Insider's Guide  

Coral Gables

Coral Gables

The owner of acclaimed independent bookstore Books & Books, Mitchell Kaplan, takes us through the historic streets of Coral Gables to show us the ins and outs of this picture perfect neighborhood. From the Mediterranean-inspired architecture to the playhouses and modern art galleries, the Gables has truly surpassed founder George Merrick’s vision of becoming a vibrant arts community.

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Step back in time into a national historic landmark. Surrounded by 150 tropical manicured acres, The Biltmore is a treasure, reflecting the best of Mediterranean architecture. Opened in 1926, it features a spectacular pool (one of the largest in the country), the endless pamperings of The Spa at the Biltmore, and a 71-par 18-hole Donald Ross-designed championship golf course. Classic luxury continues around the courtyard fountain, where the Fontana restaurant features Italian cuisine, then on to the classic French cuisine of the famed Palme d’Or, rated by Zagat as one of the best restaurants in the country.

Bookmark this spot as one to visit often. Not a work of fiction, Books & Books instead defies the trend to close. Since 1982, it has thrived as one of the nation’s most respected independent booksellers. Housed in a Mediterranean-style building listed in Coral Gables Register of Historic Places, it features an open-air courtyard, a fireplace, a full-service café complete with musical performances, and an impressive lineup of author signings in its award-winning reader series.

Thankfully listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Coral Gables Merrick House is the childhood home of Coral Gables’ visionary founder George Merrick. He is the man responsible for Coral Gables’ Mediterranean flavor, its wide and shaded boulevards, lush landscaping, grand plazas, and stately entrances. Acquired in 1976 by the City of Coral Gables, the Merrick House was then restored to 1920s style, and filled with the Merrick family’s art, furniture, and personal treasures. This must-see is open to the public on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Shop Coral Gables’ famed Miracle Mile and you’re sure to find yourself wandering Wolfe’s Wine Shoppe. Committed to out-of-the-ordinary extraordinary wines, instead of the commercially hyped follow-the-sheep labels, founders Jeffrey and Christie favor small family growers that are farmers first. Service driven, passionate, and knowledgeable, they and their staff are proud to deliver the best of what the wine world offers – what they call drinkable gems. To that, their Friday evening tastings, and to the many locals you’ll meet, we say ‘cheers’!

Say goodbye to chlorine and chemicals, and say hello to aquifer-fed cool, fresh water. Originally part of a rock quarry, and opened in 1924, Coral Gables’ 820,000-gallon Venetian Pool is open to the public and unlike any pool you’ve ever seen. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is surrounded by its original coral, caves, and even a sandy beach. Shaded by palm trees, and fed by a noisy waterfall, it is a classic respite from the sounds of the hustling bustling city.

The epicenter of downtown Coral Gables, Miracle Mile is home to so much more than just gawking drivers. We suggest parking, walking, and exploring. You’ll find designer shops, art galleries, bridal boutiques, a live theater, several great restaurants, and so much more. Miracle Mile is ideal for romantic browsing, casual wandering, and leisurely shopping – in other words, a date. Bring your someone special and soak up something special.

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