Thursday, February 5, 2015

Life's a Beach! Miami Beach, Florida

Miami Beach!  What a sight for sore eyes!
After bundling up in hats, coats and scarves to brave the cold of the MD, DC and VA area, my husband and I took off for warmer climate with some friends!  And we highly recommend you do the same;)

The following posts will tie a ribbon on our whole trip, broken down by city, starting with the Miami Beach area!

Start with breakfast, beach side at a few of our favorites!

We tried The Front Porch Cafe on our first morning, right on Ocean Drive, visions of palm trees dancing in the breeze before our eyes:)  Grab an omelette with diced tomato, spinach and swiss, topped with sliced avocado and paired with a mixed green salad, toast and oj for a fantastic way to start the day:) 

News Cafe was one of our favorite spots to eat, boasting a European feel with a terraced front entrance that spills out onto the sunny sidewalks.  Tables covered by umbrellas line the porches and walkway over little, circular bistro tables and french cafe chairs for guests to eat, drink, enjoy and people watch.   The eats here are down to earth good, so grab a cup a tea or coffee, sit back, relax and take in the beach!

 The Local House was my favorite, so I saved the best for last:)  This chic and trendy restaurant served an amazing breakfast and was covered in local, Miami art!  I wanted every piece that lined the restaurants walls!!!  It was also decked out in antique books, designer bags and an acoustic guitar sat against a sideboard in the entry way....loved the details!  Try the Crab Cakes Eggs Benedict, the signature AM dish;)

What better way to "walk off your breakfast" than lay on the beach, and catch some sun and some waves!  February through April is a great time to visit Miami, we were greeted with high 70 degrees and into the low 80's and sunny skies!  What better way to get away after the hustle and bustle of the holidays:)   

 After you wash the sand off your skin and take an afternoon nap, get up, throw on something cute and head out for shopping and dinner!  The Collins Ave Shopping District will entice you with stores like Guess, Free People, L'Impasse, Steve Madden, Club Monaco, and the Kardashian sister's DASH!

Lincoln Road Shopping District is one of my favorite spots to shop in Miami!  An outdoor Mall, lined with long strips of palm trees, stunning shops and fantastic restaurants!  You can honestly spend the day here and loose track of time:)  Places of note: Scotch and Soda, Anthropologie and J.Crew.  There are dozens of other shops but you know I have to mention my favorites;)  Great places to eat include Books and Books for brunch, Yardbird for lunch or dinner and Yuca for a live bongo beat and a tantalizing Cuban inspired menu that will send your taste buds and heart straight to Havana!  Do try the Cuban Corvina, its pretty amazing:)

Now you know I like my history, so I couldn't leave Miami until I visited the beautiful Vizcaya Museum and Gardens;)  Wow, what a visit!  This place is a must when visiting Miami, not only is it beautiful and breathtaking, it has an interesting story and is filled with many intriguing pieces of art.  The house itself is a work of art, done in a Mediterranean Revival style, with an internal courtyard! 

This was the winter home of successful James Deering, an Industrial Executive, working for his family's farm equipment manufacturing business, the Deering Harvester Company.  It was built in the early 1900's with the help and inspiring opinions of artist and designer Paul Chalfin.  James Deering spent his winter months here from 1916 until his death in 1925.  By 1922 the 180-acre estate included the beautiful main house, lagoons, islands, formal gardens, produce gardens, servant houses, grazing fields and barns.  It was to be totally self-sufficient to compensate for the limited commodities that Miami had to offer residences at the time.   

James and Paul traveled the country and the world together gathering antiquities, art and furnishings for this house.  There is even a beautiful gold gilded harp that sits in the music room, believed to have been made by Marie Antoinette's instrument maker!  It stands, tall and graceful among many other instruments in the lavish room and beckons all who pass it to strum its cords!
Walls in rooms and hallways are painted with floral and fauna motifs , large Chinese urns sit on carved stands in corners and golden peacocks perch on swing armed wall sconces above large fireplaces; this house is a dream!!!

James Deering never married or had any children of his own, but he loved the company of family, friends and other socialites of the time.  He had a swimming pool, billiard room, bowling alley and tennis courts put in to entice his nieces and nephews to visit the estate!  In 1923 he began opening up his beautiful gardens to the public on Sunday's to people watch from his balcony:)
How magnificent to spend your Sunday afternoon picnicking on James Deering's lawn, catching a glimpse of his straw hat and the sun catching on the circular rim of his glasses as you can barley make him out so high above you!   

After his death, the estate went to his nieces, who, after a while, couldn't keep up with the expense, so they sold the property to Miami-Dade County and donated some of the furnishings and antiques in 1952.  Now it is a place for all to enjoy, and I did, immensely!!!
As I wandered around the rooms of the house and throughout the sensational gardens, I thought about all those who had walked before me.  Some of the wealthiest families and persons of the world, artists, writers, businessmen, politicians and simply old money had wandered the same halls and pebble pathways as I was doing now!
What scandals took place here, who took who's hand in a darken room and pulled them in for a secret kiss, who was making promises they couldn't keep or sharing gossip about a fellow at the next table???  And back then, they all drank too much!!!!  Oh, the roaring twenties, what a golden age of lavish decadence!!!! 

While you're on the Vizcaya part of town, head over to Key Biscayne to check out the Lighthouse and the promise of a fantastic sunset!!!  The Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park has fantastic beaches and a lighthouse you can visit Thursday-Monday 10am-1pm, we missed the tours, but didn't miss the views:)   

Before you bid Miami goodnight, and if you're looking for a different kind of cuisine, visit The Thompson Hotel's restaurant, Seagrape!  Seagrape is an amazing farm to table and local seafood Floridian Brasserie.  From the moment we walked in the door we were warmly welcomed, our server was excellent and the eats were delicious!  We enjoyed the Crispy Skin Florida Snapper followed by a beautiful Lemon Meringue Pie, YUMMMM!!!
Seagrape was recommended by my stylist Gavin of Snip Salon in Miami Beach, which, by the way, if you're looking for a new do while your far away from home, you have to check out this salon!  Gavin was amazing, but because I was there for a bit of the morning, I had the chance to chat with a few other members of the team.  What a fabulous environment with a fabulously British vibe:)  And my hair, once long, heavy and straight is now light, short and fun!  Love, love, love this place, next time I visit Miami, I know where to go for treating myself:)

Last Looks before our afternoon departure.  See you again soon Miami Beach<3

I hope you have some new places to check out and enjoy!  So what are you waiting for, Travelocity is only a click away;)  Go and get your Palm Tree On!!!

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