Coconut Grove & Dinner Key


We departed Miami Beach on Monday, the 15th and made a short 10 mile run south to Dinner Key where we picked up a mooring. Dinner Key Mooring Field is run by the City of Miami. City Hall is located in the old Pan-Am terminal adjacent to the marina. The waterfront extends a mile or more with marinas, launch ramps, restaurants and boat yards. A great place to walk, lots to see. Coconut Grove was a separate community for many years, but was annexed by the City of Miami some time ago. Still, it retains its original character with many shops, eclectic art galleries and lots of eateries of all kinds. We walked just south of town where the streets take on a more secluded air as they wind among beautiful homes, lush with tropical vegetation and spectacularly landscaped grounds.

We had a few nice days, as the weather is starting to moderate into spring, the frontal systems will begin to be of shorter duration and less frequent. Finally we’re seeing some Florida weather after a cold, windy winter. We are still running the heat some mornings!


Thursday morning we headed to shore and hopped the #48 bus north to Vizcaya, the summer home of industrialist James Deering. Deering headed Deering Harvester, later to be merged with McCormick Reaper to form International Harvester, at the time the world’s largest producer of farm machinery. Deering built Vizcaya from 1914 to 1916 as his summer estate. The link above is to the Wikipedia entry that has lots of interesting history about Deering and his creation of Vizcaya.  (There are several more photos of Vizcaya in the Gallery, click on any of the photos here or click the Gallery link to the left or top.) The estate itself is stunning, and remarkable even by comparison to today’s mega-homes that are obscenely prolific on the shores everywhere we travel. It was a very worthwhile side trip.


Friday treated us to the warmest day yet, with calm winds, so we headed to Coral Gables in the dinghy for a tour of some of the canals. One of our objectives was to see if we could recognize Barb’s late grandfather’s home on Alfonso Ave. We spent a few days there during our honeymoon trip to Florida. Her grandfather sent us to Jamaica as a wedding gift. We were thrilled at the prospect of the trip, but being the good PA dutchman that her grandpa was, we learned as the time grew closer that the gift was air travel to Jamaica- and back – from MIAMI. OK, so we had to find our way to Miami, and book accommodations in Jamaica, but it got us to do the trip, and it was a great time once we got back from Jamaica! But that’s another story! So we found two prospects that could be her late grandpa’s house, but 35 years has faded those memories, and photos are packed away in an album at home, somewhere. But the trip back the canals was enjoyable, and it was wonderful to feel some heat from the sun at last!


We departed Dinner Key on Saturday, the 20th for Ft. Lauderdale. Weekends are not the best time for travel, but weather permitted an outside passage from Miami, avoiding the weekend traffic on the ICW, but not once we headed in Port Everglades! The weekend traffic is pretty wild around Lauderdale, but it’s fun to get in that melee sometimes! Just need to pay attention! We arrived back at Coral Ridge Yacht Club, and spent the night in friends’ Chris & Joyce’s slip. We were able to join Barb’s relatives Jane & Bill for cocktails at the Yacht Club and meet yet more of their vast circle of social acquaintances! We left the following morning with stiff winds, so opted to endure the 17 bridges (or so, who’s counting) on the route to Stuart. Our nav program, Coastal Explorer, has a feature where we can highlight and track any waypoint on our route, enabling us to precisely time our arrival at bridges, since nearly all are restricted to specific opening times. It’s unlikely the tender will hold the bridge for even a minute, so it’s best to time arrival at the bridge for just prior to the opening. With the winds in the 30 kt range much of the day, we were quite content to be inside, despite having to deal with the bridges! Besides, there’s lots to see, and we never cease to be flabbergasted by the size and sheer number of monstrous homes that line the waterway! We arrived at Lake Worth late, and difficulty in finding a suitable spot in the crowded anchorage in 35 kt winds prompted us to backtrack south a few miles to Riviera Beach where we spent the night by Singer Island. Storms and a deluge of rain, but we left the following morning after running the dogs ashore, bound for Stuart. Clearing skies brought sun and more wind as the front moved off.

We’ll spend a day or so in Stuart, we did some polishing yesterday, enjoying a calm, sunny day for a change! Thursday we’ll head west through the Okeechobee Waterway toward Ft. Myers and the west coast of Florida, back past where we first began our journey in June of 2006 when we flew from home to have a look at a prospective boat– that would become our home on the water!

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