After our wedding, I moved one block from my house to our first communal home. I could say it was to stay close to my grandmother. The bigger truth is that I just love living in South Miami, so when I saw a “For Rent” sign on a morning run, we knocked on the door that afternoon.
I mean, what’s not to love–the small-town feel in a big city; a luscious green canopied skyline; and all the parks and entertainment just a hop and skip away.
My favorite pastime includes acting all “granola,” but having metropolis needs. In South Miami, I can roller skate to a park from my house down calm beautifully lined roads, while also being able to drive to my favorite food truck. It’s Tortellino Miami if you’re wondering. Can you think of anything better than handmade pasta and roller skates? Not me.
When I was a kid, we used to call our favorite park “naked lady park” because there was a giant sculpture of, well, a naked lady. You could climb this functional piece of art, and really there was nothing else in the park at the time.
Now, Dante Fascell Park has a playground, several large, colorful, sculptures, a padded running trail, volleyball sand pit, and pavilions. I believe the tennis courts have always been there if you’re into that kind of thing. After one face-melting summer of tennis lessons, I decided that sport was not for me.
What I do love is Halloween at Dante Fascell. Every year, “Practical Magic” plays on a huge projector in the middle of the park. The celebration continues with games, popcorn, and picnic blankets. This is the event I look forward to most. I was more than a little bummed that it was cancelled last year due to the pandemic, but I get it.
If you travel west of the park on Sunset Drive, you’ll hit my next favorite area just before you reach US1. There is nothing like a stroll around the boutiques, cafes, and restaurants that surround The Shops at Sunset Place. We’ve fallen into a kind of Sunday morning ritual where we grab some coffee and pastries at Cecile Bakery + Cafe. We sit and talk for hours, giving new meaning to a lazy Sunday.
There are also regular art fairs in this South Miami area, which I remember going to as a child with my mother. Now, I enjoy perusing the art and talking to artists with my daughter–a budding artist herself.
The library itself is also nothing to scoff at. Sure, it’s vintage, but it’s cozy. And the librarians are so kind and knowledgeable. I have never, ever, had trouble locating a book. Nor have I been reprimanded for sitting on the ground with a pile of novels (as I was once, at a certain chain bookstore that will go unnamed. It rhymes with Darns and Global).
Can we talk about the donut shops popping up around South Miami? Usually, I don’t care for donuts, but these are something else entirely. The hazelnut and chocolate masterpiece from The Salty Donut is basically a religious experience. My daughter, husband, and I will usually share one (because they’re BIG) as we sit on their umbrella’d patio. A morning like that makes the whole day better.
Then, there’s the best part–my neighbors. Like something right out of “Leave It To Beaver,” I’ve actually walked to a friend’s house and asked for a cup of sugar. I’ve also shared my tomatoes with neighbors when my dad’s brought a few too many back from a farm. When I go for a walk in the afternoons there’s always a resident with a great story to tell. Just last week, I learned when and where to look for eagles, and now I see them all the time!
I feel blessed to live South Miami–the bigness of it, the smallness of it, and everything in between.
This post is part of our Love Where You Live series. Be sure to check out the other posts in the series here!