Miami Life Insider’s Guide: Lucie Arnaz, Sunset Harbour, Pickle Ball, Memory Lane

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Most people don’t realize that there are great theater and cabaret venues all over Miami, like the Aventura Arts and Cultural Center where we recently saw a musical performance of Lucie Arnaz. There is a row of fabulous restaurants, with nice outdoor areas for dining, on 20th street in the Sunset Harbour area of Miami Beach, that won’t bankrupt you. One of the best ways to meet new friends in Miami is to play pickle ball. I’m sharing a walk down Miami memory lane today. And May is just around the corner and I hope you’ll join me at the Renewal Summit in NYC.

Our Evening with Lucie Arnaz

Most people don’t realize that there are great theater and cabaret venues all over Miami. We try to go to as many as we can because it’s a great night out. It’s so invigorating to see a live event. Broadway has 41 theaters and all of Florida has 283, half of them in the southern part of the state.

Rob Abel waving in the back.

Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill joins in for our group shot.

We all know how special Broadway is but a good show is great anywhere. A group of my friends joined us at the Aventura Arts and Cultural Center to see the musical performance of Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill and her accompanist Ron Abel. Lucie’s performance was based on her life in the theater so she sang her favorite songs from each of the shows she was involved with. It was a magical night listening to the stories about her career, challenges and rewards. She talked about the highs and lows of getting parts, what went on behind the scenes, her wonderful and talented husband, actor Larry Luckinbill and her three adult children. Lucie also remarked that the AACC had one of the best acoustics she had ever experienced in a concert hall. Bravo Aventura, a suburb of Miami. We love hearing that.

The elegant and high-tech AACC features a wide range of performing arts and cultural programs for patrons of all ages. The theater is situated on a spectacular waterfront setting in the heart of Aventura, Florida. Yes, it’s blocks away from the famous Aventura Mall. If you can combine shopping and then a show, I would say you hit the jackpot. Get the schedule of their upcoming shows.

Dining in Sunset Harbour

There is a row of fabulous restaurants, with nice outdoor areas for dining, on 20th street in the Sunset Harbour area of Miami Beach, that won’t bankrupt you. They are all next to each other so you can walk up and down the street to decide which one you like the best. The reason I am writing about this group of restaurants is because most places on the beach are quite expensive.

It’s a pleasure to meetup with friends and be able to spend approximately $60 a person rather than $100. Even $60 is a hefty price for most folks but that’s the average number after the pandemic. Restaurants are all trying to make up for the income they lost for two years.

We went to Casa Isola Osteria, 1418 20th St. in the Sunset Harbour section of Miami Beach last Friday night and it was jumping with a happy end of the week crowd. Everyone was casually dressed. A few even brought their dogs so they too could get a good airing in the refreshing night air. We loved the food. I had one of the best eggplant parmesans and my husband, Eliot, had pappardelle alla bolognese. The menu was created by James Beard award-nominated chef Jose Mendin and chef Sauto Aguello. They also had a nice selection of Italian wines, beers, and low proof cocktails.

The part we liked best about the whole experience was the chitter chatter that was emanating from each restaurant. The whole street seemed very social, friendly. You felt that we were living in a peaceful society where everyone just wanted to get along and be happy and healthy. That was very lovely for a few hours. The minute we got home, and turned on the news, we were back in reality.

Pickle Ball is a Social Connection

One of the best ways to meet new friends in Miami is to play pickle ball. Miami Beach is loaded with courts. All you have to do is Google “pickle ball” and a long list pops up.

My girlfriend Carmen Santamarina, one of the top tour guides to Cuba, plays pickle ball with my Rabbi’s wife, Valerie de Roca. They didn’t know each other until they met on the courts. Then Carmen saw a photo of Valerie next to me on Facebook. Carmen then posted a note saying that Valerie was her pickle ball friend from the Miami Beach North Shore Park and Youth Center. It’s amazing how sports, brings people from all walks of life together.

In case you didn’t know it, pickle ball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S. it’s a mix of tennis and ping pong with a small court that was invented to be a sport that old and young alike can enjoy together.  It combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. You can play both indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court and a slightly modified tennis net.

  1. Played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes.
  2. Played as doubles or singles.
  3. Can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels

My girlfriend Carmen is smack in the middle of the photo above with the white sleeveless top. The group is celebrating the fact that they are getting  special designated courts for their own use at the Miami Beach North Shore Park and Youth Center. This is huge news for pickle ball fans. Congratulations!

Learn more about pickleball.

Memory Lane

I am completely teary eyed. I just finished going down memory lane because the Miami Herald just published photos of what Miami looked like from the 1920s through the 1990s. I remember the old Miami from 26 years ago. Many areas looked just like the photos below.

My husband and I have witnessed the complete transformation of Miami and Miami Beach. I know We saw a lot of cranes in the air over the years, but nothing had prepared us for the housing and restaurant explosion that took place. We now call Miami, New York with good weather.



  • As Co-Founder and President of HWH PR, Lois Whitman-Hess has been actively involved in public relations for a vast array of business sectors including technology, Internet-based companies, entertainment, law, publishing, fashion, beauty and art. For the last eight years, Lois has authored a daily blog called “Digidame.” It mostly covers her personal journeys as well as tech innovations, art, travel, and entertainment. In addition, Lois co-hosts a weekly podcast called “Lying on the Beach” with TV personality Steve Greenberg who is a contributor on NBC's Today Show. They interview luminaries who discuss their expertise and views on current events.

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