Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens - Turn of the Century Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous

Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami Florida
If you have ever wondered what being a wealthy socialite at the turn of the century was like, you definitely don't want to miss the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in the Coconut Grove section of Miami.

Built between 1914 and 1922, this sprawling mansion and estate was the winter home of International Harvester Corp. Vice President, James Deering.

Working with renowned designer, Paul Chalfin, Deering created the perfect European Palace setting for the elaborate social gatherings that he became well-known for. Notable guests at the estate included actress Lilian Gish and President Warren Harding. Vizcaya is also the place where President Ronald Reagan received Pope John Paul II and was used by President Bill Clinton to host the first Summit of the Americas.

A renowned antiques collector, most of the original furnishings of the estate that were purchased by Deering and Chalfin are still there and the elaborate Italian Renaissance gardens are constantly being restored to their original magnificence. Walking through the mansion and seeing the opulence is just breathtaking.

An avid movie fan - especially Charlie Chaplin films - James Deering often enjoyed screening Hollywood movies in the courtyard, overlooking the gardens. The estate, itself, has subsequently been used in many movies, including Ace Ventura Pet Detective, Any Given Sunday, Bad Boyz II, Airport '77, The Money Pit and Iron Man 3. It has also been used in The Cover Girls' 1988  "Promise Me" music video as well as New Edition's 1996 song "I'm Still In Love With You".

Super popular as a setting for weddings and special balls, Vizcaya has also become synonymous with young women celebrating their 15th birthday (quinceañera). Open to the public every day except Tuesdays, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., admission prices are as follows:
  • Adult - $18
  • Child 6-12 - $6
  • Children 5 and under - Free
  • Seniors 62 and older with ID - $12
  • Students with ID - $10
  • Visitors using wheelchairs - $10

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