Best Hidden Neighborhood - 2010
When Virginia Gardens elected J. E. Hardy mayor in 1947, only 50 residents of the small, lush green village were registered to vote. Virginia Gardens ceded from neighboring Miami Springs after that town passed a law banning the keeping of horses — something that didn't sit well with the transplants from the Old Dominion state. They transformed Virginia Gardens into a community of barns, stables, and a duck farm. More than half a century later, Virginia Gardens maintains its rustic appeal, minus the barns and stables. And residents work hard to keep up the village's manicured lawns and abundant tree canopy. The Virginia Gardens beautification committee stays busy by regularly planting trees in the swale areas of residences and village property. According to recent U.S. Census data, the population of Virginia Gardens hovers around 2,300, with more than half the residents married with kids. The enclave is tucked between Miami Springs and Miami International Airport.