Eastern Home and Travel Vibrant, Eclectic, Exotic Miami | Page 6

home of James Deering . This awe-inspiring Italian Renaissance villa features a limestone façade and lush formal gardens . As you wander through the outdoor paths overlooking the Biscayne Bay , you ’ ll see the connecting moat that is still open today . Here in the gardens , young girls in Quinceañera gowns pose for formal portraits . You ’ ll explore various outdoor rooms decorated with Italian sculptures that are true antiquities , as well as marvel at the numerous fountains and the surrounding mangrove forest .
Inside , a central courtyard is flanked by 34 rooms adorned with tapestries , antiques and paintings . Every room had a purpose , from the Music Room to the Telephone Room . But as historic as this mansion appears , it features an electric switchboard , central vacuum system and a galley that was the epitome of 1920s “ kitchen management .” Not to be missed , the adjacent Breakfast Room features a nautical mural and offers an impressive view of the gardens .
In complete contrast to Vizcaya , the Wynwood neighborhood offers a trendy hipster vibe . Larger-than-life murals have become a draw for a neighborhood still reeling with homelessness and crime . On one hand , there are police signs stating “ take your belongings from cars ,” and on the other there are artists recreating the landscape with vibrant color .
I ran into Angelov Franco painting a mural for BeautifyEarth . org . As he hung over a scissor lift painting a swirling composition , he said of the area , “ There ’ s something stronger than the sun here . Very vibrant .”
I left the artist to his work and headed into the small business district of Wynwood . Although the warehouse style buildings are old , a sense of newness pervades . The young crowd gathers in cafes that surround artist studios , galleries and boutiques such as Plant the Future which sells terrariums that offer a green alternative to cut arrangements .
The streets are packed , and no place more than The Salty Donut , which had just opened a pop-up restaurant when I visited . Like no other doughnut shop , the lines are super long and the baked goods and coffee are artisanal . On the menu are selections such as Guava and Cheese , Brown Butter
Salt and Key Lime Pie . An actual storefront is on the horizon .
But mostly the crowd comes for the art , which in this Miami neighborhood is more ephemeral than sacred . Works are tagged with graffiti in a scene that is both meta and ebullient .
Just north lies another district brimming with juxtaposition . Little Haiti is an enclave of Caribbean immigrants and like Wynwood , its emphasis on public art and culture is helping to revive the neighborhood . If you can overlook the hardships evident in this community , you will find residents excited to share local pride .
For dance and performing arts , visit the Little Haiti Cultural Center or for a taste of Haitian cuisine visit Naomi ’ s Garden . Here , authentic dishes , such as legume and jerk chicken , are mouth-wateringly delicious while also giving a bang for your buck .
If exotic food is your thing , take a drive south to Homestead , where the Fruit and Spice Park will teach you about its eclectic variety of plants . Here on 35 acres , tropical and subtropical fruits , vegetables , spices , herbs and nuts grow . Many of