My European Escape To Vizcaya in Miami Florida

 Here is the entrance to Vizcaya:

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Villa Vizcaya now called Vizcaya Museum and Gardens on Biscayne Bay in Miami Florida was built by businessman James Deering as a winter home.  Vizcaya was planned and built between 1914 and 1923.  Vizcaya combines french and Italian garden layouts combined with Cuban limestone stonework. 

I felt like I was touring a mansion or palace in Europe while I was there.  The ceilings and decor is so incredibly ornate.  The only thing I didn't like about my visit was not being able to take photos indoors, but that is the policy in most similar places I've visited in Italy as well.  I would also recommend visiting this lovely museum during the "cooler" months.  I was there in mid June on a very warm day and there are three floors of rooms to see! 

Vizcaya can be rented for special occasions such as weddings and photo shoots.  One can do a self guided tour for $18.00/adult.  It's an additional $5.00 for an audio tour.  Special guided tours can be arranged as well.  Vizcaya will be undergoing renovations beginning in mid July 2015 until October 2015.  The price to tour the museum will be reduced to $16.00/adult. 
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Here is a photo of the court yard:
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The water in the pool really was this hue of blue - not sure if it's safe to swim in!
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Here is the court yard:
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The statues throughout the grounds were amazing!
Wandering and searching island girl-1-2I was so fascinated by this Italian barge structure behind Vizcaya.  It's mainly for decorative purposes, but it's supposed to calm the waters near the shore as well.
Wandering and searching island girl-1-2  Wandering and searching island girl-1-60I loved the statues throughout the grounds:

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I will leave you with a photo of my friend Jahna Robertson and I relaxing in the air conditioned gift shop/cafe.  It was a very warm June day and made us appreciate what it was like to build and work on this mansion as well as live in southern Florida before the invention of air conditioning.  I would definitely recommend visiting Vizcaya if you are ever in the Miami area.  Most people like having 2-3 hours to tour the grounds.  For more information about visiting, here is their web site:  Click here: Vizcaya

 

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Thank you for visiting my blog.  Please leave me any comments and questions.  I would love to hear your thoughts on my blogs new design as it's still evolving.  I hope you are having a great week

~Michelle


The Mysterious Coral Castle in Southern Florida

  I wanted to see the Coral Castle when I visited the Miami area because it looked to beautiful in the photos.  I was not prepared to hear the interesting stories surrounding the man who built it, how he did it, and why.  Like the Egyptian pyramids, much of how one man was able to work with stones weighing a ton or more remains a mystery.

A man named Edward Leedskalnin was rejected by his 16-year-old bride to be in Latvia just one day before the wedding.  Edward decided to leave for America at that point.  He spent more than 28 years building the castle and refused to let anyone view him working on it.

The Coral Castle is made of a stone called Oolite (see the close-up below).  The Florida Keys and the surrounding Miami area are primarily made up of Oolite.  The Coral castle has remained intact since the builders death in 1951 and survived a direct hit by Hurricane Andrew

Along with  the builder's two story residence, the castle contains the following impressive items:

Accurate sundial,

A Polaris telescope,

An obelisk,

A barbecue,

A water well,

A fountain,

Celestial stars and planets,

Furniture including a heart-shaped table, a table in the shape of Florida, twenty-five rocking chairs, chairs resembling crescent moons,

A bathtub, beds and a throne.

The current adult admission fee is $16.00/person.  More can be read at the Castle's web site here:   http://coralcastle.com/

Remember you can use my photos for free in a variety of sizes for free as they are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0 HERE

 Here is the view as you walk through the doorway of the Coral Castle:

Wandering and searching island girl-1-33It used to only cost 10 cents to see the Coral Castle.  The owner left a bell for visitors to ring.  If he didn't answer, they were supposed to slip a dime in the slot.
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Wandering and searching island girl-1-33My friend Jahna Robertson:
Wandering and searching island girl-1-33Oolite close-up
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Wandering and searching island girl-1-33Yours truly:
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Here is the entrance to the builder's living quarters.  Edward didn't have an air conditioning when he needed a break from the intense South Florida heat.  I imagine he could have used it while working as hard as he did!
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The Coral Castle has a nice cafe and outdoor eating area:  Wandering and searching island girl-1-38

I will leave you with a couple photos of my friend Jahna Robertson and I:

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Thanks so much for stopping by.  Please feel free to ask any questions and of course comments are always appreciated.  I hope you are all having a great week.

~Michelle

 


Fun at South Beach in Miami Florida

Nok-1-7The above photo was taken from a nice restaurant called the Rusty Pelican where you can get a pretty good view of the Miami city skyline.

I always enjoy taking photos of people at the beach.  Most of them are having fun especially the children.  I enjoyed seeing the ocean and big waves which I don't get to see in the Tampa Bay AreaSouth Beach in Miami is very beautiful as most of the beaches I have visited in Florida are.  
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I will leave you with a photo of the Royal Palm Hotel at night:

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Thank you for your visit.  As always I welcome your comments and questions.  Have a great week.  

~Michelle


Naples Botanical Gardens

 I'm excited to be returning to the botanical gardens in Naples, Florida this coming weekend.  I was just there a few weeks ago with my family.  We enjoyed it so much that we decided to buy a year membership.  

On certain days of the week the Naples Botanical Gardens offer yoga classes and other days where people can bring their dogs.  They often have concerts and they currently have some beautiful sculptures throughout the six unique gardens at this attraction.   The gardens are all beautifully maintained.   Admission is only $14.95 for an adult.  If you decide to become a member they will apply your admission fee toward your membership fee. 

I highly recommend this attraction if you are in the southern Florida or Naples area.  It is a very peaceful and relaxing environment with a lot of beautiful things to see.  The six different Gardens offer different types of flowers and trees for all tastes.  I really enjoy taking photos while there.

Here is their web site for more information:   Naples Botanical Gardens

Botanical 1-03611The above and below photo show a very large yoga class in progress on a Sunday morning.
Botanical 1-03611An endangered Monarch butterfly on a purple flower:
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I loved this sculpture of a horse that looks like it's galloping through the garden:
Botanical 1-03611There were many beautiful archways like this one:
Botanical 1-03611Here is a building in the oriental garden:
Botanical 1-03611There were so many gorgeous orchids throughout the gardens.  I enjoyed seeing them as I have always loved them, but never had any luck keeping one in my home.

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Pictured above is one of the lily pad and lotus ponds in the oriental garden that I loved.

There were many benches and hammocks for people to relax and enjoy the beauty:
Botanical 1-03611I am really working on my close up photos which will hopefully improve after this next trip :)
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Botanical 1-03611Thank you so much for stopping by.  Please leave any comments or questions you might have.  I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

~Michelle


Visiting the Khorashan State Park With My Father's 1947 Chevy Truck

While visiting my father in southern Florida we decided to take his 1947 Chevy truck to Khorashan State Park for some photos.  While there we got some very nice photos of his truck in front of some older buildings which made for a nice backdrop.  We also learned a lot about this fascinating place which is now used as a campground and attracts many tourists every day.  The Estero river runs through the state park and many kayakers can be seen in this beautiful shaded River area.  The older houses are not typical of this area of Florida.                        

I also enjoyed learning about the cult that settled in this area in the late 1800s.  Found it fascinating that they were able to build everything that they did without air-conditioning and dealing with the wildlife such as spiders, snakes and alligators that are indigenous to this area.  It was also very interesting to learn about their beliefs and what brought them together to build this commune.   

Cyrus Reed Teed brought followers to Estero in 1894 to build the "New Jerusalem" for his new faith, Koreshanity. The colony, known as the Koreshan Unity, believed that the entire universe existed within a giant, hollow sphere. The colony began to leave after Teed´s death in 1908.

When visiting the Khorashan State Park, one can camp, fish, hike, canoe, kayak and view wildlife.  The volunteers who work there are very friendly and knowledgeable.  My dad and I saw a wedding taking place while there.  If you enjoy nature and like to get away from the crowds, this state park might be a nice excursion if you visit southern Florida.

You can read more about the Khorashan State Park here (just click on the next line):  The cost was only $5.00/vehicle to visit when I was there.

Khorashan State Park information

   I loved this beautiful building:
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Cat vid (1 of 1)-11I greatly admired the detail and beauty of this staircase:
Cat vid (1 of 1)-11This angle of the house shows the barrel that collected rain water for their everyday use:

Korashan (1 of 1)-2A room inside the home:

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My dad's 47 Chevy truck:
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Korashan (1 of 1)-2One of the many workshops:
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Kayakers:

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Korashan (1 of 1)-2A hiking trail:
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Thank you very much for stopping by.  Have you ever visited a state park?  If so, which ones?  Have a wonderful weekend!  ~Michelle