The Palm Beach Post: My own private Palm Beach: The Serial Entertainer’s Top 10 local excursions
For those looking for a getaway that’s cautiously close, yet definitely feels like “someplace else,” I humbly offer up our hometown, Palm Beach.
I know, I know, Palm Beach is not everyone’s cuppa tea. For one thing, it’s exclusive (“Exclusive to what and restricted to whom?” asked the brilliant Rosalind Russell in the movie “Auntie Mame.”) It can also be expensive, what with recent residential real estate transactions showing up in the jaw-dropping tens of millions of dollars.
But there are many ways to authentically experience Palm Beach and its environs as a visitor without busting one’s budget.
Here’s my short list of must-dos in Palm Beach that are relatively low in price yet high in return:
Window shop at Royal Poinciana Plaza: This first of the outdoor malls was terribly swanky when it opened in 1957, what with the likes of retailers such as Gucci and FAO Schwarz and Schrafft’s, the oh-so-social soda fountain/restaurant for the smart set. When Worth Avenue, Palm Beach’s premier shopping street, gained dominance, the Plaza slid downhill, losing its luxe shops in favor of real estate offices, hair salons and other service businesses. But its recent turnaround to star status has been dramatic, thanks to a major restoration by its most recent owner, WS Development’s Up Markets division. The Plaza is now home to marquee fashion brands such as Hermes and Saint Laurent, an Assouline bookshop, independent apparel and home décor retailers and a range of dining options, from traditional delicatessen to tacos to expensive but exquisite Italian fare. But don’t be daunted. Just have a cappuccino or a slice of cake at Sant Ambroeus’ authentically Milanese coffee bar, and you’ll catch the vibe without spending more than $20.