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Travel Review December 2018
South Beach Walking Tour Part I of II Page I of II
This walking tour was part of a Tour Guide Certification Course that I completed at Miami Dade College North in early 2016. It was in preparation for our upcoming tours here in South Florida. Rewind the tape back to the late 1960's and I was on the same campus taking gymnastics class as part of my curriculum at Lillie C. Evans Elementary School near Liberty City in Miami, Fl. The campus was yet a decade old and I remember it as being called Miami Dade Community College back in those days. I must be getting older because the students on campus looked like they belonged in grade school themselves. Smile!
One of the issues that I worried about was parking. If you have visited South Beach via automobile you know what I mean. There are No Parking Signs everywhere! As such I decide to call the South Beach visitor center before my visit and they were kind enough to steer me to a reasonably priced parking garage/deck just blocks away on I think 7th Street. I seem to remember the cost being about $4 or so for about three hours of parking and the walk to the tour starting point at 10th and Ocean Drive was an easy 5 minutes or so.
I arrived about 10 A.M., 30-minutes before tour start, in order to have a chance to look around and observe the operations and guests before we venture out. It was pretty neat and business savvy that the tour sign-in was located in the South Beach Visitor Center and gift shop where one could purchase souvenirs, pick up maps and brochures, and access restrooms around back. I found the staff very friendly and cordial as we were required to sign a release of liability upon check in at the center. I counted 26 guests in our initial group as we were given a sticker to ID us after forking over the $20/Adult, or $15/Students/Seniors. Our volunteer guide introduced herself as Gina who said that she was from New York and had been in Miami since 1988. Tagging along were Julie and Chris as guides in training.
We departed precisely at 10:30 A.M. after the introduction and learning that we had folks from as far away as London, England (Abroad); and New York (USA). Some of the guests looked quite surprised when they learned that I was from across the bay in Miami. Their intrigue, however, was not enough to make one inquiry of my life as a native. Perhaps they thought that I would charge them since I wore my yellow Queen City Tourssm polo shirt. Our guide stated that Miami Beach extended from 1st to 88th Street (south to north) and from the Atlantic ocean to the Biscayne Bay (east to west). We also learned that everything on this island was manmade beginning in the late 1800's and the early developers were Mr. Charles Lund from New York who started a coconut plantation, investor Mr. John Collins (Collins Avenue) from New Jersey who pioneered the agriculture industry with avocados, etc., and the Lummus Brothers (Lummus Park) who were Bean Counters a.k.a. bankers.