“Dot.calm” by Jane Silverman
As a former year-rounder and Member for nearly 45+ years, I have frequently taken day-trips from Ocean Reef to explore the environs beyond our hallowed gates. After years of heading south to sightsee in the Keys, Mike and I donned our winter coats and headed north to discover new frontiers beyond the Florida Turnpike.
With the trusty Tripadvisor www.tripadvisor.com and Visit Florida www.visitflorida.com apps to guide us, we started with quick trips to Homestead to visit the Coral Castle coralcastle.com, stopping for tea and scones at the charming historic village Cauley Square cauleysquare.com, and something a wee bit stronger at Schnebly’s Winery and Brewery in the Redlands schneblywinery.com. Just around the corner is the beautiful Thai Wat Buddharangsi Buddhist Temple with welcoming gardens, resident monks, and golden spires (who knew!?) www.thaitemplemiami.com. With our dogs along for the ride, we dined in the garden at the charming White Lion Café www.whitelioncafe.com.
Having found our way back home successfully, we next bravely ventured forth to Miami’s 1920s era Deering Estate deeringestate.org, the stunning Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and its Chihuly sculptures fairchildgarden.org, the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Coconut Grove vizcaya.org, the exciting Wynwood Walls art district www.thewynwoodwalls.com where we had a private tour by golf cart; just a stone’s throw away is Miami’s Design District which offers valet parking and designer shops from Tiffany’s to Christian Louboutin. Dining outside is easy at the trendy Michael’s Genuine Restaurant for some celebrity watching (John Legend the day we went). Visit www.miamidesigndistrict.net to plan your excursion.
Emboldened by our taste of adventure (as well as art, fashion, and design), we day-tripped as far north as Delray Beach to visit the sublime Morikami Japanese Gardens morikami.org for tea and Japanese fare. On the way back I couldn’t resist temptation and stopped at the exceptional Collanade luxury designer outlet at Sawgrass Mills www.simon.com/the-colonnade-moreluxe-than-ever for a little retail therapy.
Our wanderlust whetted, we headed west towards the Everglades National Park www.nps.gov/ever and its wide expanse of open sky for airboat rides on the “River of Grass,” and a visit to the Historic Cold War era Nike Hercules Missile Base HM69 deep in the heart of the Everglades www.nps.gov/ever/learn/historyculture/hm69.htm.
The Left Coast:
With the Waze travel app www.waze.com and a fully charged Tesla at our disposal, we left early one morning and traveled back in time to Fort Meyers’ Edison Ford Winter Estates www.edisonfordwinterestates.org. Did you know that Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were best friends? Their decadeslong friendship was one of exploration, invention, fishing, and camping (or should I say “glamping?”).
The Estate is a 21-acre botanical garden and museum with Edison’s cluttered laboratory cluttered rich with the aroma of sun-baked wood. The room sang of discovery and invention; just across the street are Edison and Ford’s period homes filled with original furniture. Dog-owners – just across the beach is Sanibel – one of the few dog-friendly beaches.
A cloudy day and visiting college age family was a good excuse to check-out the fun less than an hour away, including: Extreme Axe Throwing in Palmetto Bay extremeaxe.com; the SkyZone Trampoline Park in Cutler Bay www.skyzone.com; Zoo Miami (the fifth largest in the country) www.zoomiami.org; and the Homestead/Miami Speedway for 45mph go karting at their AMR Motorplex track www.amrmotorplex.com. Wow!
“It’s better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.” – Asian Proverb