Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Do You Do When You Need A Quick Dose of Sunshine?

Dear Imaginary Readers, with pale skin like mine,
Sometimes, it is a grand idea to get out of town, hop on US Airways, and get to Jupiter, Fl, tout suite! That is exactly what my husband and I just did. We flew into Palm Beach airport, and stayed at the Jupiter Beach Resort and Spa, about 30 minutes north of Palm Beach.
We took a couple of fun boat trips: Loxahatchie State Park, with its river cruise and gator sightings, and Jupiter Island Manatee Cruise, which had no actual manatees. False advertising!
Both cruises featured osprey. On the river, we saw an osprey up in a dead tree, chewing down on a fish it held in its claws. My oh my!
Despite our cruise on the Intracoastal Waterway having lacked in manatees, it was very fulfilling. We saw the homes of Tiger Woods, (OK, he is really private, so we saw his shrubbery and boat), Bill Gates, the heir of the Johnson and Johnson fortune, Burt Reynolds' home, on sale for only 7 cool million, and many many more. Greg Norman, the Aussie golfer, the owner of Searle Pharmaceuticals, the inventor of this and that, the former Doris Duke residence...the list was lengthy. Let's just say that none of them were artists! Much less, starving artists. Hmm...
My husband is sporting a lovely golden tan, and I am sporting a streak of sunburn.
Jupiter has a lovely lighthouse, and across the inlet, you can eat mediocre food at the Crab House, while viewing the lighthouse and  the bridge that goes up and down twice an hour for the local boaters to pass beneath.
For all the costly wonder that is Jupiter Island, and the billions of dollars available to spend on good food, you would think that Jupiter would have some tasty restaurants. We did not find any.
Better to get your feed bag on in Palm Beach or West Palm Beach.
In West Palm, try Bellaggio in CityPlace, an upscale shopping and dining center.
In Palm Beach, try Ta-boo on Worth Avenue, and Cucina dell Arte on Poinciana. Both are upscale eateries with good food.
More entertaining still are the people who populate them: the rich and elderly, the bejeweled botoxed, the plastic surgeried, the old men with the pretty young ladies, etc. People watching is one of my favorite pastimes in Palm Beach. (Is that so wrong??)
As for the Jupiter Beach Resort, the food is ho hum, as is the service, but  the actual property is very pretty. It is also smack dab on the ocean. There are some curious rock formations on the beach, called Anastasia stone.
In fact, on Jupiter Island, the Nature Conservancy has established a place where one can go view the Blowing Rocks, where plumes of water shoot up, as the tide forces water under the rocks and into the small blowholes that erosion has created over many years.
My favorite things about our hotel: It is right on the beach, it has the prettiest elevators EVER, and the lobby and bedrooms are quite beautiful.
I was amazed that US Air only charged us $200 each for our airfare, in the high season for Palm Beach. Other destinations were much pricier in South Florida.
If you like ethnic food, you may be out of luck down here. The choices are seafood and Italian. That's about it, folks!
Patsie's rule of restaurants: the prettier the view, the more mediocre the food.
As for the weather, that may have been the highlight of the experience. It enticed us to stay outdoors all day. Jupiter's  high of 82 was also sunny and not humid. Ahh. Nice breezes, too.
On our last full day, we drove to see the seventh largest freshwater lake in the world, Lake Okeechobee. When you look at the map of Florida, you will notice a very large lake in the lowest third of the state. It looks to me like a thumb-hole on a palette. But then, that is my artistic predisposition coming through. 
Another gator sighting! And some cool-looking birds. Water for as far as the eye can see. But the elusive manatees were still hiding.
Your imaginary friend,

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