Last week, during a visit from my sister, we took a trip down to South Miami to see James Deering's winter estate. James Deering was the founder of International Harvester and built his estate in the style of the Italian Renaissance and Baroque villas, importing many of the furnishings and decorative elements from his trips to Europe.
His villa is spectacular with a wide open central courtyard complete with columns, an antique marble fountain and greenery. All the rooms open off of this area including the bedrooms on the second floor. There are old tapestries to see, one dating back to the 1540s and even a 17th century altar painting. You will be able to view the serving pantry where he actually had an electric dumbwaiter installed, way ahead of his time, and his own personal china compete with his personal yacht flag emblem. On the second floor you don't want to miss the tower rooms which were all decorated in honor of famous women of the late 18th and 19th centuries as well as the huge breakfast room, which was one of Mr. Deering's favorite rooms. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the interior as they are not allowed in order to preserve the contents of the estate.
However, outside is a different story. You can get carried away taking pictures of the boat landing, complete with barge, right on Biscayne Bay and the beautiful manicured gardens in the rear. There are reflecting pools, vine-clad gazebos and statuary walks to wander through and you won't want to miss the Water Stairway and Italian Renaissance Casino, or house in miniature, at the far end. Take a look at the impressive ceiling in the loggia and off the back you spy what looks like a Venice canal but, alas, no gondola appeared. On the way out stop and see their Secret Garden or what was originally called the Orchid Garden for some beautiful displays of color.
A wonderful day trip for someone visiting the area. Plan on spending a good 3-4 hours there and longer if you decide to have lunch in their restaurant. (Try the grilled cheese and fig sandwich - fantastic!)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.