While some Miami-area high schools have nonnative mascots like bulls and Vikings, Ronald W. Reagan/Doral Senior High School, set to open this fall, has gone far afield for its: the bison. Hunted nearly to extinction during America's frontier days, the bison has since made a comeback, roaming Western plains and, apparently, a Miami high school. The Ronald Reagan Bison will wear green, blue, and gold.
What lures cycling fanatics to make the long, arduous trek to Cutler Bay? We understand diehard road-bikers thrive at the prospect of settling into the saddle for a six-hour century or powering into headwinds so strong they make flat roads seem like the slopes of Alpe d'Huez. But doing so around most parts of Miami also means trying to avoid a collision with a vehicle whose driver refuses to share the road. And it's difficult to yell back, "Why don't you get off the road, you stupid a*!<\"
Back during the Depression, when nobody had anything and African Americans had even less, members of the local black community formed the International Association of Pallbearers. As members found themselves in need, the group provided funeral and other services that, because of racism and segregation, were difficult to obtain. Chapters existed throughout Florida, but the main lodge and activity were here in Miami. Local lore even has it that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the former lodge house. Because of the historical importance of this unique organization, and the architectural significance of the 1947 Art Moderne structure, the Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board voted to protect the edifice.
Although exotic white ibis and great blue herons seem almost as common as pigeons on some city streets, other birds still prefer that you expend a little energy in order to spy on them. At Castellow Hammock you can spot painted buntings, black-chinned hummingbirds, and other avians that shy away from human neighborhoods. The park also boasts excellent examples of endangered pine rockland and tropical hardwood hammocks, which no doubt draw the feathered friends there. The State of Florida recently honored the park by including it in the newly founded Great Florida Birding Trail. Hint: Ask them about guided owl walks.
Raleigh Hotel
The Raleigh was designed in 1940 by Lawrence Murray Dixon, a New York architect who moved to Miami Beach in 1928; he also designed The Victor Hotel (1937), The Marlin (1939), The Tides Hotel (1936), The Senator (1939), and The Ritz Plaza Hotel (1940). The Raleigh began the way most of the Decos did, attracting rich, young celebrities like Esther Williams, a Forties bombshell and Olympic swimmer who would practice in The Raleigh's swimming pool, which was named "the most beautiful pool in the state of Florida," with good reason, by Life magazine. Its popularity steadily declined until the early Nineties, when it began a spirited revival, but then quickly dropped off the cool map once again, this time sinking into total obscurity. In 2002, for $25 million, André Balazs, boyfriend of Uma Thurman and owner of the hippest hotels in the nation, took the property off the hands of its desperate owner, Ken Zarrilli. Balazs refreshed it and made it hip again. What Balazs and The Raleigh sell are not rooms or cocktails so much as the idea that anyone can walk off Collins Avenue and step into a world of luxury. Here you can down a $12 drink on a bed next to a pool that has been pictured in the New York Times and Vanity Fair. Who knows? Matt Damon might stroll right by. The Raleigh's Sunday Soiree is the main attraction, where every Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to midnight in the Oasis (a closed-in beach area in the very back of the hotel) DJs, dancers, club kids, businessmen, and celebrities hang out by the fire or get drunk and end up in the pool. The $20 cover charge and pricey drinks might seem a little steep, but hey, that's part of the life, bitch.
"Um, we need to talk." Oy, you've been putting this off for months, but it has to be done. You are a Sagittarius and he's a Taurus, so you should have known this would have never worked out. But you stuck in there because he's cute and smart and he loves your pets as if they were his own. You really thought this maudlin experimental musician could have been the one, until he began complaining about your fun-loving, free-spirited attitude -- yes, the same attitude he fell in love with three years ago -- and now you realize the bull loves the same old routine while you are ready to fly off to Myanmar at a moment's notice. There is no use delaying the inevitable -- it must be done so you can both move on -- you just don't want to do it at your place or his (too many memories, too easy to backslide into the bedroom, too complicated). Just tell him to meet you at Noir Bar. You can have a drink, and the annoying techno remix version of "Mr. Brightside" bumping from the crackling sound system will add a bit of irony to the incident. The view is obstructed, the bartenders are a little clingy, and the martinis are a bit too dry -- kind of like your soon-to-be ex. Beer may never leave him, but you certainly will, so you might as well do it in a place that you would prefer not to go back to.
This spacious garage is usually almost empty, which means you can park your Bentley without risking door dings -- even when other lots are overflowing. It's also cheap (a buck an hour), clean, well lit, and conveniently located. You can catch the S and W bus lines nearby on Alton Road, and the 25-cent South Beach Local on West Avenue. This means easy access to all the Beach hot spots. Not that there's any need to travel. The stretch of West under the garage is one of the sweetest spots on the Beach. Where else can you get a massage, kosher-vegetarian fare, frozen yogurt, Italian shoes, and a good cult film all on the same block?
Alice C. Wainwright Park
Courtesy of the GMCVB
Open space and seclusion are two things not often found together in Miami. Power lines, palm trees, buildings, traffic, and other obstructions make it difficult for peace-seekers to find a retreat. Alice Wainwright Park is hidden in an oceanfront lot just north of the Vizcaya mansion. This oasis in the center of Miami's metropolitan madness offers a sweet taste of the simpler pleasures in life. And speaking of simple pleasures, the park's concealed and spacious character makes it a natural choice for kite-flying. The salt-scented breeze is enough to tickle your flying rhombus into an airborne dance while keeping you cool under the notorious South Florida sun. You don't have to worry about honking cars shaking your concentration, electrocution ruining your day, or gnarly branches snagging your kite. The air traffic is limited to a few sparse gulls that don't mind sharing the current with a fellow flying object. Command your kite and the interest of park dwellers by standing at the water's edge or atop the small coral cliff that overlooks hand-holding honeys and a sprawling lawn. As if the vision of clear blue skies weren't awe-inspiring enough, the panoramic view of the ocean and Key Biscayne will beckon your attention and admiration as you reel and guide your stringed wind glider.
Unfortunately too many drivers use the JFK Causeway to simply speed from the mainland to the Beach, never bothering to slow down and sample the treats of this curiously ungentrified island neighborhood. If they bothered to pull over (plenty of free street parking west of Vichy) they would find a modest grouping of midcentury architecture gathered around the Normandy Fountain (1926). Most of the stores are devoted to residential needs -- doctor's offices, laundromats, pet shops, gym, hardware, auto parts, et cetera -- but there is also a diverse assortment of ethnic restaurants, including French, Thai, Greek, Japanese, and Argentine. On Saturdays the Normandy Village Marketplace takes place on Rue Vendome under the fountain; vendors offer vegetables, plants, clothing, and other sundries in an atmosphere of music and arts. Before your visit is over, grab a gelato and wander down Normandy Drive to the bridge that crosses Indian Creek.
Creak. Crackle. Hissssss. Caw! Buzzzzzz. "Jesus!" you shout as you take off running down the trail, away from the scary flying insect and swooping osprey. High and bright, the noon sun has nowhere to hide in the ceramic blue sky. You are hot and you have to pee. As you turn and see the sandy trail wending through the palmettos and uprooted sea grapes, your mind slowly releases thoughts of taxes and work assignments and begins to wonder if anyone would hear you scream if one of those noisy critters attacked you. Relax. You are not lost in the Everglades with the aliens and pythons; you are barely fifteen minutes from downtown Miami, on the tip of Key Biscayne (and there are public restrooms around the park). It is the perfect escape for those who may not be the outdoor type but suddenly have a strong urge to run away from the city for a few hours. Hike the trails around the mangrove wetlands and No Name Harbor, and then follow the seawall until you see the stilt houses in Biscayne Bay. You'll be a new person by the time you sit on the sand next to the lighthouse and lose yourself in the vast expanse of the Atlantic.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®