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Trump’s  presidency has put Palm Beach, Florida back in the spotlight, thanks to his historic estate-turned-private club of Mar-a-Lago. But before Newport Beach and before The Hamptons, Palm Beach served as the nation’s first true resort town. Lined with billion-dollar estates and perfectly landscaped vistas, it’s one of the wealthiest communities in the country, a haven for countless displays of refined opulence. Just strolling through the courtyards and ritzy architecture is enough to make any visitor feel like a million bucks, so be sure to check out these upscale hallmarks on your next visit.

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A courtyard on Worth Avenue, courtesy of Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Shop Worth Avenue

The essence of the Palm Beach lifestyle is centered around the old world charm of Worth Avenue. Much more than a lovely outdoor mall, this exclusive shopper’s paradise features sweeping archways, winding staircases, fountains and small courtyards called vias tucked in between shops. Each via showcases different artwork, architecture and gardens so that it feels like an individual oasis. There are over 200 high-end shops and restaurants on Worth Avenue, including familiar names like Cartier, Chanel and Emilio Pucci, as well as local icons like Kassatly’s, the oldest shop on Worth, family owned since 1923. It’s the go-to for old school lingerie and fine linens from Madeira.

Breathe in the Living Wall

With palm trees and tropical landscapes a major part of the Palm Beach experience, it makes sense that the vertical garden of the Worth Avenue Living Wall is a local attraction of sorts. A lush panorama of 11,000 tropical plants in a 24-foot-high, 36-foot-wide grid, the $250,000 green masterpiece covers the western facade of Saks Fifth Avenue. The Living Wall’s geometrically patterned shades of green make it a popular backdrop for weddings, as well as for selfies.

Inside the Flagler Museum, courtesy of Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Soak up old-school opulence at the Flagler Museum

A National Historic Landmark, the Flagler Musem  exemplifies the Gilded Age grandeur of Palm Beach’s oil tycoon founder Henry Flagler. Known as Whitehall, the 75-room, 100,000-square-foot palace was declared more grand than any other private residence when it was constructed in 1902. Transformed into Florida’s first museum, the mansion’s extensive exhibits, grounds and even Flagler’s private rail car, require at least two hours to view.

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The Breakers hotel, courtesy of Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Rest up in style at the Breakers

Founded in 1896, The Breakers is the most iconic Palm Beach hotel. Developed by Palm Beach founder Henry Flagler as the ultimate oceanfront hotel, the property’s location at “the breakers,” where the ocean’s waves crash and spray, define it as the best in seaside glamour. Filled with intricate ceiling paintings,  nine restaurants, a 28,000-bottle wine cellar and a 200-foot-long lobby, The Breakers is definitely worth a visit.

Take a peak at Billionaires Row

Scattered behind towering hedges along South Ocean Blvd, sit expansive mansions that rival fairytale castles. Also called the “estate section” of Palm Beach, many of the island’s 29 billionaires own homes here. Some of the estates, including Il Palmetto (5.46 acres) and Trump’s Mar-a-Lago (111,00 square feet) are listed as National Historic Landmarks but that still doesn’t convince Palm Beach to allow photos in the area. There are other rules that regulate the size of signs (to recognize historic buildings) and landscaping that make a self-guided tour difficult. The best bet is to take the Island Living bike tour of the estate section and let local expert Leslie Diver point out famously lavish properties.

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Tagged: Florida

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

Rosalind is a writer/author/blogger/teacher based in Chicago. She covers travel, lifestyle and arts topics and her credits include Salon, Hemispheres, Miami Herald, Woman's Day, Brides, Midwest Living, Go Magazine, Bravo Jet Set and The Rough Guide to Women Travel. Follow her hyphenated adventures with her blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, as well as on Twitter and Instagram @FarsightedGirl.
Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

@farsightedgirl

Journalist, author & blogger of #travel, culture, #music & fashion.#binder Lover of passion fruit. Climber of volcanoes. Teacher of #journalism. SATW Member
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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

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