For our anniversary each year, we try to carve out some time alone, even if it’s just for a day away or a mini stay-cation. This year, we chose to venture down to Miami. I used to live in Miami-Dade County, and haven’t ever shown my husband around town so I planned a weekend getaway for just the two of us. It was just a short drive away, but it’s amazing what a time you can have as a tourist in a nearby city! Since I wanted to hit the top spots this was our itinerary:
Breakfast at Versailles
Versailles café is a staple in the Hispanic community of Miami. They have a walk up window as well as a full restaurant sit down option. News crews can often be found outside interviewing members of community, as this can become a gathering place of sorts. The walk up window can get very busy-so it’s best to go early, but even if you don’t, I can promise you-its worth the wait! They have a full bakery full of THE best Cuban confections; Cuban coffee and fresh baked Cuban bread. Since it was early and our day would include a lot of walking and standing, we chose to eat inside. I love everything so we ordered a little bit of it all! The extensive menu can be a bit daunting if you’re not familiar with the cuisine, but a go-to favorite is a ‘Cuban Breakfast’ which consists of Cuban bread that is butterred then toasted on a press, and Café con leche-a lovely mixture of espresso and warm milk.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Our next stop was this local relic. If you live nearby, or even if you are visiting the area, this is a must-see! Created in the 1900s as a millionaire’s vacation home, it is now registered as a National Historic Landmark. If you love history, you can quickly get your fill here. For a nominal fee you can pay for the audio tour, which comes with a small hand held device and can be used with our without the accompanying headphones, or you can bring your own. They also offer group guided tours with an in person guide. Each room is rich with actual artifacts and facts escribed on plaques, and it is absolutely breathtaking, and that’s just the inside! The gardens span for acres and acres and are amazing. There is even a pool and a Café you can purchase lunch ( and wine or beer!) from.
Next on our tour was the Wynwood Walls. This location probably is one of the most instagrammed places in Miami. Its colorful walls make for instant art backdrops that instantly make anything art. What started out as one man’s mission to beautify the Warehouse district of Miami while highlighting the underappreciated beauty of traditional street art has absolutely exploded ! Wynwood walls now spans several blocks, and is full of trendy shop, restaurants, breweries, food trucks, and even a free indoor art gallery. The artists rotate frequently, so no two trips there are the same. Since its inception, it has transformed a once littlest known area in Miami to one of the trendiest hot spots. We meandered around, ate off of a food truck and took in all of the sights. This location can be family friendly during the day, but also boasts a popular night life.
Check into Villa
So in planning our adventure I looked for lodging in the area, I knew out ending spot would be homestead, as I had purchased a groupon deal for the Schnebly’s winery (see next) for that evening. Of course there are chain area hotels, but I found THE most amazing place on Airbnb.com. First of all, if you don’t already use AirBnb-you should! Since my discovery of this site, I have been able to procure us several listings that were not only budget friendly but in my opinion better than what was offered in way of hotels. Each host posts their listings and the dealings are handled via the site. Some are operated as traditional B&Bs, some like literal hotels, and some our actual rooms people rent out in their own homes where they currently reside. We have stayed at a Lake House, vacation rental townhouse and now an AMAZING villa. If you sign up via this link you can get a $40 credit toward your first trip!
Ok so back to our Miami Trip. This Tuscan Villa was almost reminiscent of Vizcaya itself, albeit modern. It had a pool and a hot tub, gardens (Including a secret garden in the very back!) and tennis courts. With this listing, you have the FULL house and all amenities at your disposal. They rent the full house for wedding and events, or each room separately. We had our own private bathroom, but some of the rooms share. There were other guests there at the time of our stay or interaction was minimal. When we arrived, our host was there to greet us and even gave us a grand tour. There is a suite upstairs with a private bathroom, balcony, and secret spaces galore! Our room had a queen sized bed and a pull out couch, it was just the two of us but we could have easily fit our family of five! It opened directly onto the pool patio, which we utilized going in and out of the pool and hot tub. Probably the best part about this rental was the proximity to the winery- only about a mile away.
This was our main event for the trip. I purchased a deal on Groupon but it is great to visit any time, night or day. While I love wineries, and wine, this place is very different. For starters, they don’t make their wine with grapes. It’s made out of farm fresh fruit that is grown locally in the Redlands farm area where the winery is located. Examples include starfruit, avocado, lychee, guava, and coconut! Their wines are like nothing else you have ever tasted. They offer tours, tasting, and even have live music on Saturdays and Sundays. The grounds are beautiful as well, with a waterfalls and Chickee hut viewable through the glass doors of the tasting room. There is also a restaurant and a brewery! The brewery and tap room/bar area has different nightly events and has pool tables, and cornhole games, and they also offer brewery tours and beer flights. You can walk back and forth between the two. For this trip, we mostly stayed on the winery side, but will definitely be back to check out the brewery side in more detail. This venue is also family friendly. Many families with children were present enjoying the live music. They allow you to bring your own food in, so we brought crackers, fruit and sliced pepperoni and salami and cheese to pair with the wine we purchased after our tasting. If you love their wine you can purchase bottles there to take home, but I’ve recently seen it for sale inside of our local Publix and Walmarts.
Robert is Here
After a quick breakfast on the patio facing the pool and gardens, we packed up and checked out. Our next stop was just a few miles from our Villa. We stopped at another local favorite-Robert is Here. As yes, I’m sure you’re wondering, Robert was there! What started out as a farm fresh fruit stand is now so much more! They have an Animal farm area where you can view and purchase feed for animals, such as Emus, tortoises, goats, various birds, and chickens roaming around. They also have a plethora of antique farm vehicles and planes. The stand itself offers fresh fruit and vegetables, coconut curious, flavored honeys with free samples available, and homemade sauces. They also offered fruit filled made-to -order smoothies and milkshakes. We got a mango/coconut/pineapple milkshake and it was amazing!
Historical downtown Homestead
The town of Homestead dates back to 1898 and is full of historical sites. On the city’s website, they offer a self-guided historical tour and printable guide which can be done by walking or by hopping aboard the free trolley. We drove to the downtown area and walked around. We attempted to go to the Historic Town Hall Museum, but it wasn’t open. The museum, which once housed the City Hall, Police Department and Fire Station, it’s on the local and national register of historic buildings. Check here for operating house so you don’t make the same mistake as us. http://townhallmuseum.org/ I’ve been before, and the photograph section is my favorite, although my husband was dying to get a close look at the antique fire truck they have on display.
After our museum fail, we headed home. It was a short getaway but so jam packed with activities, it almost felt we had been away much longer! What’s your favorite place to visit in Miami or South Florida? Currently taking ideas for next year’s adventure!