As those of us who live in the Miami-Dade area are well aware, each and every one of the neighborhoods that make up Miami has its own special flavor. Quaint Coral Gables could not be more different than saucy Little Havana, laid-back Coconut Grove, or sexy South Beach. Dragonfly Expeditions’ city tour, Miami Magic City Bus and Walking Tour, introduces guests to several of Miami’s communities and shares the stories behind each neighborhood’s drastically different development. Paul De Windt, publisher of a newspaper called The Daily Herald, joined us on a city tour last September. The Daily Herald, which is distributed in several places throughout the Dutch Caribbean, featured De Windt’s article in the “Business, Culture, & Leisure” section. De Windt’s work provides a snapshot of each area to which he was exposed during his visit to Miami. In addition, his closing sentence evinces the fact that our tour clearly imparts a true sense of place to a visitor, which is one of Dragonfly Expeditions’ most sought-after goals. Keep reading to see De Windt’s article.
Hello! My name is April Kuhlman and I’m twenty-two years old. Before you ask – yes, my birthday is in April. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised in the small town of Batesville, Indiana, I would consider myself a Midwestern girl proud of her Irish and German heritage. I spent my childhood exploring the woodlands surrounding the area in which I grew up. The two most important decisions I made as a child were becoming a musician and a competitive swimmer. I swam competitively for about twelve years. This experience gave me discipline, motivation, and the desire to always keep my body healthy. I learned to play the clarinet in fifth grade and later had the opportunity to play in marching bands, concert bands, a jazz band, and multiple pit orchestras; I am still a member of the Eureka Band – the oldest, continuous volunteer band in the country. I held several part time jobs before I graduated college, but the only one worth mentioning is the job I had at CSR ranch. During the summers of 2009 and 2011, I worked as a tour guide/animal caregiver at this privately-owned ranch. At the ranch, I had the opportunity to work with animals such as buffalo, monkeys, wolves, iguanas, chinchillas, and black bears. During the summer of 2011 I raised an infant tiger. In my free time, I enjoy running, biking, reading, writing, watching science fiction movies, playing video games, hiking, and pursuing artwork as a hobby.
A friend needs our help and I am making a strident appeal to anyone who is willing to rally with me around his cause. I don’t want to infer that this friend asked for my help, he did not. The friend is Gene Prescott, President of the Seaway Group which owns the Biltmore Hotel under a long term lease with the City of Coral Gables.
After another operator went bankrupt in the late 1980’s trying to revive this once endangered treasure, his Seaway Group stepped in under the same negotiated terms with the city and did a second restoration. The hotel reopened in 1992. Back then his accomplishment was hailed as heroic and he has remained a success in the ensuing 18 years.
It has become apparent that the deal that the Seaway Group inherited from the previous operators has never been the most attractive deal. In good times, it seemed to be workable. In times like the ones we have been experiencing the past couple of years, it is implausible. The Biltmore is an old building. It needs special attention. It is easy to see from the condition of the property that Seaway has provided it with that special attention. The market for the hotel has some natural challenges. It is not on the beach or downtown. It is not large enough for the bigger corporate conventions. It is in the heart of residential Coral Gables.
Nevertheless, the hotel has persevered under Seaway Group’s stewardship. It has always been Continue reading
It was the great idea of Dr. Jane Petrick – a friend of and guide for Dragonfly Expeditions – to come up with a walking tour surrounding the area of the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables on an intimate scale. The name of this tour “Walking My Neighborhood” rings true for me on a dual level: For one, our office is located in the Biltmore and I would never want to miss seeing famous and not-so-famous people visiting the hotel on a daily basis as well as the calming serenity of its lit-up tower and pool. Continue reading