Unusual Places in
(Part 1 of 2)
Miami Beach and Coral Gables)
photos by Anna Collins
a trip to a historical fresh water pool, visit Miami's oldest bar, and meet a brilliant mosaic artist. Read on!
a lot more to Miami than South Beach, the Versace Mansion and Art Deco;
although that's what most people think of when you mention Miami. But
I'm going to introduce you to the little nooks and crannies and places
extraordinaire you can visit the next time you trek to Miami and its
neighboring towns. Hidden treasures off the beaten path are always lots
of fun to explore and certainly more interesting than the usual tourist
traps advertised in area brochures. So with that in mind, let's start
off by paying a visit to Venetian Pool.
1921, George Merrick, then the county commissioner of Miami, envisioned
a city of beautiful esplanades, plazas, ornate fountains, buildings and
homes, all influenced by a Mediterranean design. Merrick's vision turned
into the city of Coral Gables.
in historic Coral Gables, in a residential neighborhood, behind pastel
painted stucco walls and iron gates, you'll find Venetian Pool.
The only swimming pool to be named in the National Register of Historic
Places, Venetian Pool was formed from a rock quarry back in 1923. It was
later turned into a gorgeous 820,000 gallon pool, fed by cool spring water
from artesian wells.
I was amazed how clean the water was; clear throughout the entire span
of the pool. The pool was formerly drained daily to keep it fresh, and
then allowed to refill. But in 1988, a new method was discovered that
would allow the pool to clean its water daily by recycling, through natural
ground filtration, leaving the pool fresh and conserving natural resources.
rich history accompanies Venetian Pool. Beauty contests were held there,
the Paul Whitman and Jan Garber orchestras played to poolside dancers
and Esther Williams and Johnny Weismuller (Tarzan!) even swam it's refreshing
waters. It has been the scene of political speeches and has had visits
As I walked around the pool, I could almost hear the sounds of music and
laughter coming from the cocktail parties and soirees back in the 1920's.
There's a wonderful ambiance to the place; inviting and positivelike
everybody who was ever there had a really, really good time. Myself included.
Part of Venetian Pool's charm is its two waterfalls, grottos and coral
caves. There's even a little beach area where you can lay down your towel
or blanket. The three story observation buildings around the pool (created
in a Venetian-style architecture) sit alongside vine-covered loggias,
shady porticos, and a Spanish fountain. A tiny island and foot bridge
complete the unique design. And if you get hungry after all that swimming,
you can grab a bite at the Cafe, that offers sandwiches, salads and deserts.
To see a panoramic view of the pool click
Pool has an entrance fee of $8.00 per adult and $4.00 per child. There's
men's and women's locker rooms (with shower facilities) where you can
rent a locker for $1.50. The pool also offers group rates and rental rates
for parties and special events.
fell in love with Venetian Pool. It's in a league by itself and is one
of those places that when you experience itit makes you feel glad
you're alive. Click here
for directions. 2701 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables, FL 33314 Tel: 305/460-5356.
that's the swimming and recreation portion of the show. Now how about
some creative shopping, delicious food and great music? All three
are right next door to each other on a historic little street called South
"The Road" holds the oldest liquor license in Miami and is definitely
one of the most colorful bars in town. It has a notorious 87-year history
that covers nearly every sin and temptation. It used to be a speakeasy
and gambling hall during Prohibition as well as a regular haunt of gangster
Al Capone. Since then it has been investigated, raided, shut down, had
its liquor licensed revoked and survived numerous devastating hurricanes.
But still, The Road lives on! It was taken over in the 80's by
a prominent businessman and made into a blues nightclub. From then on,
You can come in and listen to great music seven nights a week. Many renown
jazz and blues bands have performed here like B.B. King, Koko Taylor and
Jr. Washington. The food is excellent and reasonably priced there's always
some sort of special going on for dinner. (You can also stop by during
the day for lunch; there's a great outdoor patio). Don't miss going to
the upstairs cabaret named after the great Florida blues and gospel singer,
Diamond Teeth Mary. Hours: Mon -Fri 11:30am-5:00am, Sat -Sun 12:00pm-5:00am.
Tel: 305/374-1198.626 S. Miami Ave., Miami, FL. more>>