The Vizcaya Museum, which suffered damage from wind and flooding during Hurricane Irma, will reopen to the public Monday even as some repairs and cleanup continue at the famed mansion’s basement shop and cafe and its gardens.
Most of the garden areas and all 32 decorated rooms in the main house will be open to visitors, administrators said. The cafe and shop remain closed temporarily, but Vizcaya will “soon” have a limited menu of sandwiches and cold drinks for sale.
“While Vizcaya’s natural environment was severely impacted by Hurricane Irma, the gardens remain intact and beautiful, including the majestic oaks at their center,” said Ian Simpkins, Vizcaya’s deputy director of horticulture and urban agriculture, in a statement. “The endangered rockland hammock surrounding the gardens suffered severe damage, but will bounce back under our care.”
The elaborate bayfront Coconut Grove estate, the former winter home of International Harvester tycoon James Deering, is a National Historic Landmark and is celebrating its centennial.
Irma sent bay waters surging over Vizcaya’s famous stone barge up to its railings and rolled halfway up the outdoor stairs to the main house. The storm also submerged the gardens and deposited seaweed everywhere. The main problem, as it was during Hurricane Wilma in 2005, was flooding of the villa’s lower floor, which includes the swimming pool and the cafe and shop, which used to be Deering’s game room. The water was kept out for a while by heavy storm doors installed after Wilma, but eventually infiltrated the basement.
Vizcaya administrators say orchids in the David A. Klein Orchidarium were removed before the storm and remain in greenhouses for protection. The Boat Landing, Tea House, Marine Garden and the Mound stairway are closed to visitors while repairs are made and some other smaller garden areas may periodically be closed as well while cleanup and replanting continues.