Welcome Home.

(To see the BIG picture,see the mega-pics at http://www.panoramio.com/photo/58677183)

1737 SW 12 Street, Miami, FL 33135

email: crockettartworks@bellsouth.net

Featured on www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p173947

Located adjacent to “the Mission” :

web log: www.welcometothemission.net/

The “Compound:” the long, straight driveway between the two properties leads to the unlikely urban lushness of Lost Reef Cottage Gardens. The Mission sits next door watchfully and in quiet dignity, as it has since the construction of its “newcomer” neighbor, in 1937.

The exact location of the Cottage can be seen at http://www.shortenurl.com/GoogleMap_Cottage

For a panoramic glimpse of “street view,” check out the mind-bending technology of Google Maps at  http://www.shortenurl.com/GoogleMap_Cottage




Side GardenSide Garden, View.

Devoted to the Playful Pursuit and Passionate Refinement of the
Great ‘Florida Dream.’ ”

pano posting_Watercolor_1


The salvaged Yellow Gate below (once a proud screen door frame to a New Old Spanish home in Coral Gables)  sits at the end of the driveway reserved for your use, and that of any guests you might have, during your stay. It is your private entrance, and a portal to a more soothing, delightful, and greener, world.


Once you’ve stepped through the yellow door, life can seem just a bit more sweet. There are abundant (and most unlikely!) mysteries to explore in that lush green place, by night and by day.






One of the first you will come upon is an ancient coral reef, ages since “petrified” to limestone, that we unearthed after removing the field of thick grey pavement that had thickly smothered the entire area for decades. It was easy to imagine that the the Earth was rejoicing at finding itself suddenly able to breathe again, at last!


Upon walking into the garden, you will likely hear the sound of gently falling water from here and there, and the gentle song of wind chimes hung in the branches high above..  You may pause for a moment to look upward, which never hurts!



F you are considering the Cottage as a possible “home away from home” while in Miami, we are honored, and offer heartfelt thanks for your interest. Please feel free to contact us should you have any questions or concerns with which we might be able to help you, in any way. We genuinely want you to be happy, so it is our practice to try to really listen, to answer all questions as fully and honestly as we are able, and to happily share whatever thoughts we might have on a question important to you.

Our focus is not as much necessarily “selling” the house; the reviews and the place itself seem to take care of that themselves. This seems to work for us.

View of the ultra-cool and comfortable sleeping loft, the “second bedroom.” There’s something about it that kids, and many grown-up people that are actually willing to cop to once having been kids themselves, just love.

Our intention is more to be truly of service; to help you evaluate for yourselves whether this unique property might meet your unique needs.We understand that travel involves some measure of stress, generally, and also realize that although lodging is only one component of planning out your trip, it is certainly among the most critical and important. We also recognize that renting a home you’ve not actually seen from people you don’t yet know, involves a leap of faith. We honor that confidence as a sacred trust, and act accordingly, in every way.

We are here to help. Period. We are big fans of the “Golden Rule,” and hope that you are, too.

In that spirit, we can offer our assurances that if you do come, you will quite likely be very glad that you did.

Master Bedroom

AS soon as you’ve arrived and had a chance to look around, it will become immediately obvious that you are in a “different kind of place,” in a most fortunate way. You will have found a true oasis for good rest and refreshment during your time in Miami, right in the center of it all, and your stay will be the richer and better for it.

At a minimum you will find a clean, comfortable, and thoughtfully designed place, surrounded on all sides by the unique wonders of Florida’s lavish natural bounty, to discover together and to share, and (we profoundly hope!) to enjoy.

3 great room panoIt has all been prepared for you, every bit of it: much that you will see and encounter as the days pass, and quite likely still more that you never might But you’ll definitely feel it, anyway.

We feel fortunate indeed to live in a place so fantastical, but it is all given meaning in the sharing. Please do come, and make yourself at home. We would be honored to have you.


Your happy hosts: Paul Hampton Crockett, Alan Langdon

Thank you!

A Small Miracle: The Discovery of a Coral Reef in One’s Backyard.

The “Florida Dream” lives on!

We could not have been more surprised, nor delighted, to unearth an ancient coral reef in our very own backyard in Miami.  Having removed the 1930’s vintage concrete driveway and surrounding backyard pavement, with the intention of creating a hardwood “hammock” (the name for Miami’s jungle-like forest, derived from an ancient Native American word for “dry land.”), we started to get a little excited upon seeing the first peaks of the formation rising up from beneath the nasty, rubble-filled earth closer to surface.

Something was down there, but we could not really have any idea, what!  Nor could we have had any idea what a journey of discovery awaited!

FirstFirst Sighting.

batch 002 g.  2 Two Weeks Later.

How wonderful a thing, we felt (as we do still) to encounter such a marvel not only on the property, but situated exactly where it might have been placed for maximum effect, garden-wise. There it sits,  this reminder of the ancient origins of all life on this planet in the sea, and an unlikely remnant of the great primal wilderness that for millenia uncounted kept the Earth and sea here wrapped tight in its ancient embrace, a place so rich with all kinds of life, that we can no longer even begin to imagine what it might have really been like.

The waters in which it first took shape are long gone, having taken a different course and left it stranded and dry.  But it is still here, and proud. (The more years any of us have gathered under our belts, it seems to me,the greater our appreciation of those most basic qualities.)

The “Lost Reef,” I believe, is of the same altitude, and part of the same ancient formation shown here around the turn of the century, at the place known by Miami’s earliest settlers as the Miami River Rapids.  It was just here, a site that would today be located very near NW 27th Avenue, that the great Glades reached their Eastern edge, draining into a pristine Miami River that then flowed four miles out into Biscayne Bay.  Hard to imagine, is it not, that only a century ago the Everglades lay only a couple of miles from where the Cottage now sits?  Yet it is true, and here we have proof!

Thank you.

An Invitation to a Magical Place.


Hydro-Aero POST

DESPITE its multi-cultural clumsiness and considerable array of very real big city problems, Miami remains at its mysterious heart a jewel of rare quality. A “new” city in relative terms, incorporated only in 1896, this grand vision of a moonlit Metropolis arising from the swamp has always drawn in unreasonable numbers the dreamers, rogues, knaves, and visionaries called by the dream or come to exploit it. That remains so.

Mouth River BayWhen the world was younger: the mouth of a pristine, crystal-clear Miami River at Biscayne Bay, 1900’s

IN a sense we have all washed up upon its shores, bearing the cargo of our own cultural assumptions, beliefs, ways, dreams, and contributions. So here we are. And where are we to head from here? I have little idea, and that’s all right. In fact, to me that’s what makes it all interesting. This city, my home town and the backdrop of my life thus far, refuses absolutely to be bound by “reason,” or any logic other than its own dynamic becoming.

Brickell Avenue 2

Miami “once upon a time”: Brickell Avenue (above), Ocean Drive, early ‘20’s (below). Imagine.

Ocean Drive 1924

THE apparent chaos that is today’s Miami is by no means for everybody. Yet for the engaged and curious, those of sufficiently stubborn disposition, hopefully some sense of humor, and an open heart, the place is alive, virtually electrified with possibility, with an unparalleled breadth and range of experience, perspectives, and connections all freely available for the plucking. Whatever might be the purpose of your stay, our simple and singular intention is to make it as comfortable and refreshing as possible. To put it simply, the Cottage and its gardens have been created, tended, and loved as a sanctuary, all for the sharing.

Two notable beacons of early Miami’s hospitality—Above, the first hotel in Dade County as of 1880— the Peacock Inn in Cocoanut Grove (the old spelling), situated on the present day site of its bayfront Peacock Park. Below: Henry Flagler’s Royal Palm Hotel, to the Miamians of the time sure evidence that their city had “arrived,” and accordingly situated prominently on the Bay, and north shore of the River.  The sprawling wooden building, built of entire local forests of native pine and painted the pastel lemon color known as “Flagler Yellow,” not only set a new standard for luxury accommodation in Miami but part and parcel of Flagler’s decision to extend his railroad to the “Miami frontier.”  That alone was reason enough.

Royal Palm Hotel, view-1

This being Miami, no trace of either survives.  But for the now, and we hope for a long, long time to come, the Cottage porch lights shines into the night, awaiting the hour of your glorious arrival.

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Please come.

FROM the multi-colored clay barrel tile capping roof and tower above to the tile floor within, no expense has been spared in renovating and enhancing the property to both honor its past and to offer its guests the modern comforts they desire.

Its furnishings and decorations are eclectic and both modern and antique, reflecting that elusive spirit of magic that has drawn so many here over the years. Original art by Paul Hampton Crockett decorates the walls.(www.growingintothemystery.net)  An excellent, quirky library invites a guest to curl up with a good book and enjoy some quiet time.

Faerie Reef CULost Reef Cottage, detailP. Crockett

The cottage is available for short or longer-term rental. Central a/c, security system, driveway parking privileges. Central, convenient, and easily accessible location. Enjoy Miami as the natives do. At least the lucky ones!


A GREAT Location.

Funky Map


While not much of a map to rely upon for actual navigation, admittedly, images such as the above do serve their purpose, and lead us somewhere. If you’re simply looking to get from “here” to “there,” you will find easily available a multitude of ordinary maps.  They will be used and forgotten.  Images such as the one above, on the other hand, can point the way toward realms deeper and more mysterious, especially when the imagination is willing.  They offer reflections of the “Great Florida Dream,” itself!

If you are visiting Miami for the first time, or haven’t been back in a while, it’s well worth taking a little time to think about the areas of town that are most likely to serve you well as a “home base.” If you want to be near the South Beach or Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Coconut Grove, Brickell, North Miami, Key Biscayne, or Downtown areas, but not in any of them, our location is unparalleled.


View larger map

Even if you aren’t exactly sure what you will be doing during your visit or where you’ll be spending your time, it’s a great idea to take a look at a map and get a general feel for where you might want to be. Even a few minutes would be time well spent. My suggestion would be that you visit Google’s map for the home’s address, 1737 SW 12 Street, Miami FL 33135 (shown above).

In that map, should you stop to consider it, you will find a truly excellent tool for getting your bearings, either by using the “directions” tab up top or just working with the box that automatically pops open right next to the green arrow marking the spot, and typing in addresses, either to or from the house, or other areas, addresses, places of interest, or attractions in which you might have an interest.

Mia River Brickell Pt View_e

Should you recognize this view, you will have somehow made a really wrong turn or two, and be be time traveling. Please don’t be alarmed: there are familiar landmarks to provide comfort. Here you’d be standing exactly where the city’s downtown as we now know it sits, gazing southwards toward a Miami River that might seem suspiciously clean.

Or, just closing the box and playing with the zoom (in and out) and/or “pan” features of the map will provide an excellent “visual” on the lay of the land, helping you decide where you might like to lay claim to your own “place in the sun.”

However you might choose to do a little homework, you may be very glad you did. First, Miami is a big place, geographically. Roughly 40 linear miles (or about 64 km.) of highway connect its northern boundary (let’s say Miami Shores) and its southern tip (at Homestead). In an urban area as intense and convoluted as this one-of-a-kind subtropical metropolis, that covers an awful lot of ground, a journey in space and time that can seem almost surreal. The place is cobbled together, too, of an astonishing number of different neighborhoods of all kinds, large and small, along the way. In many of those areas you’re just as likely to hear two languages as one, and in some of those English will not be among them.

Then, there’s the traffic. It gets worse and worse. Miami was recently ranked 4th in the nation for congestion in the 2007 National Urban Mobility Report (just ahead of Philadelphia, and second behind L.A.), and that is most definitely not good news.

All of that said, Miami is indeed a wonderful place, bursting with rare opportunities and blessed with beautiful vistas of land, sea, and Florida’s famously big sky. With just a little forethought, you’ll have done your best to make the memories of your stay here sweet ones. You can always sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, or be cut off, cursed out, or generally driven to your wits end back home, or on another trip!

Land Boom POST

In Pursuit of the BIG Picture.

panoram 3

Moorish Fountain Patio

IN our never-ending quest to bring you a more powerful and useful “virtual” experience of that fanciful (yet completely real) and wondrous place that we call Lost Reef Cottage, we venture boldly forth into the brave new world of Windows’ Panoramio, a web site at which photographs roughly the size of freight cars (stitched together of many smaller shots), may be uploaded for your viewing pleasure.  The “computer thing” is not everybody’s cup of tea, we realize and certainly understand. Therefore, no quiz will be given. Yet we figured it a worthy experiment, to see if people considering the properties might find useful another point of view.

So, if you’d like to take a look at a few epic-scale photos of the Cottage and its gardens, and/or a couple of its neighboring “book-end” rental property, The Mission, (which is, after all, part of the sprawling green urban oasis, and an inseparable part of its unique and “green” ambience),

Al fresco

A Wonderful Site to Dine al Fresco.

Then just visit http://www.panoramio.com/photo/58677220, and have a look around.

Thank you.

The Yellow Garden Gate marking the entrance to the Coral-Bench Garden area, one of many outdoor “rooms.”

We All LOVE the Water…

An Inviting Ocean.

And it’s true, we have no pool at the Cottage. But that is far from the end of the story, if you love being outside, in the water.

We are just a stone’s throw from Biscayne Bay and from the Atlantic Ocean, as well as a number of perfectly fine (and in some cases absolutely magnificent!) swimming pools. So if you love the idea of refreshing yourself with a steady stroke or an aimless splash in cool clean water, and then basking in the Florida sunshine, you should definitely be aware of these options.

As a boy growing up in Miami, my closest friends and I spent much of our time in the water, yet only a fraction of that in pools. So pools were a special thing for us. We all learned to swim at the local Shenandoah Pool, in fact, one that is only blocks from the Cottage and quite wonderful.

Shenandoah Pool, 1805 SW 22nd Ave, Miami, FL 33145
Tel. : (305) 856-9549

Several of our guests have enjoyed that pool, finding it quite nice, generally uncrowded, and only blocks from the Cottage (1.1 miles or 3 minutes, according to Google maps). Admission will set you back $1.00!

On a grander (and suitably more expensive) scale is the truly legendary Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, which has provided a refreshing and delightful adventure for generations of Miamians and our visitors.

Advertisement, 1929

This extraordinary man-made, spring-fed watering hole reclaimed from a coral-rock quarry offers an experience I cannot recommend highly enough, for children of all ages. Take a look at their web site: http://www.coralgablesvenetianpool.com/

Cool, clean water fed by an underground spring, sparkling waterfalls and darkened watery caves (where passage can be made from one to the other, just underwater)!  What more drama or adventure could anyone ask of a public pool?

Miami Venetian Pool 6_e

Biscayne Morning____P. Crockett

Growing up, most of our swimming time was spent in open salt water, either Biscayne Bay or the Great Ocean.  The majestic Bay seemed a second home to my particular group of young rapscallions.  We called her “Mother Bay,” for she welcomed us always in her blue openness, taught and entertained us, and at the end of the day provided the patient solace of natural beauty.  She was so good to us.  We loved her then, and always will.

Crandon Park Beach, Key Biscayne.

We will always look back on those days, our home base a deluxe tree-house in the mangrove forest abutting Villa Vizcaya. We paddled around on homemade rafts in open water, and explored winding coves so lush and green we could easily imagine that we’d somehow been transported to the Amazon. We were often joined by the peaceful manatees, who’d swim alongside. Such quiet moments, under big open sky, will remain sweet in our memories for as long as we are able to remember beauty.

Think about it: aren’t such scenic journeys much more what the “dream of Florida” are all about than any thing or place made by the hand of Man?

Bear Cut, Key Biscayne.

Take a step beyond the “hotel pool” or its generic equivalents, I dare you! You already know exactly what that experience is like, so what afterwards will you have to remember that is special?  Take a step beyond what you know.  You will be glad that you did.

And you and those you love just might find and experience together an unforgettable adventure! That, you can’t put a price on.

Mia River Brickell Pt View_e
The places listed below offer some of the most beautiful vistas in the city, if not the State, and really should not be missed. They often serve to remind me of the much more quiet and beautiful soul underlying this crazed city! I go to these places when I need them, and they are always there for me, awaiting patiently. Each is easily worth a trip for its own sake. (The locations can be “plugged” in to the Google map linked to the Cottage( http://tinyurl.com/cottage-bearings) to get an exact “visual” on location, distance, and route. All distances are measured from the Cottage.)

Moonrise, Bear Cut

Go on: get sand between your toes! You never know; you might catch a glorious sunset, find the most delicious hot dog you’ve ever bought from a seaside hot dog stand (OK, for that one, you gotta be hungry! : ) ), or see real live birds soaring overhead that you might have seen before only frozen flat in picture books.

Photographs by Katy Eric Raits.

Personally, “you never know” is exactly the way I like to take my adventures.

Here are a few places to get yourself wet and enjoy:


These are all excellent and generally very safe places to head out with your beach towels and… whatever:

Hobie Island Beach Park, Key Biscayne 2.8 Mi.

Biscayne Day! P.Crockett

Virginia Key Beach, Key Biscayne 4.2 Mi.

Crandon Park Beach, Key Biscayne 7.2 Mi.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne 7.0 Mi.

Lummus Park, Miami Beach (South Beach) 6.0 Mi.

South Beach P.Crockett


Cool clean chlorinated waters await in a number of public pools within convenient proximity of the Cottage. To view a larger image of the map above, just click on it. You can then return with the back arrow in the browser, to the upper left of your screen.

To get to this map yourself, and thus be able to click on the available links for more information, etc., just visit the link mentioned above:http://tinyurl.com/cottage-bearings , click on the blue “Find Businesses” tab right in the top middle, and enter “public swimming pools” as a search.

Wherever you decide to do your swimming, do it safe and have a ball!


So Much to See!

BY request, here are a few more views of the Cottage, including its simple but excellent bathroom.

Since it’s always helpful to begin with a vantage point for perspective, we’ll start here in the Master Bedroom, from within its queen-sized and very comfortable bed:

Master Bedroom

Here is one view of the surrounding greenery you might enjoy in the morning (as seen through the slats of your wooden venetian blinds) while stretching out in your bed:

Good Morning View


Next, back towards the Great Room:


View Towards Great Room

And to your left (while laying in bed), the bathroom. The tidy blue and white tiled shower is just across from the wall seen here (as shown in pic below) :


View Towards Bath


Towards Shower

Another view of this wall, as seen from the opposite doorway:

 Other side

More to come…

Thank you!

Let’s Take a Look! Exploring with Video.


IF a picture is worth a thousand words, a few videos might be worth a small treasury in helping to get across a sense of the wonderful and highly improbable Lost Reef Cottage in Miami, FL, and its surrounding subtropical gardens, complete with excavated ancient coral reef .  Here are glimpses of an unexpected oasis offering a quiet “grounding” in this most mad and wonderful of cities.

Where six or seven years ago sat a driveway,

Before the Jackhammer.

and an expanse of concrete so wide and deep  that one might suspect it  must have been purchased on sale,

Front Door, Cottage

we found, quite to our surprise, the peaks of a coral formation hidden a few feet beneath the rocky Earth which the driveway had entombed for the last few decades of its ancient millenial watch.

Tips of Formation as first seen by Human eyes in all of time (ours!)

Something new indeed had begun–

a true urban garden that now flourishes, awaiting only you for its completeness.

Thank you.