What’s Up With Miracle Mile?
August 16, 2017
Miracle Mile and weddings have gone hand in hand for what seems like forever. But as one of Miami’s most evenly curated streets it’s a haven for history, small businesses, and all around charm. Currently undergoing a street-wide streetscape beautification supported by the Building Better Communities bond program and the Mayor and Board of County Commissioners of Miami-Dade County, the landmark street is about to get even more magical by welcoming pedestrians and increased business traffic alike.
We took it upon ourselves to get to know the street a little better and really understand the vibrancy that makes it so indicative of what our city has to offer. Who better to lead us through a daily routine than Mark Trowbridge, the President and CEO of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. Sassy, clever, warm, and bursting with personality, Trowbridge is more than just a fan of The City Beautiful, he’s a historian in every right. Here’s a day in his life along Miracle Mile:
We started at Crema, the rustic coffee shop sharing a corner with Ponce De Leon and brought to the neighborhood by the same souls behind Copper 29. For two years, Mark would come here after a deep workout at Iron Tribe down the street and get his usual: Peanut Butter Power with an extra shot of protein and almond milk because it’s paleo-friendly. The spot is located on the bottom floor of The Colonnade, one of the last-standing original buildings in Coral Gables. It started as a sales center for George Merrick’s development corporation, the first office location for some of Miami’s earliest multi-national companies, and is now a quintessential location for special events.
Hopping on the Freebee, an extremely convenient (and complimentary) ride share option provided by The City of Coral Gables and Baptist Health, we drove down Miracle Mile to our next destination. This is Downtown Coral Gables’ main street and core. As it currently adds on retail they’ve pooled from market research, they’re listening to visitors and incorporating their needs like more men’s stores, housewares, and shops that lure more pedestrian traffic.
We pass Hillstone, one of their busiest businesses and can’t help but fawn over the character of each building–each one no taller than two stories and a window into Coral Gables’ past as a refuge for mom and pop stores where customers knew each owner and felt like family. With the streetscape project, they’re trying to recreate that familiarity and comfort through welcoming landscaping and sweeping sidewalks.
We swing by City Hall, a magnificent late 20s-early 30s historic building boasting a statue of George Merrick on its lawn as we turn our tongues to the deliciously authentic VIXI Gelateria. So real in fact, that the store’s owner, Melissa is classically trained in Italy specifically in the frozen dessert. Passing other usual spots like the chic boutique Kiki, 5411 Empanadas, or the bespoke barber shop, Well Groomed Gentleman, Mark’s go-to spot for grooming (he hit up his “guy” Ricardo every 2.5 weeks), it’s inspiring to see how close he is to each of the business owners–greeting them as close friends.
The present might seem like a far step away from what our cities used to look like, but it’s impossible not to feel that Coral Gables’ charm hasn’t gone anywhere no matter the changes. Celebrating that long-lasting magic, we’ve partnered with the Business Improvement District of Coral Gables to shed light on all the great upgrades happening in the area and are launching Soul on The Mile next Thursday, August 24th with Magic City Hippies and neighborhood vendors at the McBride Family Plaza. Make sure to RSVP here.
Photos by: FujiFilm Girl.