White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Vegan Lunch, Plant Food + Wine, Wynwood, Miami, Florida, USA

Amy found a wonderful vegan restaurant, Plant Food + Wine, for us to have lunch on Valentine's Day after our visit to the Wynwood Walls. It was more expensive than our budget normally allows but, for this special occasion we decided to indulge. Everything was raw and natural and fresh and delicious in a beautiful outdoor garden setting! (Like almost all of our meals on this trip, we were able to sit outside - perfect temperature, no bugs.)

Our appetizer was the Thai lettuce wraps with a citrus-almond pate, red cabbage, carrot, red pepper, and daikon, with a tamarind dipping sauce with jalapeno slices.

For the main course, Zucchini Lasagna (thin zucchini slices instead of pasta) with heirloom tomato, spicy marinara, macadamia ricotta, and basil-mint pesto.

Amy brought along one of her photographer friends to record the event. He liked to get real close.

The restaurant website says: "Recently awarded 4 stars from Miami Herald, Plant Food + Wine features cutting edge, plant-based cuisine set in The Sacred Space Miami, in the city’s Wynwood neighborhood. The restaurant’s vibrant menu blends innovative technique with seasonal, local produce, and includes many of Matthew’s classic raw food dishes. Miami’s tropical climate and its broad cultural influences are ideally suited for the restaurant’s clean, modernist approach."

Definitely a winner! And as always, no animals were harmed in the making.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Wynwood Walls, Wynwood, Miami, Florida, USA

What does one do with a rundown industrial area of a major city? Well, in the case of the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami...........turn it into art!

"The Wynwood Walls was conceived by the renowned community revitalizer and placemaker, the late Tony Goldman in 2009. He was looking for something big to transform the warehouse district of Wynwood, and he arrived at a simple idea: “Wynwood’s large stock of warehouse buildings, all with no windows, would be my giant canvases to bring to them the greatest street art ever seen in one place.” Starting with the 25th–26th Street complex of six separate buildings, his goal was to create a center where people could gravitate to and explore, and to develop the area’s pedestrian potential."

"The Wynwood Walls became a major art statement with Tony’s commitment to graffiti and street art, a genre that he believed was under appreciated and not respected historically. He wanted to give the movement more attention and more respect: “By presenting it in a way that has not been done before, I was able to expose the public to something they had only seen peripherally.” In 2010, building on the momentum of the year before, Goldman Properties added 10 more artists to their roster of Walls. They opened the Wynwood Doors, Tony Goldman’s nod to traditional portrait galleries and expanded the mural program outside the Walls.

The Wynwood Walls has brought the world’s greatest artists working in the graffiti and street art genre to Miami. Jeffrey Deitch co-curated the first successful year of the project in 2009, collaborating with Tony before his appointment as museum director of MOCA Los Angeles. “We have strived for a diverse representation of both American and international artists that encompasses everything from the old school graffiti artists to the newest work being created around the world. The project has truly evolved into what my friend Jeffrey Deitch calls a Museum of the Streets,” Tony had summarized.

Since its inception, the Wynwood Walls program has seen over 50 artists representing 16 countries and have covered over 80,000 square feet of walls. They have become must see international destination, with media coverage that has included the New York Times, BBC News, Vanity Fair and Forbes, who mentioned them along with Wynwood on their list of America’s hippest neighborhoods. The Walls were also a focus of the docu-series Here Comes the Neighborhood, which chronicled the creation and evolution of the Wynwood neighborhood.

With each year the Wynwood Walls endeavors to expand its breadth, introduce well known and emerging artists and bring world class art to the community."

Source: http://www.thewynwoodwalls.com/

For some of these images, I included the periphery to give a sense of the scale.

The humans below are posing in front of a small part of the above mural.

The walls and neighborhood are a popular destination for photographers.

This one is painted on a roll-up garage style door.

Visitors rest in the rock garden.

I am not sure if this piece was "tagged" after the fact or, as part of the artist's design. It is an interesting idea - to graffiti on graffiti.

The palm fronds are real plants.

There is also an onsite gallery for regular hang-on-the-wall art pieces.

This painted motorcycle was one of the works of art for sale.

As was this wild and interesting piece.

Murals can be found on random buildings throughout the neighborhood - on industrial buildings and.....

...even on this apartment building! What a wonderful way to revitalize an urban area!!

I have always liked creative/managed/artistic graffiti in public places. This visit to Wynwood reminds me of a trip to Charleston, South Carolina a few years back. Here's a link to my blog post about it. The scale here is much grander but, in either case, graffiti as art is art.

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Walking Man Walks, Doral, Florida, USA

The place we're staying for our second week has a great pool area. By midday, the shadows slowly start to cover the pool. Keeps the direct sun to a minimum. The air temperature is 82 degrees F. The water temperature is 85 degrees F. No ice nor snow nor cold in sight.

As the afternoon progresses, the sky picks up a soft glow filled with the warmth of the Miami air.

As night closes in, it was time for the kids staying here to roast some marshmallows to make s'mores!

I've been to Florida many times over my lifetime. Short visits but to only a few different locations - it is a big state. I always went home feeling some vague discontent. This visit to Miami Beach, however, has really clicked in a positive way. A lot has to do with the perfect winter weather - sunny, daily 75-85 degrees F, blue sky, breezes, no bugs, no rain - one could not script a finer physical climate. Add to that all the cultural and natural features and it is a complete destination experience.

Floridians, I have read, are almost all from somewhere else and tend to enjoy and appreciate the positive elements of this part of the world. Some refer to the Miami area as the capital of Latin America. I hear more different languages spoken here than anywhere I've ever been except perhaps New York City.

While staying in SOFI in South Beach, I walked a lot - just one more block, just one more block - each is beautiful and interesting - some old, some new. A flock of parrots raucously flew by overhead - I don't see or hear that at home in Manomet!

My daily step count for the first ten days is 149,583 or an average over the period of almost 15,000 steps/day. About 75 miles total. My daily target is 10,000. Not bad at all.

I am a walking man - and a walking man walks - especially in the warmth of a Miami winter.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Lunch and Lighthouse, Key Biscayne, Florida, USA

It was time to move from our lodging in South Miami Beach to our next destination so we stopped for lunch at the Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne before heading inland (that's the downtown Miami skyline in the distance).

After lunch, we drove to the tip of the Key Biscayne island to visit the Cape Florida Lighthouse.

It may be mid-February, the middle of winter but - it's a great tourist season here in South Florida - daytime temperatures have been in the high 70's and low 80's F. Perfect.

Lots of people on the beach but no sense of being too crowded.

Of course I couldn't resist climbing the 95-feet-high lighthouse for the view. Access is provided as part of your park entrance fee ($8 USD per vehicle) but, you must climb the circular iron staircase to get to the top. And oh, what a view it was!

This retro perspective, on the other hand, I made in black and white and grainy intending to re-create the general feeling for beach-goers that might have existed when the lighthouse was first constructed in 1825.

I am liking the Miami Beach area more and more...........no passport required, many people speak my native language, no international flight required to get here, and it's pleasantly warm and dry in winter! Hmmmmmm.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Ocean Drive Street Scenes, Miami Beach, Florida, USA

The prime section of Ocean Drive stretches almost a mile with a succession of open air restaurants all clamoring for your business. They are not bashful as you walk by. They aggressively attempt to entice you with their pleas to sit down and eat.

A just before sunset view from a second story deck on Ocean Drive. This is Lummus Park - basically the front yard for everyone in South Beach. The Atlantic Ocean is visible peeking through the trees.

As evening closed in, the game was on to find a dinner spot. The presence of live acoustic music is usually my first choice.

The Avalon had a wonderful acoustic trio playing by the tables in a prominent spot on the veranda but the menu didn't grab us (nothing wrong with it but, it's not always easy to find vegan selections in much variety at many restaurants).

We preferred the ambiance (more light) and menu at the nearby Majestic.......

....which also had wonderful live music: in this case Tony Cruz. Delightful fingers on the strings.

Ocean Drive seems to be the heart of Miami's South Beach Area. It is all-in-one: the main restaurant area, hotel area, park, beach, promenade, freak show, tourist show, whatever you're looking for it seems to be here. Vibrant and alive.

I like this piece of the world - a lot.  This is my last blog post from South Beach but, stay tuned for more observations around other parts of Miami.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

More Beautiful Weather in South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, USA

I think of Florida as a place that enjoys thunderstorms for much of the year.  Those wash-the-world-completely downpours that leave everything crisp and clean. Even outside the main storm season, the above billowing clouds have that tropical rain-on-me-soon-look. It's early February and the air temperature is 82 degrees F, no rain expected.

The clouds certainly don't keep people off the beach nor out of the water.

And many New Englanders on vacation from a cold winter can be found in the warm waters. Here's Amy sporting a new swim suit.

And always the palm trees - have I mentioned I really like palm trees? - looking up at and listening to their rustling fronds as they whisper in the breeze.

I'm not sure what this is but it caught my eye riding by: a guy with a three-wheeled motorcycle with lots of lights including a nearly complete illumination of his face mask. Good safety features - no one is going to fail to see him coming. He posed willingly for the picture but, I don't know what his hand sign means; I think I am neither hip enough nor young enough to get it.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Out and About in South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, USA

Art or artifice, form or function? The chair above is actual lawn furniture in "SOFI," the area south of fifth street where we stayed during this visit. The chair appears to be made of some type of plastic or resin but, I couldn't get close enough to touch. Looks pretty cool to me though - I'd be happy to have two of them to sit in (one for Amy) and watch the world go by if I lived here.

A scene along the stretch of Collins Avenue where some of the grand old style art deco hotels live on.

A photograph of Amy the photographer in the grand curtained lobby of the Delano. Wrong era but, those gently billowing floor to ceiling curtains made me expect to see Scarlett O'Hara waltz by.

A lunchtime pause in the garden of palm trunks.

Walking along the pedestrian-only Lincoln Road Mall shows off a few more of the art deco style buildings........with modern tenants......

.....and many people of all sizes, shapes, genders, and cultures, seeing and being seen and enjoying the picture-perfect, chamber-of-commerce weather.

Great light and lines and shadows in this view of a section of pedestrian walkway turned askew.

And of course, the ubiquitous palm trees, waving and rustling in the breeze. But no day can last forever....the light begins to fade.....

.... people make plans for the evening........

.....the first customers sit down for their dinners al fresco and........

......... in South Pointe Park, the jazzy lilt of a smoothly played trumpet arpeggio complements the setting sun over the downtown Miami skyline. Life is good in Miami Beach today - and probably nearly every day if I had to guess.