This weekend I ventured South, to Cauley Square, which was established in 1903 by one of the men working on Henry Flagler’s railroad. Back then, the area became a place for the men to eat, live, and relax. The area earned a reputation for being rowdy.
Now, Cauley Square is filled with restaurants, shops, a small school for the arts, and beautiful gardens fit for a relaxing afternoon walk, a charming backdrop for photos, or even a setting for a wedding. In one of these gardens, I stumbled upon a tiny chapel with four small pews inside, enough for a handful of people to stop for a moment of reflection. And, while strolling through Cauley Square, I was met with a few little peacock friends, who call the area home.
But, the main reason for my visit to this little village, which I had never seen before despite being a Miami native, was to see the new bookstore, Sweet Haven Books, which has only been opened for three months. This quaint bookstore is a perfect stop for those looking for their next read, or even “Blind Date with a Book” where you can purchase a wrapped book with only the description of the genre and its star rating on the outside. Are you brave enough to take a book home that you can’t judge by the cover or synopsis?
Sweet Haven Books is set in a transformed, vintage, house with a small kitchen serving snacks and coffee, and even complimentary Champagne. As I roamed through the bookstore, from room to room, I encountered antique bookshelves filled with books from all genres. I was even surprised in one of the rooms when I stumbled upon two classic arcade games—Pac-Man and Mortal Combat. The kids’ room is bright and filled with drawings on the walls made by kids who have visited the shop, and an array of books that will satisfy all the various interests of little readers.
On the outside deck, there is an array of vintage board games to enjoy while sitting under the grand shady trees. Sweet Haven Books also hosts various events such as Open Mic nights, art workshops, craft nights. They even host “Intimate Dinner at Sweet Haven Books” where guests can enjoy a night at the bookstore complete with dinner for two delivered on an antique bicycle from the Village Chalet, a bottle of wine or Champagne, and a curated playlist complete with a Bluetooth speaker to enjoy outside under the stars, or inside surrounded by books and flameless candles. And, after your dinner date, you’ll get 10 percent off any book purchases made that night. How’s that for an unexpected romantic evening?
I really enjoyed my Sunday afternoon adventure and discovering this new little treasure just south of Miami. Though I was only a few minutes from home, roaming through the street under the grand treescape, felt as if I was visiting a new city in a faraway land.
Do you like to explore independent bookstores? Share your favorite with us.