Posted October 23, 2013
By ISABEL BRADOR
CORAL GABLES, Fla.— A quiet corner, a plush arm chair and a steaming cup of green tea are the necessary ingredients for a date with a favorite novel.
Miami is known for its sunshine, beaches and tropical atmosphere. Libraries, bookstores and other literary havens are often not on the list of top things to do in the Magic City. The quintessential quiet corner and steaming cup of tea may seem far removed from the sun-drenched playground shown in brochures.
Yet, for those travelers who can’t help but visit a bookstore when they visit a new city, Miami has much to offer.
While Barnes and Noble does have a few stores in Miami, the only way to still experience a city while entering a bookstore is to shop locally. Not only will travelers get a unique shopping experience, but locally owned stores offer an opportunity to connect with locals on a unique level. The story focuses on one of the best bookshops in South Florida- the Coral Gables branch of Books and Books.
Books and Books Coral Gables
Books and Books is an independently owned bookstore with three locations in South Florida and stores in New York and Grand Cayman. If the store’s typewriter logo looks at all familiar, it could be because travelers may have browsed the shelves of the Books & Books location at the Miami International Airport. Yet, aside from the airport branch, which is perfect for satisfying that itch for a last-minute purchase, bibliophiles need to visit the branch in Coral Gables.
Nestled on a quiet street the Coral Gables bookstore of Books & Books has everything required of a good bookstore: floor-to-ceiling dark wood shelves, quiet reading nooks, a café and a varied and extensive selection of books.
The location was a brilliant choice on the part of Mitchell Kaplan, the founder of the Coral Gables location. Not only is the bookstore in the heart of one of Miami’s classiest neighborhoods, it is located right next door to the Coral Gables History Museum.
The bookstore itself is filled with history. It is currently housed in a building dating back to 1927 and is part of Cora Gables’ registrar of historic places. The 9,000 square foot store still has the building’s original fireplace, tile floors and beamed ceilings. Also, the dark wood shelves used throughout the store transport travelers to a different era and make one feel as if they browsing the extensive collection of a private library.
The store also has a full service café which is great for lunch or a late night dessert. The outdoor courtyard is the perfect place to read a newly purchased book or magazine, feel the warm sunshine and balmy Miami breeze, and take a well- deserved break from exploring the exotic and unique world that is South Florida.
Travelers who can spend hours in a bookstore in their home town know how difficult it might be to get non-readers in their traveling party excited about visiting a bookstore. For those who often travel with children or non-reading significant others, the Coral Gables Museum next door and the neighborhood surrounding the bookstore are the perfect way to ensure travelers get their literary fix and keep everyone happy as well.
The museum offers a glimpse into the colorful past of Coral Gables and is connected to the bookstore through an adjacent door. It offers rotating exhibits on various subjects as well as a permanent exhibit of Coral Gables’ fast-paced, and glamorous past. If museums aren’t of interest, the surrounding restaurants and shopping plazas offer something for everyone.
Neighborhood streets are filled with clothing boutiques, shoe stores and upscale restaurants. The newly opened Swine Southern Table and Bar, as well as other notable restaurants, and the Actor’s playhouse, are all within walking distance. Also, the store is usually opened late allowing for a quick visit after dinner or a play.
The extensive collection of books available at Books & Books Coral Gables, the historic atmosphere, and the opportunity to relax and take Miami in as a local are all reasons which make this bookstore one of the best if not the best in Miami. Further, its website is filled with in-store events and author readings.
Books & Books in Coral Gables allows a traveler to scratch their literary itch without feeling like they’re taking time out from the rest of their busy sight-seeing schedule. Travelers can experience Miami and a good book at the same time.
Books and Books Coral Gables
- Address: 265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, Fla. 33134
- Phone: 305 442 4408
- Website: http://www.booksandbooks.com/coralgables
- Hours: Sun-Thursday 9 a.m.- 11 p.m., Friday-Thursday 9 a.m. – Midnight
Coral Gables Museum
- Admission: Adults $7, Students and Seniors (with I.D.) $5, Children (6-12) $3, Children under 6 Free
- Hours: Mondays Closed, Tuesdays-Thursdays 12 p.m.-6 p.m., Saturdays 11p.m.- 5 p.m., Sundays 12 p.m.- 5 p.m.
- Website: http://coralgablesmuseum.org