Thursday's Child: Miami, Florida

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Last week, I wrote about spending some time in Key Largo over the Christmas holidays. Before coming home, we spent a couple of nights in Miami, which meant we had time to see the two districts I was most interested in – Little Havana and the Art Deco district.

Little Havana was first established by Cuban immigrants, many of whom settled in Miami because of its proximity to their homeland. More recently, it has welcomed other Central and Southern American immigrants, but the Cuban influence remains strong.



Calle Ocho (8th Street) is the hub of Little Havana. We began our walk at the Brigade 2506 Memorial. This statue was erected in honour of the Cuban exiles who were killed attempting to overthrow Fidel Castro in the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.





Calle Ocho is rich with Latin influences. We ate Cuban ice cream, and saw art galleries, a cigar factory, and the Cuban Walk of Fame. Of note, one of the recipients of a star on the Walk of Fame is singer Gloria Estefan. Her father was involved in the Bay of Pigs invasion, and was captured and given a 30-year prison sentence. Two years later, he and the other American prisoners were returned to Miami after $62 million in ransom money was paid.



We couldn’t leave Little Havana without having lunch at its most famous restaurant, Versailles. Even at noon, the line to get in was formidable. It was worth the wait. The menu was huge, but I had to try the traditional Cuban ropa vieja (shredded beef). It was terrific.


Our hotel was located in the Art Deco district, and a neighbourhood walk was on my must-do list. The Hotel of South Beach has retained its beautiful Tiffany tower from when it was a hotel of the same name.  The original Tiffany Hotel was designed by L. Murray Dixon, a leading architect who designed many other buildings in the district (including the Tides, the Raleigh and the Regent hotels).

Walking north on Ocean Drive and back along Collins and Washington Avenues, we had our cameras out full-time. Most of the buildings were, of course, in Art Deco design. The Breakwater Hotel (pictured at the top of the blog) pays homage to a Mayan Temple, while other buildings were built in Streamline Moderne or Mediterranean Revival styles.

Here are some of the beautiful buildings, and one interior, that impressed us.








We loved this gorgeous antique car parked on Ocean Drive:


Sunrise at South Beach:



22 comments:

Barbara said...

Not much to comment on today as I live in S. Florida and spend lots of time in Miami and South Beach. Some great restaurants there as well as scenery and architecture. The most interesting, I think, is Stiltsville. Believe you can still take tours on certain days. They cannot be replaced, and a nasty hurricane will wipe them out, never to be seen again.

Beth said...

Barbara, I didn't know anything about Stiltsville until I read your comment. Now I know what I'll do the next time I'm in Miami!

Julie said...

Not sure if you're getting this twice or not, password issues. I cleared my computer earlier and zap goes that remembered password.
It's so cold here, windchill's 30 below. Florida sounds good. Photos look beautiful.

Beth said...

I just got it once, Julie, so thanks for persevering!
And it's pretty cold here, too. I'm just holding on for spring.

Liz Berg said...

I've only been to Miami once, for a food blogger's conference, so didn't get to see much of the city. BUT a group of us did go out to lunch at Versailles! Such a wonderful meal.

scrambledhenfruit said...

I love the Art Deco buildings! :)

Catherine said...

Dear Beth, I have not been to Miami in many, many years. I would love to go and visit the places you mentioned. I would also love to try the food!! It sounds like a wonderful time.xo Catherine

Natalie Aguirre said...

Love all your pictures. Am visualizing the sun and warmth. Especially since I must go grocery shop in the frigid weather.

Angie Schneider said...

Miami looks so beautiful! I have never been to a Cuban restaurant. I am craving for some shredded beef now.

Gloria Baker said...

These are lovely pictures Beth!!

lisa is cooking said...

This sounds like a fun visit! I'd love to see the art deco architecture of Miami. This escape to Miami, even though virtual, on a chilly day is delightful!

Laura Dembowski said...

I would totally take some Miami sun and fun right now!

Monica said...

So interesting! I could use a little Miami flare right now.

Valerie Gamine said...

Wow, I never considered myself an Art Deco fan but the architecture is stunning (old-school glam!). I could definitely use a bit of Florida sun right now. :)

nancy at good food matters said...

Thanks, Beth, for sharing this trip to Miami! The only time I was there was in 1988--when South Beach was beginning its revitalization. We stayed at the Cardoza (next to The Carlisle) whose renovations were not quite complete. :) I recall that we paid $60 a night! The entire Art Deco district is beyond charming.

Jayanthi Sindhiya said...

The pictures are amazing,lovely Miami

The Glamorous Gourmet said...

I live in Florida too and LOVE your photos of some of Miami's historic landmarks - they're really beautiful - thanks for sharing!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

What a gorgeous place to visit, Miami sounds so awesome!

Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

Mary @ The World Is A Book said...

Miami is such a great city for sightseeing. It's been far too long since we've visited. We never made it to Little Havana. We now know where to go when we go back. Your food looks delicious!

Cakelaw said...

I love your photos, especially of the art deco buildings. I have a soft spot for art deco.

Marcela said...

wow! Great post! I visited Cuba once. It's nice to know who Little Havana looks like!

I Wilkerson said...

I think you need to do a ski vacation or something, so I don't feel so cold this winter...

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