Tag Archives: visit

Espanola WayMiami Beach, a baby city of only 100 years of age (which we celebrated in quite a big way earlier this year!) is home to three different historical districts! The Art Deco Architectural District, of which we have all heard and which is probably the most famous. There’s also the SoFi district — that’s South of Fifth, and lastly and for the sake of this post, most importantly: the Espanola Way historical district.

So, when Miami Beach got its start, it was at first a coconut palm plantation that also boasted a few other fruits to its lineup. Proving unsuccessful, the area quickly converted to a line of hotels and high-end homes, becoming in effect the first resort-style town in the country. People were enticed by the wonderful weather and the stunning views; not to mention the fact that it was basically virgin land – as easy to mold as possible without the influence of too many land-owner or any anti-trust busting by the government.

Much of the original structures in the city borrowed a lot from European styles, in particular the Mediterranean – thus all the red clay roofs, arched windows, wrought iron. This style, known as Mediterranean Revival, is what we see most of in the Espanola Way District.

At its conception, Espanola way, the four square blocks from 14th to 15th St, in between Washington Ave and Pennsylvania Ave, was meant to be a spot for those looking for the nightlife — artists and dancers crowded the clubs here. Al Capone even has a rich history of gambling and especially of his prostitution ring in the area.

Thrive as it did for about 15 years, the depression did not do the district any favors. It fell into a deep decline and became quite crime-ridden until our Art Deco savior Barbara Capitman protested it be protected and designated a historical sight. In the last 15 years, the area has been home to international cuisine – from Gloria Estefan’s cuban cuisine chain Havana 1957, to Mexican food, Italian, Spanish, French Moroccan.

It is definitely worth a visit if you’re in Miami! Be sure to arrive as the sun is setting and the string lights on the palms turn on!

Charles Deering Estate

VIsit the Charles Deering Estate on bike!

VIsit the Charles Deering Estate on bike! (Photo from SouthFloridaFinds.com)

Located in Palmetto Bay, Fl (in the southern edges of Miami Dade County), one will find a surprising addition to the National Register of Historic Places. That’s right! In a city that is only about 121 years old, stands the Charles Deering Estate which was built by the Richmond family which opened it as an Inn. In 1901, it was known as the southern-most hostelry in the country. One of the earliest registers of the inn included names such as Henry Flagler and James Ingrahm, both of whom went on to pave the way for future settlers in South Florida – Henry Flager especially, known as he is for having built the Gold Coast Railroad down the length of the state at the end of the 19th century.

Charles Deering bought the cottage and moved into it in 1922. As per the attraction’s website, it is a 444-acre “environment, archaeological, and historic preserve” which makes up the largest virgin coastal hardwood hammock in the continental US.

The estate also includes what is perhaps the oldest burial mound in the country as well, with about 12-18 Native American burials; it’s been disturbed repeatedly in the last century or so but luckily the State of Florida acquired it and added it to the Charles Deering Estate Park.

All-in-all, a totally surprising – and refreshing – taste of history in southern Florida that most tourists would be delighted and encouraged to check out!

The Venetian Causeway: Cyclist’s Gateway to Miami

venetian-causewayMiami Beach — known for its soft sands and sunny views, a barrier island at origin is one of the most desirable destinations of South Florida. As such, one can see the need for all the bridges from the mainland ! In total there are about 5 bridges which connect mainland Miami Dade County to Miami Beach and its neighboring towns (like North Miami Beach, Bal Harbor, Surfside…).

As a cyclist there are many wants to bike by the views and our favorite causeway for this is the Venetian Causeway! A little history on the Venetian Causeway which was originally built in 1913. Back then though, it was originally called Collins Bridge — for one of the founders John Collins. Creating this bridge raised the population of Miami Beach about 400% after it’s construction. The development was unprecedented and uniquely fast considering the times.

The islands which maintain the causeway – the Venetian Islands – are composed of six islands, all but one of which were man-made just to hold the causeway!

The causeway’s bicycle path is one of the best maintained in the area and although a cyclist these days cannot travel all the way across (due to construction) it still makes for a great ride – especially at dusk and dawn!

After biking it many a time, locals will agree that the beauty in the post-card above still stands true today.

Source for postcard: https://belleisleblog.wordpress.com/