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November 12, 2011

Top Ten List for Palm Beach, Florida

by Anne Paddock
Palm Beach, Florida is a 16 mile long barrier island just a few miles east of the Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida.  In planning a visit, consider the following recommendations:
  1. Stay at The Breakers Hotel
  2. Explore the island by bicycle
  3. Visit the Henry Flagler Museum
  4. Have dinner at Chez Jean Pierre
  5. Have lunch or dinner at Renato’s
  6. Have dinner at Cafe L’Europe
  7. Stroll down Worth Avenue
  8. See a show at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
  9. Go to a Spinning Class at Velocity in West Palm Beach
  10. Go to the Green Market in West Palm Beach (mid-Oct – mid April)canstockphoto2569698
The Breakers Hotel
There are numerous hotels in Palm Beach but the best by far in terms of size, location and amenities is The Breakers Hotel (as shown in the feature photo and below). Centrally located in the middle of town on the ocean, this 140 acre resort appeals to all types of visitors: children, teens, adults, those that want to relax, and sports enthusiasts by offering:Breakers_CIMG0089
  • 5 oceanside pools within a Mediterranean-style beach club
  • private beach
  • golf academy and 18 hole on-site golf course
  • tennis courts and junior tennis program
  • 20,000 square foot spa and fitness center
  • 6,160 square foot family entertainment center multiplex
  • kids club and camp
  • bike rentals and tours
  • yoga, pilates, and water aerobics classes
  • snorkeling and scuba diving
  • catamaran tours and Hobie Cat sailing
  • croquet
  • kayaking
  • business center
  • 7 restaurants on site and 2 restaurants within a mile
The Breakers Hotel
One South County Road
Palm Beach, FL
561-655-6611

www.thebreakers.com

Rates from $319 per night. Check website for specials especially during low season (June through November).

Explore the island by bicycle

The best way to see Palm Beach is from a bicycle utilizing the many bike trails, wide sidewalks, and bike lanes on the road. Bicycles and tours are available through the Breakers Hotel but you can also rent a variety of bikes: cruisers, three wheelers, tandems, bikes with a kid’s seat, and even scooters from the Palm Beach Bicycle Trail Shop (PBBTS). Located about 4 blocks from the Breakers, the PBBTS provides maps, tours, and bike repairs. Next door is the Champs Elysees Bakery at 229 Sunrise Avenue – a small French bakery that has very good croissants, pastries, and also serves breakfast or lunch.lake-trail-palm-beach

Just a block from the PBBTS is a portion of the “Palm Beach Bike Trail” – a 5-mile path on the western side of the island that borders the Intracoastal Waterway.

Going north, the trail is extra wide to accommodate walkers, runners, skaters, and bikers.  The views are beautiful and being able to cycle without worrying about cars makes the whole experience relaxing, especially if kids are in the group. Also, use the map and explore the other portions of the bike trail that go south and the beautiful extra wide sidewalks that go for more than 5 miles south along the Intracoastal Waterway on the West Palm Beach side of the bridge.

Palm Beach Bicycle Trail Shop
223 Sunrise Avenue
Palm Beach, FL 33480
561-659-4583

www.palmbeachbicycle.com

Open 7 days a week:  Monday-Saturday from 9:00-5:30; and Sunday from 10:00-5:00.

Rates vary depending on rental length and range from $29 for a 1/2 day to $79 for a week.

The Henry Flagler Museum

The Henry Flagler Museum was built by Henry Flagler, a founder of Standard Oil, as a wedding gift to his wife, Mary Lily Kenan in 1902.  The museum is also known as “Whitehall” and is a national historic landmark. Whitehall is a 75-room 60,000 square foot mansion that can be seen using an audio guide, by self tour, or human guide.  Located on the western shore in the center of the island, the museum is within walking or biking distance from the Breakers.Henry-M-Flagler-Museum

Stop by Cafe Des Beaux-Arts in the glass enclosed pavilion in the museum for lunch or tea. The surroundings are beautiful – green and sun-drenched – with views of the back lawn and Intracoastal Waterway.  The museum also has a wide variety of programming including concerts, lectures, and holiday specials.  During the holiday season, Whitehall is beautifully decorated to reflect the Christmas season.

The Henry Flagler Museum (Whitehall)
1 Whitehall Way
Palm Beach, FL 33480
561-655-2833

www.flaglermuseum.us

Open Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00-5:00 and on Sunday from 12:00-5:00. Closed Monday.

The restaurant is open seasonally (November 25 – April 7) Tuesday-Saturday from 11:30-2:20 and on Sunday from 12:00-3:00.  Reservations are highly recommended during the season.

Dinner at Chez Jean Pierre

Chez Jean Pierre is arguably the best French restaurant on the island and consistently excellent. Open since 1991, the restaurant has been managed by the same family that hails from Normandy.  My idea of a perfect meal: warm shiitake mushroom salad followed by Dover Sole Meuniere with spinach and carrots, “real” French fries and a warm apple tart.Bistro Chez Jean-Pierre

Chez Jean Pierre
132 North Country Road
Palm Beach, FL 33480
561-833-1171

www.chezjean-pierre.com

Open Monday-Saturday from 5:30-10:30. Closed Sunday. Reservations are essential.

Dinner at Renato’s

Renato’s is an Italian restaurant located in Via Mizner between Worth and Peruvian Avenue in the center of the island. The restaurant has both an indoor dining room and a garden terrace, which is especially beautiful in the evening. The menu offers a wide variety of choices but I am partial to the pear salad and pennette caprese which in all its simplicity, is perfectly cooked.

If your preference is to have a more casual dining experience, stop by Renato’s take-out window on Peruvian Avenue called Piccolo Mondo (which is actually Renato’s) and order the pennette to go. Piccolo Mondo is one of the best kept secrets in Palm Beach among locals because the prices are half of what is charged in the restaurant for lunch take-out and you don’t have to be dressed up.  We often ride our bicycles over, order lunch and sit at one of the umbrella covered tables in the via and enjoy a delicious meal.

Renato’s
87 Via Mizner
Palm Beach, FL 33480
561-655-9752

www.renatospalmbeach.com

Open for dinner every day from 6:00-10:30 and lunch on Monday-Saturday from 11:30-3:00

Dinner at Cafe L’Europe

Cafe L’Europe is an elegant restaurant (and piano bar) that can be quite the scene. The dining room is breathtakingly beautiful and wide open making it hard to choose between focusing on the delicious food or people watching.  The crab cakes with mango and pineapple salsa followed by the salmon served with potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes are delicious. Afterwards enjoy a cheese plate for dessert and watch the bar scene crowd with both locals and tourists.10296412_746514952046731_1544345705069352644_o

Cafe L’Europe is a virtual institution in Palm Beach that has been open since 1980 with ownership and management kept in the same family.

Cafe L’Europe
331 S. County Road
Palm Beach, FL 33480
561-655-4020

www.cafeleurope.com

Open Tuesday-Sunday 6:00-9:30 (but the piano bar stays open much later)

Reservations are essential during the season and on weekend nights.

Stroll down Worth Avenue
Worth Avenue is world-famous as one of the most high-end shopping districts in the country. The Avenue is actually three very long blocks of stores that include Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and a host of designer stores as well as local merchants that specialize in linens, stationary, jewelry, art, and clothing.Worth Avenue Palm Beach

Stroll down the vias and stop in Mary Mahoney at 336 Worth Avenue for beautiful housewares or at Barzina at 66 Via Mizner (across the via from Renato’s) for sea salted caramels and treats that taste every bit as good as they look.  Go to www.worth-avenue.com for a listing of stores and a map of the avenue.

Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
The Kravis Center is the performing arts center across the middle bridge (there are 3 bridges in Palm Beach: the Southern Boulevard Bridge, the middle bridge which is Okeechobee Avenue, and the north bridge which is also referred to as the Royal Poinciana bridge) in West Palm Beach that offers a full calendar of concerts, musicals, plays, lectures, and shows.  Go to www.kravis.org for a complete listing and attend a world-class show. Parking is by valet or in an adjacent parking garage.Kravis_Center
The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
701 Okeechobee Boulevard
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
561-832-7469

www.kravis.org

Ticket office on site for immediate purchase or will-call.

Spinning Class at Velocity
Velocity is the place to go for a spinning class.  Located across the middle bridge in West Palm Beach, Velocity offers both early morning, mid-morning, afternoon, and evening spinning classes taught by Chris, Blake, Victoria and a host of other great trainers. Reservations are not required but highly recommended as classes fill up quickly.
Velocity Cycling Studio
321 S Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
561-247-BIKE (2453)

www.vcyclingstudio.com

Open 7 days a week, offering 25 classes

Green Market in West Palm Beach
The Green Market operates every Saturday morning from 8:00-1:00 from mid-October to mid-April.  Easily accessible (by bike or car) from Palm Beach by either the north or middle bridge, the Green Market operates at the Waterfront Commons, an open green space on the western side of Flagler Drive between the two bridges. There are more than 60 vendors that sell fresh fruits and vegetables, orchids, plants, fish, juices, breads, pastries, and even apple cider donuts which are served hot in a paper cone to easily snack on while walking around. For a complete list of vendors, go to www.wpb.org/greenmarket.greenmarket-west-palm-beach

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