Florida’s Cuban outpost
Miami’s Little Havana is as close as most Americans can get to Cuba, said Bill Brubaker in The Washington Post. Though President Obama has eased restrictions for Cuban-Americans visiting relatives, the country remains closed off to the rest of us. Until the longstanding embargo is lifted, the best way to experience Cuba “without crossing the Florida straits” will remain Miami’s lively neighborhood of expatriates. Stroll down Calle Ocho (also known as Southwest Eighth Street) to get a taste. Versailles, a “meeting place” for exile families for more than 30 years, serves a succulent ropa vieja, shredded beef braised in a tomato Creole sauce. Follow dinner with a “lethally strong cup of café Cubano” before perusing the racks at Ramón Puig’s La Casa de las Guayaberas. The store claims to make the best guayaberas—the classic pleated, four-pocket shirts worn untucked—in the world. You can’t leave without stopping at El Credito, which has sold hand-rolled cigars made with Dominican and Nicaraguan tobacco for 50 years.
Another historic Gettysburg address
Eight Lincoln Square is where Abraham Lincoln “wrote the final draft” of his legendary Gettysburg Address, said Diane Stoneback in the Allentown, Pa., Morning Call. This little-known historic address, just named a national landmark, “debunks myths” about the president’s 1863 oration at the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. It turns out that Lincoln “didn’t scrawl the speech on the back of the envelope” en route from Washington, D.C., as popular lore would have it. In fact, he carefully polished it at the “stately brick home” of attorney David Wills. Artifacts, films, and exhibits within shed light on those famous few days in history. After the bloody Battle of Gettysburg, Wills headed the town’s recovery and proposed creating the cemetery. His home became the town’s “ground zero,” with Wills himself “fulfilling the roles of the Centers for Disease Control, the Red Cross, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.” His logbook lists personal belongings found with each dead soldier—a heartbreaking document that brings “the tragedy into focus.”