderdale)...Sea Watch. (You might enjoy the photos on the website...beautiful!). This restaurant is nestled between tall sea grapes, sand dunes, palms and the crashing waves of the Atlantic. On our last visit, we had a bright green iguana sitting on the palm beside our open window....and we have watched the skies change as a hurricane made its way to the coast. Incredible! (We always ask to sit on the enclosed porch, where the sea breeze and ocean sounds glide through open windows.)



As we meandered up the coast, we were in awe of the gorgeous ocean views and the incredible mansions along the way to Palm Beach. It was quite sad, though, to see all the FOR SALE signs.

(This photo was taken through the window of our moving car. The house is probably around 10,000 sq. ft. and it backs up to the Atlantic. Just one of many compounds along the coast to Palm Beach.)

It was a lovely respite to our busy lives...just wish my husband could have had some time to relax a bit. At least we had the drive to and from Hollywood to chat and enjoy being together...





Just a quick note.... Maya is having a Tabletop Giveaway...featuring Outer Banks Trading Company...one of my favorite businesses. Be sure to stop in and sign up. (or at least look at the OBX website. There are so many wonderful items on these pages!)


17 comments:

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

OH! How awesome to get away and enjoy such a beautiful place :o) Sorry that your hubby kept so busy during his conference, and that he was not able to squeeze a wee bit of time to relax and soak in some sun with you :o) Your 3 days of leisure sounds wonderful and I'd definitely want to go...in a drop of a hat!

Blessings & Aloha!

(Yikes! I am supposed to be leaving shortly for work at 730am! But I just had to come by real quick and say...thank you so much for stopping by and for your sweet, sweet comment!...your artwork is wonderful and I'm happy that you enjoy looking at what I do :o)

Eileen said...

You lucky girl!
Your pictures are great and the hotel looks lovely. We had stayed at the Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hallondale, Florida a few years ago, if your accommodations were anything like ours you must have been awe-struck! My jaw dropped when we walked into the lobby!
So nice you got to relax for awhile!
All the best,
Eileen

Designs on 47th Street said...

What a beautiful area you live in. Just beautiful pictures you shared with us. Sounds like such a relaxing time for you.
Thanks much for stopping by and leaving a comment on my blog! You probably never see pheasants in FL. do you? My husband is a pheasant hunter!

Maya said...

Good for you..., just hanging out and enjoying the scenery. Sea Watch looks awesome by the way..., and thanks so much for mentioning the giveaway!!!

Yellow Rose Arbor said...

I enjoyed catching up on your pretty blog! Thanks for taking us along on some of your trips! Also getting to know you better. Enjoyed it a lot!

Katherine

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

How fun, Jane, that you had a beach trip, too! Do you know that my mom and dad went to the Diplomat in Hollywood FL when I was a little girl and we heard about how wonderful it was for years! (same hotel?) November is absolutely the BEST time to hit the beach, isn't it? Yes, I loved the leaf banner on the palm tree! I'll take no Fall color for that wonderful weather, too! Happy week!...Debbie

storyteller said...

What a lovely post about a seemingly wonderful trip! I suspect that dual pool set up is something to see. Thanks for dropping by Happily Retired Gal and leaving the link back here. Hope you have a delightful day ;-)
Hugs and blessings,

{ L } said...

Ohh, so lucky you are! This little vacation looks ideal. I love Westin properties too...Some of my favorite hotels! It looks like a beautiful time for you.

You made me laugh about trying to get the band equipment out of the way, lol! Thank you SO much for your encouragement today! You are gifted with the ability to instantly encourage someone. :) I'm intrigued though. You mentioned taking tablescape classes?? What is that? It sounds really interesting. If you have a moment could you let me know at lisanchris@gmail.com? Thank you Jane!

{ L } said...

PS I LOVE LOVE the Heavenly Bed!! But I think you already know that...lol

Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...

Sigh.....Oh! How I long to be at the beach! What gorgeous views. Next month....but with a post like this it seems forever away!
Thanks for the photos. Beautiful!!Thanks for dropping by Bloggeritaville today!
Leigh Bratina
www.lbratina.blogspot.com

Mid-Atlantic Martha said...

Looks like a wonderful get a way! Beautiful -- thanks for visiting my tablescape -- I appreciate your comments very much!

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

What a wonderful place to get away to.. Thank you for swinging by the pre holiday open house event. I'm hoping to post pics this week so stayed tuned..lol.. No, I don't have a website yet..soon hopefully.. Thank you for always leaving such kind and up beat comments when you come by. They mean the world..hugs ~lynne~

Deanna said...

Hi Jane!
WOW!!! What a place to visit.
May you have a fantastic Thanksgiving.
God richly bless you,
d from homehaven

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

My fave thing to do for three whole days....Looks like a lovely respite! Truly!!!

Poetic Painter said...

Looks like a beautiful place! How wonderful that you were able to get away and do nothing...everyone needs that.

Martha said...

Beautiful pictures of an enchanting vacation. Thank you for sharing and also your visit to my blog.

prashant said...

You are gifted with the ability to instantly encourage someone.

Work from home India