A B O U T
Coconut Grove, originally Miami’s bohemian art hub, and continuing to lure the free-spirited and artistically inclined, has a rich history and artsy-vibe.
Capturing on canvas the essence of the Grove, sidewalks in the Grove were dotted with easels … artisans displaying their wares. Potters set up shop in artist’s coops: Grove House … and in what’s now the charming sidewalk cafe and local hang-out, Greenstreet Cafe.
Once known for it’s thriving art galleries, The Grove hosts the annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival (each February), as well as the King Mango Strut (a parody on the Orange Bowl), and the Goombay Festival (reminiscent of Bahamian and Caribbean origins)…. and is the backdrop for many a movie, TV or photo shoot. Coconut Grove has long been the inspiration for local artists and photographers.
Although many galleries have closed (rental space having become scarce and increasingly more expensive), the rich artistic history as well as the artists themselves have remained (and the lifestyle and culture they created are still very much a part of what is today’s Grove). Local artists such as Federico Carosio III capture the essence of the Grove … their artwork recognizable the world over.
Grove origins center around the Lighthouse, with early settlers arriving by boat… into what was previously home to Native Americans.
Around the turn of the century pioneers, lured to the rich farmlands of South Dade, arrived through what was then the “Little Hunting Ground”… and today known as Coconut Grove.
Coconut Grove is 10 minutes from Downtown Miami. Situated directly on the bay, it is home to Coral Reef Yacht Club, Dinner Key Marina, the Coconut Grove Sailing Club, and several waterfront parks. Peacock Park is haven for some of Florida’s wildlife… and the manatee.
The Miami Museum of Science and Planetarium are culturally significant, as are the Grove’s historically designated treasures; Kampong, The Barnacle, and Vizcaya. Once home to David Fairchild, Kampong is a spectacular seven-acre Botanical Garden, it’s name originating from the Malay word meaning “cluster.
Created by yacht designer (and wreckage salvager of boats running aground in Biscayne Bay), Commodore Ralph Middleton Monroe, The Barnacle is the oldest home in Miami.
A N D M O R E . . .
Historic site, turned museum, the Barnacle was so named, supposedly, for the shape of her roof.
(Somehow, I’m rather inclined to believe the name originates more from the marine life attached to the boat hulls.
Now a museum hosting cultural and social events, Vizcaya was built as James Deering’s personal residence.
Listed among the Register of Historic Sites since 1970, the Renaissance style Italian Villa with her ten acres of formal gardens, took 1,000 artisans and craftsmen two years to build.
Architect F. Burrell Hoffman began construction in 1914, four years after Deering acquired the land, using construction materials from castles and palaces in Italy and Spain. The raw materials were shipped to Miami from Europe by boat, to be re-assembled and used in the construction of Villa Vizcaya.
Scouring Europe for furnishings and art, tapestries and murals, Vizcaya was a veritable museum from day one. Every luxury available at the time was incorporated … including elevators. Today you can visit the museum, it’s cafe, and gift shop.
Vizcaya, for years, provided the backdrop for Miami’s annual Renaissance Festival, which spilled out through the grounds each spring, drawing visitors from far and wide. As of January 2010, the Renaissance Festival will have a new home… on historic Virgina Key.
The mere name, Coconut Grove (as well as the image Miami conjures up) is known the world over. Tree canopy and verdant landscape, whether captured on canvas or photographed, are easily recognizable.
The Grove is renown for her banyans, casual outdoor dining, sidewalk cafes, nightlife and culture.
To this day, the Grove has a Caribbean flair. Situated next to Biscayne Bay, the lush tree canopy and great outdoor space lure locals and tourists alike.
CocoWalk brims with shops, dining, clubs, movies and live music. Site of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and the King Mango Strut Parade, the Grove is a vibrant community with activities, art festivals, cultural events, music year round, and offers a bohemian lifestyle like no other.