Travel
The Times' favorite summer vacation photos from readers in 2014
Travel

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami shows a keen eye for detail

Bars and ClubsArts and CultureLifestyle and LeisureDining and DrinkingCoconut GroveElizabeth II

The breeze off Biscayne Bay and playful fountains cool Vizcaya's elaborate gardens even on a sweltering summer day — not that International Harvester heir James Deering would have known. The Coconut Grove, Fla., mansion was his winter estate. When it opened in 1916, Miami's population was a mere 10,000.

Why it's a treasure: With the help of painter and designer Paul Chalfin, Deering handpicked every item in his marbled mansion, deftly mixing a French harpsichord, Pompeian table, Venetian gates with an English manor house library, Chinese bedroom and south Florida coral rock.

Why you'd want to live here: Deering was the ultimate host, with a billiards table that could be flipped to reveal a roulette wheel and a bowling alley and bar stocked with bootleg whiskey. Silent films were shown in the courtyard, and cocktails were served on a stone barge an easy stroll from the house. The Mound built at the end of the gardens features a fireplace room for cool nights. Vizcaya is still Miami's choice for grand weddings and stately receptions. Pope John Paul II, President Reagan and Queen Elizabeth II have been feted here.

Why you wouldn't want to live here: Salt air and humidity make upkeep a nightmare. Preparing for a major storm is a Herculean task; the hurricane of 1926 nearly destroyed the mansion and grounds.

Surprises: Grottoes, a swimming pool and secret gardens abound — need we say more?

Info: Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, 3251 S. Miami Ave.; (305) 250-9133, http://www.vizcayamuseum.org. Open 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily except Tuesdays, Christmas and Thanksgiving. $5 audio tours are offered in five languages. A cafe offers coffee, salads and sandwiches. Adults, $15; seniors and students with ID, $10; ages 6-12, $6; under 5, free.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
Bars and ClubsArts and CultureLifestyle and LeisureDining and DrinkingCoconut GroveElizabeth II
  • Standoff
    Standoff

    A STANDOFF ESCALATES: A boat carrying a U.S. Navy crew rushes to bring humanitarian aid to the fishing trawler Ching Fong Hwa in November. The trawler had been overtaken by pirates off Somalia, and a Chinese sailor was killed.

  • Bomb detected
    Bomb detected

    BOMB DETECTED: Iron, a German shepherd trained to sniff out explosives, weapons, wires and other threats, and handler Sgt. Joshua T. Rose, right, wait as military explosives experts investigate a bomb that Iron found south of Baghdad.

  • On the job
    On the job

    ON THE JOB: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Blake T. Soller follows his explosives-sniffing dog, Pluto, in a home being searched for bombs southeast of Baghdad.

  • Viewer Picture by
  • 5-day-old
    5-day-old

    Broward Sheriff firefighter/paramedic Gisela Bass brings a five-day-old newborn to a waiting ambulance Monday night.

  • 9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. Philadelphia 76ers, Game 5 NBA Finals, May 14, 1980.
    9. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar vs. Philadelphia 76ers, Game 5 NBA Finals, May 14, 1980.

    The setting: With 33 seconds left in a tie game, Abdul-Jabbar scored on a dunk and was fouled by Julius Erving. Abdul-Jabbar made the free throw and the Lakers won, 108-103, at the Forum. The significance: Abdul-Jabbar sprained an ankle late in the third quarter and limped to the locker...

Comments
Loading