Posts tagged ‘France’

March 25, 2020

A courthouse at Daytona Beach!

So in these times of worries I am home and reminicent of past places in my life that have some personal meaning. Hard to go back as pictures are rare, those were the crazy days where picture taking was not in my mind. Times change and now I am fully especially since starting my blog back in November 2010. And I thank you for following me along all these years.

Let me tell you a bit more on a courthouse, not just any courthouse mind you, but the one I was married in Daytona Beach, Florida, USA. I have mentioned it briefly but feels needs a post of its own, so here it is.

While traveling met a young French girl (Martine) working in Paris living in Meaux Seine-et-Marne dept 77 ïle de France region in 1989. This was quickly followed by visits to her family and hers to mine and before I knew it, this independent young men was married on December 26, 1990 at City Island municipal courthouse in Daytona Beach, deciding to live there. We went all over together, visiting France every year and moving in the State from Daytona Beach to Ormond Beach (together) in Volusia County, then North Miami, then Hialeah,in Miami-Dade county, then Miramar in Broward county (while here became French at the French consulate in Miami in 2000) before moving permanently to France in August 23, 2003. We had 3 wonderful boys, one older (born in Daytona Beach Halifax Hospital) and then identical twins,(born in Hialeah at Hialeah Hospital). The wonderful trip ended with my dear late wife Martine passsing due to cancer here in the Morbihan Breton on April 30 2018, sad and still sad and will always be sad, there is no words. My blog posts sooths the pain a bit.Thanks for sharing.

daytona beach

Daytona beach

That is the happy and sad story. Now for the spot itself City Island is a wonderful place to visit while in the area. Here is more

City Island, Daytona Beach, is an island in the Halifax River ,a section of the Intracoastal Waterway between mainland Florida and the barrier islands/outer banks. Buildings on the island include the Daytona Tortugas’ Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the city’s courthouse annex, and the main branch of the Volusia County Library.

The area is ,also, a great spot to relax there in the wonderful City Island Park which is an island hub in a waterway from the mainland. In its immediate vicinity are facilities such as Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the City Island Tennis Center, City Island Recreation Center, and the Daytona Beach Regional LibraryCity Island. Enjoy this park’s water access by fishing or simply relaxing on shore or in one of the many covered pavilions that extend into the water. It has a fishing pier with a large pavilion at the end, pavilions, grills, playground, ample parking and restrooms.   There is also here the Downtown Farmers’ Market held every Saturday with all kinds of local vegetables, fruits, plants and specialties. Open from 7h to 12h.

The Daytona Beach Regional Library , location at 105 E Magnolia Ave ; official webpage here:  Volusia County Libraries on City Island

The Daytona Tortugas are a minor league baseball team based in Daytona Beach. The team plays in the Florida State League (FSL). They are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds of Major League Baseball. The team plays at Jackie Robinson Ballpark. Webpage here: https://www.milb.com/daytona

The Jackie Robinson Stadium is a historic baseball field It is located at 105 East Orange Avenue on City Island, in the Halifax River. It opened in 1914!. One reason the stadium is named for Jackie Robinson is the fact that Daytona Beach was the first Florida city to allow Robinson (Black player) to play during the 1946 season’s spring training. Robinson was playing for the Triple-A Montreal Royals, who were in Florida to play an exhibition game against their parent club, the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Bethune–Cookman University (B–CU) is a private historically black university who played its baseball games at the stadium now. The DB webpage on the stadium here: https://www.daytonabeach.com/listings/jackie-robinson-ballpark-and-statue/903/

However, for me as above, the most important building there is the Daytona Beach Volusia County Courthouse annex, City Island located at 125 E. Orange Ave. This is where I was married with my dear Frenchie Martine on December 26 1990. A wonderful date always to be remembered .. As this is an annex alternative location to serve the citizens of the beachside, the main building is mainland in Deland here: https://www.volusia.org/services/community-services/parks-recreation-and-culture/art-and-culture/aipp/county-courthouse.stml

Daytona Beach

Credit:Volusia County Courthouse City Island Daytona Beach

A bit of history I like

The Halifax River is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, passing by Daytona Beach, and around City Island; but ,also, Ormond Beach, Ormond by the Sea, Holly Hill, Port Orange, South Daytona, Daytona Beach Shores, and Ponce Inlet. All memorable towns for me too.. The waterway was originally known as the North Mosquito River, but was renamed after George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax (for whom Halifax, Canada is also named), during the British occupation of Florida (1763–1784). The Halifax River originates at Tomoka Bay, at the confluence of the Tomoka River, Bulow Creek, and Halifax Creek, adjoining Tomoka State Park. All very nice places of my younger life always fondly remember. This river Halifax or the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway ( a defense perimeter done by US Defense) has several bridges passing it. These are north to south, Granada Bridge, Seabreeze, Main Street, Broadway, Veterans Memorial (passing city island); and Port Orange Causeway. Webpage of Tomoka State Park as the picture below: Florida State parks on Tomoka park

Ormond Beach

City Island is an urbanized area, resembling any small Florida city. The animal life on the island are typical of such an environment: squirrels, rabbits, abundant green and brown anole lizards, occasional raccoons and skunk, as well as a large population of doves and pigeons. The real diversity of wildlife on and around City Island are birds, especially aquatic species. There are many varieties of duck; mallards, clue-winged teal, and cormorants. American white ibis are common, as are brown pelicans, snowy egrets, great blue herons, great white egrets, and several types of gull. An occasional bald eagle or red-shouldered hawk can be seen overhead. Indeed a wonderful place to spent some time while in the Daytona Beach area, recommended!

The city of Daytona Beach on facilities, chose maps and zoom in on City Island: City of Daytona Beach on Facilities parks

Tourist office of Daytona Beach on things to do : Tourist office of Daytona Beach on things to do

The  Volusia County on tourism boards : Volusia county on tourist boards

The State of Florida tourist board on Daytona Beach: Tourist office of Florida on Daytona Beach

There you go a nice memorable dot on my world map, City Island Daytona Beach, never forgotten always remember. Thank you very much for reading and sharing with me.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

March 24, 2020

Walt Disney, Orlando!!!

Wow, I just notice!!! Have not written a post on the Walt Disney parks in Orlando Florida!! Hear all about it, lived not far from there, visit even from my college days for rides and concerts, took my family as a tour guide!!! and later my wife and boys!! We did it and just briefly mentioned in previous posts where  I mostly wrote about our experience in Disneyland Paris. 

Well even if photos are few and between by now, I need to have this in my blog. Hope it helps and you too can visit the best Disney park, period. Photos are from early 1990’s.

The Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is the largest leisure complex of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company. It is located about 30 km from Orlando, actually by the Lake Buena Vista city area but commonly call Orlando. The area covers more than 27,400 acres (111 km2), a little more than the city of Paris (105 km2) or twice the island of Manhattan (50 km2). Walt Disney negotiated with the State of Florida so that the domain could have a jurisdiction comparable to a city. It was the signing of the Reedy Creek Act which in 1965 created the equivalent of a municipality run by a private company, the first of its kind.

Between the end of 1963 and 1964, Walt Disney under the guise of agents and shell companies, proposed to buy from many small owners their orange grove or their marshland about 30 km from Orlando, between the Bay Lake, the intersection of Interstate I-4 highway, then under construction and the federal road US 192 for a total of 27,400 acres (11,088 ha) (111 km2). The secret was kept from the press so as not to cause inflation in the price of land.

Walt Disney decides to create a whole world and settles in Orlando. The Walt Disney World amusement park is being born. In 1971, it opened Magic Kingdom, the first of 4 major Walt Disney parks. Followed the opening of Epcot Park in 1982, Disney MGM Studios Park in 1984 and finally Animal Kingdom Park in 1997. When you enter the world of Walt Disney World parks in Orlando as elsewhere, you switch to another world led by the famous mouse with big ears. All done before we left Florida, after many trips here with my boys! And even before concerts by me!!!

orlando

In each of the Walt Disney World parks in Orlando, you will find a dedicated universe. In the Magic Kingdom park: Disney princes and princesses and the famous Cinderella Castle, In the Epcot park: a World Show Case. At Disney Hollywood Studios: the Star Wars world. In the Animal Kingdom park: a safari. In the parks of Blizzards Beach and Typhoon Lagoon: aquatic activities. And finally the new Downtown Disney: Disney Springs.

The traditional first park, meet Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Jasmine and all the Disney princesses at Magic Kingdom! Embark on the Caribbean pirate ship, sing in Fantasyland and enjoy the magic of Disney.

orlando

Go on to Epcot and its world of the future imagined by the Disney team in 1970. Go to Epcot Park to discover 11 countries thanks to the World Show Case! Taste Chinese, German, French, English, Japanese and Mexican specialties on the same day!

Orlando

Welcome to the magic of Disney-style cinema! Face the ghosts of the Hollywood Tower of Terror! Use force to survive the Star Wars, watch a live Jedi combat show! In Disney Hollywood Studios Park, you will feel like you have passed to the other side of the screen.

Welcome to the Walt Disney World Wildlife Park. In the Animal Kingdom park, take a safari in Africa! Watch the gorillas and tigers! Escape the clutches of a Trex! And embark on an unforgettable journey on the planet Pandora to meet the Na’vi.

Fancy a day of shopping in the world of Mickey? Go to Disney Springs! An entire village dedicated to shopping and restaurants! All like the mouse with big ears.   Disney Springs is a commercial area divided into 4 parts by the lake

Pleasure Island party on an island with night clubs (we love it and I have many memorable nights here from college days lol!) More forest-based marketplace with many Disney boutiques, a Rainforest Cafe (we love it) and a huge McDonald’s. West Side part closer to Las Vegas with restaurants and attractions such as DisneyQuest and a permanent Cirque du Soleil theater.

Disney’s BoardWalk ; it is a commercial area integrated into a hotel, representing a pediment of a New England seaside resort around 1930.

Looking for freshness? Visit the Blizzard Beach water park where you will feel like swimming in the middle of an icy pool! Obviously, this is an illusion and the rendering is absolutely stunning and original. A water park that immerses visitors in the middle of the Caribbean islands. Welcome to Typhoon Lagoon. Relax in wave lagoons or hit the water slides at top speed!

Then, you have others such as the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex: Sports training and events center open to the public.   Five world-class 18-hole golf courses, a sixth of 9 holes, 2 miniature golf courses. The lakes with their hiking or horse riding routes, their marinas and many other activities: Bay lake; Crescent Lake; Lake Buena Vista; and Seven Seas Lagoon.

orlando

A whole world of entertainment awaiting you with lots of lodgings and eating places of all prices all over in addition to many other attractions nearby. This makes the area around Walt Disney a complete one stop family and fun place to be. Absolutely cannot miss it at least once.  A must in Florida, and it gets visitors from all over the world as well. As said, I have many memories there from going to concerts to going to rides and taken other friends or family as guide and eventually taking my wife and boys. We left the area in 2003 ,and I bet it has grown even more since then. On our subsequent visits to  Florida we had not stopped by.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official Walt Disney webpage: Official Walt Disney

Tourist office of Orlando on Disney: Tourist office of Orlando on Disney

Tourist office of Florida on Disney: Tourist office of Florida on Disney

Tourist office of the USA on Disney Orlando: Tourist office USA on Disney Orlando

For out of park entertainment shopping, eating and just night fun see the Disney Springs: Official Disney Springs

There you go now you are well armed to visit this wonderful park and area of Lake Buena Vista, Orlando and not forget Kissimmee to enjoy it fully with the family. Hope you like the post and have the opportunity to see this marvel.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

March 24, 2020

Villa Vizcaya at Miami!

Ok so here I am telling you of another jewel of my years in Florida, 18 to be exact and still searching for photos! Memories are forever ,they tell me and it is true. This property was many summers pastime for me and my family with great views of Biscayne Bay. Ok I am cheating a bit on the title as Miami is the better known name, but actually it is in Coconut Grove ok. Just a street over from Miami!

Let me tell you a bit on the other brother Deering and his Villa Vizcaya!

Villa Vizcaya or the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, built by James Deering, is a villa built in the style of a 16C North Italian villa. It is located in Coconut Grove ,next to Miami The villa was built as a winter residence for businessman James Deering .It is precisely located at 3251 South Miami Avenue, Coconut Grove.

The name Vizcaya derives from the Spanish Basque province of Biscay. In fact, the villa dominates the Biscayne Bay while Vizcaya dominates the Bay of Biscay . This name would mean in Basque an elevated place.

The land covers 72.8 hectares. The main house was built in between while the construction of the gardens continued. The villa thus combines European marble and Florida limestone. The plants in the Italian garden were chosen to be able to withstand the tropical climatic conditions of the region. The accommodation thus resembles the Villa Rezzonico located in Bassano del Grappa, Italy.

James Deering lived in the Villa Vizcaya from 1916 until his death in 1925. In 1945, the descendants of Deering donated part of the land to the Archdiocese of St. Augustine and to a hospital. The land, however, still included the main house, part of the gardens and the village. These were sold to Miami-Dade County.

Villa Vizcaya was opened to the public in 1953 as the Dade County Art Museum. It was later renamed to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. The land now covers 20 hectares and hosts a botanical garden. The museum contains 70 rooms decorated with objects dating from the 15C to the 19C.

All the furnishings at Villa Vizcaya are just as they were in Deering’s time, including early versions of such amenities as a telephone switchboard, a central vacuum-cleaning system, elevators and fire sprinklers. The East Loggia looks out on to the bay, the exit guarded by a vast telescope. Off to the south stretch Vizcaya’s idyllic gardens, with fountains, pools, greenery, a casino and a maze. Strolling here on a quiet summer’s day can be magical indeed. Another bonus is the café, which offers above-average lunches and, on Sundays, tea for two from 13h to 16h. This is wonderful!

Miami

memories of my dear late wife Martine at Vizcaya and the gondolas

Villa Vizcaya was chosen to host the meeting between President Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II during his visit in September 1987. Villa Vizcaya was chosen as the setting for the filming of many films. Some of these were Ace Ventura, detective for dogs and cats. Any Given Sunday, Bad Boys 2, Airport ’77 and The Money Pit.

The official webpage of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens here: Official Vizcaya

The tourist office of Miami and the Beaches on VizcayaTourist office of Miami on Vizcaya

This is a wonderful property to visit blending European finesse and natural beauty of Florida in a tropical setting. Easy to get to it taking from Miami Beach 5th street the McArthur Causeway I395 to exit 2 into Biscayne Blvd (US 1) turning left southbound on this street; then continue on US1 Biscayne blvd and this will become Brickell Avenue passing Rickenbacker causeway stay on the left unto South Miami Avenue and follow to entrance to Villa Vizcaya on your left hand side. A beautiful ride thru beautiful residential neighborhoods, you might see a star!!! Enjoy it

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

March 24, 2020

Deering Estate at Miami FL!

Well and here I continue in memory lane of my Florida. Harder to find photos each time but need to have it in my blog. These are historical sites and full of Florida nature living like no other. It was fun while it lasted. Nice looking at you kid

Let me tell you about the Deering Estate of Miami.

Charles Deering Estate ;also known as Deering Estate at Cutler Ridge Road was the Florida home of Charles Deering until 1927 when he died at the estate. Deering lived on the 444 acres (1.80 km2)[property for five years, from 1922 to 1927. No, not the same Deering who built Vizcaya castle, but close. The Deering Estate was, in fact, set up and built by James’s similarly well-off brother Charles, who erected his own winter retreat at about the same time that Vizcaya was constructed.

miami

The property consists of a three-story wooden house built in 1900, known as the Richmond Cottage and a three-story stone mansion. Other buildings were also built on the property to serve as auxiliary buildings to the estate. Charles Deering Estate is located in the Cutler neighborhood of Palmetto Bay, Miami. The grounds include what is thought to be the largest virgin coastal tropical hardwood hammock in the continental United States. The estate was acquired by the state of Florida in 1985.

In 1900 the wooden house was built and soon after S.H. Richmond’s wife, Edith, opened the house as an Inn called the Richmond Cottage. The Richmond Cottage was named the most southern hostelry in the continental United States by The Miami Metropolis newspaper (gone) in 1901. Charles Deering became secretary of his father’s company, which merged with McCormick Harvesting Machine Company  and became International Harvester in 1902. After the merger, Deering became the chairman of the board for International Harvester; (now history continue as part of CNH Industrial).

The Cutler Burial Mound is a prehistoric mound on the Charles Deering Estate. It is one of the few surviving prehistoric mounds in Miami-Dade County. The mound is about 38 feet by 20 feet at the base, and about five feet high. Artifacts from the mound are from the Glades II and III periods. The mound is believed to contain 12 to 18 burials of Native Americans. The mound is accessible via a boardwalk. In 1979 a sinkhole on the Deering Estate was found to contain bones of Pleistocene animals associated with bones and artifacts of early humans.

On August 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew ravaged and damaged the property of Deering Estate. The water front property was devastated by waves that reached as high as the second floor of the buildings. Water rose more than 16 feet (4.9 m) from sea level and caused major flooding on the property. The Richmond Cottage was taken off its foundation and splintered by the hurricane. It took seven years to restore the cottage. Deering Estate at Cutler reopened to the public in 1999 and officially opened in 2000

The house and grounds were featured several times in the 1980s TV series Miami Vice (yes!), and the estate was the starting location for The Amazing Race All Stars in 2007.

The official webpage for Deering EstateOfficial Deering Estate

The Miami and the Beaches tourist office on the Deering EstateTourist office of Miami on the Deering

Miami-Dade county webpage on the parks, Deering EstateMiami Dade county on Deering Estate

You have good directions on the above webpage go to Plan Your Visit. This is a wonderful historical and architecturally stunning house and property, we love to come here with the family indeed, memories are forever. Enjoy Deering Estate at Cutler , Miami.

And remember, happy travels, good health , and many cheers to all!!!

 

March 23, 2020

Seaquarium at Miami USA!

And again going back to memories and early posts in my blog. Just when I started my blog back in Nov 2010 had many posts that now seems lost in the web of posts done afterward. These I will try to renew or even expand on them now.

This is the case of my old Seaquarium of Miami. I even visited friends nearby and of course took my kids there. Then we left for France and done with it. However, if in the area is a must to visit. Let me tell you a bit more ok

The park was founded by Fred D. Coppock and Captain W.B. Gray and was the second marine-life attraction in Florida. When it opened in 1955, it was the largest marine-life attraction in the world. From 1963 through 1967, eighty-eight episodes of the 1960s TV show Flipper (yes!!) and two movies starring Flipper were filmed at the Miami Seaquarium. From 1963 to 1991, the Seaquarium also had the Miami Seaquarium Spacerail, which was the first hanging monorail in the United States.

The Miami Seaquarium is an oceanarium in Miami ,county of Miami-Dade, State of Florida on the island of  Key Biscayne. Opened in 1955, it is the main aquatic oceanarium of this type in the metropolitan area of Miami. The Miami Seaquarium has a dolphinarium with bottlenose dolphins, white-sided dolphins from the Pacific and an orca, named Lolita. It also displays fish, sharks, sea turtles, birds, reptiles and manatees. Since 2014, it has been owned by the Spanish multinational Parques Reunidos.

Miami

You can see the following areas

The Shark Channel one of the most popular attractions in the aquarium when the it opened in 1955; and still going strong.

The Tropical Reef holds captive corals and colorful fish, with views of the beautiful beaches of Key Biscayne

At the manatee pool even if shows can be short due to the nature of the shy animals it presents several manatees of the rivers of Florida!

The Top Deck Dolphin and the Flipper Dolphin are shows that feature dolphins. The park has two pools dedicated to bottlenose dolphin shows, the Top Deck Dolphin Show and the Flipper Dolphin Show, as well as a third pool, Dolphin Harbor, dedicated to public interactions with dolphins.

 The Golden Dome presents a spectacle of sea lions and seals.

The basin hosting the Killer Whale Show, presents Lolita the orca of last count 48 yrs old and four white-sided dolphins from the Pacific

The Dolphin Odissey allows the most stubborn to swim for half an hour flat with the dolphins, for a fee.

miami

Precious memories

And as you are aware of the type of football played in the USA, the super super event Super Bowl LIV (last one) feature guessing the winner contest by the Seaquariume Nurse sharks . However, they failed as went over the SF 49ers and the winners were the KC Chiefs!!

The Miami Seaquarium is at 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway,on Key Biscayne, Miami. Again the best way to get there is the car. Again to start you off at popular Miami Beach get on 5th street to the McArthur Causeway (I395 road) to   I 95 highway southbound exit 1A. Stay on I95 to SW 26 road exit direction Key Biscayne paid toll at Rickenbacker Causeway into Key Biscayne, will see seaquarium on your right.

The Miami Dade bus network taking Route 102 B provides bus service from Brickell Station to Miami Seaquarium. PDF route map here: https://www.miamidade.gov/transit/library/routes/102.pdf

Some webpages to help you enjoy your trip here and worth it

Official Miami SeaquariumOfficial Miami Seaquarium

The tourist office of Miami and the Beaches on the SeaquariumMiami tourist office on the Seaquarium

And my luck will have , been here more than on the other parks yet have much fewer photos! Memorable ones as they are when my boys were growing up in Florida. We enjoy a lot as a family the Miami Seaquarium. Hope you too can one day enjoy it.

And remember happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

March 23, 2020

Zoo Miami, FL USA!

And again going back to memories and early posts in my blog. Just when I started my blog back in Nov 2010 had many posts that now seems lost in the web of posts done afterward. These I will try to renew or even expand on them now.

This is the case of my old Metro Zoo ,and now call Zoo Miami. I even visited friends nearby and of course took my kids there. Then we left for France and done with it. However, if in the area is a must to visit. Let me tell you a bit more ok

The Miami MetroZoo, (as I knew it) now known as Zoo Miami is the largest and oldest zoo in Florida. It is located southwest of the city of Miami in the county of Miami-Dade. The zoo is home to nearly 1,200 animals and is the only subtropical zoo in the continental United States. It covers a plot of almost 300 hectares of which 120 hectares are equipped to accommodate the public.

miami

The origin of the zoo dates back to 1948 when three monkeys, a goat and two black bears were bought for 270 dollars from a small circus. These animals were the first of the Crandon Park Zoo on the island of Key Biscayne near Miami. In 1965, Hurricane Betsy ravaged the zoo, killing 250 animals. It was decided that the zoo would be transferred to land belonging to the Naval Air Base in Richmond in 1970, work began in 1975 and the zoo was opened on December 12, 1981.

In the 1980s, the zoo continued to expand. An additional 25 acres or 10 ha with six new African hoofed stock exhibits opened in 1982, along with the zoo’s monorail in 1984.  The Wings of Asia, a 1.6-acre (0.6 ha) free-flight aviary, was opened in December 1984. Three additional African hoofed stock exhibits followed in 1985, and two new exhibits were opened in the African savannah section in 1986. The Australian section of the zoo was opened in 1989, and PAWS, the children’s petting zoo, opened in 1989.The Asian Riverlife Experience opened in August 1990.

Miami

In 1992, the zoo suffered extensive damage when Hurricane Andrew made landfall in South Florida on August 24. The small, yet intensely powerful category 5 hurricane toppled over 5,000 trees and destroyed the Wings of Asia aviary which had been built to withstand winds of up to 120 miles per hour (193 km/h) resulting in the loss of approximately 100 of the 300 resident birds. Despite the majority of the zoo’s animals remaining outside during the duration and aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, only five animals were killed from either debris or the consumption of contaminated water.

The MetroZoo, though looking dramatically different, was reopened on December 18, 1992; with the zoo’s tiger temple exhibit being renamed in honor of Naomi Browning, an active 12-year-old volunteer who was one of the storm’s casualties. In 1996 the Falcon Batchelor Komodo Dragon Encounter opened that same year, followed by Andean Condor (1999), Meerkats (2000), Cuban Crocodiles and Squirrel Monkeys (2001), and Dr. Wilde’s World, which is an indoor facility for traveling zoological exhibits. The rebuilt Wings of Asia aviary, housing more than 300 individuals representing 70 species of birds, opened in the spring of 2003. And we left before seen its re opening.

miami

miami

a family jewel

 

On July 4, 2010, the zoo was renamed the Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, or Zoo Miami, for marketing and branding purposes The Everglades exhibit opened on December 10, 2016. The Zoo Miami is divided now into the following areas:   Florida: Mission Everglades , Asia, Africa , Amazon and beyond, and Australia.

It is a wonderful park and well worth the detour to see it while visiting Miami.   Zoo Miami is at 12400 SW 152nd street ,There is sporadic bus service but you need to walk. The best as there as always is the car. Going from the famous Miami Beach get on 5th Street and cross on the McArthur Causeway road bridge over the water this is the I395 highway that will link you to the SR 836 or Dolphin Expressway (which now is a toll road); until you hit the Ronald Reagan Turnpike (a toll road) take it southbound to the SW 152nd street (SR 992) exit 16 to the SW 124th St turning left and the zoo will than be on your right. Seems long but it’s the most straight route me think, should be easy to reach.

The official webpage of the Zoo MiamiOfficial Zoo Miami

The Miami and the Beaches tourist office on the Zoo MiamiTourist office of Miami on the Zoo

The county of Miami-Dade on the Zoo Miami: Miami Dade county on the Zoo Miami

And there you are all set for a wonderful visit to a pretty natural site of lointime Miami, Florida. Hope you have enjoy the brief introduction and do come and visit ok.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

March 23, 2020

Proprietary House , Perth Amboy!

So as I am doing a tour of the world virtually in my blog, let me bring you back to a memorable moment in my life. I came from Madrid, Spain to Perth Amboy New Jersey USA way back too many years, and was my first contact with the American way of life: a shock! new customs, new language, new money, new laws the works. The best of it is that I was finally in a democratic country and free to learn new things, which I did. As usually back then no photos found so given credit to show the house.

Of course, I have written about Perth Amboy and New Jersey before, but left this out and I should not. This is part of history of the US often overlook for more recent ones; this is where all started for the country. Perth Amboy was colonial capital and the governor lived here at the Proprietary House. Let me tell you a bit more about it ok.

Perth Amboy

credit: facebook photo of the proprietary house

The city was the capital of East Jersey while the 13 colonies were around, one of the governor base at Perth Amboy was William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin, who was a royalist. The Proprietary House in Perth Amboy was where he lived as governor. He was instrumental in opening Queen College (later Rutgers University) . He was arrested in 1776-78  as he was against the American independence movement, and finally was exile to Great Britain in 1782, and died there in 1813  buried at St Pancreas old Church Cemetery. The Proprietary House erected n 1762 is the only provincial governors house still standing in the USA: located at 149 Kearny Avenue, Perth Amboy. Very near where I lived!!! Waterfront (NY) area. See it!

The official webpage is here: The Proprietary House at Perth Amboy

A bit of history I like

The Proprietary House in Perth Amboy, is the only proprietary governor’s mansion of the original Thirteen Colonies still standing. It’s construction began in 1762 and was completed in 1764. The Georgian style mansion was first occupied by Chief Justice Frederick Smyth by rent and approval of The Proprietors  from 1766 to 1773. In May 1773, the mansion was repaired and fitted to be the residence of the royal governor of New Jersey, and leased by the proprietors as such.

Perth Amboy

credit: Proprietary-House mycentral nj

The home was occupied temporarily, 1774 to 1776, by the Royal Governor of New Jersey, William Franklin (the illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin) . In January 1776, he was ordered to be held under house arrest on order of the Provincial Congress of New Jersey and under guard of the Committee of Safety. In June, after the onset of hostilities between Great Britain and the fledgling nation, he was ordered arrested and taken to Princeton for trial and then imprisoned in Litchfield, Connecticut until his release in a prisoner exchange in 1778. He eventually fled for Great Britain in 1782 and died there in 1813.

After the house was ravaged by a mysterious fire in the late 18C ;the new owner restored it. added a large wing and turned the property into The Brighton, a hotel of grand stature in its day. It briefly flourished as an elegant and popular hotel until the War of 1812 brought an end to tourism and the lifeblood of the hotel. The war a conflict between the USA and UK that many claims the precursor of the Napoleonic wars in Europe.

Mathias Bruen, who bought the property at a sheriff’s sale in 1817, became one of the wealthiest men in America while he lived here. His descendants made large contributions to America’s social and political history. In subsequent years, most of the original of its eleven acres were divided into building lots, and Kearny Avenue was cut through. The house experienced a series of owners. Over the years it deteriorated from a comfortable apartment house with a public restaurant to a dilapidated rooming house and suspected flophouse.The former Proprietary House was converted into a Presbyterian retirement home. It was adapted again as a hotel, but with modest accommodations. Now owned by the State of New Jersey, a portion of the building is operated as a museum by the Proprietary House Association. The upper floors of the original building and the 1809 wing are occupied by professional offices. The first floor and basement of the Proprietary House have been undergoing extensive repairs and restoration by the non-profit Proprietary House Association. The New Jersey Historic Trust and the Division of Parks and Forestry of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, along with private contributors, have greatly supported the effort to restore some of the former glory of the building. hroughout these phases, the house/museum was always open for tours, events, and exhibits.

Perth Amboy’s Proprietary House, the Royal Governor’s Mansion at 149 Kearny Ave has been voted as one of the top 8 NJ historic sites in a competition held by NJTV called #NJTVTourismTourney. Again, a must to see especially by all lovers of history and indeed American history.

A nice youtube video on the Proprietary House here

The webpage of the revolutionary war NJ on the Proprietary House: Revolutionary War New Jersey on the Proprietary House Perth Ambohy

And for general reference, the city of Perth Amboy webpage: City of Perth Amboy New Jersey

And there you go , yes my first city in America was lucky enouth to be in a historic city and learn a lot on the American way of life, which i continue even abroad. From our next door neighbor, have you heard? If you can do it in NY City, you can do it anywhere! true! Hope you enjoy the Proprietary House of Perth Amboy, in the Great State of New Jersey!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!

 

 

March 22, 2020

Plaza Vieja, Havana!!

And as I am feeling nostalgic and long away from having spoken about these spots almost from the beginning of my blog’s history and think not enough said. Therefore, I am telling you a bit more about the wonderful Plaza Vieja in old Havana, Cuba!

This is a wonderful spot for strolls alone the old Havana district which is full of history even if some repairs are needed due in fact to the dictatorship blames on someone else, you get my picture.

In fact, the Plaza Vieja has been renovated thanks to a grants by Unesco for the preservation of heritage in Cuba.  It is really 24 km or about 15 miles to where I was born.

The Plaza Vieja or old square was done in 1559 surrounded by beautiful homes of the colonial times. It is bordered by the streets of Teniente Rey, Muralla, San Ignacio and Mercaderes all in Old Havana of course.

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Plaza Vieja is one of the many beautiful squares of old Havana. Built in the 16C, it would have served as places of gathering, parties and market. From an architectural point of view, it is one of the most beautiful squares in Havana. You will see very beautiful colonial buildings dating from the 16C to the 19C. Plaza Vieja is said to have benefited from a Unesco restoration campaign in the 1980s, which explains its neat appearance. In fact, there are mostly upscale restaurants and hotels

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Over the past 150 years, Plaza Vieja has played host to an open-air food market, a park, and an amphitheatre. Plaza Vieja was the site of executions, processions, bullfights, and Fiestas,  all witnessed by Havana’s wealthiest citizens, who looked on from their balconies.

This was Havana’s third open space after Plaza de Armas and Plaza de San Francisco. It is said that Franciscan monks requested that a new square be constructed where local vendors could carry out their business activities away from the Plaza de San Francisco, where they were hindering the celebration of masses. The new square was completed in 1559 approximately one hundred meters from the convent. It was called precisely Plaza Nueva  or new square, and gained in popularity right away. Some authors claim, however, that in fact this was the second square to be built in Havana, before the Plaza de San Francisco.

In the 18C, the Plaza Nueva was transformed into a market place. And in 1814, with the emergence of the market at the Plaza del Cristo, it was renamed to Plaza Real, Plaza Mayor, Plaza Fernando VII, Parque Juan Bruno Zayas and Parque Julián Grimau, until it finally received the name of Plaza Vieja.

During the 17C to the early 20C, the area was developed with residential, commercial and recreational buildings that fortunately maintained coherence, including the majestic Palacio de los Condes de Jaruco (or palace of the counts of jaruco) and the first exclusive recreational society in Havana, Sociedad Filarmónica, (or philarmonique society) housed in a residence at Calle San Ignacio 352-354. Curiously enough, no religious or military constructions were ever built around the square.

In 1908 the old market was demolished to make room for a park which was regrettably transformed into an underground parking garage in 1952. The underground parking garage was torn down and a replica of the original fountain was placed in the center of the square.  The original Carrara marble fountain surrounded by four dolphins was demolished in the 1930s when President/dictator Gerardo Machado built an underground parking lot here. There is a simpler fountain there now.

There is no official webpage to showcase the square at least that I could find, so will leave you with Cuba’s official office of tourism in English.  Tourist office of Cuba on Havana

The site on the organization for Unesco heritage cities in English on Havana here: Org heritage cities Unesco on Havana

Hope it helps your walks in my dear Plaza Vieja in old Havana, its like going back in times, better times for me.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

March 22, 2020

Hotel Nacional, Havana!!

Let me bring you back out way back to another time another era in my life. Memories always popping in and out and yet so far. I like to tell you a bit more on the Hotel Nacional, Havana, Cuba!

It is magical ,still there gleaming at you, hearing the waves bang against the rocky hill below, and the Strait of Florida in front of it. It has been thru all the episodes in Cuban history since its construction in 1927. Knowing it is to know Havana (San Cristobal de la Habana) a bit more, and Cuba too.  This is simply the Hotel Nacional.

The Hotel Nacional officially open from 1930, it was designed by an American architectual firm of McKim, Mead & White (they also build the National Museum of American History in Washington DC as others). A bit of history  says that in the 19C, the hill on which the hotel stands held the famous battery of Santa Clara. The “Ordoñez” cannon, one of the largest of its time, still lies in the hotel’s gardens. On the headland of Punta Brava,(same name of my native town!!!) Corregidor Don Luis Aguilar chastised the British during the seige and assault of Havana. The hotel’s most famous and luxurious restaurant is named after him.

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Some of the memorable people who have stayed here over the years are Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Mickey Mantle, Johnny Weissmuller, Buster Keaton, Jorge Negrete,Agustin Lara, Rocky Marciano, Tyrone Power, Romulo Gallegos, Errol Flynn, John Wayne , Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, and Ernest Hemingway, as well as Winston Churchill, Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Alexander Flemming, and  innumerable Ibero-American Heads of State and European monarchs.

It was the site of a bloody battle in September 4, 1933 pitting the Cuban Army officers who participated in the coup d’état to overthrow President/dictator Gerardo Machado and the non commissioned officers and rank who supported the new strong man Fulgencio Batista. The US ambassador Sumner Welles lived here while the transition in the Cuban government took place.  In December 1946, it was the meeting of a mafia figures such as Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Santo Trafficante, jr, Frank Costello, Albert Anastacia, Vito Genovese and many others that was later characterized by Francis Ford Coppola in the movie, ” The Godfather ,part II”.

By 1955 the hotel was in full swing, and under new management, created  a new wing consisting of Clark’s famous Casino Internacional, the adjoining Starlight Terrace Bar and the Casino Parisién night club in january of 1956 with the first presenter been Eartha Kitt. The casino was closed by new President/dictator Fidel Castro in October 1960, as well as the hotel nationalised. It is now under management by the government supported Gran Caribe group. This is their webpage on the Hotel Nacional: Gran Caribe group on the Hotel Nacional

For me it meant many afternoon visiting the patio with grandparents and/or parents, and sipping a delicious cold Coca Cola with lemon and plenty of ice. When visited the island there was no doubt to come here again, just to be quiet and listen to the winds and the waves cracking below in the ocean. Memories that still linger with me since childhood. You will be embracing Cuban history and perhaps a quiet moment listening to those same waves.

Hope you enjoy the post and why not one day do stay there it is the ultimate in Cuba.

The official Hotel Nacional webpage is here : Hotel Nacional at Havana

And there you go folks when in Havana, the Hotel Nacional is a lot more than a vacation, its the history and architecture of Cuba in one spot. Hope you enjoy the post.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

March 22, 2020

Miramar, Havana, Cuba!

This is another time lapse for me going back many years almost 50 in fact! One has travel the world from a small spot on earth and gather many moments and souvenirs but there is always home. Mine was around the city of Miramar in Havana , Cuba. The name might seems familiar to those in Florida as there is a city there name after the one in Havana, and gosh I lived there too!!

Let me give you a bit of off the beaten path trip that would be wonderful to see again if possible. I am talking about the neighborhood of Miramar one of the main residential areas of the city of Havana, Cuba. Today , they put it in the county of Playa in Havana.

The Cuban upper class lived here before 1959 in sumptuous mansions and houses with pools, large patios, and other amenities. Being located in front of the coast, it made possible the existence of numerous spas, yacht clubs and social clubs in the wealthiest sectors. The stores were the best known in Cuba. Its busiest and most fundamental street, Fifth Avenue, with the same name as the famous one in New York, is considered by many to be the most beautiful street in all of Cuba.

The urban project for the construction of Miramar was conceived and signed in 1910 or 1911. The Miramar project was carried out on the grounds of the “La Miranda” family estate, making it a 100% Cuban urban project. This project is approved by the Marianao (another city just next to Havana ,and part of Marianao at the time) city council on February 6, 1911. On July 19, 1913 the contract to execute the urbanization of the Miramar neighborhood is signed.

The metal drawbridge over the Almendares river was popularly called the Pote bridge, an iron bridge over the Almendares river, in the extension of Calzada del Vedado ,a boulevard (going into another modern neighborhood Vedado)   towards Miramar.

In 1920, when the 5th avenue to 42nd street section was completely designed and built, the clock tower on 5th avenue and 10th street was made between 1921 and 1924 and is a 22-meter-high tower with its old carillon, a replica of London’s Big Ben, according to what it says as there is no written proof. The machinery of the clock has a mechanism by which music and time are synchronized, also chimes that sound every 15, 30 and 60 minutes, as well as every nine hours. After a period of deterioration in the 1960’s and onward, it was decided to do work on it which took three months, and finally the quarter of an hour and the melody of the bells were heard again. The four spheres, located on each side of the tower, give the exact time as they did in a distant 1924. The tower keeper need to climb the tower ladder every 72 hours and wind the machine, using the same mechanism as the manufacturers did. And the tradition is thankfully kept. Great for me as really when you passed this clock tower you really finally were in Miramar for us, memories.

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You will see the Fountain of the Americas located at the beginning of 5th Avenue and the sculptures were made in 1920. The Fountain is integrated into one of the parks on both sides of 5th Avenue, like the 2 large street parks at 24 and 26th streets. It is next to one of these two park blocks that the Church of Santa Rita was built in 1941. In Miramar numerous artificial beaches were built, the so-called Playas del Oeste or west beaches, formerly private clubs. The Miramar Yacht Club founded in 1926 with a nautical, sporty and social atmosphere, began in 1927 with a classic wooden construction on Avenida 96 and the sea. It was in 1952 that it was replaced by one in modern architecture.

The 1950s was the year of the real estate explosion in Miramar, the Almendares tunnel and the Linea tunnel date from this time, to substantially improve access to the neighborhood. The most luxurious buildings in Cuba are built in the Miramar at that time, true mansions and palaces, with swimming pools, large gardens and patios decorated with statues and fountains, which alternated with yacht and social clubs such as the Havana Yacht Club, in addition to others truly colossal churches such as that of Jesús de Miramar Church on 5th avenue and 82 street, in addition to the San Antonio de Padua Church on 5th avenue and 60 street.

At the end of the construction of the Malecon (big bulkward to the ocean) that extended it to the mouth of the Chorrera (tower bordering the Almendares and Cojimar rivers), the 5th Avenue becomes its natural extension, towards the other side of the Almendares River, with which the new neighborhood and all the territory of the west becomes a new housing seat. The crossing that was made through the Pote drawbridge, represented a great problem for the heavy traffic in the area and was finally replaced by a double track underwater tunnel in 1957.

The vast majority of the people who lived here left Cuba as a result of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution in 1959 and went with their families to the United States, mainly to Miami.

There is a general tourist office of Cuba webpage Infotur for general info in English: Tourism of Cuba Infotur on Havana

And this seems a newer version of infotur simply call Cuba Travel in English for general info here: Cuba Travel on Havana

Hope you enjoy the post and follow me on my nostalgic runs once in a while. The Clock tower or Torre del Reloj is a memory of the past still shining for all to enjoy in my La Habana. 

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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