There’s something about this Sunday
It’s the most peculiar gray
Strolling down the avenue
Known as A1A
Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season
Last year I started this section about postcards from the road as a way to stay sane when I was traveling and still trying to keep up writing daily weekday posts. Two days ago I was driving on A1A in Ft. Lauderdale and kicking around ideas for a post and I took the above picture.
Then this afternoon after flying into Dallas—Ft. Worth from New York via Charlotte I stopped in at Half Price Books in Irvine. Turns out they not only had half price books, but also movies and music for sale. After my recent trip to Florida I had been thinking that the next time I see the Jimmy Buffett album A1A for sale I was going to buy it. There it was for $3.99. (Probably close to the original price when it was released in the mid ’7os.)
I realized when I took the record out of the sleeve that I hadn’t done that simple act in a long, long time. Then I realized that many who read this blog may have never even touch a record album. But I was a teenager in the 70s so I listened to a lot of records and actually miss the physical ritual of placing the record on the record player, and placing the needle on the record, and somehow having music magically appear through speakers or headphones.
Official Coral Reefer Liner Notes
A1A is the beach access road that runs occasionally on and off U.S. 1 it can take you to some of the prettiest beaches in Florida East of Saint Augustine, right through the middle of “Wrinkle City” better known as Miami Beach and ending suddenly 90 miles north of Havana and four blocks from my house.
Peter Whorf came to Key West to talk about my ideas for the cover, after several hard skull sessions at Louie’s Backyard, we chose our name and started up A1A to Miami. So the cover was the trip and the trip was a cover, and there is also a record inside. I hope you like them both.
Key West, Florida
No real movie connection here, just that the album A1A was listened to over and over by a kid who grew up on a dead-end street in Central Florida who would dream about living a great adventure and would some day write a blog called Screenwriting from Iowa…and other Unlikey Places.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to drive down A1A in Florida put it on your to do list. It’s one of America’s great roads. I have driven the entire section of it, but in chunks at a time. Because it goes through many towns—and a zillion stoplights—it would take you forever to try it on a short vacation. But here are some of my favorite sections to hit.
1) Key Largo to Key West. That’s 97.6 miles of magic. Water on both sides, but if you don’t like bridges you many want to pass this stretch. Highlights are John Pennekamp State park in Key Largo and the tradition of watching the sunset on Mallory Square in Key West. And Louie’s Backyard is still there and shouldn’t be missed.
2) St. Augustine to Daytona Beach. St. Augustine is a great little historical town that I never get tired of visiting. I love the architecture and food. As you head south from St. Augustine on A1A there are actually some undeveloped areas, and the section between Flagler Beach and Ormond Beach reminds me of a mini Pacific Coast Highway in California. And while Daytona Beach is on the touristy side, the Chart House just west of A1A is located next to a marina and is a beautiful place to have a meal overlooking the water.
3) New Smyrna Beach to Sebastian Inlet State Park. Surf, sun, and space. (One overlooked place even by people living in Orlando is Playalinda Beach in Titusville. If you want to know what Florida looked like before condos, visit this beach. About the only modern development there is a road and some bathrooms. Playa Linda is Spanish for “pretty beach.”
4) Palm Beach to South Beach. As you get into the thick of South Florida condos and large homes tend to block a lot of your views of the ocean, and the traffic gets thicker. So there’s not much you can do but embrace it. If you’re into looking at beautiful homes, exotic cars, and interesting people than this part of A1A was built for you. A few places that give you the sense of the good ole days are The Breakers in Palm Beach and the Art Deco section of Miami Beach. (Miami Beach still attracts it’s share of retirees, but it’s a long way from “Wrinkle City” that it was back in the 70s. now it’s actually one of the most exotic places in North America.)