Now that you have a great choice on where to stay (see my post from yesterday), here are new things to do in Palm Beach and where to eat for a wonderful Staycation.
Things to Do In Palm Beach
One of my most valued “finds” this trip was Leslie Diver of Island Living Tours and her bike tour of Palm Beach. She entertains and educates on the history, architecture and skinny on residents, famous and infamous, in her bike and driving tours. We took the Estate Section/Historic vias on Worth Avenue. In the hour and a half, 6 mile ride, you go down private roads you’d never know existed, with gorgeous homes you can actually see (unlike in other places where they’re hidden behind hedges). Then there’s the story behind the people and architecture in the passageways off of Worth Avenue.
Diver, whose background includes 10 years on the Architectural Review Commission and Landmarks Preservation Commission, as well as working as a personal assistant to big monied residents, has a unique perspective and amazing stories. In fact, her commentary on Henry Flagler includes juicy details you won’t hear in the Flagler Museum! You can rent a bike at the Palm Beach Bicycle Trail Shop located in the Royal Poinciana Plaza, the meeting place, or bring your own, as the tour doesn’t include bikes. She plans to introduce a new architecture tour, Strictly Architecture, October 1. The cost is $35 per person for a bike tour. Cost of the driving tours depend on the group size. For more information and to book, click here.
The high end shopping competition for Worth Avenue is Royal Poinciana Plaza designed by John Volk, architect to America’s royal families like the Vanderbilts, DuPonts, Fords and Pulitzers. Find 50 brands in everything from fashion and beauty/wellness, to home furnishings and art. There are both traditional brands like Hermes and Yves St Laurent, but also, less usual designers including Australian label Zimmermann (love their clothes) and Kirna Zabete who began in New York’s SoHo, to Cremieux from St. Tropez and Stoney Clover Lane from Palm Beach natives who have a line of travel and organization essentials.
It’s also a dining destination with the likes of elegant Italian restaurant Sant Ambroeus and popular spot Palm Beach Grill. The lushly landscaped garden courtyard is a lovely place to eat, people watch, and relax.
Flagler Museum, the not to be missed attraction, was formerly the winter home of Henry Morrison Flagler, a leading figure in America’s Gilded Age. The antique filled, frescoed, sumptuous mansion well worth a visit just in itself, has held over their popular show, “Walk This Way: Historic Footwear from the Stuart Weitzman Collection”.
It explores how shoes have become representations of culture — coveted as objects of desire, designed with artistic consideration, and expressing complicated meanings of femininity, power, and aspiration for women and men alike. Featuring 100 pairs of shoes from iconic designer Stuart Weitzman’s extensive private collection assembled over three decades with his wife Jane Gershon Weitzman, the exhibition covers larger trends in American economic history.This exhibition has been organized by the New-York Historical Society. Important note: you need a reservation for day and time as well as to pay in advance.
Interested in checking out consignment shops for men and women? Check out this earlier post:
Where to Eat in Palm Beach
Cafe Boulud in the Brazilian Court Hotel is always a solid bet. I’ve gone there for lunch many times in their garden courtyard for their well priced prix fixe offering. Dinner there was a “first”. The people watching is always top notch, a mixture of visitors to Palm Beach and well heeled locals who come wearing their serious jewelry. The experience called for nothing less than a bottle of champagne which we thoroughly enjoyed.
The menu is very appealing, making it tough to choose. I settled on the Dover sole which is almost impossible to find at restaurants in South Florida. It came with market vegetables, a light and delicious dish. Mr. W had the bison strip loin with fava succotash and crispy grits. I never had bison before, and found it hard to believe how tender and tasty it was, almost like grass fed beef.
A highlight of our stay was dinner and dancing at the Leopard Lounge & Restaurant in the Chesterfield Hotel. We had been there several times before for their legendary martinis and manhattans, and to enjoy live piano music. Dinner here was a first too, and one we’ll be sure to repeat. The place is totally retro, from the music to the menu, and great fun. It’s obvious many locals were regulars, coming to dance and enjoy excellent food. We shared a top notch caesar salad followed by an outstanding 14 ounce grilled veal chop au jus. The veal was top quality, and perfectly cooked and seasoned. It came with what tasted just like home made mashed potatoes with real butter, and asparagus. Service was very attentive and friendly. Loved everything. I heard they have an exceptional afternoon tea. Next time.
Crave ethnic food? Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila has a branch in West Palm Beach. It offers outdoor dining and extensive menu that makes it hard to choose. We had tacos and Mexican beer, and it hit the spot.
Hot News Flash: On the way, opening before year’s end at the corner of South County Road and Royal Palm Way , is La Goulue, New York City’s legendary watering home of the rich and famous.