Through the college I teach for, I got two free tickets (offer through the Smithsonian) to visit any museum in the area, so Jerry and I decided we wanted to see Vizcaya, which is a historical mansion on the shores of Biscayne Bay in Miami. It was an overcast day yesterday, so the pics are kinda dark, but this is the side you enter the house through: The house itself is pretty cool -- very ornate with hand-carved doors and ceilings that are beautiful. It was owned by John Deering, who owned International Harvester, and it was simply his winter home. He died in 1925 and left a minimal staff to live in and maintain the house; apparently, it then fell into some disrepair over the years until Miami-Dade county bought it as a historic house in 1952. Now it is designated as a National Historic Landmark. Here's Jerry giving it two thumbs up:
The house, like I said, sits facing Biscayne Bay, so it has a pretty stellar view of the bay and downtown Miami. The tents here in the pic were set up because some (very rich) girls were apparently preparing for their Quincera (hope I spelled that right) party. We saw them on the grounds having their pictures taken, and at first we mistook them for brides, but upon closer inspection, it was clear that they were teens, and without the presence of grooms, we deduced that they were celebrating the Latin tradition of a girl's 15th birthday party. Which, by the looks of the preparation, was gonna be $$$.
So, while the house is pretty spectacular, the grounds are really the best part: Lots of formal gardens and stone structures that make it feel like something you'd see in Europe, but with a tropical touch. Here's Jerry and I:
And here I am in front of one of the many fountains:
All in all, we thought the place was pretty dang cool and we enjoyed seeing it, especially for free. So, after touring Vizcaya, we went out for a nice dinner and then finished the evening off by visiting the bookstore and picking up some new reads. It was a fun Saturday.