Tuesday March 11, 2008
The Charles Deering Estate is a nature and historical preserve in South Miami. It includes two historical buildings, and the largest virgin coastal tropical hardwood hammock in the United States. The wooden house was built in the late 19th century, the stone house was built in the early 20th. Here’s the aerial view, and you can clearly see the key-shaped dock, main lawn, and the huge mangrove forest surrounding the property.
A photo at the site shows the buildings after hurricane Andrew in 1992. The wooden house was about 60% kindling, but was restored. South Miami was ground 0 for Andrew.* By the way, Aramis and Pepe have studios at Deering (part of a relatively new artist residency program), and were kind enough to provide a lot of information about the estate.
A boardwalk snakes through the hammock . . .
Not that much to see, actually. But you appreciate the people that originally lived here — getting around was not at all easy. Marsh, thick foilage, and woody root-fingers sticking up everywhere. Oh, and cottonmouth moccasins.
Kind of a swank place. This is incidentally the sister estate to Vizcaya, which was built by Charles Deering’s brother(!). Unlike Viscaya’s lush gardens, Deering is all-native, and a lot more rustic (all things being relative, here).
The obligatory Historic Kitchen. The interior of the buildings is about a 7 on the interestingness scale, a fact acknowledged by various spicing-up measures, including a great little exhibition of contemporary Miami artists in the wood house.
Fancy doors in grand staircase of the stone house.
So, Deering apparently has back-to-back weddings lined up most weekends of the year. At $6,000 a pop, they’re booked over a year in advance. Here, they’re just setting up, but check out that key-shaped dock and big lawn. Perfect.
Prohibition-era wine cellar. The cool thing is that the cellar is behind a regular door, a steel-bar door, an uber-serious bank vault door, and a swing-away bookcase because, duh—it was built during prohibition, of which ‘ol Charlie wasn’t going to get in the way of his appreciation of wine.
* Not technically true, as a commenter points out — Andrew hit Homestead, about 10 miles south of the estate. However, even my parent’s house, another 40 miles further north, was trashed and without power for over a month.comments powered by Disqus