30 Minutes in the Life: August 2019

I have been to Viscaya at least 3 times before.  It is a place I can go visit and never see everything.  Each time I go back I see something different.  This month Daniel was car hunting, and so he and Amy were going down to Miami to look and see what they could find.  Amy asked if I would like to go to Viscaya since they was down there and I was happy to.   Welcome to the home of John Deering, Viscaya.

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Born in 1859, in Maine, James Deering, retired in his mid fifties.  Due to health reasons, James Deering decided to build his home in South Florida.  It was hoped that the warm, sunny climate would improve his health.  And so in 1910 began the plans to build his new home.  James Deering, from everything I have seen was an interesting man and one I think I would have enjoyed having a conversation with.  In 1952, Viscaya was transferred to the county and opened as a historic property well worth visiting.

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As you walk around the opulent house and beautiful grounds one thing that stands out is that there is a number of influences and from what I have read he was fascinated by travel, legends and mythology.  Neptune is seen around the house and very much in the gardens.

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The house is rich with beautiful timeless pieces that illuminate the surroundings and the stunning wall hangings.

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The ceilings match the opulence of the home and the walls reflect the very South Florida look.


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Ornate edgings and beautiful doors are just a part of this beautiful domed walkway.

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Heading up the stairs we came across stunning stained glass doors that have stood through the ages.

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In corners and domed display areas you will find statues of interest ranging from local to international, of people or of mythology.

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There are decadent sitting rooms rich with drapes and ornamental objects on display.

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As we pass by a window we got a view of just a small portion of Viscaya’s beautiful gardens that lead up to a pavilion area.  But beyond these gardens to the left and right are more gardens, and this time I spent time exploring those gardens.

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This is a bed that little girls dream of and in James Deering’s house, many guests stayed in.  Life, from what I have read, was spent in Viscaya over the winter months, very often with family or guests.

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This stair case is a favorite of mine and as much as I try to lean as far over I can never quite get the full spiral.

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Having explored the upstairs we went down and decided to venture out into the hot hot summers day of South Florida.

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There is some beautiful stain glass windows just before you go outside and I love the view you get of the gardens through them.

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We are outside and you are seeing just a portion of the house that faces the Bay of Biscayne.

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To the right, by way of a pathway, and over a bridge stand a beautiful portico.  A favorite spot for photographers taking wedding pictures, or Quinceañera, for the 16 year old Spanish girls birthdays.

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To the left another bridge that appeared to go down to a set of steps where perhaps guest stepped onto a boat.  Since the last time I was down here this area has been badly damage, I can only assume, by one of the hurricanes that has passed over this area.

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My understanding was that the barge was built as a break water structure.  That said history has it that James Deering and his guest would be ferried by boat or gondola to the barge for afternoon tea and at times cocktails.

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A large part of the estate is built with coral and you will see this throughout the gardens.

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Beautiful ponds of water lilies are visible as well.

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Lining the walkways are a series of statues

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And again you see the influence of international travel with the sphinx typically found  in Egypt.

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There is beautiful color in the gardens and whenever, I see Anthurium I am reminded of my mother.  She loved this beautiful waxy looking flower, and while my father grew orchids, below them he grew Anthurium for my mother.

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I have walked these gardens many times but this was the first time I really looked more closely at these statues.  Shown here were mermen holding pots on their shoulders while being overseen by driver.

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Reflections depict that which is above, and this statue with all its glory, has two interestingly strange looking lions at the top.

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We walk up the side steps to a beautiful pavilion, which back in the day was known to James Deering’s guests as the casino.  From the top of the pavilion there are levels of this beautiful terraced waterfall and on either side a series of steps.

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To the left and right are secluded areas not unlike a small atrium.  The inside was built with coral and, in its hey day, this appeared to be a fountain with seating to either side of it.

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On the outside of the area were statues of mermen and mermaids, almost guarding those that entered in.

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Beyond the steps more ponds with water lily and on occasions I have spotted a great big frog.

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This was probably my favorite image of Amy and Daniel.  They took a fun one just before of them on either side of the pillared portico.  I asked them to stand together for this one.  Granted by now we were all beyond hot and sweaty.

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As we are walking back to the house there is a water fountain with frogs and iguana at the edges of it.  This was not the frog that I saw in the pond either but the size does not seem far off it.  Just joking.  I loved how the water drops float across the image.

If you are heading to Miami, and who doesn’t want to go to Miami at some point in the visit to Florida, take some time out in your visit to stop by Viscaya.  In fact, take a few hours to go through the house and the property.  Winter is probably a better time to do it but whichever time you go, know that you are in for a blast into the past, and a treat that will keep you looking and wishing you could have seen everything in one visit.  I know that some day in the future I will visit Viscaya for a 5th time.  I don’t think it will ever grow “old” for me despite the age and time period of this beautiful building.  I hope that you enjoyed taking a walk with us.

Thank you for joining us for another month of 30 Minutes. Just a reminder that this is a circle blog.  We have a number of new ladies join the 30 minutes group, making us now 15 bloggers,  and so I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Crystal  of Crystal Bella Photography, and see what she has for you this month.  I am pretty  excited to learn more about these wonderful ladies from all over the world.  I would certainly encourage you to visit their pages.