Real Estate Love: Palm Beach, Florida

I am so behind.
Everyone is sharing their lovely autumn posts and I am trying to finish up my summer vacation series.
This is it.  
I promise to move on to the beauty and excitement of autumn, but I just had to share a glimpse of some beautiful homes we saw while in Palm Beach.  
Palm Beach is definitely the home of the rich, and I was obviously a tourist with a camera.

I absolutely fell in love with this gorgeous place on 450-452 Brazilian Avenue. Unit 452 was for sale when we visited, and I had planned to share interior pictures of the property via Zillow Real Estate Blog, but it has been removed from market since our trip.
I do know this about the home …. it is a five bedroom, 5 1/2 bath, 5200+ square foot residence.  It is a full three-story home complete with an elevator, 2-car garage, and an in-ground pool.  It sold in 2007 to it’s current owners for just over 5 million dollars!  
It is stunning for sure and I had Audley drive past this grand home at least four times while we were visiting.  I loved it that much!

I love the Pineapple at the entryway …. a traditional symbol of hospitality.
Most of the homes we saw right on the ocean had the flat roof style which I am sure is easier to maintain during the stormy season.

This South Ocean Blvd home while a bit older was right on the ocean.  I happen to like this modern style of architecture, although it doesn’t appeal to everyone.  
Here is another house with the flat roof style. I loved the columns on either side of the front door, the bay windows, plantation “shutter” garage doors, and the simple landscaping.  Together it says so much and gives off an elegant vibe.
This one was also on South Ocean Blvd. We caught a glimpse of it while strolling along the beach and it was just stunning in the sunset.  It was actually under construction.  If it looks this lovely unfinished I am sure it will be just amazing when completed!
Mar-A-Lago gates closed for the season

And one last home that I couldn’t get enough of was this beauty, although it was closed up for the season. As I mentioned in my last post, Palm Beach is most popular in the fall and winter months.  I must have looked like such a stalker standing on the side of the road trying to shoot a couple of pictures of this beautiful place.
This beautiful 17-acre estate is Mar-A Lago (Spanish for sea to lake), built in the 1920’s by Marjorie Merriweather Post (think Post cereal) is just across form the ocean with Lake Worth behind it. Her husband at the time was Mr. E.F. Hutton. This magnificent estate boasts 58 bedrooms and 33 bathrooms and 3 bomb shelters (added I’m sure during the Cold War & Cuban Missile Crises).
A young Marjorie Merriweather Post …  via hillwoodmuseum.org

The Red Cross International Ball in Palm Beach was began by Marjorie Merriweather Post in the late 1950’s. After serving at American Red Cross stations during World War I and donating thousands of dollars over the course of several years, she established the first International Red Cross Ball in 1957. And for the last 50 years, the Ball accomplished its powerful goal of underscoring the American Red Cross’ humanitarian efforts.  Since her death the ball has continued to be held at Mar-A-Lago alternating with the Breakers just up the road.

When Ms. Post died in 1972 she left the estate to the US government to be used as a retreat for Presidents and visiting dignitaries, but instead it is now owned by Donald Trump (who purchased it in 1985) and referred to as the Mar-A-Lago Club.
 It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1980.

A view of the entire estate from the rear via homemaxinternational.com
Can you see the stunning chandelier in the front window?
Entryway to Mar-A-Lago via Wikipedia
I found these interior shots of Mar-A-Lago from Ms. Post’s time in residence.  It has always been a grand home.
Master Bedroom via OldLongIsland.com
Children’s Room via OldLongIsland.com
Master Bathroom via OldLongIsland.com
The Library via OldLongIslnd.com

The Living Room via OldLongIsland.com
For interior shots of the Mar-A-Lago now, you can check out this photo gallery on it’s website.  Most grand indeed.
 There is no way I could begin to describe and share all the stunning and unique properties in the area, but I hope you enjoyed this little bit of real estate in the Palm Beach area.

What I Did on My Summer Vacation: Palm Beach

On my seven day 3000+ mile adventure with Audley over the summer I truly loved our time in Baton Rouge, touring Oak Alley Plantation, stopping over for dinner in New Orleans, and our few hours at Battlefield Memorial Park in Mobile, but my favorite stop (while Audley worked) was beautiful Palm Beach, Florida.
From the iconic palm tree line boulevards, the gorgeous Atlantic ocean, shopping Worth Avenue (often referred to as the Rodeo Drive of the Atlantic coast), beautiful estates, rich and delicious food to high-end antique shopping, Palm Beach was everything I always heard it to be and I totally fell in love with it all!
It was also the most ideal place to stop and relax for a couple of days (before picking up our teenagers from my parents and heading back to South Carolina).

We stayed at the Embassy Suites in West Palm with a corner suite on the top floor.  Our room was spacious with separate sleeping/living rooms, a small little kitchenette complete with cabinets, a sink, microwave and refrigerator, and a large bathroom.  The staff was amazing, especially considering we arrived at 3:30 in the morning!  The valet could have easily stayed out of sight, but he unloaded our truck and carried everything up to the room for us.  It was much appreciated after our ten hour drive from Mobile.  Each evening in the bar area (located in the lobby) the Embassy hosts a reception for its guests.  This is just perfect for those of us who enjoy a later dinner reservation while traveling.

Early afternoon in the bar and lobby area.  Besides a reception in the early evening here, breakfast is served every morning.
Our spacious living room
King size suite with over-sized closet

We actually enjoyed a day and a half of complete relaxation to sight-see and chill in Palm Beach, which ended as we took a couple of Audley’s associates to lunch on Sunday and then he headed out to the job-site while I slept in on Monday!  There is no way I can begin to give you all of the details of our wonderful stay in Palm Beach, but I can show you.

I hope you enjoy the view!

Beautiful Royal Palm Way which leads straight to the ocean from downtown.
Glimpse of the Atlantic from one of Palm beaches public access areas.
Peaceful evening walk along the beach … It was so picturesque and perfect!
It is very rare to actually catch my hubby relaxing because he works so much, so I am definitely sharing this moment with everyone!

The best part about visiting Palm Beach during June is we discovered it to be rather vacant.  The more touristy Panama City, Daytona, and the beaches of Destin are a huge draw, leaving this beautiful spot open for those who aren’t into party beaches. This meant that our Sunday afternoon was spent taking pictures of what we wanted and not having to worry about photo-bombs or working around crowds.  Personally, I loved it!

The Memorial Fountain and Park (in historic Palm Beach)  was designed by famed architect and creator of the Mediterranean Style, Addison Mizner The fountain and park were built in 1929 to commemorate the sacrifices of the town’s early pioneers.
I loved the Spanish style architecture of the Palm Beach area…. it’s not Audley’s favorite, but something about it just really appeals to me.
The Fountainhead rests on the backs of four horses emerging from the water, each representing the directions of the compass. The fountain is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is a locally designated landmark.

We fell in love with Charley Crab on the ocean (where we dined both Saturday night & then again on Sunday afternoon).  They are actually a chain owned by the Landry’s company, but you wouldn’t know it by the atmosphere and their ability to spoil and accommodate their guests!

The house special was Scallops encrusted with crab and topped with a house made Dynamite sauce.  Audley enjoyed it so much he asked them to make him some oysters the same way and they were more than happy to oblige him.
My special ordered dinner of grilled sea bass, steamed green beans and rice…. all extremely fresh and cooked to order.

The weather was perfect for strolling along the shore after dinner out each evening and we definitely needed a walk after the delicious meals we enjoyed.

The love of my life …. actually relaxing again!

One of my favorite ways to relax was a little shopping without my teenagers and their input.  Lily Pulitzer is one of my favorite style icons and one thing I am truly looking forward to is buying a Lily dress when I reach my personal/physical goals.

Exploring the hometown of Lily Pulitzer & shopping her iconic styles was so much fun!

Don’t you just love all of the color?!
So simple, yet makes a huge statement!

We also enjoyed shopping the four blocks that comprise the famed Worth Avenue in such notable shops as Island Company, Neiman Marcus,  Tiffany & Co., Ralph Lauren, & Saks Fifth Avenue.  I was just window shopping though, despite the amazing shoe sale Saks was having!

{Next summer when we return I will be prepared for the shoe sale!}

Before leaving Palm Beach we also hit up a few antique shops on Antique Row.
From simple shops to grand and elegant you will find antiques of every style and in every price range.  It was an impressive area to visit.

Talk about a unique chandelier!

Cedric Dupont Antiques was definitely one of my favorite stops we made.  High-end does not begin to describe this beautiful store filled to the brim with European (mostly French) antiques.  After we were buzzed in (not just anyone can walk through the door) the gentleman managing the business gave us a run-down of the history of the Dupont antique business and how he acquires his pieces.  As high-end as it was, the owner as well as the manager were extremely personable and so enjoyable to talk with.

These aren’t reproductions, but the real deal.
The prices were the real deal as well.

Palm Beach is honestly a dream get-away in the summer months.  From what I understand summers are always like that and the fall, winters and springs are the busy season.  I would have loved to have more time to explore and enjoy the beautiful area, but when your are tagging along while the hubby works you enjoy what you have!  I do hope next summer will allow us the time to return again.  I could totally make this an annual trip.

I eluded to loving the architecture of the area, and so I have just one more vacation post where I wanted to share just a little glimpse of the real-estate eye-candy we were able to enjoy.  Hope you’ll stop back by and check it out!

What I Did on My Summer Vacation: The USS Alabama

Traveling with my hubby is always an adventure, and when you add Naval history to the mix he becomes like a little boy just waiting for the next adventure.
So was the case with as we made a stop-over in Mobile, Alabama and visited the magnificent battleship USS Alabama and submarine, USS Drum as we made our way to Palm Beach for yet another meeting.
The keel of the USS Alabama was laid in 1940 as hostilities across the Atlantic were heating up in Europe between the British, French and Nazi’s, but America was not yet at war.  This particular ship was the 8th to bare the name Alabama and completed her sea trials in 1942.  Weighing 44,500 tons and 680 feet from bow to stern,  She was immediately put into service in the Atlantic Ocean sailing from Norfolk, Virginia with a job of protecting Russian and British convoys.  After a brief period in this role, The Alabama was sent to the Pacific clearing the Panama Canal in August 1943.

In the Pacific the USS Alabama and her crew of sailors and marines served valiantly in the Pacific war against Japan, accomplishing all of her assigned tasks.  She saw 37 months of action, participating in nine major battles of the Pacific.  During this time she never saw any causalities or suffered damage from enemy fire;  a huge accomplishment!
After the end of the war, the Alabama dropped anchor in Tokyo briefly and then took on 3700 servicemen to travel back to the US arriving in at the Port of San Francisco on Navy Day, 27 October 1945, bringing our boys home form war.

Her service was complete.  Unlike many ships of the time, the USS Alabama only saw action in WWII and was decommissioned quickly; 1947.

Due to the cost of trying to maintain the “Peacetime Navy”, in 1962 it was decided that the Alabama (along with several other great ships) would be scrapped.  Shortly thereafter a campaign was launched to bring the mighty ship to Alabama as a memorial to the many sailors and soldiers from Alabama who had served.

Alabama school children raised almost $100,000 in mostly nickels, dimes, and quarters to help bring her home to her final resting place.

Having parents born and raised in Alabama as kids of the Baby Boom, the USS Alabama means a lot to both of them.  They were two of the school children who donated their hard-earned changed to help with this effort.  They were given a gift for their contributions; each received a lifetime pass to visit the great battleship in Mobile Bay.

In 1972, seven years after the ship opened to the public, they finally got a chance to use those passes for the first time.  It was also my first visit to the beautiful and historic ship.

Dad & Momma were just 22 years old here!

A lot has changed since that 1972 visit which Audley and I were able to enjoy on our own trip.
No longer is the Ship the memorial, but the state has constructed an entire Memorial Park dedicated to all the soldiers and sailors from Alabama who has served and even lost their lives for our country throughout many wars.  There is no way to post pictures of everything, but here are a few highlights of the Memorial Park and the USS Alabama.

The Vietnam Memorial

Replica of the Vietnam Wall containing the names of Alabama’s men and women who were killed in this conflict.  My father has several classmates whose names are etched here.  It’s a very moving and sobering spot to visit.
Seeing the open guns reminded me of how vulnerable of our servicemen really are when they are out fighting for us.

The travels and battles of the USS Alabama

Bunks for the sailors and marines onboard…. close quarters for sure!

Shipboard amenities for servicemen away from home.  
Telegraph/Mail room
The command center of the ship
The Alabama’s service record is permanently recorded on the side of the ship.

While touring the ship I learned so much about the lives of the men on board, how they lived everyday and how they fought to protect our freedoms.

One thing I found so fascinating was the Presentation silver displayed.  While it was removed for it’s own protection during the war, generally it is left on board.

Here’s  little history on the presentation silver:  During the 18th century it became traditional for cities and states to present silver serviced to the warships bearing their names upon commissioning.  This silver service was designed for use on formal occasions such as port visits attended by local dignitaries. The US Navy withdrew silver services from all warships in WWII, leaving Alabama’s service stored in the State’s archives during the ship’s active service.  The silver was placed on board the USS Alabama for display in 1967 but has never been formally transferred from the state archives.

The USS ALABAMA’s presentation silver.

Besides home to the USS Alabama, Battleship Memorial Park is also the final destination of the USS Drum a WWII era submarine that was launched in 1941 and was donated to the USS Alabama battleship commission in 1969.  
Since I married a Submariner, visiting the USS Drum was very important to Audley.  As he descended the steps into her hull he inhaled deeply, taking in the smell of submarine living still in the air after all these years.
I found it all quite emotional actually.
Audley in the control rooms of the sub looking at navigation charts. 
Yes, those are beds, both over and under the torpedo.  Yes, that is how our sailors sleep.
The tiny kitchen where meals were cooked for the men serving on board
The officers were spoiled, just a little, although they still didn’t have much space.
Some of the USS Drum’s presentation silver
The USS Drum’s service record in WWII.

Audley & I on deck of the USS DRUM.
I hope you enjoyed a little of our visit to Mobile and the Battleship Memorial Park.  I know military history can seem rather boring, especially for a female, but I can assure you, a stop at one of our nation’s many military memorials will sure give you an whole new perspective and appreciation on our men and women who have and who continue to serve.
Next on our adventure we enjoyed a little R&R in Palm Beach, Florida complete with dinner by the ocean, shopping millionaires row and some high-end antiquing!

What I Did on My Summer Vacation: A Taste of New Orleans

When Audley and I were mapping out what all we would do while traveling for eight days back in June we knew that while New Orleans was on our path, it really wasn’t an option for a stay with his work schedule.  Trying to keep as close to schedule as possible and still maximize our time we picked an option that allowed us to enjoy a taste of NOLA and still make our hotel reservation in Mississippi.

New Orleans is known for fabulous cuisine with very unique flavor, and since I was game for a good cheat night, we decided New Orleans was definitely the place to enjoy it!  Audley has had to meet for business a couple of times here and had a place all picked out for us to enjoy together.

The Red Maple, actually located in Gretna, just outside of New Orleans on the West Bank, is a unique restaurant as it began in a house (to which it is still attached) in 1963 and has expanded over the years as a hidden treasure in the area.  It has been owned and operated by several generations of the Trauth family all of these years, a family that has EIGHT generations of restaurant owners!  There is a wall showcasing the family through the years.  It truly make dining at the Red Maple a more personal experience.

The Red Maple has lunch and supper service with extensive menus for both.  There is also a children’s menu available, although I’m not real sure that I would bring children in for supper as the atmosphere is truly geared for the adult diner.

We arrived early for dinner (just as they were opening for the evening meal) thanks to storms shortening our afternoon at Oak Alley Plantation, which gave me the opportunity to snap plenty of pictures and enjoy impeccable service from the waitstaff at Red Maple.

I loved the decor… copper pitchers and lanterns hanging from the wooden rafters helped create a warm environment.

Tables set for the crowd that would soon fill the space in the main dining room.  There are also private rooms and banquet spaces available for groups and a full-service bar with a knowledgable and fun bar tender.

Despite our original reservation being for later in the evening, the maitre de was able to sit us immediately for supper.   Our drink orders were quickly filled and fresh house baked bread and butter were brought to our table.

I don’t think my tea glass was less than half full all evening!

Along with a simply amazing blue cheese wedge salad (which I totally forgot to shoot) we started off our meal with a jumbo shrimp cocktail and charbroiled oysters.  I absolutely love seafood, especially when fresh is definitely and option.
We were not disappointed at all.

For his main course, Audley ordered the house speciality; Redfish Pontchartrain is a pan-seared fillet topped with lump crabmeat and mushroom-sherry cream.

I cannot begin to describe the richness and flavor of this dish, but next time we are in the area, this is what I am ordering!

Since I was enjoying a cheat night choosing to splurge a little for supper, I went for the Crawfish ravioli which consisted of Breaded Ravioli Stuffed with Pepper Jack Cheese Over Angel Hair Pasta with a Creamy Crawfish Sauce.

Oh. My. Goodness.

It was absolutely delicious and full of that Creole/Cajun flavor that I was totally looking for when I knew we would be having supper in New Orleans.

Even though we were very early for our reservation, our waiter, nor anyone else in the restaurant made us feel as if we had “messed up” their evening.  We found the staff at the Red Maple to be very accommodating and friendly, eager to please their customers.
We left very full and satisfied with the grand meal that we most definitely overindulged in!

After you have enjoyed all of this deliciously rich food, you can take an evening walk through the historic Hook & Ladder cemetery right behind the restaurant.

I know it seems rather creepy, but the above ground mausoleums tell stories you cannot find just anywhere.  The Hook and Ladder cemetery was first established in 1859 in Gretna.  Buried here is the first mayor of Gretna as well as the first victim of a skirmish between the United States and Mexico.

 Some of these tombs are quite simple, while others are elaborate monuments made of marble to honor the memory of those they hold.

Reading all of the names on the monuments was a piece of history in itself as there was such a mixture of French and Spanish names which were the foundation of the Creole/Cajun peoples of Louisiana.  But it was also interesting that there were a number of Germanic names inscribed as well.

Multiple generations can be found in many of the tombs; what I consider a unique tribute to each of the families. It’s as if they have always been close and united.

Since I was just talking food, I won’t explain how so many generations can fit into a space that seems so small, but it is quite interesting I assure you!

When reading up on the cemetery I discovered while a Catholic tradition, the locals still spend the last week of October cleaning the cemetery, painting and polishing the mausoleums and participate in the laying of fresh flowers on the graves on All Saints Day; November 1.

It is just ingrained as a part of the culture now.

Truly it was a wonderful and peaceful sunset walk with Audley.

If you plan a trip to New Orleans in the near future, add the Red Maple to your list of “must-do’s”.

Red Maple Restaurant
1036 Lafayette Street
Gretna, Louisiana 70053
phone: (504) 367-0935


And, don’t forget to check out the Hook and Ladder Cemetery right behind the restaurant to walk off your dinner!

You’ll be so glad that you took the time to visit New Orleans’ West Bank!