We are proud to announce that following a successful sell-out of the first edition and the publication of the second edition of his landmark book “South Beach – Stories of a Renaissance”, Charles J. Kropke is now releasing a companion DVD with the same name. It is tracing South Beach from its earliest pioneer days to today’s high-energy global resort, bringing the remarkable comeback story of this historic district to life. With historical photos as well as on-location scenes, the DVD “South Beach: Stories of a Renaissance” is being published by Tropic Moon Media and provides a unique look at one of the world’s most popular travel destination.
By Uwe Doeringer, July 16, 2013no responses
An important part of Dragonfly Expeditions’ mission and approach to sustainable tourism is the support of local not-for-profit organizations that are instrumental to the preservation of Florida’s ecological, historical and cultural resources. Most people are not aware that for many of our tours, a percentage of revenue benefits a particular charity thematically related to the tour. From the very beginning of the company, a built-in donation for each sold tour was an integral part of our business practice. It still holds true that there is no such thing as “free;” even if Dragonfly Expeditions as a commercial entity in many cases doesn’t have to pay an entrance fee to visit and see natural areas or historic buildings freely accessible to the public, that doesn’t mean that dedicated people and organizations haven’t committed time and money to preserve those things. Without their effort, there would be nothing for us to show. This post featuring the Loxahatchee River Historical Society begins a series that will highlight the various not-for-profit organizations we support (you can see all our not-for-profit partners listed in the side column of our monthly newsletter).
By April Kuhlman, May 28, 2013one response
What do alligators, bacon-wrapped Oreos, and hillbillies have in common? They were all part of my weekend canoe trip down the Ocklawaha River near Ocala, FL. Exploring Florida’s waterways is part of my continuing discovery of the Sunshine State. I encountered my first alligator while kayaking on the “wild and scenic” Loxahatchee River, I helped locals clear trash from the mangroves in Biscayne Bay, I celebrated my first Florida Fourth of July by swimming in the Atlantic, and I experienced the Gulf by catamaran. Last month I had the opportunity to canoe an 18-mile portion of the Ocklawaha River.
This past March, just on the front side of the insanely-busy portion of our corporate tour season, I was presented with an opportunity to help out a friend and her adorable family and to disconnect from the stress of phone calls, texts, and emails. She was looking for someone to help them sail their CSY 44′ sailboat from Islamorada in the Florida Keys to Fresh Creek on Andros Island in the Bahamas. The biggest challenge facing us was not only to cross the Gulf Stream – but to do it with two children under two years old on board! My official title was “First Mate/Nanny.” The family was familiar with the environment because they live on the boat, but it would be the first time crossing the Gulf Stream for the kids and for me. Especially during the winter months, strong northern winds can make it difficult to cross the south-to-north-flowing Gulf Stream. (more…)
At the beginning of this year I came across an article in the Miami Herald describing a “Hike to the Big Trees” in the Big Cypress National Preserve. This ranger-guided trip is offered by the National Park Service only a few times a year, so Charles and I rushed to get a spot on the last available trek in early March. Neither one of us had been on the southernmost section of the Florida Trail before, where the hike took place. This aspect and the possibility of seeing some of the remaining giant cypress trees that had escaped the logging period of the 1920s to the 1950s were highly intriguing to us. We gathered with 15 fellow hikers at the Oasis Visitor Center and the weather conditions turned to be out ideal for this venture. The sky remained overcast and I didn’t sweat a single drop the entire day – a rare occasion in the Florida wilderness! Contrary to the temperature, the state of the trail was much more challenging. (more…)
On the right-hand side of our monthly newsletter is a list of organizations we are proud to call partners. These companies and organizations are either Dragonfly Expeditions’ sister companies or local not-for-profit organizations that we support financially, with our time, and in other ways. One of these is The Nature Conservancy (TNC), an incredibly successful environmental organization that is dedicated to protecting endangered landscapes around the globe. We donated one of our most popular activities – the Everglades Backwater Tour – to The Nature Conservancy of Florida as the prize in their 2013 sweepstakes. (more…)
On this day – April 2nd – 500 years ago, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon for the first time laid eyes on Florida’s east coast. Despite the fact that native tribes had been living here for thousands of years, Ponce de Leon is credited with the “discovery” of the Sunshine State. According to various accounts, he landed just north of present-day St. Augustine and, amazed with the countless species of exotic vegetation he had never before seen, he decided to name the place “La Florida” which means “Land of Flowers.” (more…)
On the south side of the New River, across from Fort Lauderdale’s historic district, towers a stunningly large tree. The tree is an Albizia Saman – more commonly known as a “rain tree” because its leaves curl up during precipitation. One of our guides, Chris Brennan, recently brought to our attention that this nationally-treasured tree is in danger. This species of tree might look familiar to you because an even larger rain tree in Tobago served as the site where castaways built an elaborate tree house in the movie Swiss Family Robinson.
In 1982, the Fort Lauderdale rain tree was declared the largest of its species in the state of Florida. And since Florida is the only state in the US where rain trees grow, it is probably the largest in the country. In 1987, the Fort Lauderdale City Commission added this six-story-high tree to a list of 36 protected trees to ensure that it would not be damaged or removed. However, developer and property owner Asi Cymbal has plans to build an enormous condominium in the same location. If this rain tree is destroyed, only 11 protected trees will remain standing in the city. (more…)
By April Kuhlman, February 26, 2013no responses
Did you know that March is National Women’s History Month? And did you know that Miami is the only major US city to boast a woman founder? The Women’s History Coalition of Miami-Dade County is sponsoring a public event to kick off Women’s History Month and to honor Julia Tuttle, the “mother of Miami.” The event will take place in the Miami City Cemetery at Tuttle’s gravesite (1800 NE 2nd Avenue) at noon on March 1. Penny Lambeth, Chair of the Cemetery Restoration Committee, will be giving a presentation dressed as Julia Tuttle. Continue reading for more information about the Coalition and this event. (more…)
With the beginning of each new year, we often set our minds on how to make this year better than the last. Maybe we promise ourselves to exercise more, spend more time with our family, give up a bad habit or create a new and healthier habit. This post presents a surefire way to satisfy a number of these resolutions! Some of you may wonder what this has to do with the tours we provide…nothing! But it is a perfect example of the sustainability we strive for in our day-to-day lives. Read on to find out how you can turn your 2013 resolution into a reality. (more…)