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Saturday, January 18, 2020

Dinner Key and Sailing Club history talk

Renny Young
Hear about the Grove's history of Dinner Key and the Sailing Club, but you'll have to head for Coral Gables for that.

Renny Young will talk about the old days of Dinner Key Marina and the Coconut Grove Sailing Club at the Coral Gables Museum on Sunday, February 2.

Renny was born at the Biltmore Hotel when it was an army hospital and graduated from Coral Gables High School in 1963. His mom and dad were founding members of the Coconut Grove sailing club in 1946. His great uncle was Johnny Gruelle, the originator of the famous Raggedy Ann Doll.

Dinner Key was originally an island, but was connected to the mainland in 1914 by filling in the intervening space. An early source attributes the name to the fact that the island was a convenient place to stop to eat while traveling by boat between the mouth of the Miami River and Snapper Creek south of Miami.

This meeting of the Miami Pioneers and Natives of Dade historical is from 2 to 3:30 at the Coral Gables Museum followed by refreshments and social time.

The Museum is at 285 Aragon Avenue.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Outdoor Movie & Dinner at Vizcaya

Spend time with the family in Vizcaya Village during this rare evening family program. Enjoy art-making, story telling and cooking demos all about food before sitting down together for a community meal. 

Then watch a family movie about - you guessed it - food and enjoy s'mores for dessert.

Good food, good company, good times. Does it get any better?

Vizcaya has this special night planned for Friday, February 7, starting at 6:30 pm.

The agenda looks like this:

6:00 pm - DOORS OPEN
Work up an appetite as you explore Vizcaya Village with any (or all) of the following:


Art-making inspired by the architecture of Vizcaya Village. You'll be working with each other, but under the guidance of artist Philippa Langrish, so no experience needed.

Storytelling by good friends The Spoken Word Exchange will showcase food in a new and exciting way.

A mini cooking demo with the chefs at Wellness in the Schools, inspired by crops grown on site historically and designed to be easy, quick and healthy so you can do them again at home.

6:30 pm - REGISTRATION CLOSES

7:00 pm - DINNER 
Sit down for dinner at a harvest table set for 120 in front of the Staff Residence building. You’ll get a taste of local history enjoying dishes based on foods originally grown on this historic farm.


7:45 pm - MOVIE

Following dinner, move to the Garage Forecourt for an outdoor movie screening. Bring picnic blankets and cushions to get comfy. Leave room for dessert as s’mores will be served while watching the film.

Tickets are $20 general admission; $10 for children 6 to 12. Get them here.

Vizcaya is at 3250 S. Miami Avenue.

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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

The Coconut Grove Ecumenical Network is presenting, "Pursuit of the Dream Through the Eyes of Children" the 26th annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Sunday, January 19 at 3 pm.

This is at the  Greater Saint Paul AME Church at 3680 Thomas Avenue.

Rev. Nathaniel Robinson III is the Pastor.

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Beaux Arts Festival, it has small town character

The local winter arts season starts on January 18 and 19 with the Beaux Arts Festival of Art. It's right across the road, at the University of Miami. Then next month, our two favorites, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and the St. Stephen's Arts Fair take over Coconut Grove from February 15-17.

The Beaux Arts Festival benefits the Lowe Art Museum on campus. Itl runs from 10 am to 5 pm each day. This is the area's oldest juried art show. Along with the art there is lots of food, drink and character. There are paintings, ceramics, glass, graphics, sculpture, jewelry and so much more. There is also a students art showcase at the Lowe Are Museum.


Beaux Arts was started in 1953 by 50 founding members under the direction of Anne Atkinson, then Assistant Director of the newly built Joe and Emily Lowe Art Gallery. The purpose of the group was to provide improvements, equipment and financial assistance to the Lowe Gallery, renamed Lowe Art Museum in 1968.

Today, the 125 Beaux Arts volunteers and 300 plus associate members work together throughout the year to execute events and to make a difference in the community through many special programs.

During the past 67 years, Beaux Arts has raised over $6 million, which places the organization in the highest donor category for the University of Miami, The Gables Society.  



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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Water line break closes Main Highway

Photo courtesy Ken Russell
Commissioner Ken Russell tweeted out this picture last night. He was with Miami-Dade Water & Sewer as they repaired a broken water line on Main Highway. A big part of the area was closed off to traffic so that the line could be repaired. Streets were cleared by rush hour this morning.

It begs the question, Can the sewer and waterlines handle the over-development in the area?

Is unregulated development part of the problem? With King Tides and flooding, is this the beginning of the new norm?


Ft. Lauderdale had six sewer line breaks in three weeks recently. Glad this was just a water line.

Should developers be required to replace the old infrastructure or should they just be permitted to add to it and overload the system?

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Macbeth at The Barnacle this week

Shakespeare's Macbeth is coming to The Barnacle this weekend for this year's Shakespeare in the Park, which is celebrating its 15th year.

Watch in horror as Macbeth transforms from a hero to a despot - seemingly on the basis of a chance encounter with some witches on a moor. He makes dark decisions every time he is faced with a clear choice: good or evil? Right or wrong? Darkness or light?

There is lots of sword fighting and action. For over 400 years, audiences have loved this play.


Seth Trucks plays Macbeth. Macbeth is Shakespeare's shortest play, written between 1605-1606. The first recorded production of the play was at the Globe Theater in London, in 1611, but most scholars feel that it was presented earlier to James I, the new King of England, who hailed from Scotland; as the play celebrates both King James' rule which brought together England and Scotland, and memorialized James' ancestor, Banquo. 

Macbeth lived from 1005 to 1057.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, January 17 through 19, the play will be performed out back on the big lawn. 

Friday and Saturday's performances are at 8 pm and Sunday's is at 6 pm.

Pack a picnic, bring your low lawn chairs or blankets and enjoy Shakespeare under the Stars. There will be two evening shows, and one twilight performance.

The performance is free. The park asks that you consider a $2 per person donation to help with their building preservation fund.

Outside food & beverage is permitted and snacks are available on site for sale.

No pets permitted. Seats available for rent $5 per chair.

In case of rain, the performance will be held under the pavilion.

The Barnacle is located at  3485 Main Highway.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

From wealthy hedge fund manager to federal prisoner

Joseph F. “Chip” Skowron will be speaking Friday January 17 at the Coconut Grove Chapter of New Canaan Society on the lessons he learned during his incredible journey from wealthy hedge fund manager to federal prison.  The event takes place 8 am at Berries in the Grove, 2884 SW 27th Avenue.  Breakfast is served at 7 am.

After graduating from the Yale School of Medicine and then completing 3 years of orthopedic residency training at Harvard, Dr. Skowron made a major career shift and launched his own hedge fund that grew to be one of the largest healthcare funds in the world.   

After the fund became the focus of an investigation, Chip’s investment career ended. In 2011 he pled guilty to insider trading and in 2012 he entered Federal Prison to begin his 5-year sentence. 

Prison was one of the hardest and best seasons of his life and the jarring loss of his fortune and freedom and the decisions leading to his prison sentence invited a reckoning that transformed his life. 

In prison he met Biggs Burke and together they founded the New Canaan Society-Inside, an outreach to prisoners. 

Chip lives in Greenwich, CT with his wife and four children and now speaks regularly about his spiritual journey to men’s groups, students and Wall Street brokers.

New Canaan Society is a Christian men’s group that meets weekly on Fridays 7-9am at Berries in the Grove that is open to all men seeking to improve their lives by becoming better husbands, fathers, sons, brothers and business partners.  
More information on New Canaan Society and this event can be found at the Coconut Grove Chapter website: newcanaansociety.org/coconut-grove/

- David Winker

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Monday, January 13, 2020

Fairchild's Chocolate Garden presents a refreshed weekend lineup

The Chocolate Garden is back at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden for the 14th year! Formerly The International Chocolate Weekend, this is South Florida’s favorite weekend for sweets.

This year new vendors are part of the mix with a fresh take on the event, giving visitors a chance to stroll through the lush 83-acre garden.

Kicking off the weekend on Friday, January 24 at 7:30 pm, Fairchild members can purchase tickets to Fete du Chocolat, an exclusive three-course seated dinner with pairings and access to the after-hours Garden Speakeasy for $185 a person. Fete du Chocolat will feature a multi course dinner with wine and chocolate pairings throughout the night. Guests will also enjoy exclusive access to the Garden Speakeasy.

The artisan village and food hall on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will host local retail vendors, chefs and artisan chocolatiers and on Saturday and Sunday, Fresh from Fairchild Marketplace will feature the Milkshake Shoppe and Chocolate Lab which sounds like something we all would love to immerse ourselves into. 

Whip'n Dip Ice Cream Shop, the Coral Gables favorite, will host the Milkshake Shoppe and create ultimate custom milkshakes at their made to order milkshake bar. The Chocolate Lab will turn chocolate into an interactive experience - think chocolate painting, chocolate spin art, plant science and more! 

Here is the lineup for the Chocolate Garden weekend:

Friday, January 24 – 7:30 pm
Fete du Chocolat - three-course seated dinner with pairings and access to after-hour Garden Speakeasy

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, January 24-26
Artisan Village and Food Hall
- Food vendors
- Retail Vendors in pop up tents
- Chocolatiers 
- Specialty Gift Plants

Saturday & Sunday, January 25-26
Fresh From Fairchild Marketplace featuring the Milkshake Shoppe and Chocolate Lab
- Fresh from Fairchild pop-up shop
- Milkshake Shoppe blended by Whip’n Dip
     Milkshake Bar blending specialty milkshakes to order
- Chocolate Lab
  Chocolate Face Painting 
  Chocolate Painting
  Kids Chocolate Adventure
  Plant Science - From Plant to Chocolate Bar 
  And more!
Cinema au Chocolat: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory with nostalgic movie time snack
Mixology Lab: Sweets and Spirits at the Phillips Courtyard
Unique pairings of confections and chocolate with unexpected spirits
If Chocolat Could Talk Lecture Series
 - Dr. Matt Snow (Rare Fruit Council) 
- Brett Jestrow (FTBG Director of Collections)
- Jason Downing (FTBG Orchid Biologist)
- Dr. Carl Lewis (FTBG Director) 
- Dr. Alan Chambers (Tropical Fruit Geneticist) 

The Garden Kitchen
Saturday / Sunday
- Chocolate Bake Off
   Parent and child
  Saturday at 3pm
  Contest entry details will be announced via Fairchild’s social channels next week!

- Chocolate Pudding Pie Eating Contest”
   Chocolate Pudding Eating Contest 
  Sun at 3pm 
-Chef + Chocolate Collaborations 
Sat/Sunday 
Chef Adrienne Calvo 
Chef Allen Susser
Chef Ellen Kanner
The Salty Donut
Misha’s Cupcakes
Miami Fruit Club

Chocolate lovers will explore the  rainforest where they will be sure to learn something new through exploring the life cycle of a cacao plant. For many, it may be the first time to see a cacao plant growing firsthand in South Florida.

Throughout the day, the community will celebrate the art of chocolate though informative lectures on cooking with the unique ingredient and demonstrations from Miami's master chefs and chocolatiers.

To complete the sweet weekend, you will be able to explore the beer garden, enjoy the bounty of the gardens and explore unique culinary creations that utilize the star of the show, chocolate! Chocolate Garden is truly the most delicious festival in South Florida.

The festival is January 24-26, 2020
From 9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Admission is $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and up, $12 for children 6-17, and free for Fairchild members and children 5 and under. 


Fairchild membership special: Buy a Family Membership ($120), which admits two adults and children 17 and younger, and get one free adult and one free child ticket to The Nightgarden. A Friends and Family membership (four adults and children 17 and younger; $175) gets you two free adult and two free child tickets to The NightGarden. Fairchild membership includes unlimited daytime membership to the gardens, including during festivals such as the mango, chocolate and orchid festivals, plus the upcoming 2020 Dinosaur Exhibit.

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is located at 10901 Old Cutler Road.

For more information, please visit www.fairchildgarden.org or call 305 667 1651.
Stay up to date on the latest events & happenings at Fairchild Tropical Botanic by following @FairchildGarden

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, the historic botanical garden that is one of the premier conservation and education-based gardens in the world. They are currently celebrating their 81st anniversary.

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Chamber luncheon celebrates the Superbowl

The Coconut Grove Chamber of Commerce is having Superbowl themed luncheon on Friday, September 17 at the Mayfair Hotel.

Guest speaker is Rodney Barreto, Superbowl host committee chairman.

The luncheon from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm features cuisine by Mayfair's Chef Ted Mendez. There will be a wine tasting by South Beach Wine and Raffle Prize for an overnight stay at The Mayfair.

Pre-purchased online tickets $40 Members ~ $45 Non-Member

At the door: $45 Members ~ $50 Non-Member

The Mayfair Hotel is at 3000 Florida Avenue.

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Sunday, January 12, 2020

More scooter companies have joined the fray

These new Wheels scooters recently popped up around town.

You may have seen more scooters on the streets along with the blue Revel mopeds which are also popping up around town.

Currently, the initial run of 300 scooters is now 3000, a surfeit for sure according to many! Six original companies are now nine scooter companies. They run the gamut from Bird and Bolt to Lime, Lyft, Baus, Spin and so on. But keep in mind, the 3000 scooters are spread out over all of District 2, they aren't all in Coconut Grove. 

The scooter program is still in an initial pilot program and the City Commission will discuss their future. I'm not quite sure how they can be eliminated now, especially because of all the money they are bringing to the district, but two commissioners Monolo Reyes and Joe Carollo are opposed to the scooters.

I've heard complaints myself, but I'm still not quite sure what the issue is. I hear of people being run into by scooters, but I don't know if anyone who has witnessed this and don't know of anyone who knows anyone who has witnessed this.

As more and more parking spaces are taken away around the village, different means of transportation are needed. I see the scooters used constantly, so people do use them for short trips. One guy in my neighborhood in the North Grove, takes a scooter to work in the Center Grove, daily.

The scooters are currently only in our district, District 2, so I'm not sure why the other commissioners are receiving complaints or why it's their business what goes on in District 2.

Our District Commissioner Ken Russell is a friend to the scooters. He has requested that better safety measures be taken. I do see children on scooters with parents, you know, two to a scooter, which is not safe. And I do see scooters all over town, but never had one obstruct my path. 

The pilot program is extended until February 14. Commissioner Russell would like to see the nine scooter companies whittled down to three or four.

I've heard from people who say the only see kids fooling around on the scooters, but I beg to differ. I've mostly seen adults using them for more than just fun, they are using them for transportation. Stand in the center of the Grove at lunch time and you can see people zooming back and forth picking up lunch - a lot of the office workers and construction workers use them for this purpose. Tourist like them, too.

I often wonder how these are different than masses of cyclists taking over the streets. There are more cyclists on the streets daily than scooter riders. Should we remove bicycles?


Recently the Lime scooter company laid off 14% of its workforce and shut down operations in 12 markets. So the companies themselves may solve a lot of concerns through survival of the fittest.

As for the Revel mopeds, I've seen a few of them being used, but I know they are more strict with sign-ups. I was with a friend who was excited to sign up last week. We had lunch and then we walked down the block where we came upon a Revel. He filled in the form on the app, took a photo of himself, sent in his drivers license and did it all, only to be sent a message that the application is being reviewed. So they apparently do process and check out people who sign up for them. 

My friend ended up walking a block away and hopped on an orange Bolt scooter and zoomed off, he had already signed up for that and had been using them already.

On January 17, the scooter companies will be advised as to what the city would like to see from them in the way of safety changes. 

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Saturday, January 11, 2020

Woman's Club installs new officers

The Woman's Club of Coconut Grove has new officers for 2020-2022.

Seated from left: Fan Zhang, Second VP, Toni Valarezo First VP. Standing from left: Pat Vegnani, Treasurer (returning officer); Karen Cunningham, new elected Recording Secretary; Virginia Yermoli, President (returning officer); Anita Jenkins Installation officer; Anne MacDonald-Korth, Director (returning officer); Bobbi Rosenberger, Corresponding Secretary (returning officer); Charity Johnson, Ex-President and newly elected Director.

President Virginia Yermoli presents Nancy Marmesh, retiring recording secretary and Marlene Erven, Director, were given white and yellow roses to thank them for their help and dedication during the 2019-2020 election year. The roses symbolize the color of our club (gold and white) the yellow roses represent Friendship and Joy.

The Club will be celebrating their 129th anniversary in February.

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Friday, January 10, 2020

Bike to The Barnacle Bike Tour

Join Dade Heritage Trust and partners Bike Coconut Grove and Friends of the Commodore Trail on the beautiful ride on the Underline and the Commodore Trail to Coconut Grove featuring a tour of the historic Barnacle. This ride is Sunday, January 12.

Meet at Dade Heritage Trust at 190 SE 12 Terrace, Miami for a 10 am start. The ride ends around noon.

There is a cost for the ride - $5 for members, $10 for non-members. Which you can purchase here.

I asked Christine Rupp, Executive Director of Dade Heritage Trust about the charge. She said, "Dade Heritage Trust offers guided bike tours every month exploring urban Miami. We promote our tours via traditional and social media and through print materials as well. We offer stops and refreshments, and admission to all venues is covered by Dade Heritage Trust. We charge to help cover these expenses. Our rides are not simply rides but guided educational, informative and entertaining tours."

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A South Florida Food Feast is coming to the Grove

The Last Bite: A South Florida Food Feast is coming to Regatta Park on February 1.

The event, by Prism Creative Group, the same people behind The Miami Flea, will be from 5 to 9 pm. The event is free and open to the public.


Some of Miami’s favorite restaurants are part of the event for the one-day food festival covering all of the city’s cultures and cuisines. 


Over 30 local favorites like wood-fire pizza and Indian street food, to Cuban BBQ and nitrogen ice cream are part of the mix. There will also be a nice group of crafts and creations from artisans and local pop-up shops. Live music is part of the night, too.


Kick it off with happy hour and fresh sips at our several hand-crafted cocktail bars or Veza Sur’s luscious beer garden. Get yourself a smorgasbord of eats from The Last Bite’s many food concepts. Tune into musical performances by Bad Apples Brass Band, The Savants of Soul, and an epic headlining set by Locos For Juana. Gather together at the several lounges on-site or bring a blanket to take advantage of the breath-taking park.


Food vendors include Meraki Greek Food, Gaucho Ranch, Palomilla Grill, Azucar Ice Cream, Manjay Restaurant and Ma's Flan, just to name a few.


Regatta Park is located at 2700 S. Bayshore Drive.

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Thursday, January 09, 2020

It's last call for The Tavern in the Grove

Tavern in the Grove is closing after 33 years of doing business at 3416 Main Highway. Kim and Carmine Citro opened The Tavern on Halloween night, October 31, 1987. It seems to have always been a beloved dive bar right in the center of town; previously it was Hatties and The Hamlet and it's believed to have originally opened as a bar of one sort or another as far back as 1925.

The last official day is January 19, 2020. When it closes that night, that will be the end.

About a year ago Lee Kessler and Brett Dusharm bought the place. It would have died quietly if they had not stepped in. It was almost like a sale on the courthouse steps; they just took over the lease as-is at the last hour, Lee tells me.

"We thought it was a good move, we had to take over the lease - take it or leave it," says Lee. 

The landlords called in their option this week -  reclaiming the space - they have bigger ideas, one may be to expand the space into the former Maya Hatcha space behind it. 

So basically The Tavern was evicted, like so many of the institutions around the Grove these days. You can look up and down Main Highway, and Grand Avenue and Fuller Street and see empty storefronts where venerable Grove institutions once were - most gone because they were evicted, the landlords looking for more upscale and higher paying clients, killing the village and all its character in the process.

Alas, it's happening all over the country. After 200 years, Neir's Tavern in Queens New York, announced it's closing this month. 200 years! Because of high rent, what else?

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Join the Instagram Scavenger Hunt on Saturday

The BID is holding an Instagram Scavenger Hunt on Saturday, January 11. This family-friendly event will get you acquainted with the Grove's eclectic mix of merchants and boutiques as you make your way around the village.

The hunt is from noon to 3 pm.

Register for the event at Lokal located at 3190 Commodore Plaza and begin to explore the Grove. Or you can RSVP online here

Complete the Instagram posts first and take home a Panama Jack Beach Cruiser! The Spillover is the finish line and will have drink specials and fun games for the kids.

A valid Instagram account is required in order to play.

Also, as a side note, they are collecting new or gently used hoodies and jackets to provide to children in need.

Clues will be things like, "go to this store and take a picture in front of the mannequin in the window," or "take a photo on the bench in front of this store," etc.

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Nii Tei's Groove Tour Experience

DJ Nii Tei

A curated musical tour/bar crawl through Coconut Grove is taking place Saturday, January 18, all to raise money for the Castaways Against Cancer.

Castaways Against Cancer help find a cure, by raising funds for cancer fighting organizations mostly through kayaking. They have kayaked over 3000 miles in 20 years and raised over $1 million.

"I partnered up with Ghana born Nii Tei, who I feel is one of the most talented, up and coming DJs in Miami," said Dan Travieso, organizer of the event. 

"His vibe really fits well with our Grove vibe.  Together, we've put together a total of 14 DJs, who will be playing music across five stops. Although the crawl ends at Sandbar with Nii Tei, I'm having Symbiosis, a local DJ duo close out The Tavern.


"I've already done a few parties with them at The Tavern, and I think they'll give it a proper good bye. I expect the energy to be really high this night, as its going to be an emotional night for a lot of us," said Dan.

There are 5 stops and 10 DJs.

7:00 to 9:00 pm: Sandbar (Music by Coconut Groove)

8:30 to 10:30 pm: Oasis (Music by Sunny Side Up)

10:00 to midnight: Electric Cuda (Music by Deep Playa)

11:30 to 1:30 am: Tavern (Music by Castaways)

1:00 to 3:00 am: Sandbar (Music by Nii Tei)

Plus:

11:00 to 1:00 am: Miks (Lucid Project) at Sandbar
1:30 to 3:00 am: Symbiosis at the Tavern

Combo Ticket includes 5 free drinks (1 for each spot during the designated time) as well as some donated goodies. Proceeds from these ticket sales will benefit the Castaways Against Cancer. Tickets may be purchased here. They start at $20.00.

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