top row- Henry Morrison Flagler Museum (HFM)- Palm Beach, Cape Florida Lighthouse- Key Biscayne, HFM courtyard
2nd row- Norton Museum of Art- West Palm Beach, Art Deco District- Miami Beach,
Romero Britto Art Gallery- Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach
3rd row- Annual Orchid Festival- Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden-Coral Gables,
Charles Courtney Curran painting- Norton Museum of Art- West Palm Beach,
Seward Johnson sculpture- Key West Art Museum
4th row- Ernest Hemmingway House- Key West, Bass Museum of Art- Miami Beach,
The Breakers Resort Hotel seawall - Palm Beach
We've recently returned from a glorious eight-day vacation in South Florida. A welcome break from the harsh winter we've experienced here in Atlantic Canada. When we left Moncton on March 5, we had more than 6 feet of snow on our front lawn.
From the Fort Lauderdale, we rented a Jeep Compass and clocked more than 1200km. A vacation that was a combination of sightseeing, the arts, educational field trip, sports, shopping and surf. Highlights included seeing the Broadway play ''Jersey Boys'' on tour at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, visiting the historic Art Deco district in Miami Beach, entering the art world of Pop Artist Romero Britto. The Bass Museum of Art in Miami Beach was hosting a fabulous multi media exhibition of Isaac Julian. The Museum of Discovery and Science/ IMAX and the Jungle Queen occupied two mornings in Fort Lauderdale.
A personal highlight for Jean-Luc was seeing two Florida Panthers NHL games. The first against his favorite team, the Ottawa Senators where player Chris Neil threw him a puck after the pre-game warm-up. A second game against Tampa Bay Lightnings featuring Steven Stamkos, the NHL 2011 leading scorer and hockey superstars Martin St-Louis & Vincent LeCavalier.
Other personal favorites was a visit of Ernest Hemingway's home in Key West. We bought a specially inscribed book of ''The Old Man & the Sea''. Jean-Luc will be doing a book report for this English class in school. We were in Key West on Fat Tuesday and Duval Street was on ''Mardi Gras mode''. We ate Conch fritters and Key Lime Pie for lunch.
On top of the list for my wife Suzanne & I, was the day we spent in West Palm Beach/Palm Beach. The Norton Museum of Art was such an unexpected delight. A world-class building with a world-class collection of 19th & 20th century American and European paintings. The impressive collection included Monet, Renoir, Bourguereau, J. Reynolds, Picasso, Matisse, Pollack, O'Keefe, G. Caillebotte, N. Rockwell, The Golden Profile by Charles Courtney Curran (in above mosaic). A breathtaking art glass ceiling by Dale Chihuly, a collection of Chinese Art and a comptempory space that included a brilliantly executed portrait by Utah born artist Bryan Drury (b. 1980). West Palm Beach & Palm Beach were such a welcoming communities. Locals were so friendly and traffic was at a minimal. We then visited the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum. An opulence of Florida's Gilded Age lives on at Whitehall in this 55 room marble palace commissioned in 1901 by Henry Flagler for his third wife. To give you a better idea of how grand this mansion is, parts was modeled after Louis XIV's Versailles in France. The Flagler home with it's original furnishings also houses an impressive art collection that includes two signature Martin Johnson Heade still life botanical paintings. We had High Tea in the annex Beaux-Art pavilion where a locomotive is part of the elaborate decor. Henry Flagler made is fortune in oil and was responsible for bringing the railroad to Florida all the way to Key West. He is known as the father of Miami and founder of Palm Beach. Along this railway, he built several luxury hotels. Among those still standing is the majestic Italian Renaissance-style resort ''The Breakers'' nestled along the Atlantic coastline. A must-see for anybody who can appreciate the finest in luxury, and where rooms starts at $750/night. We capped off our afternoon in the gigantic surf at Boynton Beach. Much fun......