November 5-9, 2011: "Mark Twain Tonight!" in San Antonio
October 4-5, 2011: My First Trip to DeLeon, TX
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Page Index

    The Las Olas Art Fair
    Boats, Boats and More Boats
    The Stranahan House
    The RiverWalk
    At the Riverview Gardens Dock

October 12-26, 2011
Our Fall Trip to Florida


Fred's bypass operation is pretty much behind him now, and he has the OK to fly and do just about anything he was doing before the surgery, so we've planned to take our second trip on American this fall, as part of the plan to get all of Fred's airline reward miles restored. If it hadn't been for that, we might have driven, but this time we will fly down to Fort Lauderdale for a couple of weeks.

As has been the case with many of our previous trips to Florida, coming down here has become something familiar- less like a vacation and more like just a change of scenery. We tend to do the same things each time we come- watch the boats, walk around town or the beach, play frisbee, go to the gym, see our friends Ron and Jay and Brent and Doug and just hang out at the condo. This time there was an Art Fair going on, so we'll visit that, and also, because of the Art Fair, the Stranahan House was open and free for tours, and so we got a chance to do that for the first time.

All I'll do on this page is show the pictures for each of these things, each in its own section, no matter what day it was. (In Florida, one day is very much like another, so what day it is matters very little.)



At the Las Olas Art Fair

Three or four times a year, there is an Art Fair along Las Olas right by the condo, and we always like to walk over and go through it. It is a great place to get gifts to salt away for birthdays and holidays. This year, the Fair occurred on our second weekend here- the 22nd and 23rd. We usually go over to the Fair each day it is on, and we tend to follow the same route each time (so we can see everything efficiently). This year, our friend, artist Doug Fountain ( has his booth set up; this will be the first time we have seen him at a show.

As it turned out, Doug's booth was right at the beginning of our walk through the Fair (and I might point out that Ron and Jay joined us to walk through the Fair on Sunday), and so let's look at the pictures of his booth and his artwork first.

Doug's art has a Native American/Southwest flavor. He does two different kinds of works. In one, he uses gourds and feathers to produce what he calls "masks." These are done in a variety of styles and colors and sizes, and each one is unique. He buys and then paints the feathers and gourds and attaches them. Some of the finished masks are mounted on colored boards of different sizes.

More recently, he has begun producing a different piece of art, and these he calls "spirit sticks." They are intended for wall installation in groups or singly, and he also does some larger ones of different materials for installation in courtyards or gardens.

Doug seemed to be getting a lot of traffic, although he told us when the show was over that his sales really hadn't justified the expense of having a booth there- at least not this time. He does shows all over the south and southwest, but he does best in Colorado and New Mexico and, even though he lives here, he spends a lot of time on the road going to shows there; sometimes he stays in his condo in Colorado for many weeks at a time during the summer when there are a lot of shows going on.

If you will click on the thumbnails at right, you can see some of the other pictures that Fred and I took in and around Doug's booth at the Art Fair, and the rightmost picture shows Doug and Ron Drew and Fred and Jay.

I also made a movie here in Doug's booth, looking around at the artwork and listening to Doug's explanations of some of it. You can watch that movie with the player at left.

Below are thumbnails for some of the pictures that Fred took today at the Art Fair; just click on the thumbnails to have a look:

I also had my camera out as I was walking through the Art Fair with Fred, and I took quite a few pictures as well. You can have a look at some of them by clicking on the thumbnail images below:

I made one good movie as I was walking through the Fair, and in this one you get to see inside a selection of the booths and look at some of the artwork. You can watch the movie with the player at left.

Below are two more thumbnails for some pictures of art (and Fred) that I took at the Fair. Click on them to view:

I also took a couple of close-up pictures of two mixed-media artworks that I thought Greg might like; you can have a look at them here and here.

Often, here at the Art Fair, there are musicians selling CDs and performing. Fred made a good movie of one of them; his music was based on the steel drum. You can have a look (and a listen) with the player at right.

And below are thumbnails for a couple of additional pictures Fred took today; click on the thumbnails to have a look at them:

Finally, here are some thumbnails for some additional pictures that Fred took while we were at the Art Fair; just click on them (as usual) to view:

You can return to today's index or continue with the next section below.



Boats, Boats and More Boats

One of the nicest things about where my condo unit is located is that I have a nice view of the boats going by on the New River, and in the mornings when we are both sitting at the tall living-room table, Fred has a great view out the window at the river, and he keeps his camera handy.

Below are thumbnails for some of the best of the many pictures Fred took from the condo of the boats large and small (mostly huge) going up and down the river outside the window. Click on them to get some ideas of what you can do with all that disposable income you have:

You can return to today's index or continue with the next section below.



The Stranahan House

I am not sure if it was a one-time thing, but we found out on the afternoon of the first day of the Art Fair that for the weekend of the Fair, the Stranahan House was open and admission was free. It was too late that afternoon for us to take a tour of the house, but we resolved to come back the next day and do so. Of course, the next day, Ron and Jay were with us, so all four of us got to see a piece of Fort Lauderdale history. (In all the years we've been coming down here, I've never gone through the house or grounds.)

The Stranahan House stands on its original location at the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale. It has been the site most closely associated with the founding of the City and its economic and social development. Frank Stranahan originally selected the site because it was where he operated his barge ferry across the river as part of the new road from Lantana to what is now North Miami. Today, Stranahan House is just past the eastern end of the RiverWalk, adjacent to Las Olas and directly on top of Kinney tunnel.

Built as a trading post for settlers and the Seminole Indians in 1901, it quickly evolved into the post office, community center, and town hall as Frank became Fort Lauderdale's first postmaster, banker, and businessman. He married another early pioneer, Ivy Julia Cromartie, the area's first school teacher, and it was not long before dances and community festivals were held on the upper floor of the house. In 1906, it became the Stranahan's personal residence and remained so until Ivy Stranahan's death in 1971.

Following Frank's death, Ivy leased the first floor of the house to outsiders for use as a restaurant, while she continued to live upstairs. In 1973, the house was named to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1979, the restaurant closed and the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society took possession of the property. After a thorough restoration, Stranahan House, Inc. was incorporated in 1981 to preserve and manage the property.

The structure, built of Dade County pine, is an excellent example of Florida vernacular architecture in a tropical wilderness setting. Expanded and renovated numerous times, it presently represents its 1913-1915 configuration. At that time the Stranahan's home had electric wiring, indoor plumbing, running water, interior stairways, bay windows, and wide porches. All woodwork, flooring, and paneling have been refinished and the exterior repainted in the original white with green trim. A new roof- a prototype for other historical properties- was completed in 1996 and meets current hurricane specifications. Although many of the original furnishings were sold or given away over the years, the house is furnished with fine examples of period Victorian furniture and decorative pieces.


Stranahan House Exterior (Saturday)

As I said earlier, we first went by the Stranahan House on Saturday afternoon, just a few minutes after the house itself had closed and a half-hour before the grounds would close as well. When we found out that we could tour the house on our own the next day for free, we thought we'd return and bring Ron and Jay with us. Today, though, we thought we would just walk around the grounds and the outside of the house.

Just walking around the grounds was interesting. There were three or four historical markers, including one detailing the history of Frank Stranahan's wife, Ivy Julia Cromartie Stranahan and another that in a short space summarized the history of Fort Lauderdale.

We stopped at the replica of the original post office that Stranahan operated, and we went up the outside stairway to the porches on the second floor to look out across the rest of the compound and to the modern city of Fort Lauderdale. We walked all around the building, and looked forward to going inside tomorrow.

Below are thumbnails for some of the pictures we took this afternoon around the Stranahan House. Just click on them to view the full-size pictures:


Stranahan House Interior (Sunday)

We came back to the Stranahan House on Sunday to take advantage of the fact that we would walk through the house on our own for free. The house is three stories tall, with the top story being a large captain's walk. While we saw the inside stairway to the captain's walk, it was not actually open for us to go up there. We did have a chance to walk all through the house, and we took quite a few pictures. Click on the thumbnail images below to see the first group of pictures that we took:

There was also a little area on the first floor where we could see Stranahan's original desk. It was just at the far end of the dining room. When you enter the front doors (which face the river), the parlor is on your left and a living room on the right. Straight back is the dining room, and you can walk around either to the right and back to the living room or the left and into the parlor. The kitchen is at the back of the house. The stairway to the second floor begins in the dining room and makes three turns to get upstairs.

On the second floor, there is a hallway that runs from the front of the house to the back, and there are bedrooms on both sides, a bathroom and the stairway to the captain's walk. Click on the thumbnails below to see the pictures we took on the second floor:

From the Stranahan's bedroom, there was a door that led out onto the porch that ran around three sides of the house up on the second floor. The part of the porch facing the river had some chairs where we sat down to relax for a while and enjoy the view of the New River. While we were sitting there, The Jungle Queen came by on its way up the river.

All the pictures we took here today we took with Fred's camera; my battery had run out and I'd neglected to bring another. So the last thing I did here was to borrow Fred's camera and make a movie of the interior of the Stranahan House.

I began at the doorway to the outside porch from the Stranahan's bedroom, walked through that bedroom and around the second floor, and then down the stairway to the rooms on the third floor. The movie is a bit jerky in spots and I am not used to Fred's autofocus, but I think it will give you a great idea of the layout of the house. You'll see almost all the rooms if you have a look at this movie using the player at left.

We left the house and walked around by the replica Post Office we saw yesterday. I asked Ron to take a picture of Fred and I in front of that building, and you can see the picture he took here.

You can return to today's index or continue with the next section below.



The RiverWalk

One of our standard activities here is to walk from the condo to the Briny Pub at RiverFront Center along the RiverWalk at least once or twice- usually at lunchtime so we can eat at the Pub. Along the way, there are always interesting pictures to be had of the river and its boat traffic, and we usually take a few pictures at the pub itself. On one of our trips this time, we came back along Las Olas from the fountain, and we saw some interesting artwork along that route. Here is an aerial view to show you the relation of some of these locations:


The RiverWalk

Fred and I walked down to the Briny Pub twice, once on our own and once with Ron and Jay, but we'll pull together the pictures from both walks together. On our walk, as we were walking along south from Las Olas down to the river to pick up the actual RiverWalk, Fred found an interesting shot of some motorcycles lined up at the curb, and also a view looking down SE 4th Street towards the River House Condominium. You can see that second picture here.

Here are thumbnail images for some of the various pictures that Fred and I took along the RiverWalk itself on our trip this time. Just click on them to view the full-size images:


At The Briny Irish Pub

We like having lunch at the Briny Pub; it's a nice walk to get there and there's lots of scenery to look at while you're eating. This trip, we took pictures of each other at lunch; you can see Fred's picture of me here and my picture of Fred perusing the menu here. The Briny Irish Pub is one of those places where the walls and ceilings are full of pictures and things related to the restaurant's theme, which, for the Pub, is everything nautical. So the open ceiling is festooned with more nautical stuff than you've likely seen in one place. Just take a look at a couple of the pictures Fred took today; there are thumbnails for five of them below:

As I often do here at the Briny Irish Pub, I made a movie of our surroundings while we were waiting for our order. And, also as usual, there was at least one huge boat going by under the Andrews Avenue bridge:


Artwork Along Las Olas

Sometimes we return to the condo from the Briny Pub by going up to Las Olas and the fountain at the northwest corner of the little park near the Andrews Street Bridge. That's the same fountain you've seen before that is lit up at night. From the fountain corner, you have an excellent view of River House.

As we were walking back along Las Olas from the fountain, we found that someone had put up a temporary fabric fence where there was some construction going on on a lot near River House. At either end of the fabric fence along Las Olas we found a sign telling us what the purpose of the fence was and what we were going to see.

Read the fabric-printed sign at left.

Then we passed a series of what I can best describe as kaleidoscopic-patterned artworks printed on fabric that were attached to the fabric fence. They were all intricate, quite pretty, and certainly achieved their purpose- to temporarily beautify an area which would otherwise have looked like exactly what it was- a construction site.

Fred and I were both intrigued by the fabric artworks, each of which was maybe four feet by two feet, and Fred decide to take a careful picture of each of them. They were pretty enough that you might want to look at them, too, and you can do so by clicking on the thumbnail images below:

You can return to today's index or continue with the next section below.



At the Riverview Gardens Dock

I suppose that the one thing we do almost every day when we are here is to have a frozen drink or something else down at the dock in the late afternoon or early evening. It's a real pleasure, particularly when there are some boats going by, as there usually are on weekends.

Sometimes we take our cameras down with us, and during the week we got a few shots worth including here in the album. Just click on the thumbnails at left to have a look at the crop this trip.

It was another great trip down here, but at the end of two weeks it was time to head home. We did so, reluctantly, and had a smooth, hassle-free trip home on American Airlines.

You can return to today's index or use the links below to continue to another page in the photo album.

November 5-9, 2011: "Mark Twain Tonight!" in San Antonio
October 4-5, 2011: My First Trip to DeLeon, TX
Return to the Index for 2011