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Broward County, Florida
August 31, 2010
by Jose Kevo
November 21, 2003
Built on property owned by nearby Casa de Campo, the country's most exclusive resort community, admission is free; open to the public though signs and security guards quickly remind you if you've ventured anywhere off-limits. Getting here is also regulated described in a separate entry.
Tucked away inside the various buildings are classrooms for the Altos de Chavon School of Design with courses in fashion, graphic arts, interior design, and fine arts/illustration with links to Disney, Parsons and some of the world's most prestigious names of creativity. Other forms of artisans are in first-floor shops either painting, carving, making jewelry, though promoted interactiveness was lacing.
In addition to wandering the cobblestone streets, there's an impressive gallery displaying students' and famous Dominican artists' pricey works; credit cards readily accepted! For low-brows, there's also shops with upscale tourist junk you'll find cheaper from beach vendors.
Centrally located is Museum of Archaeology containing an impressive collection of pre-Columbian findings detailing early civilization development on Hispaniola. There was quite the build-up of first inhabitants, Taino tribes, and Spanish arrival, but emphasis terminates when African slaves enter history. The museum isn't large, but I recommend breaking it down into at least a pair of visits simply for cooling off in the air-conditioning!
Travelers rave about passing through the facilities' overall showcase of artistic displays and designs - likely due to it potentially being the closest dose of reality they relate to during their DR vacations compared to stark contrasts of environments waiting beyond.
The Spanish-styled village is enough to warrant impressive attention if you've never been to Andalucia or Barcelona's Poble Espanyol; which features a recreated community with architectural designs from all of Spain's regions. Well-tended gardens were recommended by nearby locals dreamily speaking of their I remember when visit like we speak about our last vacation half-way around the world.
Even with playing the role of "dutiful tourist", it was a stretch filling two hours of being here. Waiting for my return ride, I parked on a shaded bench in one of the garden areas. Pulling out the brochure, I began to read how this specific site was selected to further inspire artists with enchanted views of the Caribbean. Huh?
With still plenty of time to kill, I made a quick skirt back through the property desperately seeking the "inspiration " part I'd obviously missed or overlooked. It wasn't there; in the last 20+-years, trees and other forms of vegetation had grown tall enough to block any ground-level vistas of the inspiring sea. No wonder after all these years I'd never before bothered to make the costly 20-minute ride from my impoverished coastal village; nor will I likely again.
From journal AZUCA! Sweet Success in the Sugar Capital