Saturday Night Serenade–Norah Jones

Happy Small Business Saturday!  Hopefully you were able to support small local business at some point today.  You could always buy a book by an Indie author, just saying…

Mr. R. and I went out looking to help out the local economy today.  First, we took my new car to a mom and pop car wash.  Next, we attempted to buy some goodies from a small Cuban bakery, but we were thwarted by long lines and slow clerks.

So instead, we ended up at one of our favorite bars, Square Grouper, on the Jupiter Inlet.  It’s everything that’s great about an outdoor tiki bar.  It’s directly on the water, right across from the Jupiter lighthouse, which has been decorated for the holidays.  The floor is sand, the ‘ceiling’ is made up of the fronds of the many coconut palms planted throughout the property.  You can order your pirate punch and sip while watching boats going in and out, dodging the stand-up paddle boarders.  Flocks of pelicans bob on the swells, occasionally dipping their beaks and scooping up fish.  We’ve even seen stingrays gliding along beneath the surface of the water.

And, more often than not, they have live music.  Today, there was a lone chick, who was playing East Bound and Down when we first arrived.  Later on, she slipped into a bluesy vibe and covered Norah Jones.  Which brings us to tonight’s serenade.  I love Norah Jones and I love this song.

I hope you’re still feeling thankful and that you’re surrounded by those you love.  Hug them extra tight, and remember that every day is a good day to support small business.

Happy Saturday night!

If It’s July, It Must Be Shakespeare

July is always a bit of a downer for me.  That’s because past the 4th of July, my summer vacation is more than half-way over.

However…

Mid-July brings Shakespeare by the Sea, the annual performance by the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival at Carlin Park in Jupiter.  Each year, they choose a play by the bard and give it their own spin.  This year, they’re doing The Taming of the Shrew, and it’s set at the Kentucky Derby.  Which has me shrugging my shoulders a bit, but I’m happy to go along for the ride.

The play is performed at the Seabreeze Amphitheatre across the street from the beach.  Patrons of all ages are invited to bring picnic suppers, wine, blankets, and lawn chairs as they come to enjoy an evening of entertainment.

A couple of years ago, my folks were visiting along with my six-year-old niece, Lily, and I was so excited to take them to see Much Ado About Nothing.  They were not convinced that Lily would be content to watch a Shakespeare play.  But once we arrived and got settled, some of the actors came out and interacted with her.  When the curtain went up, she was riveted.

The event runs for two consecutive long weekends and is free, with a suggested donation of $5 to cover their expenses.  At last year’s performance of Hamlet, an actor performed a private sonnet in exchange for your donation.

I love everything about this video.  The actor is spot-on, his young audience handles the one-on-one attention with aplomb, and you get the feel of sitting on the hillside waiting for the play to begin.

So tonight, we take our picnic and enjoy opening night of The Taming of the Shrew.  I love this part of July!

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2016 cast of The Taming of the Shrew

Only In South Florida–Your Moment Of Holy $#!t

This unbelievable video was shot this week by a local paddleboarder.  The location is uncomfortably close to where we go to the beach.  It’s the beach where my boy and his lovely bride were married last May.

I mean, you always know sharks out there, right?  But seeing this is a huge reminder.  They’re OUT THERE.  Which is why I prefer to enjoy the ocean from the sand.  Yep.  The sand is just fine for me.

Saturday Night Serenade–All In The Name Of Progress

Last evening, Mr. and I spent a lovely date night at one of our favorite places, Guanabanas in Jupiter.  I’ve mentioned Guanabanas before.  It’s a little outdoor restaurant/bar along US1, between the road and the Loxahatchee River, all lush tropical plants, sail shades, and tiki huts.  It was an absolutely beautiful evening; the sky was a crisp, clear blue, there was a light breeze, and the temperature was in the high seventies.

We had what we decided was the best table in the place, a high-top in the bar area across from the tiny stage and backing up to the waterfall.  Settling in after a long work week, we nibbled on their smoked fish dip and shrimp fritters as he sipped his Arnold Palmer and I opted for their Cat 5 hurricane, which, like its namesake, will knock you on your ass.

It was such a pleasant way to end the week, but I couldn’t help but feel worried.  Making our way to the place was quite a hassle.  There is extensive roadwork being done in the area and we found ourselves dodging orange barrels and road workers as they were ending their day.  It seems that someone finally realized there is a shit-load of money to be made by developing the waterfront area there in Jupiter.  And to that end, they began making road improvement (read widening) efforts even before their plans to purchase a huge chunk of property and build a massive commercial abomination were ever approved.

The developers don’t seem worried.  It’s the old Golden Rule:  He who has the gold makes the rules.  And while the fate of Guanabanas is uncertain at this point, there’s another Jupiter waterfront treasure which seems destined to become what was.

The Square Grouper* is a tiny outdoor tiki bar hidden away down a back street, a stone’s throw from Guanabanas and right on the Jupiter Inlet.  It’s a place where locals hang out, maybe because it’s not easy to find.  I love this bar.  It’s completely outside, right on the water.  The floor is sand, palm fronds from a small forest of trees shelter patrons from the sun, and there is a tiki stage that almost always features live music.  You can sit listening to music, sipping on something rummy, and watch pelicans and stingsrays and paddleboarders…  It’s paradise.  For now, anyway.

I’ve seen the proposed plans for the urban monstrosity developers want to build there.  It will be all concreted over and there will be shops, restaurants, and high-rise, high-rent condos.  If there is something left of Square Grouper, I can guarantee locals won’t darken the door again.  We made a point of taking my son there when he was home a few weeks ago, mostly because, as I told him, there’s no guarantee it will still be there next time he’s home.

Which brings me to tonight’s song.  I’m pretty sure I’ve posted Five O’Clock Somewhere before; it’s a great song.  But if you’ll notice the part where Alan Jackson is at a bar, it’s Square Grouper.  The video is old; they’re spruced up the place a bit since then.  But having once been a resident of Jupiter Island, Alan Jackson was known to just show up at the place and play a set every once in a while.  It’s that kind of place.  That’s what we’re losing.  Which is sad.

But for now, pour me something tall and strong.  It’s five o’clock somewhere.  Happy Saturday night!

*Square grouper–a bale of marijuana found floating in the water or washed up on the beach, having been tossed overboard to avoid legal entanglements.

Frugal Date Day

wpid-20150919_123636.jpgYesterday after running a few errands (one of which nearly resulting in our acquiring two new dogs–sheesh!), Mr. R. and I went for a nice walk on the beach.  After an unusually rainy week, Saturday was absolutely gorgeous.  We found a perfect place to park along A1A in Jupiter, left our shoes in the truck, and waited for a group of tourists to leave the boardwalk beach access so I could take this picture.

Had they not been super annoying, they would have been a riot.  The older woman of the group helpfully informed the others of the shower that was stationed on the sidewalk just down the steps of the boardwalk.  “Now the top is a shower and the bottom jet is for feet ONLY.”  Yeah, thanks Captain Obvious.  We giggled about that all day.

wpid-20150919_124204.jpgMr. R. and I strolled north toward the Jupiter Reef Club, walking along the edge of the surf, collecting a few rocks along the way.  He found this one shaped like a heart and sweetly consented to pose for a cheesy lovey-dovey picture.  I can’t help it, really.  Somewhere along this stretch (and we can never recall exactly where) is the place where some years ago he dropped to one knee and proposed.

wpid-20150919_132012-1.jpgAfter our walk, we drove the F-150 a few miles up the road to the Jupiter Inlet, where surprisingly for such a beautiful day, we found a perfect place to park.  We walked along the jetty nearly to the end as we watched boats zipping in and out of the inlet.  It was so nice to sit on the seawall enjoying the sun and the water, seeing the silver flashes of tons of fish that were darting around just off the rocks.

wpid-20150919_133839-1.jpgIt had been a while since we’d been to the inlet and yesterday we saw the memorial sign someone put up in honor of two young teenage boys who went out fishing one day this summer and never returned.  The sign with all the gifts people have left is a sad reminder of such a tragic loss.

Mr. R. and I left the Jupiter Inlet and ended up making a run for the border, having lunch at a nearby Taco Bell.  It was pleasantly uncrowded and we really enjoyed ourselves.

So what did we learn?

  • A date doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive.  As long as we enjoy each other’s company and take the time to make us a priority, we don’t have to spend tons of money.
  • When A Second Chance Dog & Cat Rescue is having an adoption event at the pet store, don’t go there!
  • Be sure to tell those you love that you do, and hug them every chance you get.  You never know which time will be the last time.
  • Don’t be that obnoxious know-it-all tourist who ruins everything for everybody.
  • Taco Bell’s new burrito with the Fritos in it is pretty darn tasty.

Saturday Night Serenade–Message In A Bottle

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Jupiter Beach September 19, 2015

Mr. R. and I spent some time at the beach today.  We just took a walk, we didn’t swim or hang out for too long, but it was a beautiful day.  More on that later.

But I’ve had Message in a Bottle by The Police as an ear worm for a while.  Maybe posting it for Saturday Night Serenade will exorcise it.  On the other hand, there are worse songs to have stuck in your head.

Hopefully you spent the day with the one(s) you love doing the things you love to do.  Here’s wishing you a lovely rest of your weekend and a happy Saturday night!

St. Patrick’s Day South Florida Style

wpid-20150317_172659.jpgMr. R. and I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in a uniquely South Florida way.  While my preference might have been to head down to O’Shea’s down on Clematis Street where they had a block party from 10:00am to 4:00am, we chose to go north instead, to Jupiter, where we still had a gift card for one of my most favorite Date Night destinations, Guanabanas.  It’s a completely outdoor restaurant featuring lush tropical greenery, tiki huts, and huge sails rigged to shade guests from the sun, nestled between A1A and the river in Jupiter.

Truthfully, we tried to stop by Guanabanas on Sunday after the baseball game, but it was absolutely packed.  They have complimentary valet parking but there’s a huge lot about a block up A1A that serves customers for Guanabanas, Square Grouper, and Schooner’s.  On Sunday, that lot was full.  Not wishing to deal with the frustration of not being able to get a table, we put off our visit until Tuesday, figuring we could celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.  We arrived just after Happy Hour began, which runs from 3:00 to 6:00, where they offer half price drinks and small plates in the bar area only.  Which was perfect because I wanted a table in the bar area near the stage.  Mr. R. made a beeline for what turned out to be the best table in that area.  There was no one onstage but they played a nice variety of Irish music, including a rendition of I Wanna Be Sedated by The Mahones.

wpid-20150317_155101.jpgWe made good use of the Happy Hour menu, ordering nachos, bang bang shrimp, and wings, along with a Diet Coke for Mr. R. and a couple of Cat 5s for me and we still have a few dollars left on the gift card.  The food was delicious, the atmosphere top-notch, and we took our time enjoying the afternoon.

wpid-20150317_180813.jpgWhen we finally finished, we headed over to the beach which was equally uncrowded after five in the afternoon.  The sun was behind us and the shadows were long.

wpid-20150317_173814-1.jpgThere was no need for sunblock or an umbrella.  We just sat and enjoyed the brisk breeze, watching the rough surf crashing onto the sand in front of us.

wpid-20150317_180716-1.jpgThe local news has featured all kinds of warnings recently about Portuguese man of war jellyfish being washed up on the beaches, but we had to search around to find this one.  It was kind of small but I still wouldn’t want to accidentally step on it.

It was windy enough that there were a handful of kiteboarders out zipping around in front of us.  It was fun to watch them race back and forth, sometimes getting air as they jumped over the waves.  At one point there were three out at the same time.

wpid-20150317_173004-1.jpgI took a bunch of pictures but alas, this clueless couple chose a spot directly in front of us to stand and watch the kiteboarders as well.  The beach was practically empty and yet they had to stop right there.  They ended up in most of my shots.  So here you go, Clueless Duo, now you end up in my blog.

It was nearly 7:00 when we made our way back to the truck to head home.  It was a different kind of St. Patrick’s celebration and we had an absolutely beautiful day.