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West Palm Beach

TO THE MANOR BORN In addition to many private golf courses and yachting facilities, West Palm Beach is home to the National Croquet Center (700 Florida Mango Rd.; 561/478-2300), the largest croquet facility in the world (of course). Wellington, west of town, is horse central, home to the Palm Beach Polo & Country Club Stadium (13420 S. Shore Blvd.; 561/793-7517) and the hunter-and-jumper show circuit at the Palm Beach Polo Equestrian Club (14440 Pierson Rd.; 561/793-5867). The Winter Equestrian Festival runs from January 28 to March 14. Naturally, this being Palm Beach County, the festival includes a costume gala, the Denim and Diamonds Ball, on February 15. The horsey crowd, like everyone else in West Palm Beach, knows how to have a good time.


MARKET WATCH "I'm lucky to have bought a 1920's Mission-style house, across the street from my mom's, in El Cid several years ago, when you could find something with charm that was affordable. Right now, Flamingo Park and SoSo are the neighborhoods to look at."

SWEET TOOTH "Hoffman's Chocolate Shoppes [2403 S. Dixie Hwy.; 561/833-9414] has the best coconut cashew crunch you'll ever wrap your lips around."

FRESH AIR FUN "I love walking my dogs, Tank and Daisy, along Flagler Drive—it's quite the social scene by the water at dusk."

HOME WORK "My favorite shop is Erhard & Danenberg Antiques [4900 S. Dixie Hwy.; 561/588-7288]. I just bought a set of antlers there, for my front porch, that I absolutely adore."

WEEKEND SPECIAL "The green market along Narcissus Avenue [561/659-8009] is so much fun to visit on Saturday mornings. My dad, Peter Pulitzer, sells oranges and venison there."

Next Great Neighborhood SoSo
The area south of Southern Boulevard, SoSo, is steadily rising on the chic meter: people like fashion designer Lilly van Gerbig (goddaughter of Lilly Pulitzer) and her artist husband, Barry, have moved into the area situated between the Intracoastal and a string of dollar discount stores and barely-holding-on motels on Dixie Highway. Deco Don's (5107 S. Dixie Hwy.; 561/588-2552) carries tropically themed American Art Deco and fifties designs: Heywood-Wakefield furniture; Hollywood-glam Tropitan rattan pieces by Herb Ritts Sr.; a 1939 General Electric radio and a 1950 sea mist-green Frigidaire. • Somewhere in Time (5505 S. Dixie Hwy.; 561/533-7400) is a goofy thrift shop—the old dentist's chair outside may give you chills—and the AAA Antique Mall (5400 S. Dixie Hwy.; 561/585-4050) is jammed with more than 100 dealer booths. • Need a snack?Havana Restaurant (6801 S. Dixie Hwy.; 561/547-9799) serves mounds of arroz con pollo and runs a 24-hour take-out window for fixes of café cubano.

High Art
The true cultural treasure in town is the Norton Museum of Art (1451 S. Olive Ave.; 561/832-5196). Last spring, the Norton unveiled a new wing with 14 galleries, Café 1451 (a casual restaurant), a palm-adorned courtyard, and a glass ceiling by Dale Chihuly. Now the largest—and best—art museum in Florida, the Norton's permanent collection features Chinese art dating back to the 11th century, as well as works by Sir Joshua Reynolds, Pablo Picasso, Edward Ruscha, and Frank Stella. This month, the Norton is featuring the 1920's Hollywood glamour photography of Ruth Harriet Louise and a show of minimalist works by artists such as Sol LeWitt, Josef Albers, and Lucio Fontana. And people say Florida has no culture.


Pounds of chocolates sold each day during the holidays at Hoffman's Chocolate Shoppes.

45 mph

Top speed of greyhounds during races at the Palm Beach Kennel Club (www.pbkennelclub.com).

TOM AUSTIN lives in Miami and is the features editor of Ocean Drive magazine.


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