Villa on the Bay

Jay Johnson - What an exciting Super Bowl! Congratulations, Saints, on your victory. Watching the Big Game, it's hard to imagine bustling Miami, the Super Bowl host city, as a backwater, swampy burg back in the early 1900s. But such was the case when International Harvester industrialist James Deering decided to put much of the town of Miami (population 10,000) and about a thousand European craftspeople to work building his winter retreat, Villa Vizcaya.

The villa and its current 28 acres (whittled down from the original 180) are now preserved as a museum and the contents are remarkably as they were during Deering's lifetime. I took a video of the outside and the home's views of Biscayne Bay, ending just before our cloudy day turned rainy.I also took a separate video of the gardens, which are world famous.

If you're ever in Miami, this is a must-see attraction. It's grand, whimsical, and fascinating. The collections of art, antiques, and furnishings are incredible and the handpainted walls, fabrics, and wallpapers are vibrant. The villa opens onto a courtyard with two levels, but in the early 1950s when the home was turned into a museum, the courtyard was classed over by a clever pavillion to provide more of a climate-controlled environment to preserve all the treasures you'll see (we weren't allowed to take videos inside, of course).



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