Monday, June 20, 2016

15+ Artsy & Cool Reasons To Visit The Palm Beaches, Florida

By Jacquelin Carnegie
(photo: DiscoverThePalmBeaches)
     

In the late 1880s, railroad magnate Henry M. Flagler turned Florida’s east coast into a chain of holiday resort towns, laying tracks and building hotels along the way. He built his own splendid residence, Whitehall, now The Flagler Museum, on the lush island of Palm Beach.
Today, Palm Beach County--also referred to as The Palm Beaches--consists of some 38 towns and is considered the "Cultural Capital" of Florida with more than 200 cultural venues. Here's a mini-guide to Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, and Delray Beach--three areas especially worth exploring:

PALM BEACH
The town of Palm Beach--just 3 blocks wide and 13 miles long--has more millionaires and billionaires than just about anywhere on earth. So, there's lots of classy fun to be had and even some budget options:
Admire Architectural Gems
Island Living Tours

(Tel: 561/868-7944; www.islandlivingpb.com)
In the ritzy resort town of Palm Beach, see spectacular architecture and landscaping in the Estate Section, where lavish mansions were built in the 1920s. The renowned architects Addison Mizner, Marion Sims Wyeth, John Volk and Maurice Fatio--known as the "Fab Four"--designed many of the landmarked estates on this tour.
Enjoy Classy Culture
The Flagler Museum
1 Whitehall Way, Palm Beach; Tel: 561/655-2833; flaglermuseum.us
Get a glimpse into the glorious Gilded Age on a visit to Whitehall, Henry Flagler's stunning Palm Beach estate. Take the informative guided tour that'll make you wish you lived there and attend wonderful programs, including lectures and concerts.
Society of the Four Arts
Four Arts (photo: Wally Gobetz)
2 Four Arts Plaza, Palm Beach; Tel: 561/655-7226; www.fourarts.org (Four Arts Botanical Gardens & Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden)
This special place has two beautiful gardens--sculpture and botanical--open to the public. In addition, there's outstanding, cultural programing, including concerts, films, talks by notable speakers, and art exhibits. This is a not-to-be-missed experience!
Horse Around
International Polo Club Palm Beach

3667 120th Ave So, Wellington; Tel: 561/282-5334; internationalpoloclub.com From January through April, the world’s best polo players gather here. On Sundays, don your fashionable finest and enjoy brunch on the veranda, then a thrilling game of polo. (If you're adventuresome, you can even take polo-playing lessons.) 

WEST PALM BEACH
Having played second fiddle to Palm Beach for so long, West Palm Beach is finally coming into its own with an array of artsy offerings:

Polo (Artist: David McEwen,
Rolando Chang Barrero Gallery)
Visit Groovy Museums
Norton Museum of Art
1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach; Tel: 561/832-5196; www.norton.org
The museum is known for its impressive Chinese collection, European masterpieces, American works, Contemporary art, Photography, and special exhibitions. Once a month, the Art After Dark (Thurs, 5-9pm) program features eclectic artsy events. [Free admission until 2018, while the museum undergoes an expansion designed by renowned British architect Norman Foster.]

Youth, Four Arts (photo: DiscoverThePalmBeaches)
Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
253 Barcelona Rd, West Palm Beach; Tel: 561/832-5328; www.ansg.org

Take the time to visit this beautiful home, artist's studio, and sculpture garden on the National Register of Historic Places in West Palm Beach's historic El Cid neighborhood.
Attend Art Festivals
ArtPalmBeach (Jan) - Some 85 international galleries exhibit 20th- & 21st-century painting, photography, sculpture, and ceramics. CANVAS (Nov) - This "outdoor museum" show champions art in public spaces with large murals and installations by more than 20 artists in the downtown area.
CANVAS (artist: Sean Yoro)
Go To Galleries Galore
Northwood Village (northwoodvillage.com) - Many artists have opened galleries in this emerging, vibrant neighborhood. Lake Worth (www.lakewortharts.com) - This lovely district has numerous galleries showcasing emerging and established local and international artists.
Be Entertained
Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
701 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach; Tel: 561/832-7469; www.kravis.org - This is home to some of the best cultural offerings from ballet to Broadway musicals, opera and jazz.
Take a Dive
(photo: DiscoverThePalmBeaches)

Jim Abernethy’s Scuba Adventures - Close proximity to the Gulf Stream, coral reefs, and shipwrecks, makes the PB Marriott Singer Island the perfect base for an underwater adventure. Snorkeling, SCUBA diving and even shark dives are offered year-round for all skill levels; just ask the hotel's concierge to arrange it.
DELRAY BEACH
Delray is a laid-back beach town known for the restaurant scene on Atlantic Avenue and for fantastic festivals. But there's an up-and-coming arts scene in the Pineapple Grove district and some unexpected gems such as:
Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens
Morikami (photo: DiscoverThepalmBeaches)
4000 Morikami Park Rd, Delray Beach; Tel: 561/495-0233; morikami.org
This magnificent place offers an authentic Japanese cultural experience--perhaps the last thing you'd expect to find in The Palm Beaches! Sixteen, beautifully-landscaped acres depict different periods of Japanese garden design, from the 8th to the 20th century. In addition, the museum presents incredible exhibitions, holds monthly tea ceremonies, and celebrates traditional, Japanese festivals.
Making Your Trip Easier:
Cultural Council of Palm Beach County - Now offers a new service--a "Cultural Concierge" whom you can call or email for expert advice on cool, cultural happenings during your visit. (Tel: 561/214-8082; concierge@palmbeachculture.com; palmbeachculture.com/concierge).
Discover Passes - Beer lovers can visit local breweries to sample a pint of their finest. Or, if traveling with kids, get discounts for popular, family-friendly attractions.
Dine in Style:
There are terrific places to dine throughout The Palm Beaches; start with these:
Atlantic Ave, Delray Beach
(photo: DiscoverThePalmBeaches)
 DADA (52 N Swinton Ave, Delray Beach; Tel: 561/330-3232; sub-culture.org/dada) - The perfect spot for dinner: delicious food in a lovely setting with great service.
The Cooper (4610 PGA Blvd, Suite # 100, Palm Beach Gardens: Tel: 561/622-0032; www.thecooperrestaurant.com) - This joint is jumpin' with terrific, farm-to-table food & wonderful service.
Café Luna Rosa (34 S Ocean Blvd, Delray Beach: Tel: 561/274–9404; caffelunarosa.com) - Casual, seaside dining for breakfast, lunch & dinner; also, local entertainment on some nights.
Where To Stay:
The Flagler Museum
(photo: DiscoverThePalmBeaches)
If you're looking for old-world Florida charm: Crane’s Beach House & Luxury Villas (82 Gleason St, Delray Beach, FL; Tel: 561/278-1700; cranesbeachhouse.com) - Just a few blocks from the beach, the rooms are like private, mini-bungalows--so charming you won't want to leave! Enjoy Florida fun in this lush tropical setting: Happy Hour and live music at the Tiki Bar and two pools open 24/7.
If you'd prefer modern and right on the beach: Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Resort & Spa (3800 No. Ocean Dr, Singer Island; Tel: 561/340-1700; http://bit.ly/1PqQwe6) - This beautiful, ultra-modern, all-suite, beachfront resort is AAA Four Diamond-rated. Filled with cool artwork, it's got a wonderful staff, great dining choices, and lots of water sports options.
Getting There: Fly into West Palm Beach (PBI) or Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) on Delta or Jet Blue.

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