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Monthly Archives: August 2012
An Inviting Ocean
And it’s true, we have no pool at the Mission. But that is far from the end of the story, if you love being outside, in the water.
We are just a stone’s throw from Biscayne Bay and from the Atlantic Ocean, as well as a number of perfectly fine (and in some cases absolutely magnificent!) swimming pools. So if you love the idea of refreshing yourself in cool clean water and basking in the Florida sunshine, you should definitely be aware of these options. (I must note that as a boy growing up in Miami, my closest friends and I spent much of our time in the water, yet only a fraction of that in pools. So pools were a special thing for us. We all learned to swim at the local Shenandoah Pool, in fact, one that is only blocks from the Mission and quite wonderful.
Several of our guests have enjoyed that pool, finding it quite nice, generally uncrowded, and only blocks from the Mission (1.1 miles or 3 minutes, according to Google maps). Admission will set you back $1.00!
On a grander (and suitably more expensive) scale is the truly legendary Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, which has provided a thrilling and delightful adventure to children young and old, for generations.
This extraordinary man-made, spring-fed watering hole offers an experience I cannot recommend highly enough, for children of all ages. Take a look at their web site: http://www.coralgablesvenetianpool.com/
Biscayne Morning Paul Hampton Crockett
All that being said, it seems that most of our time growing up was spent in the water, and pool time was a rare novelty. We passed our swimming time mostly in open salt water, most usually our beloved Biscayne Bay.
We will always look back on those days, our home base a deluxe tree-house in the mangrove forest abutting Villa Vizcaya. We paddled around on homemade rafts in open water, and explored winding coves so lush and green we could easily imagine that we’d somehow been transported to the Amazon. We were often joined by the peaceful manatees, who’d swim alongside. Such quiet moments, under big open sky, will remain sweet in our memories (as so wonderfully expressed by my beloved teacher and friend Jane Reno) “for as long as we are able to remember beauty.”
Think about it: aren’t such scenic journeys much more what the “dream of Florida” are all about than any thing or place made by the hand of Man? Take a step beyond the “hotel pool” or its generic equivalents, I dare you! You will be glad that you did. In any event, you’ll take home with you an experience worth really remembering.
The places listed below offer some of the most beautiful vistas in the city, if not the State, and really should not be missed. They often serve to remind me of the much more quiet and beautiful soul underlying this crazed city! Each is easily worth a trip for its own sake. The locations can be “plugged” in to the Google map linked to the Mission:
to get an exact “visual” on location, distance, and route. Alternatively, just type “beaches” in the “Search nearby” field, and take your pick!
Go on: get sand between your toes! You never know; you might catch a glorious sunset, find the most delicious hot dog you’ve ever bought from a seaside hot dog stand (OK, for that one, you gotta be hungry! : ) ), or see real live birds soaring overhead that you might have seen before only frozen flat in picture books.
Personally, “you never know” is exactly the way I like to take my adventures.
BEACHES. These are all excellent and generally very safe places to head out with your beach towels and… whatever:
Hobie Island Beach Park, Key Biscayne 2.8 Mi.
Biscayne Day! Paul Hampton Crockett
Virginia Key Beach, Key Biscayne 4.2 Mi.
Crandon Park Beach, Key Biscayne 7.2 Mi.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne 7.0 Mi.
Lummus Park, Miami Beach (South Beach) 6.0 Mi.
South Beach Paul Hampton Crockett
Cool clean chlorinated waters await in a number of public pools within convenient proximity of the Mission. To view a larger image of the map above, just click on it. You can then return with the back arrow in the browser, to the upper left of your screen.
A “live” map of public pools near the Mission. View Larger Map
Wherever you decide to do your swimming, do it safe and have a ball!