The Gold Coast Railroad Museum began in 1956, when train enthusiast William J. Godfrey chanced upon the miles of abandoned railroad track snaking through the pineland of University of Miami’s southern campus. He imported a newly retired steam engine to the premises, and a tribute to railroading history began.
Now in a new location in Miami proper, the museum continues to honor trains’ role in American history, with nine exhibits on locomotives, passenger cars, and the Richmond’s Naval Air Station’s fleet. Visitors can hop aboard a full-size diesel locomotive passenger coach, or take a ride a miniature children’s railroad that’s ideal for transporting shipments of Lincoln logs. Alternatively, they can run motorized or free-wheeling trains through a model railroad, which zips through mountain tunnels and circles around to-scale landscapes.
Thrown by Florida Rock Stars, the South Dade Food & Country Festival brings national and local acts together for an afternoon and evening of country music. The event helps raise funds and awareness for Thinking of You Services, a local veterans support organization. As the community rallies around them, all visiting veterans will receive a certificate of recognition with special commendations from the mayors of Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay.
As a young girl, Monica Castillo was walking home when she realized she was being followed by a neighborhood cat, which then waited outside her house until she reemerged. The cat, a feral stray, allowed her to pet him, and eventually, adopt him. Monica’s mother, Francie, recounts this tale often, claiming that after this experience, Monica declared emphatically that she wanted to be a "doggy doctor," and never strayed from that path. After immersing herself in volunteer work, Monica attended school to become veterinary tech, a title she has held for the past four-and-a-half years. In 2011, the mother-daughter team opened Pepe Le Pooche Resort & Spa to better prepare Monica for her continuing education in veterinary school and to care for animals with kind attention and respect for their needs.
"Dogs know when they are being treated well," says Francie. To this end, she surrounds herself with staff members who were raised by animals or just have an affinity for them. Le Salon & Spa at Pepe Le Pooche hosts a crew of groomers who all hold certifications and have experience working around the particulars of different breeds, such as which prefer the scissors over a comb and which relish well-groomed mohawks and hair dye, upon request.
Pepe Le Pooche's onsite boarding and daycare facilities are cage-free, meaning dogs have free rein of play areas for most of the day, and hunker down in 1 of 10 large suites at night. Staff members stay on watch around the clock to ensure pets’ safety and play classical music to keep them calm. The resort does not have the capacity to board felines, but they are welcome to stay for daycare. The crew also plans all aspects of dog parties, from procuring the cake to hosting a blowout bash complete with party favors.
Angie of Atv Art always has been in tune with her creative side. Ever since she was a kid, she was involved in art and music. Today, she majors in fine arts and puts her trained eye to work behind the camera. During portrait and special-event photography sessions, she captures fleeting but meaningful moments. For events such as weddings and bridal showers, she consults with clients; offers advice on clothing, theme, and location; and customizes shoots to each client’s specific needs.