Rich in pioneering history, inundated with great wealth, and steeped in Hollywood-style glamor, Palm Beach draws curious visitors and new residents alike. The name is recognized the world over as a destination for wealthy vacationers, royalty, and celebrities. In addition to having excellent cultural events throughout the year, Palm Beach County also has the largest number of golf courses in the United States: 147. Everywhere you look, you'll find courses designed by prestigious trophy winners such as Arnold Palmer.
Once an uninhabitable swampland, the area would have remained a challenging wasteland except for the vision and determination of a man with lots and lots of money, railroad baron Henry Flagler. Whitehall, now the Flagler Museum, set the standard for other members of Henry Flagler's social and financial standing who followed him south. Constructed in the popular Beaux Arts architectural style in 1902 on six acres, Whitehall was a 55-room, 60,000 square foot vacation house. Open now to public tours, it offers a glimpse how the American millionaires of the period made a dramatic statement to the world. At the age of 72, Mr. Flagler certainly made one with this $4 million gift to his new bride and third wife, complete with European works of art, Roman sculptures, enormous ballroom with gilded mirrors, and gold china service and porcelain.
When the wealthy came south to Florida's warmer climate at the turn of the century, they had money to spend, of course. Their legacies of wealthy lifestyles have maintained our fascination with the Palm Beach aura and what the city it is today: a great place to visit or live. Worth Avenue has become a distinctive shopping destination with exclusive European shops and first class restaurants. Although changes have occurred over the years, you'll find over 200 specialty stores such as Chanel , Escada, Gucci, Hermes of Paris, Louis Vuitton, Maus & Hoffman , Myers Luggage, Saks Fifth Avenue , Sonia Rykiel, and of course, Tiffany & Co. . Antique shops and art galleries abound.
When it comes to dining, there are many excellent places to choose from. Charming cafes, delightful coffee houses, and quaint bistros can be found throughout the city and around famous Worth Avenue. You'll find great ocean view dining and fresh seafood at Charley's Crab and the epitome of excellence at the Florentine Dining Room in the grand Breakers Hotel .
West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach was created for workers who built the fabulous mansions and hotels for Henry Flagler at the turn of the century. Today, it's historic downtown district offers fine entertainment, shopping, and great restaurants. Many of its early homes are now charming bed and breakfasts. Interstate highway I-95 runs north and south through it as the major travel artery. Private yachts glide down the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway, mooring at marinas for overnight docking or extended visits. The Port of Palm Beach is home to the Palm Beach Princess , providing gambling and entertainment just off Palm Beach's coast. As a center of art and culture with museums and galleries, the county hosts some of the largest art festivals and music events in Florida, including professional touring companies who perform at the impressive concert hall, Kravis Center . On Saturday mornings, the GreenMarket in West Palm Beach is an experience in itself where breakfast can be enjoyed under shade trees while buying fresh pastries, fruits, and vegetables.
To the north of Palm Beach are the communities of Palm Beach Gardens, Wellington, Riviera Beach, and Jupiter. Diving and fishing charters are available, as well as tour boats along the Palm Beach coast and the Intracoastal Waterway.
Palm Beach's glamorous season provides a variety of exciting diversions, from lavish theatrical productions to leisure sports such as polo or croquet. From December to April, avid fans spend an amusing afternoon at the Palm Beach Polo and Country Club . Club members dressed in high style sit in reserved box seats on one side of the playing field and sip champagne. On the other side, non-members enjoy the sport as well, watching the fast playing action from chaise lounges next to their automobiles and feasting from picnic baskets. During the break, everyone gets on the field to replace divots.
South of the city are the trendy towns of Lake Worth, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton, each with their own charming historic districts and enchanting 1920s bed and breakfast inns.
The city of Palm Beach has drawn visitors for over a hundred years. Its lure hasn't diminished one iota. As one of the most beautiful cities on Florida's east coast, it offers a myriad of activities, attractions, grand hotels and quaint historic inns, all in a most agreeable environment and setting. It is truly a paradise for everyone to enjoy on all levels.
When Henry Flagler and his friends came south to Palm Beach, they brought along their high standards and demands for the best of everything, including fine dining. That legacy can still still be found for anyone who takes eating seriously. Palm Beach County has many excellent restaurants to choose from. You can eat at the affordable to the very, very expensive. The range of tastes is considerable, from good old Southern style American to European, Mexican, Asian, and more.
For old world atmosphere and noted for its caviar bar and high ranking with the locals, be sure to patronize Cafe L'Europe . Another continental dining on Worth Avenue is Taboo . Great Italian fare can be enjoyed at Renato's .
Noted for fresh seafood entrees is Charley's Crab . Looking for a more casual atmosphere? For terrific hamburgers since 1945, Hamburger Heaven is the place to go. For the most expensive restaurant in town, but definitely a four-star meal, it's the Florentine Dining Room at The Breakers Hotel.
West Palm Beach
Here's a community that can boast the same excellent quality dining establishments as it's sister city east of the Intracoastal, offering a variety of ethnic and American restaurants. An Old World style Italian restaurant in this historic part of Palm Beach is the Stresa . For French Mediterranean fare, the Bellagio offers excellent dining in a romantic atmosphere.
On Saturday mornings, you can enjoy an outdoor street breakfast while buying fresh pastries and vegetables at the GreenMarket in West Palm Beach , a popular weekend pastime. If you're at the Palm Beach Kennel Club, be sure to dine at the well-regarded Paddock Reataurant .
A short drive south into this celebrated community also offers delicious fare. Inside the historic Glulfstream Hotel on the Intracoastal Waterway, try Daniel's Lake Avenue Grille , or if you're on the beach and are ready for breakfast or lunch, the John G's is known for friendly service and good food.
In Delray Beach, Ellie's 50's Diner has every dish on its menu named after a 1950s song. Also on the beach, you'll find Boston's on the Beach which serves good food all day long. The Two Georges Waterfront Grille in Boynton Beach has been around for a while. With a delightful tropical setting and great food, it's popular with the locals.
Boca Raton, one of the fastest growing communities that offers excellent dining and attractions, not to mention beautiful retirement developments, Carmen's Restaurant and Lounge features great steaks and fresh seafood, all with a great ocean view. In Lantana, home of the National Observer tabloid on celebrity news, the Ginger Wok offers an intimate atmosphere and delicious Chinese cuisine
Communities just north of Palm Beach include Jupiter, made famous by actor Burt Reynolds, as well as Palm Beach Gardens and Riviera Beach, noted for its marinas, sport fishing charters and dive shops. Wellington is home to the Palm Beach Polo Club. Many excellent restaurants in these towns offer dining establishments that equal those in the county's southern towns. In Palm Beach Gardens, the Abbey Road Grill and Sports Emporium , featuring TV screens everywhere for sports programs, offers great steaks and seafood.
Palm Beach and its neighboring cities offer a myriad of great places to eat for any time of the day. Depending on what activity you may be pursuing, whether it's a day of shopping on Worth Avenue, playing gold at one of the 147 courses in the county, or dressed to kill for a memorable night on the town, you'll find just the perfect restaurant, cafe, bistro, or diner to make your day complete. The choices are many and the decision may be a tough one, but no matter which you decide, the atmosphere of Palm Beach and its impeccable taste sets the standard.