Miami ’18

When you have adult children, the normal Christmas often changes.  This year, we decided to go to Miami for a Christmas celebration.  Our first stop was in South Beach for a tour of the art deco buildings in the area.  Everyone has heard of art deco but exactly what is it in the style of the buildings that you should look for.  Art Deco took its ideas from geometric designs, chevrons, zigzags, and stylized bouquets of flowers. It was influenced by discoveries in Egyptology, and growing interest in the Orient and in African art. From 1925 onwards, it was often inspired by a passion for new machines, such as airships, automobiles and ocean liners which often pervades the facades of the buildings.  The Essex house and and Fairwind on Collins Street are both good examples.  The Essex House with it’s 3 stories, port hole windows, eyebrows and prow of a ship is a great example.

The inside lobby of the Essex House offers more details as to what is Art Deco.  The curved front desk with the curved painting on the ceiling, original iron work on the stair case, tropical scene in the mirror and the fireplace and mural are all examples.

The Davis Hotel has the appearance of the prow of a ship and the use of aluminum in building are parts of the Art Deco architectural traits.

Some other buildings like the Tudor and Dream are also very good examples.  You also have to pay close attention to the floors since in the 20’s, you didn’t ask where the casino was but followed the diamonds and lines on the floors to find the gambling areas.

A quick visit to the old Gianni Versace estate to see where Versace was murdered on his front steps is to relive the history of the area.  You can’t go in but you can certainly stroll past.

Hotel Victor broke the rules but since the mob was involved, that shouldn’t be a surprise.  The lobby is open to go take a peek.

Our traveling companions are always ready to smile for the camera.


Next up was a walk through Little Havana.  Don’t forget to stop for the chicken to cross the road at the Goodwill store.

No trip to Little Havana would be complete without viewing the monuments to the Bay of Pigs.

I did love the wall art in Miami so I captured a lot of shots that I found enjoyable.

Meanwhile the chickens were getting out of control.

And don’t forget to pick up a few cigars while you’re in Little Havana.

We did take an afternoon boat trip to see the homes of the rich and famous and the Miami skyline from the water.  After walking in the morning, it was a nice reprieve to sit back and enjoy the view.  It was cloudy so next time, I’ll have to order up a sunny day.

If you like homes and gardens, visit Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.  We certainly enjoyed viewing the time spent there.  The gardens are particularly beautiful.

The symbol for Vizcaya was the Caravel and the Seahorse so many show up in places around the building.
We did go for and air-boat ride.  Wow, what a blast that was.  We only saw one small alligator but the air-boat ride itself was worth the cost just for the thrill of zipping through the Everglades.
One of the really cool areas to visit in Miami is the Wynwood.  A lot of shops and bars with a lot of street art.  We stopped at a couple of watering holes and had some great tacos.  A good time had by all.


A visit to Crandon Park for critter watching and Bills Baggs Cape Florida State Park to see the light house is a nice respite from the city tour.
Speaking of critters….

After a long afternoon checking out the sites, we stopped lunch and enjoyed a libation or maybe two on our way.

The Biltmore Hotel reminds me of a bygone era.  Absolutely stunning when you actually see it but it would never be built today.  What a shame we don’t produce this type of quality anymore.

Our final stop was the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.  I thought the Vizcaya Gardens were great but Fairchild Gardens out did them by far.  It’s quite impressive when they divide the gardens up into different climates, tropical as well as arid.

Then you also have to watch out for toothy friends.

Best of all was the butterfly house.

This blue one was so hard to capture.  When it’s wings were folded, it was brown but opened to fly, such a pretty blue color.

This nice woman was telling me all about the gardens and how she loved them so I couldn’t help but sit down and listen to her stories about the Miami area.  Marjory Stoneman Douglas has many stories she’d like to tell you, she’s waiting for you to visit.

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