After a delayed flight, an inflight holding pattern so the President could depart the area, and an hour wait to pick up my rental at Budget, I finally got settled in somewhere after 7p last night.
My AirBnB host is a sweet Jamaican lady that lives not far from the airport in Boynton Beach. She’s already made me feel at home ensuring I have everything I need and things I didn’t even know I needed, including her homemade stove-top hot chocolate.
After grabbing a few things I needed from Target like OFF! Wait. Let’s pause here for a moment. I’ve been to Florida enough times to know that mosquito repellant is E-SSEN-TIAL. Those little bloodsuckers can’t wait for you to slip. Buzzing around, buzzing passed my ear, making buzzy noises. If OFF! isn’t my selected scent for the day, I’m screwed and itchy.
As has been a tradition for the past 2 years, obligatory stop for dinner on my first night in WPB was the Havana restaurant for some good ass Cuban food.
Table for one please!
Speaking of, my favorite things about traveling alone are that: 1) you’re on your time and can navigate the day however you please, and 2) no one’s eyeing your plate leading to the obligatory offer to share.
So I sat back, took in the sights of other diners, eavesdropped a little on their conversations, and enjoyed my own intermittent conversations with the host and wait staff.
I indulged on a glass of Tempranillo and ordered the camarones al ajillo (shrimp in a super garlicky garlic sauce), with a side of arroz amarillo (Cuban-style yellow rice), frijoles (black beans), and maduros (sweet plantains).
The combination of good food, welcoming staff, and a “when you’re here, you’re family”-like environment makes for a great dining experience. I highly recommend you make it a necessary stop as well. While the restaurant closes at 10p, Havana’s carry out window is open 24/7….even on Christmas people.
The place kinda gives me vibes like the Columbia Restaurant located in the Ybor City neighborhood of Tampa. Also highly recommended if you’re ever in Tampa.
After a longer than planned (or necessary) travel day, I took my leftovers and called it a night not long after dinner.
The last few days here in Palm Beach County, Florida have been absolutely AMAZING! I had every intention to blog real-time or at the conclusion of everyday but I doubted how much justice my words at the time would give my experience.
We flew into Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) late Sunday night after a couple of flight delays. But we got our rental car and got settled in. Staying in this cute apartment in Lake Worth we found on AirBnB.
Each morning, I went for a walk/run (ok…mostly walk in my running shoes) before we started the day to make sure I got in as much activity as possible. And every evening, I made sure I was by the water to watch the sunset. The weather ranged from 76° – 89° with occasional winds. I never saw a single raindrop the entire trip. I know…I was surprised too.
Monday, 3/20 | Indian Breakfast and Hiking
When she first suggested an Indian restaurant for breakfast, admittedly, I turned my nose up. “Indian…it’s too early for that.” But Reesie has yet to be wrong when suggesting places to eat, so I went with it and let me tell you… this place DID NOT DISAPPOINT.
I browsed the menu. Still a little skeptical, I went back and forth on whether to get something typical (American) for breakfast or try something different. I finally decided on the Spinach Keema Omelette. Reesie, the Eggs Nissa. OMG!!! I don’t think I’ve ever had a breakfast so full-body flavorful! I ate it so fast I forgot to take a picture.
After breakfast, we laced up our hiking boots laced up our hiking boots and trekked about 6 miles through the Apoxee Wilderness Preserve.
Tuesday, 3/21 | Miami Marlins vs. Nats @ FITTEAM Ballpark
On Tuesday, my sorority sister Cassie drove from Longwood (about 20 minutes outside of Orlando) to hang out with Reesie and I in Lake Worth and to take in the Marlins vs. Nats game. I was so excited to see her. We had been talking about her possibly joining me for a Spring Training game since December. She’s got that kind of spirit you just want to be around and always finds the good in everything. She simply made a day I already knew was going to be great…greater. I couldn’t wait to get the day started!
Strasburg (#37) was the starting pitcher that day. We arrived after first pitch and by that time the Marlins had already scored one home run. Strasburg (*ahem* who only allowed 13 home runs over 175+ innings pitched last year), would give up 2 more runs, 8 hits, and 3 walks, throwing 81 pitches over 4 1/3 innings. We were down 3-0 in the 5th, when the most handsomest manager (Martinez) came out to excuse Stras.
However, we rallied. We took the lead, 4-3, with an RBI single from Difo (#1) that brought in two runs and a two-run blast by Harper (#34, and his 2nd of the Spring). We’d score 4 more runs via Moises Sierra, Brignac, a sac fly by Dominguez and an error on the Marlins.
Moises Sierra indirectly provided us a laugh when I asked Reesie to Google his stats. She starts telling us about where he’s from, what team(s) he came from, how tall he is. When she said 5’3″, we looked toward the outfield and scratched our heads.
Cassie and I: “Moises Sierra? Right there…number 49? Are you sure?!”
Reesie: “Oh, I thought ya’ll were talking about Wilmer Difo!”
Cassie and I: “Huh?! But…LOL!”
Wilmer Difo is 5’11” by the way.
Nats won! 8 – 3
There was a kid (now affectionately called “The Kid”) and his dad that sat behind us at the game on Tuesday. I loved the way they talked about the game as the day unfolded. They were fun. Both providing commentary, chiming into our conversation, often offering answers to questions I’d ask or joining in to banter. I remember asking a question, to which the dad answers then adds, “I’m here for you.”
At some point, the dad gets up to run to the bathroom or the concession stand and leaves the kid. The Kid, having already caught one, gets offered a dead/throw away ball by another kid. I’m completely shocked. Kids don’t like to share but I thought, “Oh, how sweet.” But then I get a tap on the shoulder. It’s The Kid…yes my kid. He says, “Here…you keep it.”
He said, “Yeah. I already have one. Do you know how many of these things I have at home?!” I go on and on about how kind and thoughtful the gesture was to which he replies, “I have good parents.”
It absolutely warmed my heart. Not only because this little guy offered up an OFFICIAL Spring Training game ball to me after acknowledging his excess, but that he recognized the actions and values his parents taught and gave him, respectively. And then gave his parents the credit in their absence. He was truly #kidgoals.
Shout out to The Kid and his dad (and mom)!
My girls and I ended the day at Lake Worth Beach, enjoying happy hour at Mulligan’s, taking in the sunset along the fishing pier, and eating ice cream and sorbetto from Kilwins.
Wednesday, 3/22 | Houston Astros vs. Nats @ FITTEAM Ballpark
GIO! GIO! GIO! Gio was the starting pitcher for the game against the World Series Champions. I was hype! He’s one of my favorites, Eaton was in the line up, and come on…who didn’t watch the crazy match up between the Dodgers and Astros?! Again, I was hype! Ready for a win. I thought the guys knew that!
During that game, Gio would allow 8 runs…EIGHT…4 of them unearned; give up 6 hits, 2 walks, with 95 pitches over just 4 2/3 innings.
We would finally get on the board with a two-run home run by Matt Reynolds and then a home run by Andrew Stevenson in the bottom of the 9th.
Nats fell. 8-3
Where to Eat
The Pelican Restaurant (Lake Worth) – Indian and American. This unassuming yet fun restaurant is located in downtown Lake Worth. Take a chance, order your eggs Indian style. It’s cash only though, so come prepared.
Havana Cuban Food (West Palm Beach) – This could be THE best Cuban spot in the state of Florida. My sample size is small to jump to such a conclusion but if you try it and don’t agree…let me know! I recommend the fricasé de pollo or the masitas de puerco fritas. Oh and they are open 24 hours. OPEN 24 HOURS!
Mulligan’s Beach House (Lake Worth) – Located at the Lake Worth Casino Building and Beach Complex. American food, on the water, and drinks are 1/2 off during Happy Hour
Places to Go
John Prince Memorial Park (Lake Worth) – This was my go-to place to get in some activity each day. This park is centered around Lake Osborne and full of options: camping, playgrounds, fishing, picnic pavilions, bike trail, fitness course…you name it! There are also a variety of birds around so just look out for bird poo. Sadly and despite my best efforts, I never made it all the way around on my feet.
Latana Public Beach (Latana) – On the shore of the Atlantic Ocean, this was the first beach I visited on this trip. There’s ample metered parking.
Apoxee Wilderness Trail (West Palm Beach) – Pronounced “Ah-po-ee”, meaning “beyond tomorrow”, is a 2.5 mile (or 4 mile round trip when also taking the Owahee Trail) hike through Florida’s grassy water everglades. Hiking boots optional.
Lake Worth Casino Building and Beach Complex (Lake Worth) – Also along the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Mulligan’s Beach House is located here. There’s ample metered parking. There’s also a fishing pier that extends to what feels like oblivion on which you can walk as a spectator for $1. Then reward yourself for walking out on the pier by making a stop at Kilwins Chocolates and Ice Cream for some raspberry or lemon sorbetto. I had them both. #cosign #nom
Ocean Inlet Park (Boynton Beach) – I visited this spot last year and I don’t know what was more breathtaking: the drive to Ocean Inlet or the inlet itself. The park is situated intercoastal but with easy access to the beach. After our loss to the Astros on Wednesday, this was the right place to collect, watch the sunset, and connect with the beauty around me. Actually, it was the perfect way to end this trip.
I’m back in the DC. While away, friends and family back home returned my pics of sunny Florida days with pics of snow so I knew what to expect. I should be used to this weather by now. But it was still a shock after being in shorts and tank top weather the past few days. However, real Spring and baseball, soon come.