Hi friends! How are you? How did the first week of the new year treat you? Wait, are we already halfway through the month? Time is weird. And fast. Marlowe is back in school and I’m trying to get back into the grind of routine life. It’s weird how structured our life got with school starting. I’m not great at routines and planning– much better at diving into things full-on. But, I’m happy to work on new skills this year I guess 😉

I talked about the new year recently. I don’t have too many goals or resolutions. I just want to keep doing the things that worked so well last year… and build on those things. Because life, health, home, and more have been on an incline up lately. You guys know this, but we took a giant step back from traveling last year. There was a big and unexplainable shift in me that left me here, grounded, in Florida.

Which is tough for me. And weird for me, but somehow what I wanted at the same time?!.  I don’t like being stuck and stagnant anywhere for too long. I LIKE TO ROAM– I like the feeling of discovering and learning new things every day. It’s this feeling that runs deep in my bones and always has. But I’m here… in South Florida.

And I’m oddly okay with it. At least for now anyway 😉 And so while we’re here in South Florida (another 2-3 years), I’m making an effort to do my best to enjoy all the things that are RIGHT HERE. Old things that I love (hello beach), but also new things I have yet to explore. I want to put in my best effort to find the magic here this year… locally. Because we should. And because we can.

One of the best things about downsizing to our condo is our location. West Palm is pretty small, but it’s pretty obvious the city is working hard to build it up. One of the newer features that were brought to South Florida this year is the Brightline train. I hear the bell of this train every day. Yes, I’m that close to the station — this was something we considered when choosing our new space. Location, location, location, right?  Anyway, the bell isn’t a nuisance at all — just a little arrival bell — a reminder that at any minute I can, if I choose, jump on board and find a new adventure… even if just for the day.

And so, this year I plan to do just that, at least every once and a while when Marlowe’s or Alex’s schedule allows. No more complaints about where we’re at. I want to walk down to the station and go somewhere.
And so, on January first this year, we did just that. The first week of the year, the only day Alex really had off other than Christmas, and we decided to make it a family adventure day. I booked our tickets the night before and at 9:30 in the morning we walked to the station to catch our train south.

(I actually have to walk Marlowe to the station for school tomorrow! Her class is having a field trip to the art museum in Miami and taking the train. Her first official field trip is just about the coolest (and I think the cutest) thing ever.)

She’s always writing stories. She has a lot of career ideas… but something tells me she will be an author one day.

(Sidenote: the funnies! It’s been forever since I picked up the newspaper! They had them in the Select waiting lounge to take and so I grabbed one. I used to read the funnies every day. I love them so much. Also, they are called “the funnies” right? That’s the official name? Haha.)

Normally when we have day trips to Miami, Alex or I am stuck driving. And Marlowe spends her time alone in the back. But it was so nice to have a Miami getaway day where we could all spend the extra hour south (and north) together. We read comics, wrote stories, drew pictures, and more together. When time is so limited, it’s so nice to be able to use any extra bit of time (in this case travel time) to spend together 🙂

You know, we’ve heard A LOT about the Brightline since it’s opening. I mean, I can literally look outside and see it. It’s become a major part of our lives without us even getting on it, haha! Everyone compares it to air-travel– high end, and not like a commuter train. Amazing service. So comfortable, so clean. Yada yada yada… all the things. But we never road the train so we couldn’t say much or have too many personal opinions. Well, it turns out all the good things said was spot on. And the bad things? Well, no one ever said anything bad about it! So that was all true too 😉

One thing we didn’t know about the train– but has been so good to find out and so incredibly useful, is that KIDS RIDE FREE (*12 and under— sorry teens)!! Guys, that’s huge. If you put in your info and your kid’s info (with age) they subtract the kid’s tickets from the payment when you go to check out. Easy peasy. Amazing right?

When you glance at the train cars there doesn’t seem to be too much difference between the “Smart” and “Select” car. But it’s truly in the details. Free snacks, drinks, warm towels, best service, all the things– on both the trains and in the waiting lounge. You could really just make a date of the train, haha. It’s pretty nice.

Filling up his coffee to go 🙂 Yes, he usually travels with an empty coffee-to-go mug. You never know when you’re going to want a cup 😉 I didn’t photograph it but they also had a huge spread of food too! Fruit cups, toast, all the things. I seriously did not expect that. So awesome.
Getting on and off the train could not be easier. I mean, especially for us, since we can just walk to the station. But even when we arrived in Miami we just walked out and east towards our days’ planned activity (the science museum). No-fuss, no bother.  And even if we didn’t live by the train– getting in and around downtown West Palm is crazy easy. You guys who live here know this. But man it was nice and felt extra *city like* to not have to bother with a car or traffic or anything this day.

Stops for all the gardens.

A few of you guys messaged me when I posted on stories the other day about the train and our day at the museum. You can, 100% walk from the station to the museum (and lots of other things too). It’s about a ten or fifteen-minute walk northeast from the Brightline Station to The Frost museum. We headed east first, then north. That way we could walk along the intercoastal 🙂 And oh gosh, the weather was PERFECT this day. Seriously, it could not have been better.

The Frost Museum isn’t new for us. (Check out our kid-friendly south Florida guide HERE) We’ve been here maybe three times before? We love it. Marlowe asks to go all the time and it’s usually met with a “one day, but not today.” Well, this seemed like the perfect first adventure for our family this year. A new experience (The Brightline) met with something we’ve been wanting to do but putting off (the museum). Win win win. Their new maze exhibit was so cool! Dizzying, but cool 😉

Fruit ninja vibes.

We originally weren’t too sure what our day would look like. The only solid plan was to take the Brightline down, go to the museum, maybe do other stuff, then take the train home in the evening. Well, a few hours into the museum we decided we needed to fill up on food. If you guys didn’t know this, you can 100% leave the museum and re-enter later in the day. So we exited for lunch– an acai place (basically across the street). Marlowe will order a veggie burger 100% of the time if you let her, haha. And if there is a vegan and gluten-free option, we usually do let her 🙂

Back to the museum…

We also visited the planetarium inside the museum. Marlowe and Alex love it. And they love making fun of me after. I spend half the show with my hands over my eyes going “nope. not happening. nope.” haha, I just get so dizzy!

After all the fun we decided to head out and sit in the warm sunshine before the sunset. Marlowe painted and we just enjoyed quiet time outdoors (our favorite thing in the world)

We made a stop at the Perez art museum. We didn’t go inside today, but my mom is coming to town in a few weeks so we’re hoping to make another Brightline adventure day with her when that happens 🙂 Maybe the museum then! For now, Marlowe loves playing in this exhibit.

When the sun was almost completely out of view— or at least not shining on us as much– we jumped in an uber from the museum park area and headed to Wynwood. A good reminder for our day 😉

You know, now that I’m writing this, I don’t know if my mom has ever visited Wynwood. So maybe that’s what we’ll do when she visits 🙂

After a bit of walking time, we decided an early dinner at Love Life Cafe was a good call. I ordered a Mexican rice and bean bowl and little miss Marlowe hijacked every plantain that I had, haha. I am not surprised. The “meat” was a seasoned pulled jackfruit and pretty decent. I order this bowl often (I won’t leave my comfort zone for dining out at restaurants, haha). And I always like it but think, “where are the vegetables?” haha. Still good.

Even as we sat to eat we weren’t too sure about our plans to get back home. We sort of wanted to stay longer and explore more and get icecream. But we also all agreed that we had a great day and getting on the 5:50 train would be cool too… if we could make it.

We decided it was worth a shot— it’s only about a 5-8 minute uber from Wynwood to the Brightline station. So we jumped in one and I bought train tickets using the app on the way there.

We made it to the station and even had a minute to decompress before the next train came. It seriously worked out so perfectly… just like the rest of the day, really. New adventures, with old comforts. A new way to “travel” and “explore” without needing to really getaway. And truly, a great way to spend the day with family. I mean, any day with Marlowe and Alex is a great day, but it’s really extra special when we can do something new and so fun together. We all agreed it was the best way to spend the very first day of 2020 together. And we all agree that we’re looking forward to more of it.

Local or visiting? You guys can use the code BLANDREA to get an additional 25% off “smart” rides! Woo!

Jump on, jump off, walk somewhere new or jump another ride elsewhere 🙂 Either way, I hope you guys make 2020 the ultimate time for all the adventures… no matter where you are in the world 🙂 I know we will 😉 Cheers friends!


*This post was made in partnership and sponsored by Brightline. Excited to be part of the Railblazer ambassador team this year and make all sorts of fun journeys in south Florida 🙂 As always: all opinions are my own!

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