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Fort Lauderdale's Riverwalk
It's been one long hot downtown day. One mindless meeting after another, each more tedious than the other. You narrowly miss blowing the deadline of your monthly report. And you do miss getting to the bank on time. After waiting your turn at the nearby ATM machine, it tells you it's out of order.
You rush to go find another. In your haste you slosh diet soda all over your favorite white blouse. But wait. Before you climb into your car, flustered and harried, ready to take on Fort Lauderdale's rush-hour traffic, be kind to yourself. Take a leisurely stroll along Riverwalk.
After an impossible day, few things are more relaxing, more rejuvenating than walking beside Fort Lauderdale's New River. It's free, it's easy to do and it's a great way to unwind. So go ahead, dodge those in-line skaters as you ramble along. Lose yourself as you daydream of cruising on one of the luxurious docked yachts, such as Emerald Seas or Anticipation. Play hide-and-go-seek with a flock of Muscovy ducks, then check out the big sundial, dedicated to the memory of Robert H. Bubier, the late former city manager.
OK, so it's not a real sundial. It is near a gazebo with blooming birds of paradise, though.
Dig the gray-haired couple, cool in their Ray-Bans, smooching in the gazebo. And the pair of boys, fishing beneath the Andrews Avenue Bridge at Cooley's Landing, red and blue bandanas tied about their heads. And is that really a work of art near the grassy field? Sleek swimmers seem to float and tumble through hoops in a piece of sculpture created by artist Esther Wertheimer, sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority. Amble on past Allied Marine, where they build and repair boats, on toward the historic district, the Esplanade and the Museum of Discovery and Science.
Careful now, as you cross the train tracks, watching the Fort Lauderdale draw bridge slowly drop into place so a freight train can chug on by. Safely on the other side, wander past the New River Inn, circa 1905. The vintage inn has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior. Don't overlook that towering royal poinciana. In early summer, the tree's domed canopy is blanketed in flaming red flowers. Then step back and take in a gigantic 19th century admiralty anchor, believed to be from the wreck of the British cartel ship L'Athenaise, found offshore at Hillsboro Beach's Barefoot Mailman Hotel in 1967.
By now, you should have forgotten all about that nasty stain on your best blouse. You're ready to sit a spell beneath the gazebo dedicated to former City Manager Constance Hoffman, to rest your sights on the pongam tree near The Chart House Restaurant. It blooms in early summer with slender clusters of pale lavender flowers. Go ahead. Ogle the strangler fig and the live oak. Together, the trees create a lush, soothing overhead canopy. Although you share Riverwalk with other strollers, bikers and joggers, the big trees offer a sense of privacy, of serenity.
Out on the Esplanade, you can experiment with the telescope, the kaleidoscope, the right-angle optic tube. What? You don't know what a right-angle optic tube is? The definition and instructions are written right there. By now, you've arrived at the elegant Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Take one last deep breath. Feel better? Great. Because it's time to head for home. Don't forget to pick up that dry cleaning. Then stop at the grocery store. Cook dinner. Do the dishes. Maybe get in a couple loads of laundry while you're at it.