Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Coral Castles and Strawberries Fields Forever, Redlands, FL

Miami.  You're thinking blue waters, South Beach clubbin' it with Jay Z, long stretches of beach with infinity pools.  That is so last year people.  Come on, hit the Redlands with the locals.  Now I know rural Florida isn't what makes us Beantowners fly south for spring break, but it sure is fun for the kids.  Back in the 80's when everyone else was runnin' drugs (or runnin' from drugs) on the beach, I was heading down to farm country with my grandparents.  What no beach first thing in Miami?  Please people, first sign of sun and we hit our fav seaside kiddie spot at Matheson Hammock.  But when the beach gets hot, nothing hits the spot like a strawberry shake at Knaus Berry Farm.

The Dunkers, a sect of German Baptist who dress suspiciously like Amish run a great You Pick'em down here.  Why wait till July for Land's Sake Strawberry Festival in Weston when you can hit the season in Miami in April.  Plus, the cinnamon buns are out of this world.  We asked for a rec for lunch, they suggested our old haunt the Fruit and Spice Park's cafe.  This place is a trip unto itself, with 37 acres of fruit bearing trees, many of which you have never heard of.  We came for the shrimp tacos of all things, but the fruit sampler with mulberries was certainly the highlight.

A trip south of miami is certainly a waste though without a stop off at the Coral Castle.  This place is a roadtrip institution to the tune of the World's Largest Twine Ball in Darwin, Minnesota.  Latvian immigrant (alright, my people were Lithuanian, but close) Ed Leedskainin spent the Depression and beyond hauling hundreds of tons of coral around south Florida to make one of the creepiest palaces we've ever seen.  This guy even inspired Billy Idol to write the track "Sweet Sixteen" about his long lost love.  So, if the beach has you bored or burning, head south on Tourista Route One for a little tour of rural south Florida, the Redlands await!