Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fruit and Spice Park, Miami, FL

The Fruit and Spice park is unique place to visit in Miami with its wide variety of specimens located on 37-acres. The parks climate is of a tropical natural which allows the growth of over 500 varieties of fruits, spices, herbs, and nuts. My favorite thing about this park is that you can sample different fruits as a guide takes you on a tram through the area. Another bonus feature is the Mango Cafe where visitors can have lunch. You can visit their website at: 


The Annatto or “Lipstick tree” is a unique tropical species which has a purpose that makes it fun to come across. It was nice to see it again since it reminded me of my trip to Costa Rica in 2010 (pictures below). The Central and South American natives use the seeds to make a body paint and lipstick.  In our modern day, it is more common to see it on product labels from natural food companies who use the reddish or yellowish powder to dye butter and cheese. This a good alternative for buyers who want to stay away from red dyes.

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Inside the fuzzy red shell are the seeds which produce the red dye.


Many are familiar with the pineapple, but did you know that it is a member of the Bromeliaceae family which has about 2,877 different species! If you are interested in growing a pineapple as a house plant, the ornamental pineapple is a more attractive chose. Just like any plant, it needs proper and tender care. Pineapples prefer a sunny location, warm weather and moderate watering.

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There are so many pineapple varieties to try. If you are partial to pineapples, feel free to exercise your creativity. In Costa Rica, I learned that their spiny leaves make a nice barrier to keep pest out of the garden.

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The various herbs and spices each have a unique smell that makes the tour more pleasurable. The allspice (left) and lemon grass (right) have a powerful smell which thankfully is pleasant. You are probably familiar with allspice as a ingredient in cooking recipes.


This variety of passion flower produces edible fruit. Passion flower can be found in certain teas.

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The different fruits, nuts, and other plants each have distinct characteristics such as smell and texture. At each stop along the way in the tram, visitors can get a closer look at the plants.

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My brother is ready to “spice” things up a bit as I bring this tour to a close. It was so much fun sharing my pictures and experience with you! I look forward to sharing with you my next blog entry. Have a great week!

Elizabeth’s Traveling Tip: Do not go by the internet prices on admission. Call to confirm the price.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Famous Structures D.C.


The National Mall is one of the monuments that comes to mind when I visualize Washington D.C. Many more agree that this is a famous landmark and it becomes even more evident when you consider that as many as 24 million visit it each year!

Capitol and Elizabeth

The U.S. Capitol is probably on most visitors “top things to see” list. Yes, I’ve passed by it before, but this trip our family was fortunate enough to arrive just as a tour of the Capitol was starting! You can see the tour in one of my past entries.


The National Archives and Records Administration deals with preserving and documenting historical records along with educating the public on the history behind many of the documents. This is where the documents we treasure most are held. (This was also one of the main buildings to be featured on the movie “National Treasure”). The most famous articles housed there are the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, 1297 Magna Carta, and the Bill of Right. Though faded and old, I couldn’t help but be amazed as I took in the fact that the most famous of these, The Declaration of Independence, is more than 200 years old!


This monument stands in front of the Capitol and presents a scene from the Civil War. This statue assists the viewer in feeling the emotion of the bloody battle where brother fought against brother as each side fought for what they believed. The leader on this monument raises his spear as one of his soldiers falls alongside his horse. This monument helps to capture the drama played out in the Civil War.


This statue is the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial which is another monument proudly erected in front of the U.S. capitol. We owe much gratitude to this general who helped to win the Civil War.


On our way to the National Archives and Records Administration, our paths crossed the U.S. Navy Memorial which is dedicated to those who served in the Navy. The Lone Sailor Statue was crafted in 1990 by sculptor Stanley Bleifeld. The sailor stands upon a large world map named ‘Granite Sea’ which replicates the oceans of Sea.


These plaques are another part of memorial which pays tribute to sailors who served in the U.S. Navy. This memorial along with all the others, helps us remember the history and what was required to make our country a nation. May we never take for granted the lives that were sacrificed for our sake.