How we chill in kooky South Florida
Everything we love about South Florida — its remarkable natural beauty, its colorful history and its playful kookiness — coalesces in a single event on Sunday night as the Miami Symphony Orchestra performs at the bottom of the Venetian Pool, once it has been drained of its 820,000 gallons.
The 7 p.m. concert at the pool is the final event of the City of Coral Gables’ celebration of its 90th anniversary. The event is a throwback to concerts held during the early days of the pool, created in 1923 from a coral rock quarry and fed by a natural subterranean aquifer that allows it to be drained and filled daily.
A unique combination of coral, grottos and waterfalls, the Venetian Pool is unlike any public pool you’ll see in any other city. For more than two decades it has been Get daily updates on South Florida entertainment and things to do at South Florida.com and on Twitter at @Ben Crandell a must-see destination in the regular tours of Miami that Fort Lauderdale author Thomas Swick has led for out-of-town friends. A few weeks ago he visited the pool with an Iranian friend, now living in Phoenix.
“It was built way before water parks, way before Disney World, but it has that kind of fantasy feel to it. You go in there and you don’t feel like you’re in a public swimming pool, you feel like you’re transported to this kind of fantasy land,” says Swick, one of South Florida’s most eloquent correspondents, and for many years the travel editor of the Sun Sentinel.
On Tuesday, Skyhorse Publishing will publish a new book of Swick’s writing, “The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them.” The book includes a collection of personal essays on what he has identified as “the seven fundamental pleasures of travel”: anticipation, movement, break from routine, novelty, discovery, emotional connection and heightened appreciation of home. One of the essays was published in shortened form in “The Best American Travel Writing of 2014.”
The essays are accompanied in the second half of the book by Swick’s travel stories, each in its way a small memoir, set in such diverse destinations as Warsaw, Munich, Bangkok, Sicily, Myanmar, Iowa and Key West. The stories are meant to illustrate the “joys” he finds and open our eyes to the moments that we take for granted, often obscured by the splash of the typical travel story.
“The sights get all the publicity, but … anticipation, novelty, discovery — you don’t photograph these things, but I really think they are essential to the travel experience,” he says.
Swick will discuss the themes in the book at an appearance 8 p.m. May13 at Books and Books in Coral Gables (265 Aragon Ave.), not far from the Venetian Pool (2701 Desoto Blvd.). Info: BooksAndBooks.com, ThomasSwick.com.
The Venetian Pool is closed Sunday for the anniversary party, and reopens Tuesday. Hours are 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission: $13, $8 ages 3-12 ($5.50, $4.50 for Gables residents). Info: CoralGables.com.
Sunday’s performance by the Miami Symphony Orchestra is $90, and ’20s attire is encouraged. For more information, call 305-460-5344 or email cvester@coralga-
Questlove will do a DJ set Saturday night at Basement Miami, followed by a Sunday afternoon performance with the Roots at SunFest in downtown West Palm Beach.