For anyone in need of a fresh start after a year of mostly staying close to home and perhaps a tad too much time behind computer screens, the opportunity to soothe the soul and stimulate the senses in a legendary coastal destination is a win-win. There’s no better time to discover or rediscover The Palm Beaches, where fresh artistic and culinary visions invigorate its fabulous sense of old-world glamour—in a temperate climate that’s beckoning each and every moment.
Best of all, you can check out fine dining and thought-provoking artworks while taking in nature’s own masterpieces. Soak in inspiring views along 47 miles of coastline, 29 beach parks, and several refuges and reserves. Being in nature and viewing art are both scientifically proven to lower stress levels, anxiety, and depression, among other rewards (such as art’s power to boost critical thinking skills). And to help visitors have their own personalized, art-filled adventure, the Cultural Council for Palm Beach County offers a complimentary Cultural Concierge to match you with art and culture experiences based on your interests. From sculpture and botanical gardens to spacious museums and galleries, there are artful finds throughout the region—and outdoor options for delicious cuisine to stimulate your tastebuds as well.
Garden of delights
Feast your eyes on the nine monolithic sculptures (and over 100 works by the artist) at the historic home and gardens of artist Ann Weaver Norton, located in the El Cid neighborhood. You’ll also be enchanted by the over 250 rare palm species, cycads, and other tropical plants on the property. The combination of art in nature is a balm for the soul—like entering an otherworldly landscape that surprises and delights the senses as you walk the property of the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, which opens seasonally from October through June. Enjoy a catered lunch outdoors in the garden with options like quinoa salad or a roasted turkey and brie sandwich from the onsite eatery Al Fresco.
Explore 16 acres of serene gardens that showcase more than 7,000 art objects and artifacts at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. Then, top off your experience with an authentic meal, a bento box lunch on the terrace of the museum’s Cornell Café.
Through June 7, also stop by the Palm Beach Gardens Tennis & Pickleball Center to view “Lost in the moment: Nature’s Most Beautiful Scenes” by Carol Ann Salley. Presented by GardensArt, one of the City of Palm Beach Gardens’ art in public places program, the exhibit features paintings by the local artist.
An urban oasis
Enjoy a stroll through the magnificent sanctuary in Palm Beach that is The Philip Hulitar Sculpture Garden at The Society of the Four Arts, where 20 modern and contemporary sculptures made by artists from around the world (and several from south Florida as well) are showcased in spectacular gardens. Set on more than two acres at the cover of Royal Palm Way and Coconut Row, with spacious walkways, water fountains and a grand lawn, there’s plenty of room to relax and move about, soaking up art and nature. The adjoining Four Arts Botanical Gardens—with themed garden plots highlighting diverse styles such as Fragrant Moonlight Garden, Spanish Façade Garden, and Tropical Garden—has been captivating Palm Beach visitors and locals alike since 1938. A self-guided walking tour is available on your smart phone via The Society of The Four Arts website.
Visit the nearby Flagler Museum, housed in National Historic Landmark Whitehall (the 1902-erected, Gilded Age estate of Henry Flagler) for a taste of old-world opulence while viewing rotating exhibitions. Stay for a sumptuous “PICNIC” lunch (Tuesday through Thursday) from the onsite Café des Beaux-Arts, available for noshing under the shade of palm trees in the Cocoanut Grove just outside the museum.
The full spectrum of nature is the art on view at Mounts Botanical Garden, a 14-acre “living plant museum” divided up into 25 unique garden areas with plots both dazzling and calming, from the O’Keefe Rain Garden to the Garden of Tranquility. Check their site before you go for special activities like Art in the Garden drawing classes and Get Back to Our Senses Guided Walks on Fridays. Afterward, drive about 10 minutes to .dig into dinner including shrimp ceviche or cauliflower crust pizza in the outdoor dining area at Galley, complete with an artful firepit on the terrace.
Visitors can rest assured when they come to The Palm Beaches: Businesses across the county have taken The Palm Beaches Pledge, a promise to follow health and government official guidelines designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. And The Palm Beaches is the first destination in Florida to support hospitality businesses in pursuing the outbreak prevention, response and recovery accreditation for facilities, the GBAC STARTM, on a destination-wide basis.