So I started this post awhile ago (try a month to the day) and am long overdue to finish it (along with some over posts), but I will keep the time references of the original draft-
Last Saturday I came across a time lapse video of Norway. To state it mildly, it’s pretty freaking incredible! While of course I wanted to jump on a plane right away, the more rational part of my brain started yearning just to be outside far from the city. Something similar to the Columbia River Gorge or a forest in the Pacific Northwest. While Miami has some incredible natural beauty, it just isn’t exactly the same. I figured I’d settle for a hike, but of the “hikes” in Miami none of them would have given me what I was looking for. Most hikes were still pretty urban or they were in the Everglades (no way in heck I was hiking there).
One place I did try and search was the Redlands with all the farmland. Alas nothing in the way of hiking, but it did remind me of a few places down south I had wanted to check out. The first was the Cauley Square Historical Railroad Village. I don’t remember how I had heard of it, but a historical village would always stick in my mind. From the website it has a lot of historical “cottages” with shops (artists, crafts, etc.), a number of gardens, and a few restaurants. I was hanging out with my little brother the next day, so I decided we’d do a day down in far south Dade.
Cauley Square was the farthest north of our stops, so we went there first. It’s right off US-1, but what I like is that you quickly start to feel away from it all. The Village is on SW 224th St. I wasn’t totally sure where to park, but there were some cars along the side of the street in front of the different cottages, so I parked there.
From looking over the website I thought the gardens are where we would head. We explored in no particular plan from the car. There are a number of different “themed” gardens, such as the Fountain Garden, the Christ Garden, and the Sanctuary Garden. My little brother and I liked the gardens a lot. There were some cool statues and fountains as well. I was surprised at how peaceful and secluded they felt. It wasn’t the same as Norway or the Columbia River Gorge of course, but it satisfied my need to feel like I had gotten out of the city. The foliage and shade I think was part of what I had been looking for (as an Oregon boy), along with the peace and seclusion. If you look at Google Maps you can’t even see any of the buildings (only the tree cover), so it was a Miami-alternative to the outdoors I was looking for.
My little brother and I had other plans for lunch and none of the shops really caught our interest, so the gardens were about it for us. I will say I was a little disappointed by the “historical village” part. You could tell the cottages were old Florida-like, but felt a little worn out. There also wasn’t much that I could see of the “railroad” village, except for a red train car. Instead of a historical railroad village, I would talk about it more as having the feel of an “artist village” to give people the right preview in their mind.
For us, Cauley Village was just one stop, but without much interest in the shops or restaurants it wouldn’t make much sense to do the drive to Cauley as a destination itself. There also didn’t seem to be a lot going on or a lot of people, which I think affects the feel of the place. I was glad to check it off the bucket list though for curiosity sake. However, there are a number of events each year at Cauley Village that look interesting. That includes a Renaissance Faire, a antique and classic car show, and a bike show. I think if you are attending one of those events or have a strong interest in the shops/restaurants then a visit to just Cauley Village could make sense.
Take a look at the pics below to get an idea of Cauley Square Historical Railroad Village!
Cauley Square Railroad Historic Village- 22400 Old Dixie Highway Miami, FL 33170