On a Gold Coast Roll, We Head For Palm Beach

Or more accurately, West Palm, but who’s counting? Palm Beach was just over the handsome Flagler Memorial Bridge, a destination in itself. It all added up to an excellent stop for us for a few days.

Days 138-141, February 23 – March 4, 2019

We had just enjoyed a rather lovely and low-key stopover in Delray Beach, and now headed up the river towards one of the more (most?) upscale stops on our trip. Palm Beach. Images of The Gold Coast, of lifestyles of the rich and famous, floated across our bow roller.

Not certain how our scruffy little program would fit in, we boldly put our throttle down to see what we would uncover. We had done OK in Miami, so we had nothing to loose. Thunderstorms and deluges were behind us for the moment, it was a gorgeous, cool-ish day. We enjoyed the easy 15-mile ride on the flybridge in the sunshine.

The waterway was peaceful. Thank goodness for weekday travel. Not many other boats, flat water, and in spite of eight bridges to contend with, easy navigation. We were surprised to pass a few trailer parks along the waterfront, but otherwise we enjoyed views of mostly upscale real estate in the communities of Boynton Beach, Lantana, Lake Worth and the Palm Beaches. It’s not every day you pass by a presidential retreat, although in all honesty, we couldn’t see much of Mar-a-Lago from mid-channel. As we learned from the locals, it was “a good thing the Boss wasn’t in town.”

We were met by (yet another) bit of fiesty current as we approached our assigned slip at Palm Harbor Marina. Adequately prepared, we had no trouble, and didn’t need the anxious dockhands that waited alongside. Easy-in. It’s nice to have a 40-foot boat when the smallest slip available is for a 50-footer. Plenty of room.

Esmeralde is on the puny side at Palm Harbor Marina, West Palm Beach.

We enjoyed our visit to Palm Beach immensely. West Palm has a lovely waterfront park area that hosts all kinds of activities. We witnessed a large walk-a-thon of some sort, plus a very large Farmers Market that was as much street fair as market. Quite the hoop-la for a Saturday morning.

We found most of the shopping and restaurants in West Palm a little on the scruffy side, but we did enjoy some terrific food at Pistache French Bistro just a block from the marina. They get a bonus point for inviting our dogs to sit with us on the terrace.

The Palm Beaches gave us loads of options for runs and long walks. I really enjoyed a couple of early morning sunsrise runs, over the Flagler Bridge, across to the ocean, up northward through lovely residential neighborhoods, and back down along the ICW on the Palm Beach Lake Trail. The Lake Trail is a wonderful meandering ramble that runs for more than five miles, offering an “intimate encounter” with Palm Beach style. I enjoyed it.

Bruce and I walked some long loops around Palm Beach and made sure to take in Worth Avenue, Royal Palm Way and The Breakers. My Dad and Mom have made numerous trips to The Breakers when Dad was on the Board of Directors for Fleet Bank, and in the wake of his recent death, Mom was very sentimental about The Breakers. We wandered through, admiring the grand ballrooms, hallways and lovely architecture, and sent Mom lots of photos. It is quite impressive.

My one disappointment was learning that an old favorite from, oh, fifty years ago, is no more. Hamburger Heaven. My grandfather used to love to take me there as a child, and I think my parents even stopped in on their more recent visits. A cultural landmark that is gone forever.

The highlight of our visit was a private “insider’s tour” of Palm Beach by our host for one evening, who drove us all through the backroads of the northern end while sharing stories of the colorful lives lived behind the tall hedges and stone walls. All this was followed by a lovely dinner in his home with his wife and another guest. The evening was by far the most interesting and entertaining we have had on our cruise, and it was the best way to visit Palm Beach. We know now what few other visitors are privy to! A fun and lively evening: thank you P&C!

There is plenty more for us to do on a future visit — we will most certainly be back. Our exploration did not do justice to the historic past of Palm Beach, and the museums and galleries that document the rich stories of the area.

Delray Beach (City Marina) to West Palm Beach (Palm Harbor Marina)
15 miles, 2h 40m, 5.8 knots average speed
2052 trip miles

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