Vizcaya Museum and Garden is a must see for history enthusiasts and explorers a like. This grand estate, located in the community of Coconut Grove in Miami, Florida is the former winter home of businessman James Deering, who lived at the Vizcaya from 1916-1925, the year of his death.
James Deering was the Vice President of his family’s business, Deering Harvester company, a company that manufactured agricultural machines here in the United States. It was later called International Harvester and is known today as Navistar.
After retiring from the business, Deering wanted to escape the Chicago winter weathers and that’s when the idea of building a winter home in Miami birthed. Deering and his men would visit Europe to get inspiration and buy materials for his new home, hence, the European Renaissance design.
At the Property
Parking is free but there is an entry fee to get onto the property, with the option of paying an additional fee for a guided tour. After we paid we walked towards the vast mansion and lush landscape.
Upon entering the house we were asked to present our tickets, which we did. Once inside we saw the different types of rooms. Each room representing an interest and lifestyle of James Deering. The rooms are said to be in their original layouts and designs, showing Italian style art work and furniture.
On the lower level is the;
- Reception Room
- Phone Room
- Living Room
- Music Room
- Dining Room
- The pantry
- The grand hallway which gave an overall view of the nicely designed garden at the rear of it and to the front of it vast doors that leads into the Courtyard.
Then on the second level;
- Numerous bedrooms
- The breakfast room
- And a huge kitchen
We were not able to go into the rooms, but the doors were opened wide enough for us to see and each room had a short history narrative located at the doorway.
In the kitchen you could see the copper pots that were used, the stove that they cooked on and the oven they baked in.
The favorite part of my tour of the estate was the back of the house. The doors opened up to the view of the ocean, and the view was spectacular. The ocean is literally in this back yard. This made sense since Deering was a lover of sailing and had several yachts. Currently sitting a few feet away is a relic of a boat like structure called the barge, the barge was built to break the waves as they rolled in to protect the house and terraces.
Upon leaving the back of the house we visited the garden. The garden area is quite vast. It is filled with lush greenery, Italian styled sculptures, water fountains, and a waterfall. The garden is sectioned into different areas, making it easy for one to hide away or have some privacy if needed.
The restrictions at the Vizcaya are as follows;
- No animals
- No Biking
- No Swimming
- No Guns
- No Loitering
- No Skating
- No flash cameras are allowed
- No Food or drinks allowed
After Deering died because he had no children, the estate was passed on to his nieces, who later sold some of the original 180 acres of the land and then later sold the estate to the city Miami to be used as a museum.