My parents are in town for a long week-end. What a treat! I feel fortunate in that they are fairly easy company to host. We like similar activities, and our food preferences are similar. When parents are coming--anyone's parents--I do tend to clean more vigorously in advance, but it's good to tend to those tasks.
I've said it before: one reason I like having out of town guests is that we tend to get out of the house and explore our surroundings. Ever since we moved down here in 1998, I've had the historic mansion Vizcaya on my list of places to get to, but we haven't yet.
My mom saw it listed in a book of 1000 places to visit before you die, so we decided to go yesterday, on their first full day of the visit. There's too much that might disrupt the plan if we wait until Monday. And since we have a week day free, we wanted to avoid the week-end.
Early in the morning, I thought we might need to change plans. It was raining, and the forecast called for more rain. But by the time we walked to the beach for breakfast, the sun was shining. There were still angry clouds in some directions, but we decided to take a chance.
The traffic in Miami is never easy--we had not one but two places on I 95 where lanes were blocked. I began to worry that we wouldn't have enough time.
But we did have enough time. And the rain held off so that we could explore the gardens--and since the sky was full of clouds, it wasn't too beastly hot to explore the gardens.
I liked the gardens better than the house. The house was dimly lit, to protect all the historic elements. The house has lots of painted surfaces and wallpapers--it felt overwhelming and ominous.
The gardens, on the other hand, were glorious. There were gardens of many types: classical designs, a labyrinth of sorts, an orchidarium, statues here and there, all sorts of fountains. There was a woman in an amazing bridal gown who travelled around the gardens being trailed by photographers. We assumed that she's part of some magazine spread, not a bride having her formal pictures made. But who knows? It's the kind of place where I got the idea that one might stumble across any sort of not everyday activity.
And I also loved the huge terraces that overlooked Biscayne Bay. About 12 feet out from the steps that go down to the water, there's an amazing statue of a partially sunken barge with mermaids frolicking on it.
I told my spouse that when I'm a little old lady who is losing my memory, I'll believe that I've been to Venice, but it will have been this house.
In the afternoon, we went to the gift shop--it's the kind of gift shop with scarves that cost $90. But the café wasn't too badly priced. I had Italian gelato--two scoops, two different flavors, but I couldn't tell much difference between them--they both tasted like sweetened cream. And I didn't mind at all.
We were so lucky in so many ways: the rain held off, the crowds stayed away, we didn't slip and fall on any of the uneven surfaces. And we zipped right back home--no early rush hour disasters, hurrah!
Tomorrow, I'll post some pictures from the trip.