My daughter Peyton, friend Griffin, and I started our Saturday road trip headed to Melbourne, Florida, with the top down on the convertible and the glorious sun shining on us. Located within 45 minutes of our home, Vero Beach, it is a beautiful drive either on A1A or US RT1. Our first stop was the Indialantic beach, of course.
Melbourne has a very spacious beach and it is generally full of water enthusiasts. It draws many surfers and the decent sized waves seem to appease them. A women’s surfing competition took place during our visit. Though its not “season” yet, there was still a decent sized crowd enjoying the day. It was so nice to see families and solo travelers enjoying the crisp salty air and rhythmic dancing of the waters. I never considered myself a beach person until I moved to Florida, but now I find myself enjoying the views and peacefulness that it offers.
Our next stop, breakfast. We were parked in a public beach access area with lots of typical beach shops, some local restaurants, and a huge clothing surf wares store. We chose the Beach Side Cafe because it was totally packed, and in my mind, that means the food must be good. My assumption could not have been further from the truth; it was not good, it was fantastic! Griffin and I shared the Luigi sandwich: roast beef, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, cole slaw, horseradish, and Russian dressing rolled in fresh rye bread. Peyton opted for the fluffy pancakes and perfectly cooked bacon. Our service was exemplary and all the plates we saw going out to tables looked flawless. I definitely recommend anyone in the area to come to this family owned and operated restaurant for breakfast or lunch; you will not be disappointed.
There was a very ornate and eye-catching small SUV in the parking lot.It grabbed my attention immediately, and I headed over to see what it was all about. I was met by the owner of the car, Andres Ortiz, Jr, who embraces his Vietnam experience by displaying many artifacts and personal moments on and inside his car. He drives the car in many local parades and events. Andres is in the Ripley’s Believe It or Not and shared some of his Vietnam stories with us. It was so awesome getting to see his mobile Vietnam memorial and hearing this brave man’s story.
After breakfast, we took a a short drive to the downtown historic district, East New Haven Street. As luck may have it, the 11th Annual Vettes on the Avenue car show was going on. I love visiting car shows, though classic or import cars are generally my favorite, but this one was nicely organized and kept our interest and apparently hundreds of others. In addition to this, there was a zombie walk going on. People of all ages were dressed up in scary make-up and it was really cool watching all this go on. After the walk, we strolled the streets and did some window shopping.
Some of my favorite stores to visit on New Haven are Sendala’s for their bath products and home fragrance items (they carry Thymes, Archipelago Botanicals, Jack Black and Caldrea plus dozens of others) and the Chandlery, which is great for wind chimes, candles, gifts, and home decor. There are also many international based shops such as the Irish Shop, Russian House, and Julie’s British Shoppe. Kilwin’s wonderful ice cream store is located here and for a different treat, try locally made Grimaldi’s candies’ specialty, chocolate covered potato chips. We had lunch at Matt’s Casbah, on their huge patio, with many choices of college football games on the big screens. They specialize in wine, sushi, and live music, as well as have a menu with many American favorites as well. We shared the basil pesto flatbread with garlic roasted ricotta and yucca fries, that come with 3 dipping sauces: sweet chili, chipotle BBQ, and smokey tomato, and yes, they spell it S-M-O-K-E-Y). It was delicious!
All in all, it was a great day. Isn’t it nice to have a day of unplanned surprises? Day trips around Florida, the Sunshine state, often include that as we must be THE state that is home to fairs and festivals of every kind all year long. Come visit Melbourne, Florida, and maybe venture down to my Vero Beach.
Check out my other Florida posts: