After leaving a wonderful campground in Mims (Seasons In The Sun), we drove 260 miles south to Boardwalk RV "Resort" in Homestead. We moved from the Shangri-la to the Shangri-l'arm pit.
(don't let the nice sign fool you!)
For us, the most arduous part of RVing has been locating safe and reasonable lodging. Since we move about once per week, we are continually on the prowl for our next location. With the explosion in RV sales, and increasing number of snow-birds, we've found it extremely difficult to find vacancies in southern Florida. Our weekly search can take anywhere from 20 minutes to a few days.
And it's a giant crap-shoot. Even after doing diligent research and reading every customer review, you never know what you're going to find until you drop the legs of your camper.
And we really stepped into it at Boardwalk RV Resort..
But first let me tell about the city in which it is located: Homestead. It's a small city located 35 miles outside of Miami called the Gateway to the Keys. Back in 1913 when the rail line was passing through, this area had just opened up for
homesteading, and as the construction camp at the end of the line did not have a particular name, construction materials and supplies for the workers were consigned to "Homestead Country", shortened to "Homestead" by the engineers and thus the city was born.
From what I saw, Homestead is developing into a solid middle-class community with vacant storefronts being turned into trendy franchises and construction cones everywhere. It is a clean, crowded, predominantly Hispanic community.
And I think it's motto is: "If you have a car horn, use it!"
It is one freaking NOISY town. Our campground sat next to a intersection where it seemed every driver that passed through, whether day or night (or early morning), had to blow their horn. And like a flock of birds that's been spooked, every other driver at the intersection reacted by blowing their horns in response. It was incessant! I think car-horn-beeping is the favorite past-time of the drivers around here. And of course many of these cars either had no muffler or had the bass turned up on their music sending bone-shaking vibrations rippling through our RV! Along with all this noise, you were awarded extra points if your vehicle had a siren and you blared it all hours of the day and night.
Now back to Boardwalk RV Resort..
There really should be some national standard that must be met before the word "Resort" can be officially added to a business's name. When I think of a resort, I think of a calm, tranquil place designed for the comfort and enjoyment of its patrons.
We found little of that here. Not only were the campsites wedged tightly together (I had to constantly move my truck so the campers next to us -in the corner lot- could pull in and out). The streets were narrow and the utilities poorly placed. It also would be nice if the community had some sort of dress code because I saw more people walking around in pajamas and hospital gowns (yes, hospital gowns) than... well, I've never seen that before.
Back to Homestead -- the positives:
Even with the negatives, this area has a lot to offer. We found a wide diversity of activities in which we participated and enjoyed:
Everglades National Park (Shark Valley): This place was incredible! The Everglades encompasses 1.5 million The park offers a 15 mile acres of subtropical wilderness. It is home to over 360 types of birds, and a wide variety of amphibians, mammals, insects and, of course, reptiles! Alligators were all over the place. Now, before anybody talks about how dangerous and fast and unpredictable gators are.. the park guide said they rarely attack humans unless first provoked --which we didn't. But you could walk right up to them if you so desired --which we didn't. They only feed at night, and these gators were well fed and only sunning themselves. We probably saw over a dozen of these intimidating, prehistoric creatures.
Homestead Rodeo Actually.. this was my first rodeo, and a lot of fun. I never realized the amount of skill and strength that was needed to compete in these events. While I don't understand much about the sport, it was fun to watch the performance of the participants, young and old.
Schnebly Winery & Brewery Ever had a wine made from Guava, Mango, Avocado? Schnebly's specializes in creating wines exclusively from fruit! It's a unique (maybe an acquired) taste. While not something I particularly liked, we did enjoy the Passion Fruit wine the most. They also have an attached brewery (Miami Brewery) with a wide selection of hand-crafted beers.
This is a unique and beautifully designed complex. They also offer food and music on weekends. It looks like it would really be a fun place to hang out on a Friday or Saturday evening.
Miami Beach: We spent an enjoyable morning walking along Miami's South Beach (where we saw Portuguese Man-of-Wars, dead ones thankfully) then spent the afternoon strolling Ocean Drive in Miami’s historic Art Deco District. This area boasts colorful buildings, interesting décor elements, and a century-old history that offers a glimpse into a bygone era. For lunch we ate at an off-the-beaten-path Cuban restaurant named Bella Cuba known for its excellent home-made food.
Coral Castle Many, many years ago, I remember watching an In Search Of t.v. episode about this place. This Leonard Nimoy narrated series talked of the mysterious construction of this home, made exclusively of locally quarried coral and built with great precision solely by an immigrant who possessed only a 4th grade education.. and no heavy machinery.
"Edward Leedskalnin was born in Riga, Latvia on August 10th, 1887. When Ed was 26 years old, he became engaged to marry his one true love Agnes Scuffs. Agnes was ten years younger than Ed and he affectionately referred to her as his “Sweet Sixteen.” Agnes canceled the wedding just one day before the ceremony. Heartbroken and deeply saddened by this tragic loss, Ed set out on a lifelong quest to create a monument to his lost love that has become one of the world’s most remarkable accomplishments".
One of the stones he cut and laid weighs over 30 tons and is twice as heavy as the stones used in the Pyramids!"
He claimed to have solved the mysteries of the pyramids. And maybe he did because this home and gardens is an engineering marvel and WELL worth the $18 admittance fee. Sadly, he destroyed all his papers before dying thus denying future generations the benefit of his knowledge.
If you want to see the In Search Of episode, click here
Lucky's Saloon: The reason I mention this tavern is because it was right in downtown Homestead and close to our campground. They offered delicious food, cold drinks, friendly staff and best of all.. plenty of tv's to watch football!
We enjoyed celebrating with other Eagles fans here as we watched the Eagles trounce the Vikings! FLY EAGLES FLY!
After four long nights (four nights too long, my wife says), we were happy to bid this campground a not so fond adieu.