A Day Trip to South Beach
16 January 2012 | Dinner Key Mooring Facility, Coconut Grove, Miami
Beth / still chilly - and windy
We had planned to leave on Monday but, luckily, the wind was blowing 20 knots NE to E and any deep draft anchorage between here and Marathon would be uncomfortable that night so we happily delayed our departure.
It was such a good thing because it gave us time to go off to see South Beach. We met up with Steve and Sandi again and took the train from the Coconut Grove stop (Rt 1 and 27th St) to Government Centre where we switched to the bus. (#120 and S will both take you to the beaches). We bought day tickets - $5.00 for the whole day and good on both train and bus. It was a perfect day to go exploring the wide pathway along the beach and the streets lined with art deco buildings. We had been prepared to leave them for another time, but we're so glad we didn't have to.
We hopped off the bus at 17th St and joined the walkers along the winding beachfront pathway, headed south. There were a few hardy souls on the beach but the wind was whipping up a froth and inside the dunes was more pleasant. We missed Art Deco Weekend by a day, but we probably had a lot more sidewalk room without the festival crowds. After all, one needs room to stop and gawk at both people and buildings! (I never did get a good pic between the cars and trees and café awnings!)
The South Beach area was first developed by the Lummus brothers in 1912 and after "taming the jungle" they established a public park along the oceanfront from 15th to 5th Streets and sold off moderate sized lots for middle income people. Hundreds of apartments and hotels were built in the 1930's in what was then considered to be "modern" style. According to my reading material, the term Art Deco didn't come into being until the 60's and by then, the building boom had come and gone, the area was becoming run down and had settled into apartment hotels for retirees who could spend affordable winters here. In the 80's, a movement spearheaded by Barbara Capitman and destined to become the Miami Design Preservation League, took on the city to preserve and restore many of these wonderful buildings with their trademark relief ornamentation, curving lines, porthole windows, stepped rooflines and pastel colours. I don't know what happened to the modest living, because it is pretty classy now!
We stopped for lunch at Oceans Ten and spent a happy time people watching and enjoying our salads and sandwiches (at not a bad price either - $8.95 for the daily specials) before taking public transportation back to our own little neighbourhood of Coconut Grove where we were very happy to be based.
It was a special treat to take the launch back out to the mooring field with Cathy and Bill (Skeeter) who have spent several seasons in Isla Mujeres, Belize and Guatemala. I dug out my little notebook and scribbled down their suggestions as fast as I could. Once again, a day in the life of a cruiser turned out to be full of treasures - from sights and scenery to people to information to excitement about what tomorrow will bring.
And tomorrow will bring a departure toward Marathon!