Over on the barrier island, you can get some idea of the old Palm Beach Style at Henry Flagler’s Whitehall Mansion (now a museum) and the many other mansions of the rich and famous that line the eastern shore. You can tie up at the town docks near the east end of Royal Park Bridge and tour the elegant downtown area.
There's first rate dining to be found in Palm Beach also, such as at the Brazilian Court Hotel's restaurant, Cafe Boulud, with French cuisine, not far from the docks and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reservations are recommended, phone is 561-655-6060.Over on the beachfront, you might try one of the dining rooms at The Breakers — perhaps Palm Beach's most famous hotel. (It's another of Flagler's hotels!) Listing all of the fine restaurants would take so many pages we must leave the project of finding more to you.
And if $pectacular $hopping is interesting, be sure to check out Worth Avenue, a street of elegant jewelry stores and boutiques that's often called “Rodeo Drive East.” It's worth a visit, even if you only window shop.
On the mainland side, south of West Palm, there are several smaller communities that, despite the appearance of being a cohesive, continuous city, are actually distinct — and distinctly different — municipalities. The first is Lake Worth. There are shops, restaurants and art galleries, but no readily accessible dockage. Despite its name, it is only coincidentally a waterfront community.
Just the opposite is true in the next town, Lantana, which not only has dockage (there are two Loggerhead Marinas there), but technical services too. Among the waterfront restaurants is Old Key Lime House — actually the second oldest house in Lantana — built in 1889. It's worth a visit for its decor and tasty dishes. Note that in this area it is wise to keep close track of your position and stay within marked channels — outside the dredged channels, Lake Worth is not very deep here.
At the south end of Lake Worth, Boynton Inlet is a real bear, best left to local fishermen in small boats who use it heavily because the fishing on both sides of the inlet is excellent. With a fixed bridge (Highway A1A, 18-feet clearance), strong currents, shifting shoals and a seemingly ever-present heavy ground swell, this place has enough undesirable elements to make it wise to heed the charted comment, “Passage through the inlet is not recommended.” If you really need to get out to the ocean, it's best to run the ICW back north to Lake Worth Inlet.
Heavy shoaling has been reported near Lake Worth Daybeacon #46, near the Boynton Inlet. Capt. John Yeager reports a mid-December 2009 trip through there when he noted approximately 10' depth at MHW favoring the temporary red buoys. South of there, the waterway becomes a landcut again and passes through Boynton Beach and Delray Beach to Boca Raton with facilities and restaurants spaced nicely along its length, mostly around the frequent bridges. In recent editions we've been giving these places a bit more attention because rushing from Lake Worth to Fort Lauderdale is not the best way to enjoy the Gold Coast to its fullest.
Boynton Beach is a small community with waterfront and associated boating and fishing activity. The city's marina is on the northwest side of the bridge. Boynton Harbor Marina has long been a favorite place for visitors when it comes to outdoor dining on the water, whether they walk, drive or arrive by boat.
A $4.5 million renovation project began in 2009 and Phase I improvements already include updated electrical utility pads, lighting, new fish cleaning stations and 19 new boat slips. Phase II will include a new Harbor Master building with restrooms and the ship's store. This slice of Old Florida just east of Federal Highway brings countless hours of true Florida lifestyle with its shops, restaurants and Nature walk.
If you're visiting Boynton Beach without your own boat be assured that you can board the SeaMist III or one of several other captained charter/fishing boats for a day on the water.
Delray Beach is that rare sort of community that has managed steady contemporary growth while also maintaining an old fashioned sense of scale. It too, offers a taste of Old Florida that somehow also seems quite fresh. “Downtown” Delray has a number of fine restaurants, shops and museums, and all are within a few short blocks of the Waterway (if not right on it!) and the city's main drag — Atlantic Avenue. The barrier island is narrow here so the beach is within easy walking distance. The city marina is shown on Chart 9. There's no dockmaster on site but there is a pumpout — US coins only. Transients may be accommodated at the dock by telephone registration using a credit card for dockage.(Continue...)
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