Search Results for: floridiana

Floridiana: St. Lucie’s Shell Bazaar

If you ask Christine Williams to tell you her favorite thing at the Shell Bazaar, it’s going to be difficult to get her to narrow in on one thing. Maybe it’s the lighthouses or the windchimes or the candy or the coral or the necklaces or maybe just the old, ticky-tacky coasters. Perhaps, she says, […]

Floridiana: The Sands of Time

Immigration. Drug busts. Gators. Elderly folks. Mar-a-Lago. Old-school theme parks. The list reads like a catalogue of “Florida’s greatest-hits” stereotypes immortalized today in pop culture, movies, books and Netflix series. But 37 years ago, these cultural monuments were just basic realities of life in the Sunshine State. Miami native and National Geographic photographer Nathan Benn […]

Floridiana: The Estates of Invention

Dependence on foreign resources seems like a modern-day problem. But in the 1920s, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were obsessed with it. Among their worries was rubber, produced only in foreign countries. In 1927, they decided to build a laboratory to determine whether rubber plants could grow in American soil. Searching for a semitropical setting, […]

Floridiana: Pomp & Pastries

There’s a moment when dining at the Palme d’Or, a French restaurant in Coral Gables’ Biltmore Hotel when you’re convinced that there just can’t be another thing coming. Then the table captain rolls up a cart of petits fours, and even after all you’ve eaten, you let a delicately adorned tiny cake melt away on […]

Floridiana: The Buoy’s Back

Key West loves to identify itself as the southernmost everything. Naturally there’s a Southernmost Point Buoy (at least, a southernmost point that’s publicly accessible). If you look at a map you can see that the corner of Whitehead and South streets clearly isn’t the southernmost point on the island, but rather the southernmost point outside […]

Floridiana: House of Glass

Built between 1914 and 1922 in Coconut Grove, this 38,000-square-foot, 50-acre estate—dubbed Vizcaya—was once the winter home of agricultural industrialist James Deering and is now a popular museum and National Historic Landmark. “In the 1930s, my father and his friends used to sneak onto the Vizcaya boathouse on Biscayne Bay because that’s where the best […]

Floridiana: Home Sweet Dome

For decades, a smattering of Star Wars-like igloo-shaped structures off Cape Romano (just south of Marco Island in the Ten Thousand Islands) have attracted throngs of gawkers and inspired numerous rumors. Aliens? Cults? Government secrets? The truth was decidedly less salacious but equally sensational. In 1980, the late Bob Lee, a retired oilman from Gatlinburg, […]