Riverside Hotel

Hello, everyone!

20161023_004107My name is Skyy, and I am today’s guest blogger on the Secret Life of a Vagabond. Mommy usually writes stories about her travels. Some in which I don’t get to go on, how rude. But today’s post is about one of my adventures. After she had written the piece about going to Silver Springs and I was on that adventure, I told her straight out, that I should be allowed to write about my adventures too; since she insisted on taking me on them.

Well, I finally got a chance to get my paws typing.

In October, Daddy went to something called a reunion. I am not sure about what that is, just that they got dressed up and went out. Mommy tried to explain what it is, but I have never been to obedience school either (I was home schooled), so I had no idea.

Usually, my travels are to my grandparents’ house or sometimes to another relative’s house. I like going to granny and grandpa house. So I was a little nervous in the middle of the day when my bag was packed. We usually leave in the morning and I couldn’t understand why she was also packing only one leash, and not my rope, or why she was packing only chew toys and not my balls.

But I didn’t have much time to wonder, because after a quick drive. We pulled up to the place I have never been. While a very friendly man unloaded our suitcases, Daddy went inside a building and mommy, and I went exploring. We walked around towards a large river that smells weird. We have a river outside, but this one smelled salty, and there were these huge objects floating on them. One blew a whistle at us, and I started to shake. Mommy petted me and told me it was a boat, and it couldn’t hurt me. But I am not too sure. It was huge!

We went back across the street after I left my calling card. I am not a rude dog, and I wanted to introduce myself to the other dogs in the neighborhood. Mommy sat down and I climbed into her lap. Usually, I don’t like sitting too long, but with everything going on, I was enjoying just watching. A couple of times I jumped off mommy’s lap to sniff something, but other than that I stayed on her lap.


We went back to the building and through a couple of rooms into what was called the Lobby. I wasn’t allowed up on the coaches thought, which I found strange. How was I going to sit? After a couple of minutes, we went into a strange box, that was tiny with lots mirrors. The doors closed and I felt it started to move, and I started to whine. Mommy kept telling me it was okay, but I wasn’t too sure. It turns out we have to go into this room every time I have to go pee.

When the doors opened, we were in another place. How was this possible? We walked down a long hall until we got to a doorway. We opened the door to the room. The room was nice, except two things. One I am a Westie, and as a Westie, I like to crawl into tight spaces, and there were no tight dark spaces. Two, there was nowhere to hid my toys. But other than that, the bed was very comfortable. I love sitting on the chair to look out.

When there was a knock at the door, I went to greet it. That is my job at home, so I figured I should do it here too. The door opened, and after checking to make sure the person was nice, and make sure he greeted me properly, I decided I needed to explore more. So, I slipped out.

While wandering the hallways (and ignoring my parents), I met two other people who were very friendly. The tile was cold, but had some of the most amazing smells. This place has a lot of people and other dogs go by. I enjoyed poking my head into other rooms and see what they were like. I even got to greet these nice women who were cleaning them. Mommy finally got me and told me I couldn’t go out without my leash on, well that sucks. I am allowed to wander around without a leash at home.

A while later, my parents headed out, and I got a chance to sniff around. There wasn’t much to smell, but I did find a couple of places to explore.  I jumped on the bed and curled up.  I was tired and decided to take a nap.


Mommy and Daddy returned, and we went for a walk. This place had these huge building that touched the sky, and there were people everywhere.  Cars zoomed past, and people on these weird looking two wheel things rode by. I got a chance to talk to a couple of the dogs there, turns out this is normal. But that is okay because I love meeting new people and exploring new places.

The next day, we spent most of the day walking around exploring the area. I meet another Westie, and we had a conversation about the area. There was an art show going on, so most of the time mommy was going in and out of tents and dad would sit there and sign. There was a lot to do and see. I was so tired that night; I don’t remember going to bed.

I liked where we stayed. The people there were friendly, the room was clean, and in the morning I went around saying hi to everyone.

The bed was very comfortable, and I enjoyed the chair too. The only thing is, there were no proper places to hide my treats and toys, but I would come back here again.

20161022_004336Skyy is a West Highland Terrier, who lives in South Florida. She loves chasing balls, tearing wrapping paper, sunbathing and exploring new areas. She often travels with her owners.  When she is not traveling, or being a terror, you can usually find her sleeping on the bed.

20161022_175013The Riverside Hotel is located downtown Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Las Olas Blvd across the street from the New River. This historic hotel offers fine dining, cocktail hour and is walking distance from most of Ft. Lauderdale attractions. It is pet-friendly, with it pet suite in the older part of the hotel. There is a pet fee per night, and you must sign a waiver. Dogs must be on a leash at all time while in the hotel. There is a small patch of grass near the river that dogs can do their business. They do need notice because there are only a certain number of rooms, available. We decided to try it out because this would have been Skyy first stay at a hotel and we wanted to make sure she was comfortable. Before we left, we had made arrangements just encase she misbehaves or is uncomfortable. It turns out she likes staying in luxury hotels.

Before you take your dog on a his/her first overnight experience in a strange place, I would recommend trying a hotel locally. New places, especially ones that you are planning on leaving them for a while, can be very frightening to any animal. On this trip, we also brought her bed and her blanket, just so she has the familiar sent of home.

If you are planning on staying, please contact the Riverside Hotel first to make sure that they can accommodate you.



Something Old and Something New

Silver springs.jpgIt has always amazed me how much a place changes over time. Even animated objects seem to grow and mature as the season changes, much like a child. Some of them change for the better while others change for the worse.

It is a reminder, in some ways, that even rocks never say the same.

Back in fourth grade, when my parents believed I was old enough to start to travel and remember what I saw. We took a road trip to visit Florida. And even though our last stop was the Disney, my parents wanted me to see the real Florida before I started to study it.

So they loaded my Dad’s station wagon with suitcases and camping equipment (this would also be the last time we camped, turns out we like hotel much better) and headed North. Part camping trip, and part we are off to see the world, we spent two weeks exploring Florida.

One place that stuck in my memory from that long ago trip was Silver Springs. Part amusement park, part zoological park, and part ecological park. Visitors could test their courage on rides, meet Florida’s wildlife, or look at the springs from a glass bottom boat. This was the place I tried to steal a snake.

scapbook final.jpgSo on an overcast day, while visit my parents, we decided to visit this place again. This time, with my furchild, Skyy along. It turns out the Silver Springs no longer has it rides, but still stays open as a state park. Dogs are allowed, in the park, except on the glass bottom boat, which was fine with us because Skyy doesn’t do too well in moving vehicles.

The sign, the fountain and the bridge have stayed the same. I can remember walking across it as a child, excited about the activities on the day ahead.  Once we paid the fees, we wander around the park. For the most part, the gardens were kept nature, with Florida wildflowers and cypress trees. Most of the rides and attractions are long gone, but there are hints of the past. I remember the white house in the distance, what it was used for, I couldn’t tell you.  It was an old antebellum looking place, maybe used for some sort of show, or a chance to see how Floridians lived before the railroad came down.

DSCN4053.JPGWe walked around the path and talking about what we remember of the place. Skyy had fun sniffing every flower, tree, and squirrel she came across. A couple of times, I had to stop her so I could remove all the souvenir from her fur.

Hint: If you bring your dog, bring a brush, especially if they have long fur, because they will pick up a lot of tag- alongs.

DSCN4075.JPGShe was also very interested in the water, every place we stopped on the path her little nose when over the railing to look down at the water.

We finished up by having a quick snack at the snack bar and allowing Skyy to have some water.

She was exhausted by the time we got back to the car and slept the whole hour drive back to my parents’ place.

It should have been sad to see what had become of a place I had loved and had such great memories. But in some ways Silver Springs change was inevitable. It had been a fun and exciting in its youth and adulthood, but now it had hit retirement age, stepped back and became slower pace. 

It had become another reminder of Florida’s Gold Age of Tourist.

But even the rock change in time.

See more of the pictures from Silver Springs
The Road Less Traveled
Everything Changes