When I have one of them days, I take to the ocean. Give me a bright blue sky, a cool breeze, palm trees, and an ocean view that stretches out to the horizon and all my troubles seem to disappear and melt away.
Here in Miami there are plenty of spaces where anyone can while away “those kind of days.” Our city is graced by the Atlantic, and on sunny days there is nothing better than spending time listening to the sound of waves crashing on shore.
Biscayne bay is a favorite of mine. If one ventures into Coconut Grove, one can visit at Kennedy Park and picnic or sit on one of the bayside benches that overlook the causeway onto Key Biscayne. Another favorite spot is along South Miami Avenue, right next to Mercy Hospital, where the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity offers another splendid view of the bay and one of the best ocean breezes available in Miami. The photo above was taken there not long ago, during one of those days, and after an hour of listening to the waves rub against the sea wall, I had nearly forgotten what had brought me there in the first place.
Just down the road is Vizcaya, the old Italian palazzo that is yet another spot to heed Mama’s advice. Here, the old world meets the new in gardens and European style architecture that makes anyone believe they’re in Tuscany, and not in the swamplands of South Florida. Vizcaya was once famous for hosting the White Party, a gay circuit event that raised funds for the fight against AIDS. The party has since moved to Miami Beach because of some gay-drama or other, rowdy revelers, and can’t-help but-rub-intimately size crowds but the palazzo remains one of Miami’s best kept secrets for spring-time afternoons.
I have a love / hate relationship with Miami and South Florida: I love to hate it when I’m here, but I hate to love it when I live elsewhere. Ours is a tedious relationship my witch-doctor and I can’t seem to unravel. When I lived in New York, there was nothing that would make me want to come back and visit. But after 18 long winters, Miami beckoned and I had to close up shop and move back.
This is the time of year New York has nothing on Miami. I love the weather, the light, and cool breeze that blows from the east. Sitting outside on a warm afternoon feels lovely, and I wish days like these would stretch endlessly as far as where the ocean meets the sky. Around Memorial Day, however, said weather will turn on us and suffocate everyone with stifling humidity and shirt-drenching heat. That’s when I want to forget all about Miami and head — elsewhere, really.
On days like those, there’s nothing Mama can say that will make me feel better.