Thanksgiving Week in Florida

Last year, I retreated to Florida for three weeks around Thanksgiving to escape the smoke and fire threat around Lake Lure, but this year, the visit was totally for pleasure after so much rain had fallen this Autumn.  Having grown up in Miami, I spent quality time with many friends and my family. 

Coral Gables was my first stop, and the natural beauty in this man made paradise always amazes me.

coral gables waterwayCanals and waterways abound in this tropical setting.

coral gables garden 1My friends, Bibi and Jay, live in a home surrounded by a tropical garden, featuring a wide variety of palms and trees.

coral gables palms garden 2The Traveler Palm always grows east to west, giving directions to lost explorers.

camel in Coral Gables

My friend Jay has a large collection of rare vintage radios.FADA bakelight radio

Back north into Broward County, I visited my brother’s corporate offices where he features prints of my most popular Miami paintings on hallway walls.The Atlantis by ArquitectonicaMy interpretation of The Atlantis high rise along Biscayne Bay

St. Sophia's Greek Orthodox Cathedral MiamiSt. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Miami, and a South Miami Beach fantasy.

A visit to South Florida is never complete without spending time in South Miami Beach. A stroll along historic Lincoln Road Mall always brings a smile to anyone’s face.Lincoln Road Mall FountainFamed 1950’s architect Morris Lapidus designed this pedestrian mall where bustling Lincoln Road once stood in 1959. Today it is a popular destination for dining and high end shopping.

colony theatre reflectionsA modern NIKE store window reflects the historic Colony Theatre across the Mall.

lincoln road mall sunsetAfter sunset, the Mall really comes to life as tourists and locals alike look for that perfect sidewalk cafe for dinner.

Across the Bay from Miami Beach is an area of Miami just north of downtown known as the Miami Design District. Originally a collection of decorator shops catering to the trade, the area now features European designer boutiques and restaurants to match. As the holidays approach, the streets and stores are dressed in their best clothes.bulgari miami design districtBulgari and Louis Vuitton with Midtown skyline in the distance.

Miami Design District holiday tinsel

Miami Design District boutique

Miami Design District MuralA giant mural adorns the wall of a store next to a public park. Miami sunlight is always bright, and accentuates the colors. 

Miami courtyard Design DistrictDelightful courtyards are hidden between the buildings, with cafes and fountains.

In Ft. Lauderdale, the New River runs along scenic neighborhoods and towering buildings. Water taxis run constantly in this “Venice of the Americas”.

Ft. Lauderdale new river

huizenza new river homeThis is the New River home of Wayne Huizenza, former owner of Blockbuster, Autonation, and the Miami Dolphins.

new river fort lauderdale skyline

A visit to Lauderdale is not complete until you’ve cruised the river and the Intracoastal Waterway in a large boat. My brother lives along the New River, and this is Eddie’s view of the Lauderdale skyline from his boat. He graciously took me on a short ride.

stateroom of cruising yacht

Ft. Lauderdale Yacht ClubWe tied up at the Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club, where our neighbor was a beautiful fishing boat.

A five hour drive north put me in Gainesville, home to the University of Florida. I stayed with lifelong friends in their nature retreat among Spanish Moss draped trees.

Gainesville home and pool

Two hours to the northwest is Tallahassee, the State Capital, and home to Florida State University. I graduated in 1970, but a stroll around campus 47 years later is always a treat.Landis Green fountainThe fountain on Landis Green has been a popular place to rest and study at FSU for decades. Stozier Library sits at the far northern side of Landis Green.

FSU symphony rehearsalI was fortunate to sit in during a rehearsal of the FSU Symphony. The School of Music is one of the more respected music institutions in the entire country. 

fsu trees campusAutumn arrives very late to this Deep South campus.

Tallahassee apartment livingA very close friend from Miami now lives among the Live Oaks, and her window seat is a gallery for her family’s creations. The oil landscape is by her son, Douglas Foltz, a well respected and highly sought after southern artist. 

My trip home to the mountains took me through eastern Georgia, where I happened upon this old dowager Antebellum mansion, hoping for a revival. Sherman must have missed this one on his march to the sea after burning Atlanta. Oh, the stories this place could tell.East Georgia Plantation house

Arriving home in Otter Creek, I was greeted with a almost full Moon over Otter Pond.  I missed my mountains, and now I will await the season’s first snowfall, and remember the life I left 800 miles to the south.Otter Pond full moon

3 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Week in Florida

  1. Good Morning Vann, Thanks so much for my beautiful tour of Miami/Florida…….loved all the pictures.  By the way… is Betty? Thanks again Patsy

  2. Enjoyed spending time with you my friend. I am glad you had a good time and made it home safely. Looking forward to your next episode as winter approaches.

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