Sunday, April 3, 2011

Vintage Vacation

For my birthday this year, we decided to go back to where I was born, Miami, FL. We lived in Miami until I was 7 years old. I believe my love of MCM came from my time in Miami. The climate was conducive to great indoor/outdoor living and the area was growing. Even today you can drive around and see wonderful examples of MCM architecture.

Our home was a modest late 50's home. But my parents thought it was a castle. After years of apartment living, they had three bedrooms and two baths and a wonderful yard. Here is a picture of it in the early 60's.

Here is a picture of how it looks today.

We decided to visit tourist spots that were part of Florida back in the 1950's and 1960's. We even hit one spot that I went to as a small child.

Thirty miles south of Miami in Homestead, FL is a place called Coral Castle. A man named Ed Leedskalnin moved here from Latvia. He had asked a young lady he called "Sweet Sixteen" to marry him in his home country but she turned him down. So he moved to the United States and spent the rest of his life building a home for her made completely out of coral. The bulk of what he built was in the 1920's and 1930's. He was a very slight man and it was always a mystery how we could move these huge coral pieces that weighed up to several tons by himself. I visited the Coral Castle back in 1964 with my family. Below are some pictures from the 1964 visit and our 2011 visit.

Within the grounds of the Coral Castle, Ed built the necessities of daily living and he also built pieces that showed his interest in the stars. Here is his crescent moon and planets. In the older picture my Dad is sitting in the base of the Crescent Moon and I am sitting in a chair he built under that.

Ed built these three chairs so that he would be able to read by sunlight no matter the time of day. The first chair was for the morning light, the second chair my Dad is in is for mid day and the third chair I am in is for evening reading.

Dave is sitting in the same chair my Dad sat in. He thought it was pretty comfortable considering it is made out of coral.

For my birthday dinner we went to the Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale. It is a tiki themed restaurant and show. It opened in December of 1956. When we looked at old postcards of the Mai-Kai it seemed like it was out in the middle of no where. Now it is this oasis right in the middle of a busy shopping area.

They have a Polynesian show right after dinner. It is complete with beautiful dancers and of course some fire dancing. They also have a neat Tiki themed garden you can walk around after dinner.

I love pink flamingos, so it seemed appropriate for us to visit Flamingo Gardens. We spent our lunch just sitting and watching the flamingos. They can be extremely graceful as they walk around and then just as extremely clumsy when they try to run or kinda fly. It was very cool to watch.

I always wanted to go on an airboat ride in the everglades. I remember watching a tv show when I was a kid and being amazed at how the airboats glided so smoothly across the water. We went to the Everglades Holiday Park. We took an airboat tour of the everglades and even saw some alligators along the way. The airboat was as cool as I was hoping it would be.

I snapped this photo as I was sitting by the pool as the sun set on my birthday. There is just something about Palm trees that invoke tranquility for me. It was truly a wonderful birthday and a great vintage vacation.