Saturday, February 9, 2013

FLORIDA: MIAMI

In mid-January, Bob flew to Orlando, Florida, to attend the University of Miami Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning.  I really wanted to go along, but it just happened to be the first week of spring semester at the college where I teach. I had been to Orlando in 1999 as a chaperon on Rachael's Chamber Singers tour and had no need to spend more time there, so Bob and I decided I would fly in for a long weekend and we would head out of town together.

I arrived in Orlando at 5:00 a.m. on a Friday morning and we headed south, WAY south, to Miami.  The only visual image I had of Miami came from the old TV show Miami Vice, so it was fun to see it in person.  We arrived around 10:00 and made our way through the city.  I recognized these towers flanking the main freeway:
I know, this is a great shot of a streetlight in front of downtown Miami, but in my defense, it was taken from the car.  I love the colorful buildings:
Miami is a happening place.  I was surprised by all the building going on, given the state of the economy.




However, while it was fun to see the city, there aren't a lot of attractions there that really appealed to us, other than one. (Okay, two if you count Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant.) Our primary destination was the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, an Italian Renaissance-style villa built in 1916 by James Deering, a fabulously wealthy executive at International Harvester. It was his winter residence from 1916 until his death in 1925.
No photos were allowed inside, but it was your basic, over-the-top interior full of antiques, paintings, and tapestries from the 14th to 18th centuries.

We moved pretty quickly through the house itself, but were captivated by the ten acres of grounds.  There were very few other tourists there, and so we could wander and enjoy with few distractions.



The back of the house opens onto the Biscayne Bay.  I loved the boat-shaped dock floating just off the back patio:
. . . along with this wonderful Italian gazebo:

On the left, the view of the dock from the gazebo.  On the right, Vizcaya's symbol, the seahorse.







There were wonderful surprises around every corner.  Here are two of my favorites, a rocky alcove with a huge face carved in stone, and a sculpture of Leda and the Swan from Greek mythology:







If you have plans to visit Miami, I think the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens should definitely be on your list.  It's the closest I've come to stepping into Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden.


9 comments:

  1. Beautiful gardens. Nice frog. Let's get to lunch.

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    Replies
    1. Bob has already done a post on Joe's Stone Crab. See http://cannundrum.blogspot.com/2013/02/joes-stone-crab-miami-beach.html

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  2. It's hard to know which is more tempting--gardens or crab. You're right. I should visit both.

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  3. This place is like the southern/coral/sea version of the DuPont mansion in Delaware, with its fabulous grounds and house and gardens. I took lots of photos there (they allow photos inside in some rooms), but like you, it was the gardens that drew me in. I loved reading this post!

    ReplyDelete
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