If you’ve been around this blog for awhile, you might remember that Jordan and I make an annual trip to Miami Beach every January. We make this trip with a group of pastors and spouses from around the country, and it’s always a really nice time of reconnecting with people we don’t get to see often, but who also understand the unique experience of starting a church and working in ministry.
Each year, this trip lasts just two or three days, and when we’re not meeting together as a large group, Jordan and I try to step away to explore a part of Miami we’ve never seen before. In the same way we get frustrated when people come to NYC and never leave Times Square, we feel it would be a shame to land in a city and never get out of the most popular tourist areas.
In previous years, this has led us to Wynwood, Little Haiti, and Little Havana. And this year, after making a stop in Little Haiti for lunch at Chef Creole (which really is THAT good), we got to check out the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.
If you’re not familiar with Vizcaya, it’s the former winter estate of businessman James Deering. Originally constructed in 1912, it incorporates architecture styles from the Italian Renaissance and French Renaissance, and is an all-around beautiful property. Today, it’s a historical landmark and owned and operated by Miami/Dade County as a museum open to the public.
If all those historical details made your eyes glaze over, perhaps you’ll be more excited to know it’s featured in the movie Bad Boys II aaaand in the music video for New Edition’s song “I’m Still In Love With You.” (You should totally do yourself a favor and watch at least 30 seconds of this glorious production from 1996. Writing this post has officially reignited my love for that song, while simultaneously making me glad I’m no longer a teenager.)
The property is huge, and you can easily spend a few hours exploring the inside of the villa to get a feel for wealthy living in the early 1900’s and to take in the various outside gardens.
Off the back of the villa is a stone barge in the shape of a ship, which protected the home from ocean waves and was also used for entertaining. Upon learning this, I turned to Jordan and asked, “What have I got to do to get invited to a party where a gondola rides me from a super villa mansion to an ornate stone barge?”
And then the surrounding gardens seem to be just one beautiful sight after another. Wall sconces overflowing with succulents, gazebos covered with vines, manicured hedges, and calming fountains.
My favorite section was the Garden Mound, which is commonly used for wedding ceremonies.
(Jordan definitely said something ridiculous right at the moment this photo was taken. )
Vizcaya Museum — you are lovely. And Jordan — you’re a saint for letting me stop every five steps to take another photo of this gorgeous place.