A new year and a new round of cigar events have begun to fill the calendars of enthusiasts all around the country and world. My first event for 2022 was Destination Herf held in wonderful Miami, Florida. The event was organized by BSMia LLC headed up by the iconic Jason Ferguson who not only has been an active promoter of cigar events but is also the president and creative directive of Enviro Creative where he combines his years of experiences and services into one creative hub. For 20 years Jay has been known for producing first class events.
Destination Herf was kicked off at 7PM on Thursday January 13th with a meet an greet at City Cigar Lounge in Miami FL. That was followed by a Sip and Smoke event at The Citadel Rooftop – Miami. on Friday January 14th during the day. I was not able to get down for the first two events but I did make it down for the Cigar Honors Dinner, held at in The Oasis in the Magic City Innovation District – Little Haiti.
I drove the 3 1/2 hour drive from Melbourne, FL to Miami and checked into the host hotel, the AC Hotel Midtown – Wynwood – a beautiful hotel with a fantastic rooftop bar and pool area that overlooks the blue waters of Biscayne Bay. Once I settled into my room, I made it up to the roof top as I had a couple of hours to kill before the the evenings dinner event. Thee were a few brothers and sisters of the leaf lounging out and sharing some champagne and brandy. We fired up some cigars and engaged in shared stories of where we are from as the the moon rose up over the bay and the sun slowly set on the other side of the roof. It was a sign that the weekend was going to be just fine.
As the time drew on, I had to say my temporary goodbyes so I could get dressed and head over to Little Haiti for the Cigar Honors Dinner. Before I left the hotel, I ran into some other Brothers of the Leaf at the lobby bar, and I figured with some time to spare, why not knock down a drink and say hi. It is ok one was wearing a Yankee hat, we all have a favorite team.
Cigar Honors Dinner
Being the prompt guy that I am , I arrived at the evening event a tad ahead of schedule and was able to take in the ambiance of this little oasis in the city. Walking though the door your eyes are graced with green flora and a large reflecting pool in the center of this outdoor event area that is bordered on all sides by building walls. If you did not know about this area you would never know there is such a cool place in the area. Big Kudus to the Destination Herf team for locating it.
An open bar was provided for all guests and had a decent selection of spirits, beer and wine throughout the 4-hour event. A DJ was set up an the stage and cranking out the mixes throughout the evening. The first couple of hours were spent mingling, drinking, and enjoying cigars. Everyone was having a great time as the tables filled up and music played and the drinks flowed.
Once dinner was ready, we walked up to the chefs area and they presented two large pans of Paella that has been simmering since I got there. The aroma was to die for and the visual was just as, if not more, spectacular. There was also rolls and salad for a side. Once I got back to my table, my mouth was watering for the dish I placed in front of me and from the first bite to the last it was as great as it looked. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if cigars were always like that.
Once dinner was served, it was time to present the Destination Herf Honors for 2022. The list was as follows:
- Rookie of the year: Enid Blanton – Ancestry Cigars
- Impact Player of the year: Mario Griffith Sr. – Stogie Life
- Cigar Media of the year: Boston Jimmie – Stogie Press
- Trailblazers: Yvette Rodriguez & Yvonne Rodriguez – Tres Lindas Cubanas Cigars
- Cigar Accessory of the Year: James Lee – Cigar Pxrn
The awards were presented by our friends at Lips, Sticks, and Fingertips
I am humbled that I was honored with these other amazing cigar men and women that I deep respect for.
Each honoree was presented with beautiful glass trophy:
The rest of the evening, the music played the crowded danced and we all left filled with joy and love which is what I have come to experience with this wonderful group of people.
Main Event – Virginia Key (Black Beach)
After a little late night partying and driving around the Wynwood section of Miami, gazing at some of the most incredible street art, restaurants and bars, I woke up in time to head over to my friends cigar shop to say hi for a couple of hours and then drove over to Historic Virginia Key Beach Park for the weekend’s main event.
Before I get into that coverage, I feel it is important to explain what this venue is all about. This historic island off the cost of urban Miami was dedicated on August 1, 1945. It is called “Black Beach” because it was the colored only beach during the era of racial segregation and the only recreational facility legally open to the African-American community in Miami.
“The area closed in 1982 and eventually went through a multi-million dollar renovation of it’s shoreline, wetlands, historic buildings before it was officially re-dedicated for public use on February 22, 2008. The park is owned by the City of Miami and is managed by the Virginia Key Beach Park trust, whose mission is to restore and preserve this urban jewel for all people. The 82.5 acre beach park is designated a State of Florida Heritage Site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.“Virginia Key Beach Park Trust
Here is a wonderful YouTube video that explains the history of this beach park, courtesy of the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust.
Once I arrived, I took a moment to walk about and take it all in, from the pristine beach on Biscayne Bay, to the very fun and playful children’s park. Even the original carousel house has been restored and still house the working ride inside. The doors were closed during our event, but I can imagine, just like in the video above, what fun it must be for the children.
Walking about some more, I notices the original, still functional, bath houses and a number of other historic buildings. In fact the cement slab that the shade tent was perched over, is the original flor of the Dance Pavilion. I was told it has never been redone after all these years and still looks amazing. We probably should have moved the tables closer so we could all pick up dancing where we left off the night before.
A cigar event would not be an event without vendors offer their products for you to purchase and try. Destination Herf featured numerous of them too, spread along the side of the pavilion. You could get yourself additional cigars, swag, pins, outfits, and even skin and hair products. Yea guys, I know you all have your beards and without product I know it gets a little cave man like. Heck man, they even had Slutty Icees there and these three women were knocking it dead with their crazy concoctions. You will have to trust me on this one.
Food and Drink
Jay and his team did it right when it comes to this category. From the moment I arrived, I could smell the alluring aromas of the BBQ ribs and Chicken being cooked on the smoker. V.I.P. ticket holders received 1 meal ticket which got you a choice of menu items, of which I chose the BBQ Rib Sandwich. Not sure why it called a sandwich, it was a pile of ribs on top of a two thick slices of bread. The meat was tender, succulent and falling off the bone. Damn it was good.
V.I.P. guests also received 6 drink tickets for the bar that offered beer and mixed drinks with a decent selection of ingredients. With such a beautiful day outside, I went with a classic summer drink – vodka and cranberry. Never did use all those tickets. The drinks were served in the original Black Beach concession stand. It is amazing how all these building remained standing, even through the many hurricanes that came through the area and the years that the park was not maintained.
Well I have to say, if you were not at this event you missed a fun time. Lot’s of great food, drink, cigars, conversations, even some dominoes playing. The DJ cranked out the tunes and I think you could hear those tunes across the bay and into the city of Miami. Man, there was a party goin on!
Midnight Burn at The Terrible Cigar Club
Interesting title for this section eh? After we all had our fun at the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, we all went back to our hotels and got ready for a late evening at a place called The Terrible Cigar Club. Yes, that is the name. Now I will not get too detailed on this establishment, as I will be penning a separate lounge review for this cool place. However, I will note this is the primary hangout of Destination Herf Sponsor – Robert Caldwell from Caldwell Cigars. Those that attended were treated to some soft jazzy music on the covered 2nd floor outdoor patio overlooking the streets of South Miami an open bar and it was not called the Midnight Burn for nothing. Just before midnight, Robert Caldwell addresses the guests and at the end we all received a special event only cigar – The Midnight Burn by Caldwell Cigars. Only 250 of these were made and each of got one and as expected I fired mine right up to celebrate the end of Destination Herf 2022.
Of course this was not the end. There was more event to attend – the Sunday Brunch. Sigh…I had to get home to Melbourne early so I was not able to attend that. But the Facebook photos looked like people were enjoying themselves.
I want to thank the Jay Ferg and the whole Destination Herf team for a wonderfully relaxing cigar weekend in beautiful, cool, sunny Miami, Florida. I am grateful to have been able to share the stage, with some amazing movers and shakers in the black cigar culture and am humbled that you recognized Stogie Press. I hope to once again share some ciagrs and fellowship next year at Destination Herf 2023. Until then, I wish you all a safe, prosperous, and fun 2022 and I will see you on the road here and there.
By the way, the Destination Herf – All Access Pass, got you all which I spoke about along with a terrific swag bag filled with great product including:
- 20 Premium cigars, some of which were rather well aged based on the cello color
- Caldwell Torch Lighter and Cutter
- Leather Wrapped and Branded Whiskey Flask with matching leather and steel shot glasses
- Branded Travel Mug
- Destination Herf T-Shirt
- Destination Herf branded back
All in all, the price was an awesome deal for what you got in food, beverage, cigars and swag. Not to mention days of fun with fellow cigar enthusiasts. If I was say one thing negative about this event, more people should have attended, but to each there own – maybe next year, if you did not attend in 2022 I will see you in 2023.
Great Job Destination Herf Team!!!