Back to Back Issues Page
Florida Heritage Travel, September 2011
August 30, 2011

September 2011 News And Events

Florida Heritage Travel is the companion monthly e-zine of


The Biltmore in Coral Gables is a historic treasure that you can still visit. You can spend a night or a weekend in one of their luxurious rooms; have dinner or brunch or drinks in one of many fabulous restaurants; and swim in one of the largest pools you have ever seen.

Coral Gables was developed by the visionary George E. Merrick, who also founded the University of Miami. The wide landscaped boulevards, Spanish themed homes and office buildings, golf courses and country clubs still make it one of the most beautiful cities in Florida more than 85 years later after its founding.

Merrick and his associates opened the Biltmore in January 1926. It was an instant success, drawing people from all over the world. Among its many famous guests in the early years were the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Bing Crosby, Ginger Rogers, Judy Garland and Al Capone. President Franklin D. Roosevelt even had a temporary "White House" office set up in the Biltmore where he stayed while on South Florida fishing trips.

The great hotel began to go downhill during the Depression of the 1930's, and during World War Two it became a military hospital. Many of its windows were boarded over and stuccoed. It began to become an embarrassing eyesore. For a while it was also the location of the University of Miami School of Medicine. It remained a VA hospital until 1968, and in 1973 the City of Coral Gables finally took ownership. Nobody wanted the poor old faded building. The Biltmore was unoccupied after this for almost 10 years, a huge abandoned structure with a dazzling history.

In 1983 the City began a full restoration. After $55 million and almost 4 years, the Biltmore opened again on December 31, 1987. It has been continually upgraded and is one of the finest hotels in Florida. Any visit to the Miami area should include the Biltmore.


Thanks for continuing to subscribe to Florida Heritage monthly e-zine. Florida Backroads Travel continues to grow, and we hope you enjoy these updates.

I continue to automate Florida Backroads Travel so that any updates I make are posted automatically to my Mike Miller Facebook page and are tweeted on my Twitter page. You can also subscribe to our Florida Blog by going to our home page and selecting an RSS feed. This way you will have daily updates.

September in Florida, especially later in the month, begins to give us some relief from the miserable heat and humidity of summer. Every once in a while a gentle breeze and ideal temperature will have people exclaiming "This is why I moved to Florida".

Here are some interesting events around Florida for September 2011.


FLORIDA WINERIES. Check the Florida winery nearest you. Many of them have wonderful weekend events that include music and wine tastings. Our site has information on 18 wineries scattered across the state.

FLORIDA FESTIVALS. The weather is not quite so hot and humid, but there are fewer outdoor art festivals. There are still quite a few folk and bluegrass music festivals this time of the year.

FLORIDA MUSEUMS. Many Florida art and historical museums have scheduled events. Click on the links to find out what is going on.

FLORIDA THEATER. This is an active time for plays and musical events in our many Florida theaters.. Check the links to find out what might be interesting to you.

FLORIDA AUTHORS. September is a good time to relax on a beach or in a park or in a hammock on your lanai and read a book by a Florida author. Our most visited author page is that of Randy Wayne White, the creator of Doc Ford.


Summer's Edge: Labor Day Weekend Celebration. September 2-4. The Merchants of Seaside host an end of summer celebration with a host of events ranging from music to movies to a farmers market. Enjoy a Friday evening movie under the stars, then the Saturday morning Seaside Farmers Market, followed by a night of live music! Close out the weekend with another movie on Sunday night!.


White Springs
7th annual Suwanee Old Time Music Weekend, September 9-11. Friends of Florida Folk sponsor this event which has lots of workshops by nationally renowned musicians. A real celebration of old-time music at the Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park.

Gainesville and Tallahassee. The Florida Gators and the Florida State Seminoles each have 3 home games in September on the 3rd, 10th and 17th. Look for some busy weekends and make sure you have your rooms booked early. Here is the Gator Football Schedule and the Seminole Football Schedule.


St. Augustine
Florida Heritage Book Festival. September 23-24. Downtown St Augustine. This year Peter Matthiessen and Randy Wayne White will be honored at the Literary Legends Banquet. In addition to the banquet, events include author presentations, children's and young adult programs and a writers conference.


Cocoa Beach
Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. September 9-25. Surfside Players. This play by Tennessee Williams is directed by Jennifer Wolf. In an elegant southern plantation home, the members of the family gather to celebrate the sixty-fifth birthday of "Big Daddy," the patriarch of the family. This play is a classic study of human interaction, fear and denial of truth.


The Secret Garden. August 19-September 4. Highlands Little Theater, downtown Sebring. This enchanting children's literature classic is reimagined in brilliant style by Lucy Simon and Marsha Norman. Mary Lennox returns to Yorkshire to live with Uncle Archibald and his invalid son Colin. The estate's many wonders include a magic garden which beckons the children with haunting melodies and the "Dreamers", spirits from Mary's past. Songs include "Lily's Eyes" and "Hold On". Orchestration provided by The MT Pit.


Gulfport Art Walk. First Friday and Third Saturday of each month from 6-10pm. This little community is tucked into the middle of the St. Pete - Clearwater metro area. Check out the artists and soak in Gulfport’s authentic “Old Florida” atmosphere. View and buy works from over 50 artists and crafters, as well as authors, antique dealers and entertainers stretched over a half-mile up and down scenic Beach Boulevard. Enjoy Gulfport’s unique shops, boutiques and galleries, and enjoy dinner at one of over a dozen fine restaurants within the Art District.


Jazz On The Gulf. September 24, 7-10 pm. This is the last jazz event of the "off season" at the Naples Beach Hotel and Gulf Club. This is one of the best attended events, especially by locals, in southwest Florida. It is free, just bring your music ears and a chair to sit on. The concert takes place on the green next to the beach on the hotel grounds.


Miami Home Show. September 2-6. Miami Beach Convention Center. The Southeast's largest home improvement event returns on Labor Day weekend. Thousands of products and services will be on display. The Home Design & Remodeling Show is a unique marketplace that enables homeowners to experience the products and services first hand, talk one-on-one with the experts and get personalized advice to plan individual home improvement projects. The wide variety of displays will provide inspiration to improve, update and renovate the home. Consumers can shop onsite, compare products in person and save with the special show prices offered throughout the event.

Information on the towns and places hosting these events, or near them, including lodging, can be found at Florida Towns.

If these events aren't convenient for you, try here for ADDITIONAL EVENTS.

In our current slow economy, some events are cancelled on very short notice. I do my best to ensure that our information is correct and current, but I recommend you call before leaving for the event to make sure it's still on.


Pasta Faire of Belleview
10401 SE U.S. Highway 441
Belleview, Florida 34420

Thanks for subscribing to Florida Heritage Travel. We will see you next month with more updates and event information.

Regards, Mike Miller
Chief Backroads Traveler

Back to Back Issues Page