My husband and I got married during a typical NYC snowstorm in December 2013. The snow started coming down in the early morning, by late afternoon, it had turned to slush, and by the end of the night it was raining.
For our three-year anniversary, we chose to hit the road and turn up the heat. NYC was about to have its first cold spell of the season, so we decided the best quick celebratory getaway would be Miami Beach!
I ran to the early morning Uber in a sweatshirt and Toms… it was freezing, but there was no way I was bringing a winter coat on this vacay! As strict carry-on only travelers (in exception of an extremely lengthy trip) we made it through security, ate some breakfast and landed in Miami in no time flat. Well 2.5 hours…. but who’s counting?
We were so warmly welcomed by the Circa 39 Hotel in Miami Beach. This boutique hotel was the perfect choice for our romantic weekend. Upon arriving in our modern and vibrantly decorated room, we found a little gift from the hotel, including a flash drive and passport case – both perfect for preserving our journey together as a couple.
After escaping the cold, Ryan and I immediately hit the beach. Just one block away, Circa 39 has a full set up on the sand with lounges, umbrellas, and of course food and cocktail service! We enjoyed lunch, a margarita… or two, and let the sun sink into our very pale skin.
Despite my typical stomach aches, I insisted on eating Cuban food for dinner! We would only be in Miami for two nights, and there was no way I was leaving without a good Cuban meal. Ryan ushered us off to the lively and atmospheric Moreno’s Cuba, located in an alleyway next to a hotel. Don’t let this scare you! There is so much local color and the laid back feeling can’t be beat. Oh, and did I mention the live music? The food was good, the mojitos were on point and we had an overall great time. Note: Be sure to also check out Puerto Sagua in South Beach for no-frills, but awesome authentic Cuban cuisine.
After a good night’s rest back at Circa 39, Ryan and I were ready for our first full day. After a quick breakfast at Jules Kitchen, the hotel’s restaurant, we decided to take a leisurely walk down to South Beach via the Miami Beach Boardwalk. We passed by locals selling their wares and tourists enjoying the sunshine on the picturesque pathway.
We admired the art-deco architecture in South Beach and sipped iced teas along the colorful and vibrant streets. With an eagerness to hit the beach, we rented CitiBikes to get back to our homestead at a greater speed! There is even a CitiBike station just steps from Circa 39’s entrance!
Later in the afternoon, once the winds at the beach picked up, we found ourselves back at the hotel and relaxing on the lushly landscaped pool deck. We cuddled up in a cozy cabana and watched other guests unwind around the pool, drinks in hand. I must admit, this was the most relaxing part of my day!
Dinner on night two was fantastic at the famed Joe’s Stone Crab. It has been many years since I had eaten at Miami Beach’s first eatery, and Ryan’s very first time at the seasonally open restaurant, so although it’s a tourist trap, we were definitely excited! We washed down our delectable crabs, asparagus, coleslaw and potato hash with a bottle of wine. Since the bill can quickly add up, we treated this as our “Anniversary Dinner,” and lucky for us, as an anniversary gift, my parents decided to pay the tab, so… thanks Mom and Dad! And just so you know, we were too full for dessert… so we saved you some money there!
Not ready to end the night, Ryan and I began to make our way back to the hotel. I was definitely tipsy as I insisted on speaking to our Uber driver in Spanish for a good part of the journey. I told the Dominican born driver that I like to practice when I can. And when I say “when I can,” I really mean “when I’ve had a few!” Luckily, he was happy to oblige, and we talked about his journey to Miami and learning English in the States.
Anyway, I digress. Back at the hotel we settled in at WunderBar where we were greeted happily by a lovely bartender and a lively atmosphere. This gem uses fresh ingredients and bright flavors from around the world to showcase well-crafted spirits, with a focus on rum – the flavor of the tropics. While Ryan enjoyed a few specialty cocktails, I stuck strictly to club soda. I had enough wine at dinner!
The next day, our last day, we soaked up as much sun as we could before heading back to the frozen tundra of NYC. For East Coasters looking for a quick and sunny getaway this winter, I couldn’t recommend Miami Beach with any more enthusiasm. The flights are economical and endless activities await. Whether you’re dying to dig your feet in the sand, tour the historic art-deco architecture in South Beach or explore extremely unique museums, you can find it all right there in The Magic City!
Next stop on my travel itinerary? Grand Cayman! Can’t wait to bring you on my journey there in January!
What are some of your favorite winter getaways? As always, I would love to hear from you!
Thank you to Circa 39 Miami for making this trip possible. All opinions are my own, as always.