Finding a fully intact medieval monastery in North Miami Beach is yet another reason why the moniker 'Magic City' seems so fitting. Constructed in 1141 in Segovia, Spain, the Monastery of St Bernard de Clairvaux is a striking early-Gothic and Romanesque building that rather improbably found its way to South Florida. The property – today a church that's part of the Episcopal diocese – gets busy for weddings, so call before making the long trip out here. It's roughly 15 miles north of Downtown Miami.
Communal life for the Cistercians at the monastery came to an end in the 1830s when the monastery was seized by the Spanish government and sold. It was actually serving as a granary when newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst stumbled across it and decided to purchase it in 1925. He had it dismantled and shipped to the USA in more than 10,000 crates, intending to reconstruct it at his sprawling California estate. But construction was never approved by the government, and the stones sat in boxes until 1953, when a group of Miami developers purchased the dismantled monastery from Hearst and reassembled it.
Church services are held at 8am and 10:15am on Sunday, as well as noon on Wednesday.