Pleasure and Sport Amid the Beauties of the Extreme Southern Coast of Florida
ON BISCAYNE BAY.
Pleasure and Sport Amid the Beauties of the Extreme Southern Coast of Florida.
To the Editor of the Brooklyn Eagle:
Away to the extreme end of the Florida peninsula, and yet but thirty-six hours from New York, is the new seaport city of Miami, the most southern town on the mainland of the United States, close to the very tropics, lying as it does between 25 and 26 degrees north of the equator. Biscayne Bay has been familiar to the yachtsman through many years of southern cruising and to the fisherman by successive seasons of sport, but to the ease loving and fastidious tourist, he of the Pullman car and palatial hotel, Biscayne Bay is a new land or enchanting beauty, a pleasure pot ripe for his enjoyment, with the most salubrious climate to be found anywhere in the world. Except for the occasional visit of a yachting party or the tedious sea trip by some small coaster from a Georgia, or northern Florida port this region was quite inaccessible until within a year ago. Then the Aladdin like influence which had opened the whole east coast of Florida to the tourist and settler found further opportunities to add to the domain of both pleasure and business by extending the Flagler system south, to Miami and thus founding a city and establishing a new seaport for the nation.
In traveling south, after leaving the orange growing section about the Indian River, the railroad skirts along the shores of the broad, lagoons, the scene varying each moment with the movement of the train; past the wide lying pineapple plantations, over the many inlets of the sea and through the new towns, everywhere gaining fresh evidence of tropical latitudes by the rank luxury of the natural growth. After passing Lake Worth and the massive hotels at Palm Beach a new country is traversed; now because, until two years ago, the foot of a white man had rarely been set upon it. It had been the popular fallacy that everything in Southern Florida was a wilderness of everglades, but to visit the region of the pineapple and to see the graceful cocoa palm, with its load of cocoa nuts growing In great clusters among the foliage, is to refute the idea, and, instead, proclaim it & country bountiful.
All trains reach Miami, which is the terminus of the railroad, after dark and one gains but a faint idea of the manifold beauties of the spot, except from the moonlit waters of the bay, as the carriage rolls up the boulevard to the Hotel Royal Palm.
Miami is situated on Biscayne Bay, at the point where the Miami River joins its waters with the bay. In early years it was an Indian trading station, and at various times prior to 1856 United States troops were stationed here, the port being known as Fort Dallas. The land about the river mouth — and, in fact, all up and down the broad waters of the bay — were taken up as homestead rights many years ago, and the natural growth of the oranges, bananas, sapadillos, limes and cocoanuts has been encouraged to the point of high class cultivation. Biscayne Bay is one of the most charming spots anywhere on the coast from Bar Harbor south. The enthusiastic yachtsman will rejoice in the expanse of blue waters, land locked by the Florida Keys, but having many inlets to the tempting Atlantic beyond. He will fraternize with the members of the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and enjoy the hospitality of Commodore Kirk Munroe, who is an author when he’s not a yachtsman.
The eager fisherman will have his hands full in trolling for the gamy kingfish, the dolphin or sea bass and other varieties, both weighty and sporty. The tarpon runs up the bay and is taken with a rod and reel on an ordinary line. The largest ever taken on the east coast was caught here and weighed 187 pounds.
The Hotel Royal Palm is of massive and yet thoroughly harmonious architecture. Built on a neck of land, there are pretty water views on three sides, the banks being fringed with the tall and graceful cocoa palms.
The more beautiful of the varied species of palm growth here is the royal palm, after which the hotel is named. Although indigenous to the West Indian Islands it flourishes here and is one of the sights. Bamboo trees and other exotics aid in the beauty of the landscape gardening.
From Miami the Flagler system operates two steamer lines, one to Key West, along and inside the coral reefs and keys which secures a smooth, quiet trip, and is a means of a very agreeable excursion. To Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas, the Florida-Bahamas Steamship Line has just put into commission the new steamship Miami, especially built for this service by the Cramps. In marine beauty and artistic modeling she surpasses any like steamer of her class, while her staterooms and general furnishings are more generous than are found on many of the ocean liners. The pleasure of a visit to Nassau and the interesting sights and scenes of its native population will thus become intensified, for good fare and mellow comforts should keep company with the beauties of tropical foliage and the iridescent tints of the sea gardens.
Miami, Biscayne Bay, Fla., February , 1898.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) 14 Feb 1898
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