Saturday, January 29, 2011

Welcome to my new blog!

So I decided to start a blog after obsessively pouring over dozens by residents who love where they live. This place needs to be shown some love too. Florida is not well represented in the online cycling world save for a couple of spots so here I am! The area that "Palm Beach" refers to in my blog is more directed at Palm Beach Island and the downtown West Palm Beach area (begins on the other side of the Intracoastal but I lump it all in together). We have some of the most gorgeous scenery around and some of the most built-up public waterfront areas around. The Downtown district is always putting on awesome events like the huge SunFest music festival that is here every year, the Palm Beach International Boat Show, many 5k races, and lots of free events and concerts. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night there is always some free concert. There are Art Festivals and Equestrian shows (to promote the western town of Wellington's annual equestrian season), cultural festivals, car shows, etc. You name it, it's there. They've been aggressively rebuilding the area and promoting it as a place for everyone to come to and enjoy and what's great is that there is a HUGE variety of people and all ages. They tore the old Library down to create a large open grassy space and built a new, state-of-the-art library just down the street. There's a small building holding free quarterly exhibitions of art. The new meandering pathways along the water include lots of new benches and waterfountains for people and their dogs! And they built a couple of new free public docks to encourage visitors to come by boat. These docks feature little natural areas in the center that have native mangroves growing and even a small tidal pool nursery for small fish. There is quite a lot to enjoy here now and I am very proud of living here.

Across the bridge is Palm Beach Island, where the majority of the wealth of Palm Beach County lives. It's clustered with McMansions and winter homes. It boasts a really nice trail up and down the island–going north takes you all the way to the Inlet where there is a little park to enjoy the scenery. The water is always sparkling and clear and you can see the Port of Palm Beach to the left, the recreational Peanut Island in the center, and Singer Island to the north. The Port just got a new cruise ship that sails to the Bahamas. Going back south, there is a nice road that runs parallel to the beach, though they really ought to designate a bike lane there. It was about a nice 15 mile roundtrip. Palm Beach Trails Bicycle Shop is located right next to the trail and they are really friendly and helpful. They also rent a lot of bikes to the tourists. This is the closest bike shop in the area. They really need to get a good shop into the Downtown area. 

Palm Beach Island is also home to the famous Worth Avenue shopping district that has the most expensive things you probably cant afford. All the designer boutiques from Chanel, Tiffany's, Burberry, Sak's Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom (with its own parking garage), etc. They just recently renovated it and put a nice clock tower at the intersection with Ocean Drive. They also widened the sidewalks and put in towering palm trees along it. What's interesting about this place, and that I love mostly only at night, is that in between some shops, they built in little Italian "Vias" that take you through a beautiful corridor into what's modelled after Italian streets with shops. Theres cafes and fountains and just a unique charm. I love it at night because they leave all the lights on and there's nobody there. It's as if its all there for you so its quite romantic.

Back over the bridge, taking Flagler Drive south leads you through a lot of Historic Districts like El Cid with more beautiful houses. You don't really want to go North of Downtown because it starts getting into Riviera Beach and that area is very crime-ridden and ghetto so it's quite scary. However there is a lovely Martin Luther King Memorial there and along the way beautiful little places to sit or fish. Anyways, going south eventually you will find the path on the water ends and takes you directly through the Historic Districts, eventually you can loop back to the East and continue along the water. There are more piers that are used only for fishing or the occassional sunbathing girl. 6 miles later you will come into Downtown Lake Worth. That's as far as my adventures have taken me so far :)

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