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Quick Miami Visit (pre-Covid-19)

In early February, right before all the Coronavirus news really went haywire and things started shutting down, Steve and I had a short 2 night weekend visit to Miami planned.  Thanks to Richard Branson, there is now a great option to get from West Palm Beach to Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, which is a new train called The Brightline.  It takes about one hour from West Palm to the station in Miami, which is conveniently located right in the middle of downtown.  We took off work a little early on a Friday and caught the 4:30pm train, which was great.  Super clean and comfortable, a really nice lounge area with help yourself beer, wine and prosecco and cocktails served to you on the train.

We opted to stay downtown because we had tickets to watch the Miami Heat play the Dallas Mavericks (our old hometown team) and the Mandarin Oriental is only a 10-15 minute walk from the stadium.  I opted for a balcony room with a view of the bay, which was great.  The hotel was lovely and was located right on the water with great views of downtown.  There was also a nearby park for walking/jogging and we were about 10-15 minutes from lots of restaurants and bars.  It’s not on a beach like South Beach but they do have a waterfront “beach club” concept with sandy area and a pool.  Our first night we had an early dinner of sushi at Zuma Restaurant and then headed to the game.

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Lobby View at Mandarin Oriental, Miami
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View from our room’s balcony
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Cocktails and potstickers at Zuma in downtown Miami

The next day we each went for a morning walk/jog and then took an uber over to Little Havana to explore.  We loved that neighborhood, which is very lively with shops and restaurants, street art and live music.  We went into a famous bar called Ball & Chain and had the best mojito ever before walking to lunch at

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Little Havana
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Famous old theater in Little Havana
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The coolest bar in Miami – Ball & Chain in Little Havana

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Lots of famous musicians played at Ball & Chain.  They also have live music everyday.
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OMG – seriously, the best mojito that I have had anywhere

We came back to the hotel in the late afternoon to rest our tired feet from all the walking and then played it by ear for the evening.  We ended up taking another uber to the South Beach area and checking out the art deco buildings and having a casual dinner in that area.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take too many pictures because I was just enjoying the night out.

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The next day we headed to a ritzy neighborhood called Coconut Grove, which has some beautiful mansions in it and a cute little shopping area.  We had brunch at a trendy place called Tigertail & Mary.  We loved the food but the service was painfully slow so that was kind of a bummer.

We took an afternoon train back to West Palm and were back home by 5pm.  This was our first time taking the train and actually exploring different areas of Miami.  We didn’t visit the beach this time but we think we’d like to stay on South Beach next time and do that for a different type of trip.

Sorry I didn’t take more pictures but it was a short trip and we were really just enjoying ourselves and the weekend!

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