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The Deering Estate of Cutler: A Natural, Cultural and Historical Gem
By Andrew Regan

Once home to Charles Deering, the Deering Estate at Cutler is one of the most unique parks in the south of Florida today. It was acquired by the state of Florida in 1989, and since has been a cultural landmark which encourages local, state and national interests. Aside from standing as a historical, archaeological and environmental preserve, the Deering Estate holds events, activities and educational programs for community members and visitors alike.

The scenic estate is home to a number of rare plants as well as over forty species of trees. The 444-acre property contains various habitats, including globally endangered pine rockland, tropical hardwood rockland, mangrove forests, salt marshes, a coastal dune island, and the submerged resources of Biscayne Bay. The estate is also among one of the largest remaining blocks within the United States which holds these particular ecosystems. In addition, a variety of wildlife thrives within the estate's boundaries; visitors will be especially taken with the beauty of the birds and butterflies which live there. In fact, the estate's offshore island, Chicken Key, is a restored bird rookery which is open to estate visitors and is accessible by canoe.

In addition to natural beauty, the estate holds an abundant amount of history. The area on which the estate rests has been a prime settlement site for some time; the Tequesta Indians as well as the pioneers of the 1890s inhabited the region, and there is even a Native American burial mound dating from around 1600. However, archaeological records date human presence on the estate site to 10,000 years ago, and that of animals to 100,000 years ago. Today, Deering Estate guests can tour historical buildings such as the Stone House and the Richmond Cottage.

A visit to Deering Estate will provide an enriching experience for people of all ages and interests; rental facilities and nature tours are available for educational functions such as school field trips; in addition, social gatherings, like weddings, are always welcome. In addition, the estate offers diverse opportunities for research in areas of environment, botany, history, architecture, fine arts, antiques, rare books and wine.

If you're planning to visit Deering Estate, you'll find a number of terrific hotels in and around the Cutler area; and if you're travelling with a group, you'll probably be able to arrange a terrific package deal to suit your needs. But whether your outing to Deering Estate is for a cultural experience, or simply one to encounter the stunning surroundings and wildlife, this natural, cultural and historical gem is sure to provide you with a visit to remember.

Andrew Regan is an online journalist who enjoys socialising at his local Edinburgh rugby club.

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