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Miami on my Mind

 I went to trendy South Beach recently because I wanted to see what happened in 20 years

 Yes, I went there twenty years ago with my husband and my kids (ages 11 and 14 at the time) on a spring break trip, making a couple day stop on our way to Key West.    I had heard South Beach was cool.  And developing.

It was.  The charming Art Deco hotels were in the process of being saved.  The filming of Miami Vice had sprinkled a major dose of magic on this slightly seedy area.  Photographers had discovered the gorgeous early morning and late day light.

It was still pretty cheap to stay there and the vibe was cool.


Fast forward twenty years and yikes.  It’s a major major warm weather destination with a cauldron of college kids, miles of models, fat folks from everywhere jammed together with senior citizens looking for a place to sit down. The non stop Beach Party is cool and awful all at the same time.


Here’s a few of the photo highlights of my three day visit encompassing the wildness and total banality of this sliver of a space on the Atlantic ocean.First, the Art Deco hotels and homes are definitely work a look see.  In fact, take a tour.  Read about one here.

And then there’s the new Frank Gehry designed New World Symphony Hall designed to save classical music.  We were wowed by it.

But then, there’s the hotel after hotel after hotel stacked along the beach taking the area from drab to fab.  Some like ours, trying to be trendy and cool, accomplishing that.  We got a kick out of the Moroccan theme and loved languishing about on the big colorful beds when the wind was too strong to hang out on the beach.

 Lots of athletic looking folks zoomed about on foot, bikes, roller blades in search of the fit and perfect body while loving the see-and-be-seen ambiance.   I zeroed in on the outfits, shoes often the focal point.  The ultimate principle communicates  “fun-above-all.”  The huge drinks appalled me, all I could think of were the calories, spoil sport that I am.  But they are pretty and created a focal point at many a sidewalk table. The tattoos left me speechless.



The Versace mansion, now a swishy hotel and restaurant, attracts a constant crowd of tourist photographers.  Our Art Deco guide says it is the third most photographed house in the country–after the White House and Graceland.

Reading a magazine at the pool, I came across this quote from Alfred Hitchcock.  He said, “What’s drama, but life with the dull parts cut out.”

 That’s how I feel about my recent three days in Miami.

It was pure drama.  The dull parts were all cut out.


Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    Apr 10, 2012 Reply

    I love reading your blogs about South Beach…but think personally I’d have to be in the right frame of mind to go! I love the Alfred Hitchcock quote 🙂

  2. posted by
    Apr 10, 2012 Reply

    You nailed it, Susan,……..with language that was both concise and full of flourish. It is a place unto itself and definitely pushes the envelope. The charming hotels of a bygone era seem to keep it legitimate in a novel sort of way. One feels slightly like a voyeur just walking down the street.

  3. posted by
    Apr 11, 2012 Reply

    Miami is becoming a place I go several times a year now that my son lives there.  My sister was just there to go on a cruise.  They went out to brunch and she said it was really good until she saw the bill.  Her supersized strawberry margarita was $24.00!  Yikes!  Fun place to visit though!

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