1 We had a wonderful morning on famous Worth Avenue, where we were treated by our hostess, Lisbeth Barron, to a guided tour of the street by Mr. Rick Rose, on behalf of the Worth Avenue Association.
2 Jude and Truman, ages 3 3/4 and 2 3/4, came along for the tour.
3 Beverly Bonaficio, nanny, and my daughter, Alexis, also went on the tour.
4 There was a giant decorated Christmas tree on the avenue. Jude loved the big silver bows.
5 The tour started in one of the famous courtyards that are cleverly tucked in behind the avenue, offering more retail space and pretty areas to sit, dine or just rest.
6 Jude and Truman loved the numerous fountains and played in all of them.
7 The street is lined on both sides with covered, arched arcades with wood ceilings (this one is mahogany) and beautiful light fixtures.
8 Aside from privately arranged tours, there are regular scheduled tours led by Mr. Rose on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. Rick does have lots of historical and fun facts about the avenue—and one is so much more knowledgeable about Palm Beach and its founders after the tour.
9 One corner is occupied by the Tiffany store—built of coral stone, it is a very classical building in the Palm Beach style.
10 There are many stores dealing in antiques, high fashion, jewelry, and even light fixtures.
11 I have often shopped at Winston, a shop that focuses on lighting fixtures, lamps and chandeliers.
12 This is a very nice stationery store.
13 The 200 towering coconut palms were planted as full grown trees (32–40 feet tall) during the last renovation of the avenue in 2010.
14 The plantings along the arcades are beautiful, and a wonderful magenta bougainvillea vine is being trained neatly around the arches. Don't you love the dapper jacket, tie and hat Rick Rose is wearing? When he is not leading tours, he is running Grandview Gardens, a bed and breakfast.
15 Many side streets lead into courtyards with other shops. This one is embellished with more of the bougainvillea.
16 Pecky cypress was the original wood used in the ceilings of the arcade by the original builders: Mr. Addison Mizner and Paris Singer, who were developers of early Palm Beach.
17 The Everglades Club was built in 1918 at the west end of what is now Worth Avenue. After the club, many stores were built along the street, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Worth.
18 One of Palm Beach's early stores was Stubbs and Wooton, which will embroider the toes of your slippers with the design of your choice. I own a pair decorated with my famous chow chow, PawPaw.
19 A tiled staircase designed and built by one of the original developers: Addison Mizner.
20 The last remaining original Mizner lantern. All of the arcades and courtyards were illuminated by these lanterns, which over the years have broken or been damaged by time and storms.
21 Jude and Truman found another fountain, and they splashed in it until totally soaked!
22 The courtyards now contain cafes, shops and entrances to housing on the upper floors of the buildings.
23 This is one of the original street signs heralding Mizner.
24 This is the doorway to Mizner's own personal abode—he built this edifice for himself right in the midst of Worth Avenue. A very nice family now lives in the home, which is several stories high and has commanding views of all of Palm Beach.
25 We were treated to a private visit of the Mizner House. This is the kitchen—original Italian tiles line the walls and arched ceiling.
26 Amazing carved stone doorways, antique carved doors, paneling and tiles were imported by Mizner to embellish the wonderful architecture he designed and built all over Palm Beach.
27 The dining room is paneled in antique Italian woodwork. The furniture, chandeliers and much of the decoration was imported by Mizner.
28 The great living room has leaded windows, a coffered ceiling, ironwork chandeliers, a massive stone fireplace and incredible decorations. Notice the beds set up under the windows for the overflow Christmas guests.
29 The mantel is impressive as is the original workmanship—this kind of building was used by Mizner as he designed many Palm Beach mansions and public buildings.
30 A wonderful tapestry hanging in the great room.
31 A clearer view of the massive colored leaded windows in the big living room.
32 An elaborately carved wooden and gilded screen from Spain or Italy.
33 On the top floor, the roof is lined with pecky cypress painted a wonderful shade of blue. From this room, one can see most of Palm Beach.
34 Looking east toward the ocean—the coconut palms line Worth Avenue and stretch for four blocks.
35 Looking south, one looks out at the roof and tennis courts and golf course of the Everglades Club, an exclusive country club at the west end of Worth Avenue.
36 The architecture of the club buildings is very beautiful: stucco, coral stone and red tile roofs.
37 Looking out over the roofs reminded me of old Dubrovnik, Croatia, or old cities in Italy.
38 Looking west, one can see the new building of West Palm Beach.
39 Looking north, one can see a bit of the residential area of Palm Beach.
40 After the tour, I posed with Rick right on Worth Avenue. Foundations, groups, clubs and historical societies serve a wonderful purpose in keeping the historical perspective of communities alive.
41 We ended the day with a beautiful sunset.