Return to the present

My weekend trip to St. Augustine (oldest city in the US!) was fantastic and lovely, but the sense of lost time (lost sense of time?) that accompanied it is still hitting me with a vengeance. How is it that my room managed to seemingly explode in my absence? Seriously, my stuff is everywhere, not including the souvenirs I just acquired (which was less than I thought after opening my wallet to all). Pictures are being sorted and will be shared soon. In the meantime, I leave you with a view of the Castillo de San Marcos on a rainy day.

Castillo de San Marcos

a little culture

Saturday was Smithsonian Museum Day, so my b-chan and I went to the Bass Museum of Art on Miami Beach for a mix of modern art, Rennaissance masterpieces, and a story-filled scavenger hunt. The Bass was one of the art museums that I never got around to visiting when I was in high school (my art teacher loved taking us on field trips), so it was a treat to finally go. It was also an unexpected surprise, for such a small place, they really do have some amazing pieces. Miami isn’t necessarily known for its high art collections, but the “Endless Rennaissance” exhibit provides a nice glimpse of the masters. The “Tiny Stories” collection of… well… tiny stories–short vignettes scattered throughout the gallery–was also interesting, part of the fun was finding the stories, some printed on cards no larger than a business card, tucked away around corners and posted on the outside of the building.

The building itself also presents an interesting mix of traditional and modern.

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Bass Museum

I also got a chance to visit the Miami Beach Public Library, located across the street from the museum. I get a kick out of visiting libraries around town; the Main Library in Downtown is wonderful, but if I could, I think I would love to work at this particular branch. The place was full of patrons of all ages. The first floor houses the main collection, a computer lab, and a section showcasing new arrivals. The second floor features and area that is specially designed for children and teens up to age 21, a YA room, a children’s room, and a storytelling room. The reading areas are very spacious and there is a lot of natural light, making it a very welcoming space. I would love to spend some time here reading, if only it weren’t so far.

Miami Beach Library

old-fashioned charm

Yesterday, my adventurous b-chan took me to the Cauley Square Historic Village in the Redlands for a lovely afternoon tea :) . I heard about the tea room at Cauley Sq. a few years ago but had never had the opportunity to visit, and the Redlands always seem so far away, though it’s only about a half hour drive. I think I have this impression because this area is mostly farmland, so it seems very isolated and distant.

Cauley Square was charming. It’s really an old railroad village that has been preserved and most of the shops are curious little antique stores. There are a couple of little restaurants, including the tea room, which looks like a fussy little old lady’s parlor full of doilies and old lace. The day was dark and rainy, but it made it seem as if we were visiting a little town up north, not in the middle of South Florida.

The Tea Room

Fussy charm

High Tea

We had finger sandwiches and a savory clam chowder for lunch, and I had their very tasty blend of spiced tea. It would have been nice to order a pot of tea, but I don’t think the b-chan would have had much tea, so I enjoyed my cup of iced spice tea.

Nibbles

Rose teapot

The antique shops were very neat and had a lot of unexpected surprises. I’ve always wanted to go antiquing, and I finally had my chance! One of the shops had a bunch of transistor covers – these heavy glass domes were part of old power lines – and I got a green one for myself (I saw them on Antiques Roadshow one time and thought they were interesting. Plus, I love colored glass and these have such a unique shape).

Antiquing

The village also has a very nice aquarium shop that sells tropical fish and they have a large koi pond near the entrance.

The golden fish

Seahorse

And if you notice that I used the word “little” over a dozen times when describing this place… well, there really is no other word for it. It is little.

Strawberry fields

Celebrated the first day of Spring Break with a lovely spring harvest :) .

Em invited me to join her and Enrique on a strawberry picking adventure at the Knaus Berry Farm in Homestead. The berries were gorgeous, all bright red and dewy, and the air smelled like the inside of a jar of fresh strawberry jam. I was sorely tempted to eat strawberries while picking them.

The farm is owned by the Knaus family, who are part of a German Baptist sect called Dunkers (they look a bit like the Amish). Aside from the U-Pick strawberry and tomatoe field, the farm also sells fresh baked breads, pies, and cinnamon buns, jellies, and fresh produce. Before we left, I also bought myself a giant bib lettuce for $1.50, guava jelly, and some cinnamon buns to share with the others.

The strawberries are delicious. So juicy and sweet, definitely some of the best berries I have ever eaten.