Growing up in Michigan one of the typical spring break vacation destinations was Florida. Orlando’s theme parks beckoned, grandparents wintering down south awaited, and our parents needed a break from all the snow. But now that I’m older, Disney is no longer on the Florida visit list, instead a trip down to the Keys to relive a one of the breathtaking sunsets my dad always dreamed of, a walk down South Beach to take in some pastel Art Deco, or a stop on Calle Ocho top the list. This year our first stop in the States was Florida. With most of my Venezuelan family there, we stayed with my aunt, uncle, and grandma. Most days consisted of eating, laughing, more eating, time at the pool, and then eating some more (so much amazing food – must detox soon!). It was perfect. But aside from all the family time, we also took a trip to Palm Beach.
I’ll admit I didn’t know what to expect when my aunt told us we’d take a day trip to Palm Beach. Driving over the bridge and onto the island that is Palm Beach endless rows of palm trees welcomed us. I was immediately impressed by the stunning historical architecture giving Spanish Colonial the symmetry of Art Deco with terracotta rooftops and dark woods next to stucco and soft pastels. We parked at Worth avenue and took a stroll down the palm tree lined avenue. We window shopped at the designer boutiques (Worth Avenue is Florida’s Rodeo Drive) and got lost in the chraming “vias” that are tucked off the avenue and overflowing with lush plants, iron balconies, and sparkling chandeliers.
As we continued east, the Worth Avenue clock tower welcomed us to the endless sandy beaches. The beige marble towner is like a reclic recovered from the sea – a perfect example of the harmony between the tropical landscape and the spectacular buildings.
We drove the coast line back south, passing incredible historic mansions built in the 1920’s that drip with the grandeur, details, and grace of a time past and represent some of the most important architects of the era. Most were quiet and still as we drove by, and the emptiness brought out a such a sense of Gastbyesque longing, that I couldn’t help but imagine F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda partying at more than a few of them.
After a cloudy day at Palm Beach, somehow the day ended with an impossibly orange sunset that turned into the pink South Florida dusk and something I never expected began to happen, Florida’s endless soft beaches, pastel pink skies, tropical humidity, Latin heritage, architectural history, and palm trees enchanted me, and those heavy green palms somehow became the green light on the other side of my bay…