A short horse ride away from Miami is an equestrian community nestled between Weston and Pembroke Pines. It's known for open green pastures, horse farms and, of course, the home of The Rock, Dwayne Johnson. Many athletes, celebrities, and successful business people call Southwest Ranches home. There is a plethora of multi-million dollar estates there, many of which sit on lush manicured acreage with cars parked outside that cost more than most people's homes. Residents have stallions, steers, some even have ostriches, and yes, piggies! Sure, not all the homes are mansions; there are a handful of older homes, scattered amongst the riches and generally, many of them belong to families who purchased them many years ago. Some are cashing in. You'll see them being torn down along Sterling Road, quickly replaced by picturesque homes with sprawling layouts. One of my favorite homes has two guard-houses with fake security guards. The guard booths actually have mannequins. I'm not kidding either.
It's not just a great place to live, it's a great place to visit too. I often find myself driving slowly, perhaps too slowly, checking out the homes, wishing that I lived in them. If you see a large white Land Rover, creeping along Sterling Road, looking for a peek at Flo-Rida's home, don't be shy, wave and say hello! If you bump into Amare' Stoudemire at McDonalds like my mom did, say hi, he's a very nice neighbor. If you see the Mayor, Jeff Nelson, thank him for keeping Southwest Ranches a close-knit country community without lots of traffic and strip malls.
If you find you've had your share of horses, wildlife and parks and are exhausted by the people watching and mansion shopping, drive to the Weston Town Center and buy yourself a really nice watch or a huge diamond. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, try some Baba Ghanouj. Yes, Southwest Ranches has Middle Eastern Food too and it is really very good. It is a very diverse community; in fact, there are many places of worship including an absolutely beautiful Hindo Temple on Dykes Road, a Shiva Vishnu Temple too, and a number of wonderful Churches. There are also two Jewish Synagogues a short drive away, including Temple Dor Dorim, right off of Interstate 75 which is the home of a Torah rescued after being seized during the Holocaust.
If you are in Miami, head northwest and keep an eye out for The Rock!