Little Palm Island: Your Own Private Idaho in the Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are an archipelago of over 1,700 islands stretching 120 miles off of Florida’s southern tip. It’s an extremely scenic drive from Miami along U.S. 1, across bridges and causeways, on a narrow stretch of land surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico.

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Miami: A Perfect Day in South Beach

There’s been a lot of buzz about the new 1 Hotel in South Beach, an eco friendly beachfront hotel occupying an entire block on Collins Avenue. This is the second property from 1 Hotels, following in the green footprints of their first hotel in NYC. 

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Miami: A Grown-up Spring Break

When you picture Spring Break, do you think of college girls gone wild and red solo cups? Yes, there are parts of Florida infamous for all of that (and then some), but for those of us who’ve outgrown those party days there’s still the alluring draw of sun and warmth to ease the chill of North East winters. March and April usually promise ideal weather in Florida and a weekend in Miami at the Edition Hotel makes for a very civilized Spring Break. You can still have that cocktail, just out of a nice chilled glass.

Tripper Tips:

For another very personal art tour…visit the De La Cruz Contemporary Art Space in the ever-growing and transforming Design District. Works from the private collection of art world collectors Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz are housed here in a new 30,000 square foot space. (Closed Sunday and Monday.)

Eat in the courtyard at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Chef Michael Schwartz opened his restaurant in the Design District back in 2007 showcasing local fresh ingredients and the crowds have been coming ever since. If you build it, and it’s delicious, they will come!

Check In: They may seem like strange bedfellows, but the partnership of legendary hotelier Ian Schrager, the man who many say invented boutique hotels, and Marriot International delivers. I for one was doubtful; Marriot is not exactly a chain known as hip or high end, yet this upscale move for Marriot to create a luxury brand has been big a success so far.  Just look at the popularity of The London Edition and its hot restaurant Berners Tavern.  The brand new Miami Edition is light and airy, an expansive gold and white lobby is filled with tall pots of green plants and numerous public spaces.  Rooms are all beige—clean, calm and contemporary. Set on 3 1/2 private acres in the former Seville Hotel there are two pools, one for the kids, and a beautiful beachfront area. Located in currently hip Mid Beach, a short walk from South Beach, it’s a perfect fit for families or couples. 

Breakfast: Style by Schrager, food by Jean Georges Vongerichten. Have breakfast outside at Matador Terrace, overlooking the beach and pool. Both the terrace and the inside Matador Room echo the flavors of Jean Georges’ ABC Cocina in NYC, a modern interpretation of Latin cuisine.  At breakfast along with the typical egg and pancakes try the huevos rancheros. Lunch brings chipotle chicken or fish tacos and a delicious, now somewhat signature pea guacamole. Inside the hotel, Market at Edition is a stylish mix of a classic 24-hour coffee shop and gourmet food hall —offering specialty pizzas, a ceviche and raw bar, charcuterie, sandwiches, juices and smoothies, and a nice selection of wines.

Art:  It’s truly a family affair at the Rubell Family Collection (open Wednesday through Saturday)! Major players in the art world, Don and Mera Rubell have been acquiring art since the 60’s and with their son Jason created a 45,000-square-foot home for their collection in a former DEA warehouse in Wynwood.  This was back in the early 90’s, way before Wynwood was trendy. Now one of the world’s largest privately owned contemporary art collections, featuring such well-known artists as Basquiat, Haring, Koons, Hirst, Warhol, and Cindy Sherman.

Don’t Miss: I’d been hearing a lot about the Wynwood Wall’s and walking around all I kept thinking was wow—how had I not come here sooner. The late Tony Goldman had a vision to transform this warehouse district, through art, and it has dramatically changed the neighborhood—both visually and commercially with over 70 galleries, hip restaurants, eclectic stores,  juice and coffee bars. Recently, I have seen the gentrifying power of urban art in Cartegna, Buenos Aires and closer to home in NY, but this may be one of the most inspiring examples of open-air street art created by some of the world’s greatest street and graffiti artists. What struck me most was that beyond the park area known as the Wynwood Walls and Doors, the murals have exploded and expanded in all directions throughout the neighborhood--it is really something to see, explore and experience.

Eat In The Walls: Located right when you enter the square, eating at Wynwood Kitchen and Bar is to be fully immersed in the murals while enjoying dishes from a delicious Latin-influenced menu. Killer cocktails, a large outdoor patio and amazing art everywhere make for a flavorful and colorful lunch.

Afternoon: Relax at the pool or beach back at The Edition. The late afternoon light and wind brought tons of kite surfers for a magical show. And I was surprised at the amount of sand bars there were on either side of the hotel beach. I watched a group of guys playing soccer out on one before heading to the beachside promenade for a run. Finish with a cocktail at Tropicale located next to the pool.

Dinner: Where to eat is a hard decision these days in Miami with so many excellent choices. If you only have one night I’d head to the Design District to eat in the lovely outdoor courtyard at Mandolin. My Greek friend told me not miss the Kefte, better than any she had eaten in Greece. Everything was delicious! We loved the dips on the Greek sampler—the hummus, tzatziki, followed by a perfectly grilled fish and lamb chops. Funny enough the biggest hit of the evening was the barley salad—bursting with flavor from the combination of frisee and arugula with apples, mint and pomegranates. Dare I say that someone at our table said the food was better than anything they had in 2 weeks traveling around the Greek Islands last summer?

If you want to stay local,  stroll down the beach to Soho House and eat in the tree lit garden at Cecconi's for excellent Italian food.  We all shared some salads and pizza to start; the spaghetti with lobster was a big hit.

If I lived in Miami I’d be a regular at Pubbelly Sushi. The menu has innovative rolls such as Wagyu Beef Tartare and Porkbelly and Clams that you just don’t see on most sushi menus. Don’t miss the Screaming Orgasm, Rock Shrimp Tempura Roll, and the addictive Big Eye Tuna, served over crispy rice with truffle oil. Located next door to to the original Pubbelly, both are worthy destinations in the quieter section of South Beach known as Sunset Harbor. With a no reservations policy dinner is packed, lunch tables are easier to come by.


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