This was our second tour with Christine and Art Deco Tours. www.artdecotours.com
I live about an hour away from South Beach, but how often do you take a tour in your own backyard?
Our first tour with Christine was her "Art Deco" tour. It was so enjoyable and informative that I couldn't wait for an excuse to book another tour.
This chance came when a group of friends and I decided to book her "SOFI" tour…South of Fifth Street….which included discussion, sights and history relating to the settlement and development of this area by the first Jewish residents….sort of a Jewish history walking tour.
While this tour included sights of Jewish historical, religious, and cultural interest, it certainly wasn't limited to just the Jewish residents.
In fact, Christine went through the history of this area decade by decade discussing its development and evolution by ALL the various groups who contributed to making this place the vibrant and diverse area it is today. Many of these groups initially faced fierce legal and de facto discrimination….especially Jews and African Americans….and Christine describes how these groups, and the Hispanic population as well, eventually had an enormous positive impact on the unique city you see today. These are insights you could not possibly get wandering the streets on your own !!
My FAVORITE parts of BOTH tours, the Art Deco tour and the SOFI tour, were when Christine escorted us into the fabulous lobbies of some of the most notable Art Deco hotels in South Beach to see UP CLOSE the influence of Art Deco design…..places where "the beautiful people" stay.
Each time we were WARMLY greeted by hotel staff who obviously recognized Christine as a frequent visitor.
In these impressive art deco lobbies, we were just fascinated by Christine's explanation of the Art Deco symbolism, construction materials, workmanship. You won't see this type of art preservation anywhere else. And you could do this only in a small group.
NO BIG BUS TOURS CAN INCLUDE AN EXPERIENCE LIKE THIS !!!!!
Christine pointed out the important landmarks and introduced us to the prominent personalities responsible for the architecture and design and business development of this area. Of course she mentioned the guys with the "mega-bucks" who had the initial dreams and made the initial investments. But she also discussed the people who only had time, talent, and skills to add to this dream. You could not find these personal stories in a guide book.
Christine and her fellow tour guide, John, provide all this information to you in SMALL groups using microphones so everyone can hear a clear explanation. They do it all in an engaging, friendly, charming, and fun-filled way. They are incredibly well-prepared.
In this small group….no crowding….no waiting….no distractions...no souvenir stops.
This is not just a boring recitation of dates and facts by tour guides for whom this is just a job. For Christine and John, this is so obviously their PASSION.
Thank you, Christine and John.
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