Friday April 29, 2005


Jimbo's stretch shack

Virginia Key is one wacky place. It’s got a big water treatment plant, the Seaqaurium) that big marine animal abusing ghetto-disney of the ocean), and a big park with little more then a crappy beach. If you’re going to the park, it’ll cost you three bucks at the guard gate. Tell them you’re going to Jimbo’s, though, and he’ll wave you in for free. And he’ll give you a knowing smile: Jimbo’s is the best thing on Virginia Key.

Legend has it that Jimbo Luznar (The Friendliest Man On Earth) owns the northeastern tip of the island by squatter’s rights. His compound consists of a little dock, some trailers, and the most glorious shanty-shack in the whole county. Cats, dogs, and a few roosters wander around. Across a dirt patio area sit a few old, brightly-colored bungalows (Remember when Miami Vice went to the supposed Caribbean? Filmed here). A boogie-metal band plays covers on a stage riser under some mangrove trees. Old-timers play Bocce ball (and you can, too). And an indifferent person sells cans of beer and the most delicious smoked fish you’ve ever had (bring some potato salad and you’re done).

Bocce Ball On any given day you’re likely to run into local hipsters, fashion shoots, metal bands, friendly hippies, and Jimbo himself. Take a walk past some trailers and a beautiful wooden boat hull, and you’ll find a path that winds along some mangroves and a channel leading out to the ocean. At the north end, a clearing offers a spectacular view of the Port of Miami, Fisher Island, and the ocean. Did we forget to mention the Bocce Ball? Just go look at Jimbo’s amazing website. They’re so worried you won’t find the place they give you a map and a time-lapsed “how to find us” movie.

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