Florida Day Eight: Farewell To South Florida And A Visit To The Secret Woods Nature Center Near The Fort Lauderdale Airport
After checking out of the Bar Harbor/ Coconut Bay Resort on Saturday morning I decided to leave Key Largo via the Card Sound Road. This more isolated route avoids the traffic on Highway One. It is a nice scenic road that a lot of folks don’t know about. After crossing the toll bridge over Card Sound I came upon a unique roadside bar/restaurant and decided to stop and eat. I am glad I did.
Alabama Jacks is located on this remote, isolated road. There is canal along the restaurant which allows boats to dock alongside and order food and beverage or to visit this busy place.
While waiting for my food I inspected the many old license plates from all over the country and other interesting stuff that adorned the walls of this back woods or swamps establishment. I was too early for the live entertainment but enjoyed some good loud music while waiting for my food. It was early when I arrived, around 11 a.m. but the bar was already full of locals.
I had a nice lunch of conch chowder and fish tacos. When leaving I told the waitress I bet it gets really hoping here at night. She told me no, they close at dark, because there are no lights on this remote road. Definitely a cool place for food and entertainment.
I continued my hour drive to the Fort Lauderdale airport in the usual heavy traffic around Miami. I dropped off my SUV and enjoyed another interesting taxi ride to my hotel. My driver was from Haiti. He was my age. We discussed life, politics, religion. My hotel for the night was another adventure. I had planned to stay on a beach side hotel . However, I didn’t make reservations until Thursday evening. It and almost all of the other hotels near the airport were booked. I finally was able to get a room at the very budget Red Carpet Inn. It would prove to be an interesting experience. More about that later.
After checking in to the hotel, and looking for somewhere to walk , I noticed a nearby park right not far from my hotel. Of course I decided to check it out. My hotel was located in a busy commercial/industrial area near the airport. I had to cross busy Highway 84 to get to the park. It wasn’t easy.
After darting across the busy highway and walking a few blocks I came to the Secret Woods County Park and Nature Center. What a nice discovery. I enjoyed my two mile hike in this woodland sanctuary in the middle of this industrial and commercial area.
There were many informative exhibits in the park but I didn’t have time to investigate them. A lot of local folks, many with families and children were enjoying the woodlands and exhibits, even though the skies were darkening and threatening rain.
There were a few trails in the Secret Woods nature preserve where a boardwalk would take you through the sub-tropical mangrove forest. The tangled roots of the mangroves provided habitat for many local critters including some beautiful white ibises,
Unfortunately, there was no access to the river since a new manatee observation area is under construction. I walked through the mangrove forest and saw a few critters, some I was familiar with like this cute gray squirrel,
The skies got darker, and it was getting late in the afternoon, so I decided to leave the Secret Woods and walk back to my hotel, first visiting a butterfly garden along the way. Many of the plants were not in bloom, and I didn’t see any butterflies but there were some pretty flowers to enjoy, including theses butterfly bush flowers,
I left the lovely Secret Woods Park and made it back to my hotel under the threatening skies. I was glad to have found this wonderful nature sanctuary in this busy commercial district near the airport. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my visit to the Secret Woods and my last day in Florida. Florida Day Eight. Drive to Fort Lauderdale and nature hike. February 19 2022.
At my room I showered and now had to decide where to eat. There were not many choices, without a car, and with threatening skies, so I decided to eat at a local sports bar next to my hotel. I wasn’t expecting a great meal at the Marina 84 sports bar but I had a descent wholesome meal of minestrone soup and salmon. I hurried back to my room just as a thunderstorm approached.
I was full and after editing some photographs was ready for a good night sleep before my early flight back home. I quickly fell asleep but was awakened at 11 p.m. A car alarm was went off outside of my room. It continued and I called the front desk, five times. They said they were working on it. An hour later, I called and demanded to speak to a manager. A man came on and said they don’t keep license information and there was nothing they could do. And they didn’t. The alarm becoming less frequent and less loud but continued all night. I had ear plugs but they didn’t help much. Needless to say I got very little sleep. I looked forward to getting to the airport to get some sleep. Well, traveling as often as I do, I have come to expect the unexpected. I wasn’t happy at the time but now it is just another story to tell. I had a nice flight home, sleeping a bit, reflecting on my trip, and planning my next adventure. Thanks for coming along!!!
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost