Coconut Grove

 Coral Gable, Key Biscayne, Villa Viscaya

 south of Everglades

November 15 : Mémorial Holocauste, Southbeach,Fairchild Garden

The Everglades

Naples and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary




Tuesday November 11  2008


Miami Airport Hilton Hotel


We flew SWISS due to the good opinion of travelers on the forums. We do not want to travel with the direct flight of Air France

 who is in a Boeing 747 aircraft outdated and uncomfortable. The flight was pleasant 1 Airbus A340-300.

The service is excellent and staff friendly.

We spent the night at the Miami Airport Hilton hotel to pick up our rental car Hertz at their desk inside the hotel.

The lobby of this hotel is good but the rooms need to be renovated and modernized especially for soundproofing.

 We do not recommend this hotel.




mercredi 12 novembre 2008

                                                                                                                     Hampton Inn Hotel

 Upon payment, we requested a tariff Senior but the Hilton system  reservation does not allow changes to an existing booking.

 The next time we will ask for a room AARP.

 We took possession of the car from Hertz.

 Remember that a lease with the Visa Premier includes CDW insurance, LDW, TP and TPC (collision damage and theft).

We must take insurance LIS.

Our car is equipped with GPS (Never Lost) who really helped us along our journey and get to find the Hampton Inn Coconut Grove

hotel  which is a member of Hilton group.

We were greeted by Janet Guillet ( jeannette.guillet @ hilton.com ) speaking French. A small hotel offering bed

and continental breakfast included in price. We preferred it to the Hilton Hotel.

This is an address that we recommend.

We walked in Coconut Grove without recognize the places visited in 1988 and 1989 and we booked a table overlooking the sea

 at Chart House restaurant to celebrate our wedding anniversary. Janet had recommended this place

for the scenery and the seafood we thank her as we ate excellent strong well-cooked products.

 It is a good place in a wonderful setting. 


the Chart House restaurant at Coconut Grove

our table



boat park




                                       Thursday November 13  2008                                                                       


 Hampton Inn Hotel.


Circuit in Coral Gable, starting with the Chinese village with houses decorated with dragons and pagoda roofs.

We have taken the Miracle Mile road and saw the town hall but we did not have visited the George Merrick's house,

 the founder of Coral Gable because of roadworks. We have not had better luck with the Venetian pool

 which was closed to the public.We liked the streets lined with banyan and the church where George Merrick was going to pray.

This church  is located opposite the famous Biltmore Hotel attended by the VIP in the 30s with its immense pool

 promoted by the olympic  champion Johnny Weissmuller, who played Tarzan in the movies.

The hotel has been transformed into a hospital during World War II and has regained its status as a leading luxury hotel in 1987.

We had taken a Sunday brunch in December 1989.


a home-style Chinese

an other house


The Biltmore Hotel


The Biltmore Hotel


The pool


The place where we took the brunch in 1989


road lined with banyans


20 years ago, we visited the beaches and the lighthouse at the end of the island "Key Biscayne". This quiet and peaceful place

was damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and today we found the place visited in 1988.


Key Biscayne lighthouse

Miami view


By late afternoon, we visited the Villa Vizcaya, a place you do not miss with a visit of Miami. This place is a masterpiece of good taste and

 we regretted that the camera shots are prohibited inside the villa. This house is a copy of a palace of Italian renaissance style.

You must visit it.


Viscaya Villa

The orchids garden


the orchids garden


The boat in the sea


the landing



the tea house



fall in the gardens




Friday November 14  2008


Hampton Inn Hotel.


We headed to Homestead to discover the southern Everglades park. Our first stop is the Anhinga trail . It is a 800m wooden path 

in the middle of a swamp with different plant species where birds nest. The most popular bird  is the anhinga with a neck of 25 cm.

We stopped at various trails whose path Pa-Hay-Okee which offers a spectacular view of the maze of water and grass of the Everglades.

 We undertook this visit because we did not know this part of the park. You can do it if you have plenty of time.

Highway 41 in the northern part of the park is more interesting.


an anhinga on the anhinga trail

a heron


Everglades view from Pa-Hay-Okee trail





Saturday November 15  2008


Hampton Inn Hotel.

 We visited the Holocaust Memorial. From the street, one sees a hand extended toward the sky seeming to beg for help.

Along the arm, we see hundreds of emaciated bodies tangled together expressing the martyr of the Jewish people during World War II

 with its 6 million dead . A granite wall with thousands of victim's names  of the Holocaust symbolizes the memory of the dead.



hand imploring aid

the tatooed number etched on the wrist


bodies of the victims


the names of the victims on a wall of black granite



We stopped on Washington Avenue in the Art Deco district and visited the town hall and the old post office, symbols of Art Deco.



the old post office

a street with spanish flavor



the City Hall



In the afternoon, We went to the Fairchild Gardens, an extraordinary place with trees and plants of all

continents with the finest collection of palm trees in the world. Plan to spend a full day to visit.

A must see!!!!


Fairchild Gardens


Fairchild Gardens



Fairchild Gardens


Fairchild Gardens


Fairchild Gardens


Fairchild Gardens




Fairchild Gardens




Sunday November 16  2008



Ivey House


Departure for Everglades City via Highway 41.

We stopped at Shark Valley, where we saw many birds and an alligator.

We visited this place 20 years ago and we noticed that many cyclists now ride along the loop built in the swamps.

There is even today a bike rental.

20 years ago we visited the loop with the train and the park guides, but this year we preferred walking on the road and take pictures.


the Shark Valley




anhinga drying his wings


Blue Heron


Blue Heron


an alligator


an alligator



On the road, we stopped at the Oasis Visitor Center, where an observation bridge over the Tamiani canal permits you to observe

birds and sometimes alligators. We were fortunate to see 2 alligators that swam in the canal.

On the road, we stopped at the Kirby Storter trail, a place to visit for the scenery, wildlife and flora.

We stopped at the smallest post office of the USA with 18m ². This post office is still in use and serves the 100 residents

 of the village of Ochopee.





Kirby Storter trail


Kirby Storter trail


Kirby Storter trail


Kirby Storter trail


Kirby Storter trail


Kirby Storter trail


We then stopped at HP Williams Roadside Park where we saw several alligators

and met a volunteer who suggested that we follow Highway 839 for 3 miles.

Very good suggestion because we saw many alligators and birds.


HP Williams Roadside Park

HP Williams Roadside Park



By mid afternoon we reserved a room for 2 nights at Ivey House in Everglades City. 



Monday November 17  2008


Ivey House


Early in the morning, from Everglades City we took an Everglades boat tour with a park guide.

Normally it was planned to approach animals in the mangrove but the guide was always

operating the engine thereby chasing all the numerous birds from this area.

Making a boat trip in these conditions, is like throwing good money out the window.


boat tour in the mangrove

boat tour in the mangrove



We then took another boat tour to the 10,000 islands which are actually uninhabited mangroves.

No birds were seen during this tour.

It might have been preferable to visit it at sunset, when the birds take refuge in the mangrove.


the 10000 islands





The evening, we ate an excellent meal with Terri Rementeria at Camellia Street Grill.

Everglades City does not offer a great choice for accommodation.

We were not excited by our own but we recommend the restaurant of  Terri who we awarded a Michelin star.

Surprising and good!





Tuesday November 18  2008 


 Naples Trianon Hotel


From Everglades City, we took Highway 41, stopping at Big Cypress Bend, where you see the tall cypress.


Big cypres bend


We crossed the Marco Island, which is the only inhabited island of 10,000 islands, and we arrived in Naples.

We stayed at the Trianon Hotel, located in the heart of the old quarter of Naples 2 steps from restaurants and shops of 5th Avenue.

We have a comfortable room with continental breakfast, and we got a rate Senior.

straight ahead the 5th Avenue, we found the beach and we walked along to the pier.

It is a popular place for fishing and we saw a manatee which went under the pier.

We have joined the commercial area of 3rd Street and had lunch on the terrace of the Italian restaurant Campiello.

It's expensive but good!!!.

We walk back to our hotel and had dinner in Old Naples, Yabba Island Grill, a good restaurant with excellent service.


Naples beach

Naples Pier


Naples Pier


Campiello Restaurant


3th Street


3th street





Wednesday November 19  2008


Naples Trianon Hotel

 We visited the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary which is located between Naples and Fort Myers. This place is famous

 for the bald cypress.

We saw few birds and an alligator. The scenery was beautiful.


The bald cypres

Alligator Flag is the name of the flower




Seminole Indians used this plant to treat the alligator and snake bites


Swamp Lily flower


The swamp with the tree roots






the water fern


1 alligator in the bottom of the pond


after the Corscrew visit we took the sun on the beaches of Delnor-Wiggins State Park.



The night we dined at Pinchers Crab Shack, a shack on the harbor




Thursday November 20  2008 to Tuesday December 9  2008


Arms Beach Condo at Sanibel Island


A toll bridge ($ 6) connects the city of Fort Myers to the islands of Sanibel and Captiva.



Just off the bridge, an information center helps visitors to find a location.

We expected to stay at South Sea Island at Captiva. We do not like the place because the island was too close.

So we stayed at Arms Beach Condo from approximately 1 mile of the Sanibel Lighthouse, the start of the beach which is 12 miles long.




Sanibel lighthouse


The beach is a place of rest in a deckchair, but here you're surrounded by birds that do not look like predators.




a simple pleasure: strolling



At first sight, you are surprised by the attitude of tourists busy for collecting shells, the main activity.



it is forbidden to collect live shellfish

the rule is well respected




Fishing is also a popular occupation both on the beach or from the jetty and even in the JN Ding Darling Reserve.







the catch is good

again a good catch !




Times change, dogs are allowed on the beaches!



A treasure hunter and a researcher of shellfish


Sometimes you get married on the beach, a simple ceremony that we would have liked.





But it is a Anglo-Saxon tradition, we enjoyed a good wine's glass until the sunset





Others, with some talent, occupies their time to make ephemeral works that will be covered by the tide.





Each morning, we took our breakfast watching the sunrise over Fort Myers with the first walkers.




On the other side of the island on the west coast, you're in the swamps with the exploration of the fauna and flora.

A recommendation: Care about the hour of low tide because the birds are numerous.

We found that there were more birds in the evening than the morning.

we stayed 3 weeks without being bored. On several occasions, we drived the 4 miles of the JN Ding Darling reserve.

 We walked along the Bailey Track, indigo Trail and visited new places settled by the SCCF (Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation)




1 osprey


1 snowy egret


white pelicans


1 Raccoons family


1 egret, 1 white ibis, 1 cormorant and 1 blue heron


pink spoonbills





Landscape Bailey Trail

a white ibis



a lot of ospreys at Sanibel


Landscape Bailey Trail



The boat tour done by the guides of the park is interesting especially if you do it at low tide and at sunset.


1 biologist comments the tour

1 osprey


birds in the trees


birds in the trees


1 beautiful white pelican

To avoid predators, the birds take refuge in trees to sleep at night. Unlike the Everglades City boat-tour, the boat stops its engine for approaching birds. Before the boat-tour, biologist meets participants for an explanation of the shells encountered at Sanibel and Captiva Islands

We recommend it !!!!





At the end of our stay we had the neighbors a couple of Quebec, Luce et Denis, with whom we sympathize.


Anny, Luce, Charles and Denis


Denis impressed us by showing us the space station passing over Sanibel. Beautiful!!!



 We really enjoyed our stay at Sanibel Arms. Thanks to the lovely Nancy Wright, who has always solved our problems.



It is a very good address, we will advise.







Wednesday December 10  2008


Sarasota Hyatt Hotel


We visited the Ringling Museum


Ringling was the director of the Barnum circus

museums entry


the rose garden


 Ringling villa


The villa overlooks the sea


Italian Renaissance style


Museum of painters

Nothing to do with Villa Viscaya. Here it smells the money and bad taste. Why Christmas decorations in this place? We enjoyed the museum with paintings of Queen Marie-Antoinette and the collection of Rembrandt.


We had dinner at the hotel restaurant and were served by a very nice person of Quebec.

The meal was excellent and we ended our trip well.

We recommend this hotel.


Thursday December 11  2008


 We flew with SWISS and

We confirm SWISS is an excellent company.