Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jamee's Palm Beach Getaway

Magnificent Banyan trees line the Lake Trail in Palm Beach. Every other morning we did our 4-mile walk in bright sunshine, passing beautiful homes and plantings along the water's edge.
My Palm Beach Getaway
By Jamee Gregory

When dreary winter days came hard and fast, it was impossible to resist two splendid-looking Palm Beach birthday invitations. The first was to celebrate Tommy Quick's 60th and the second for Bill Hamm's 80th. Being more than a week apart, we decided to do something different and stay at The Breakers, taking a proper vacation, leaving the snow behind.

Blessed with wonderful friends, we have house-guested over 20 years, always enjoying the pampering. But no one wants a guest more than three days! There is something to be said for being on one's own, getting up and going to bed as the spirit moves you, playing tennis or not, having down time, seeing whoever you like, having a late lunch or a rest. Would we like being in such a large hotel? Would it be a nightmare or a pleasure?
A view of the The Breakers in Palm Beach.
Benches and fountains dot the property.
A view of the arcade, where shops tempt Breakers guests.
Luckily, it turned out to be a delight. We enjoyed a lovely ocean view and terrific service. Peter's only problem was with the pillows, which were foam. (Our sweet friend, Jackie Weld Drake, solved that by lending us her own!) Each day different candies, and cookies, beautifully wrapped, arrived in our room. If we needed hangars, water, newspapers or laundry, the service was impeccable. We had breakfast poolside, facing the ocean. A plentiful buffet offered everything from salmon to omelettes.
Looking towards the pool before a breakfast buffet by the beach.
The tempting candy box left in our room.
As early risers, there was never a wait. The one morning it sprinkled, we investigated the brand new, state-of-the-art, gym, with floor to ceiling glass windows and a row of treadmills and elliptical machines facing the ocean. It is hard to imagine a better place to exercise! Every other morning we headed for the Lake Trail and did our 4-mile walk in bright sunshine, passing beautiful homes and plantings along the water's edge. We returned to our rooms to shower and read the papers before heading to lunch with our pals at their beach and golf clubs. It is easy to see why nearly all my buddies are spending winters in sunny Florida.
The Lake Trail.
Peter enjoying our walk past the palms on the Lake Trail.
Pink hibiscus brightens a dock. An egret sunbathing on the Lake Trail.
More Lake Trail views.
How nice to sit oceanside, or at the edge of a green golf course, having scones, a chopped salad and Virgin Mary, finishing up with coffee and macaroons, far from the snow and ice. The streets sparkle, there is no litter. Every where one looks there are majestic palms and manicured gardens.
Off to lunch at the Breakers.
Heading to Sprinkles on Royal Poinciana Way for ice cream.
The Breakers walls offer great places to pause.
After lunch, we often walked along Worth Avenue or explored some of the chic new shops in West Palm, like Hive, a mecca for unusual gifts and housewares, that occupies a huge space and is "swarming" with happy customers.
Trillion Men's & Women's on Worth Ave.
Mary Mahoney's tempting selections on Worth Ave.
In the late afternoon we discovered many charming corners of the Breakers, where guests can put their feet up and have drinks or read, in the garden courtyards. We also tried out the various pools, one for every taste, avoiding the one for children! Poolside bars and restaurants offer varied menus. Were we bothered by conventioneers from the Republican Party to UBS? Not really, because they are sequestered in different areas.
Cocktails at the beach.
A great place to relax!
Afternoon iced-coffee on the terrace.
Lemonade in the shade.
Peter catching up with the news.
View of one the Breakers' gardens.
The Breakers' herb garden.
Flower-covered terrace with cozy chairs.
A triple hedge looks terrific.
More PB foliage on the property.
One of the well-marked Breakers' areas for nature lovers.
The only drawback of the hotel was getting our car. Twice they lost it, having registered it as Gregory Peter! it is no fun being late for a dinner because your car cannot be found. So many people pull up and depart at once, that valet parking is a little bit of hell.
Waiting for the car at The Breakers.
Waiting for the car, again & again. It proved to be a great lesson in patience.
During the course of the week we loved dining al fresco at Bice and Renato's. Mariana and George Kaufman arranged a yummy dinner at Cafe L'Europe. Pauline Pitt and Jerry Seay took us to a beautiful yacht club.  I went to the Boy's Club of New York's elegant Michael Kors fashion show and lunch, at a fellow Board member's beachside home.
Renato's courtyard, on Via Mizner, set for lunch.
Beautiful tiles and fountains decorate many of the Vias.
The romantic courtyard at Renato's.
Dinner at Cafe L'Europe.
With Grace Meigher at the Boys' Club of New York Michael Kors Fashion Show.
Our nights were filled with one glamorous party after another, starting with Tommy's spectacular evening at a private club with over 350 guests.

With the birthday boy.
Friends came from all over to help Palm Beach's most-popular and most- loved philanthropist pull out all the stops. From tins of caviar served in individual ice sculptures, to the most delicious dessert, with sparklers for all, and a performance by Earth, Wind & Fire, it was the best party ever.

TQ, as he is known, promised to capture any reveler who left before midnight on video and ban them from his 70th. Guests complied, with pleasure, dancing well into the night, leaving with a chocolate "TQ" for late-night nibbling.

The next Friday the Breakers was the scene of the annual Palm Beach Preservation Foundation chaired by dazzling Ann Johnson, whose whopper of a diamond decorated a sparkling long-sleeved sheath that perfectly expressed the "Frozen" winter paradise theme that Scott Snyder executed brilliantly, with mist rising, flickering lights, and shimmering silver-paillette table cloths.

The Foundation's president, John Mashek, recognized everyone's efforts and guests danced to the Bob Hardwick Sound. We happily waltzed into the nearby elevator, carrying our goody bag, filled with a lovely Estee Lauder compact and a Stubbs and Wooton clutch.
Ready for the Palm Beach Preservation Foundation gala at The Breakers. No car necessary.
The following night many of the same guests headed to William Hamm's 80th birthday, arranged with great flair, by his wife, Candy. A familiar club was transformed into El Morocco. Guests were greeted by cigarette girls in short skirts, and hundreds of festively-clad pals picked up  monogrammed match boxes along with their place cards. Dom Perignon poured like water and dinner was a tour de force. When was the last time you had pheasant under glass?
Bill and Candy.
Scores of waiters lifted the tops off in unison! The club's lofty ceilings were tented navy and filled with candles, banquettes recreated the zebra-charm of the legendary boite. Cabaret singers entertained and the clock turned back to a glamorous era. Guests, dressed to the nines, danced the night away. Bill gave a charming toast, thanking his wife.

The following evening over fifty guests celebrated Pat Wood's 95th birthday at her daughter Hilary Geary Ross' magnificent  home. The party pavilion was decked out in pink, and the chairs covered in shimmery fabric that matched the flowers. Pat thanked her guests and daughter, and gave a lovely speech, full of grace and charm. Glasses of pink champagne were raised. We were so happy to share such a special birthday with such a beautiful birthday girl.
The sisters and their mom: Hilary Ross, Pat Wood, and Robin Pickett.
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