The Palm Before the Storm: Palm Beach, Florida

It was time for a little day trip. I needed to get out and see something beyond the borders of the fast lane in Miami. And for reasons I cannot explain I had never been to Palm Beach, that chicest of the chic, glittering gem of the East Florida Coast. With the full knowledge that she is fast asleep in a summertime siesta, I went to gaze, like Bilbo Baggins at the sleeping dragon, Smaug, in all her gem encrusted glory. I was warned, as soon as you cross the bridge, you enter another world altogether. Everything slowed, especially the speed limit, necessarily because one needs to drive carefully while staring at residences so ostentatious as to make Louis IVX blush with embarrassment, well, maybe the Rockefellers. But like a freshman with braces on, they were firmly boarded up against, what? Hurricanes, thieves, marauders, landscapers; no the landscapers were there, tirelessly hacking away at the relentless jungle that threatens to cover each and every house like the fairy castle of Sleeping Beauty in about four days. Astonishing as it is, these people, can they possibly be just people, who live here in these amazing houses, have gone away for the summer, to fairer climes. Nantucket, Maine, Alaska? Where could anyone want to go better than this, I questioned no one in particular as I gazed across the street to water so like liquid sky that I nearly cried. Is there no air conditioning, are there no swimming pools? Why would anyone ever leave?

Continuing on to the village and passing Royal Palm Avenue with the tallest sets of Royal Palms marching in pairs up the center of the street, I came finally to the Street of Streets: Worth Avenue. Aptly named because you or your daddy must be worth a truck load of money to shop here. Lined with the likes of Chanel, Salvatore Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo, Neiman Marcus and resembling none other than a mini Beverly Hills, making one’s head spin at the credit card overloads about to happen, I parked and embarked. There is something dreamlike about walking down a street devoid of pedestrian traffic. No one, absolutely no one, was there. This probably had as much to do with the street repairs that maddeningly blocking the sidewalks and keeping you from crossing to the opposite side, as it did with being so obviously “Off-Season”. 
But as “unfashionable” as I was, I wandered forth. To my complete delight, there were so many courtyards burgeoning with palms and flowers, beckoning me into their inner circles with sunlit winks and Majorca tiled stairways that I felt I had dropped into the Hotel California song and would never be able check out or leave if I ventured much passed the street. Never having known how to pass up a secret garden, I crept further and further into one delightful scene after another, sure that I was still dreaming. At this point I was entirely grateful for the Off-Season shopper-less pathways. I could take as many tourist free photos as I wanted. The result is pure conjecture into what could be a totally foreign country, say Capri or Saint Thomas, maybe Ibiza. Certainly all the elements are here to enjoy.

Even though this day was about meeting a very special person for lunch at the amazing Cafe Boulud in the Brazilian Court Hotel, I could not help but wonder what tantalizing and scintillating soirées have happened in this aptly named little spot right on Worth Avenue, now closed for “the Season”. Next time, yes, there will always be a next time…

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The Palm Before the Storm: Palm Beach, Florida — 2 Comments

  1. You really captured it! Especially the comment about Hotel California, that's our motto. We love Palm Beach in the summer minus all the tourists and traffic. Hate when we have to share it. So glad you took the time to drive up and see the magic. xxxxoooo

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