The Health Care District of Palm Beach County will provide free COVID-19 testing at Lake Park Town Hall on Wednesday, July 8 and Thursday, July 16, from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Each individual is required to complete a one-page intake form prior to being tested. Links to the forms in English, Spanish and Creole can be found at https://www.lakeparkflorida.gov/ for your convenience. Completing the form in advance will help to expedite the testing process. If you have any questions, please call 561-642-1000.
With COVID-19 creating havoc with travel plans, many are viewing road trips as a safer alternative to getting away from it all. As you know, Pam and I love a ROAD TRIP, and a trip around the Sunshine State may be just the ticket. If you are, too, here are some Florida hotel deals you should check out.
The Brazilian Court Hotel – Palm Beach, FL
Resort Open for Business; Starting Rate: $189/night
Tucked away on Palm Beach Island, The Brazilian Court Hotel features just 80 rooms and provides guests with a private enclave that’s ideally structured for social distancing. With no central lobby or elevators, multiple entrances and discreet exits, and an intimate boutique setting, plus contactless housekeeping and express checkout services, the property accounts for limited to no interaction with others. Order-in room service from chef Daniel Boulud's coveted Café Boulud, or dine outside on the terrace (at tables spaced out 6 ft of course). For more information, please visit www.thebraziliancourt.com.
Pelican Grand Beach Resort — Fort Lauderdale, FL
Resort Reopened: May 28, 2020; Starting Rates: $399-$899/night
As one of the only true beachfront, boutique resorts on Fort Lauderdale beach, Pelican Grand Beach Resort is a quaint, laid-back luxe retreat set amongst the soothing sights and sounds of the Atlantic Ocean — ideal for those looking to social distance in style. From private balconies offering an escape and toes-in-the-sand dining surrounded by fresh air to picturesque views at OCEAN2000 Restaurant & Lounge and secluded exercise and exploration with on-site paddle boarding, the opportunities for adventure are unlimited. For more information, please visit www.pelicanbeach.com.
YVE Hotel Miami — Miami, FL
Resort Open for Business; Starting Rate: $89/night
Streamsong Resort — Bowling Green, FL
Resort Open for Business; Starting Rates: $169-$189/night
Nestled amid 16,000 acres of breathtaking naturescapes and seclusion, Streamsong Resort presents an unexpected luxury escape in an inspired setting. A unique topography of sand, lakes, and dunes has yielded 54 holes of highly-acclaimed, links-style golf — equipped with increased sanitation and hygiene practices, including a Curbside Clubhouse. The resort invites golfers to enjoy space and fresh air on the two-acre Gauntlet putting course and free-flowing 7-hole Roundabout practice area. Welcoming guests back on May 15, the ultra-modern Lodge also features a lakeside infinity pool and floating green, and will be serving socially-distanced meals at two of the resort’s five restaurants. For more information, visit www.streamsongresort.com.
Westgate Cocoa Beach — Cocoa Beach, FL
Resort Open for Business; Starting Rate: $225/night
Minutes away from the Kennedy Space Center, Westgate Cocoa Beach Resort offers an intimate, oceanfront retreat to bask in the sun. Guests can enjoy beachside concierge service and one-on-one surf lessons on its private beach, and take comfort in the boutique-style hotel’s spacious layout, no elevators on-property and full kitchens in each and every room. The world-famous Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier is just a few steps away, stretching 800 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, providing a gorgeous view and taking socially-distant dining on the water to a whole new level. For more information, please visit www.westgatecocoabeach.com and www.westgatecares.com.
Westgate River Ranch — Lake Wales, FL
Resort Open for Business; Starting Rate: $132/night
There is no better place to socially distance than River Ranch - a luxury Glamping resort along the Kissimmee River where the stars shine fiercely every night. The 1,700 acre, elevator-less resort offers glamping tents and luxe teepees, including a personal concierge to cater to your every whim. River Ranch offers a myriad of fun, open-air activities, including: horseback riding through scenic trails, airboat rides and pontoon boat rentals, fishing along the beautiful Kissimmee River, archery, and zip-lining amongst other adventurous activities. For more information, please visit www.westgateriverranch.com and www.westgatecares.com.
Bungalows Key Largo — Key Largo, FL
Resort Reopening: June 17, 2020; Starting Rate: $785/night
Ocean Key Resort & Spa -- Key West, FL
Resort Reopened: June 1, 2020; Starting Rates: $399-$899/night
Nestled along the water's edge with warm breezes and breathtaking views, Ocean Key Resort & Spa is a luxurious, intimate property with just 100 rooms, capturing the essence and energy of Key West, while delivering a charming escape - at a distance. Beyond the sun and sand, Ocean Key offers a taste of island living complete with spacious outdoor dining at the vibrant Sunset Pier and 'conch-fusion' flavor with fresh local seafood at Hot Tin Roof. For more information, please visit www.oceankey.com.
(PRESS RELEASE)_(West Palm Beach, FL – July 7, 2020) After safely re-opening to the public mid-June, Friends of the Mounts Botanical Garden today announced that it has extended its open hours most days and weekends. Mounts Botanical Garden is now open to the public 9 am to 3 pm, Tuesday through Sunday. The Mounts Nursery is now open Tuesday-Saturday, 9 am to 2:30 pm, and the Mounts Gift Shop reopens this weekend with a public sale, July 11-16.
“We are delighted to welcome friends and visitors to Palm Beach County’s oldest and largest botanical garden,” says Curator Director Rochelle Wolberg. “Our 14-acre tropical oasis offers 25 stunning display gardens showcasing 2,000 species of plants, and is conveniently located just minutes away from downtown West Palm Beach.”
In compliance with county, state and public health department recommendations, during the current COVID-19 pandemic, Mounts Botanical Garden has safely implemented new Policies and Guidelines. For example:
+ Entrance to Mounts continues to be limited to no more than 100 people at a time.
+ social distancing is required throughout the garden.
+ All picnic tables have been removed.
Visitors to Mounts are strongly encouraged to review the new policies and guidelines at www.Mounts.org/Reopening prior to arrival.
Admission to Mounts has been reduced to $10 (general); $5 (children 5-12), and free for members.
Two family-friendly and ecology-conscious exhibitions are still in place at Mounts Botanical Garden:
+ Ribbit the Exhibit, which features a collection of larger-than-life frog characters, is expected to remain until mid-July.
+Cutting Corners: A Stickwork Exhibition is a massive, willow sculpture located in the Great Lawn area.
Updated program information about Mounts can be found on the Garden’s official website at www.mounts.org.
(PRESS RELEASE)_FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Pelican Grand Beach Resort, one of the only true beachfront, boutique hotels in Fort Lauderdale - managed by Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Ltd. and owned by Jefast Hotels, LLC - has reopened its doors as of May 28, 2020. In adherence with state or local regulations and guidance, Pelican Grand resumed immediate operation of its dining establishments, pool, spa and beach access.
Advancing its safety protocols and best practices, Pelican Grand Beach Resort has implemented enhanced precautions including, but not limited to, enforcing social distance guidelines, increased staff training and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) - based on roles and responsibilities, delivering individual PPE for guests - upon request, regular sanitization of the property and its high touch areas, providing touchless hand sanitizer dispensers in all entrances and contact areas, exercising strict housekeeping guidelines and more.
“While we’re incredibly excited to welcome guests back, our top priority is ensuring we provide a comfortable and safe environment for both our visitors and associates,” said TJ Pierri, general manager at Pelican Grand Beach Resort. “With plenty of options for intimate relaxation and outdoor adventure, we look forward to offering a much-needed escape with peace of mind for locals and travelers alike.”
In honor of the reopening, Pelican Grand released a “Shelter in Paradise” package, ranging from $399 - $899 per night, for stays May 28, 2020 until Dec. 17, 2020. The package includes city or ocean view accommodations, daily breakfast for two, unlimited in-room movies and a complimentary bottle of house select wine.
Adorning 500 feet of Fort Lauderdale’s pristine beachfront, Pelican Grand Beach Resort couples old Florida grandeur with seaside elegance to offer a coastal-chic waterfront retreat. From watching stunning sunrises on private balconies and indulging in toes-in-the-sand dining at OCEAN2000 Restaurant & Lounge, to rejuvenating at the Scandinavian-inspired PURE Spa, or paddle boarding out in the open water and floating down Fort Lauderdale’s only lazy river, guests are engulfed by the unrivaled location of this gracious resort set amongst the soothing sights and sounds of the Atlantic Ocean. From Las Olas Boulevard with boutique shopping and chic cafes, to fine art museums and expansive breathtaking gardens, Fort Lauderdale provides high fashion, historic homes and miles of white-sand beaches, just steps outside the resort.
To book a reservation at Pelican Grand Beach Resort, visit www.pelicanbeach.com or call (800) 525-6232. To learn more about the resort’s safety procedures, visit www.pelicanbeach.com/stay-safe-start-living.
(PRESS RELEASE)_Palm Beach Gardens, FL – Celebrated steakhouse III Forks is upping its cocktail game with The Pour Over, an infused aromatic experience featuring two golden-hued craft cocktails, Bee My Honey and Le Rendezvous. The theatrical libations are crafted using a Pour Over device, an instant infusion where a base cocktail is poured over a glass funnel filled with fresh fruit, flowers, and spices to absorb the flavors and colors of the aromatics.
The Pour Over cocktails:
Bee My Honey – The Botanist Gin, St. Elder Elderflower Liqueur, Monin Honey Syrup, pineapple juice and fresh lemon poured over lavender and pineapple for an infusion of flavor. $15
Le Rendezvous – Rémy Martin VSOP Cognac, Licor 43, Monin Agave Nectar, pineapple juice, Angostura Bitters, fresh lime & orange juices poured over fresh pineapple, orange peel and cinnamon for an enhanced flavor. $15
The Pour Over cocktails are available now through September 28. III Forks is located at 4645 PGA Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens. For more information, visit 3forks.com or call (561) 630-3660.
North Palm Beach resident Ann Zimmer snapped this July 4 photo of lightning illuminating the Intra-Coastal over Singer Island. Who needs fireworks?
(PRESS RELEASE)_GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (June 24, 2020) – Hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants and businesses throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale (Broward County) are taking Visit Lauderdale’s Safe + Clean Pledge. The pledge provides a unified message that health and safety standards, and protections against the spread of COVID-19, are a top priority as visitors arrive for summer getaways.
Look for the Safe + Clean Pledge signs posted at area businesses and on listings for hotels, attractions and restaurants at tourism website sunny.org.
“These are the new safety measures we’re all looking for,” says Stacy Ritter, President and CEO of Visit Lauderdale. “We view the pledge as the local industry standard, but we also encourage and celebrate the extra effort that many businesses have already taken to assure everyone that health and safety is priority one.”
Developed by Visit Lauderdale, the Safe + Clean Pledge works together with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance’s Supporters of Broward (SOB) campaign and is in line with standards established by the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA), the CDC and Broward County, Florida. Additionally, this initiative has the support of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and other community organizations.
“We recently asked members of the community to become Supporters of Broward (SOB) by focusing on safely supporting local businesses and keeping our neighbors employed while slowing the spread of COVID-19,” says Bob Swindell, President & CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. “We wholeheartedly support Visit Lauderdale’s Safe + Clean pledge as a model for businesses to follow, to help keep our community and visitors healthy.”
Businesses that sign the pledge agree to:
“Those taking the Safe + Clean Pledge are meeting or exceeding CDC and our FRLA hospitality reopening standards,” says Rozeta Mahboubi, Greater Fort Lauderdale Regional Director for FRLA. “Seeing the pledge signage is a way for the public to find reassurance as they seek safe ways to take a much-needed vacation getaway or important business trip.”
See Also: Greater Fort Lauderdale COVID-19 Travel Information
(PRESS RELEASE)_ISLAMORADA, FL (June 25, 2020) -- Cheeca Lodge & Spa, the iconic independent, luxury resort located in the Florida Keys, has announced the acquisition of 10 private villas, called The Casitas at Cheeca Lodge. Adding to the resort’s existing 214 guestrooms and suites, The Casitas offer the most privacy and exclusivity of all room categories.
The Casitas at Cheeca Lodge offer one- or two-bedroom accommodations, featuring 750 to 2,100 square feet of space and the option of resort or ocean view. Special amenities and features include large, furnished porches, full equipped kitchens, bathrooms boasting rain showers and large soaking tubs, and washer and dryer. An ideal escape for families and group getaways, along with extended stays, The Casitas also include personalized butler service to fulfill guests' every need during their stay. Exclusive to Casita guests only, this remote area features a private beach, pool and tennis courts.
“It is an incredibly exciting opportunity to bring Cheeca’s signature barefoot elegance to these beloved Florida Keys institutions,” says Paul Scott, General Manager of Cheeca Lodge & Spa. “With Cheeca’s deep history in this beautiful destination, we’re confident that we can provide new and returning guests with unparalleled accommodations and culinary experiences.”
Casita guests also have access to all the resort’s signature amenities and services including three pools, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, full-service with seven treatment rooms, two Tiki Bars, Camp Cheeca for children and three distinctive restaurants. The addition of these villas adds to many upgrades made by the historic resort earlier this year, including a new oceanfront pool and adjacent Tiki Bar, named 25 South. This $3 million dollar renovation transformed what was once the saltwater lagoon on the south side of the resort to a zero-entry, 1,100 square foot pool boasting uninterrupted views of the Atlantic Ocean alongside Cheeca’s foot palm-lined private beach. Surrounding the oceanfront pool is seven newly outfitted cabanas, complete poolside food and beverage service, along with over 40 lounge chairs.
Located just steps away is the newly debuted 25 South, Cheeca’s second Tiki Bar. Named after the 25 degrees latitude on which it sits, this Tiki Bar offers guests a variety of tropical favorites in a relaxed atmosphere with ocean views. Open daily from 11 a.m. to Sunset., 25 South features all-day casual dining options including mouthwatering Lobster Grilled Cheese and fresh catch-of-the-day Fish Tacos, in addition to refreshing island-inspired cocktails including the Blackberry Margarita and Coconut Cosmopolitan.
Included in the acquisition are neighboring restaurants Pierre’s and Morada Bay Beach Café, favorites among locals and visitors. Situated amidst a palm-lined beach overlooking the Florida Bay with breathtaking backdrops, these spaces offer a variety of new venues for Cheeca’s social, production and corporate events, hosting up to 400 people.
The Casitas at Cheeca Lodge start at $1,099 per night. For more information, visit www.cheeca.com or call 844-993-9713.
(PRESS RELEASE)_The Palm Beach Gardens steakhouse will offer the Backyard Burger Kit ($50), featuring six 1/2 pound Certified Angus Beef Brand burger patties, hamburger buns, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles, aged cheddar, III Forks Seasoning, and six fresh-baked cookies.
Feeling toasty? Pair your gastronomic picnic with popular wine-to-go specials, or enjoy ready-to-pour libations (serves two) like the Old Fashioned, Margarita on the Rocks, Cosmopolitan, and The Aviation.
The Backyard Burger Kit is available for pre-order online. Guests can pickup their meal kits on June 29 through July 3.
III Forks Prime Steakhouse will be closed on July 4.
For more information, call (561) 630-3660 or visit 3forks.com. III Forks Prime Steakhouse is located at 4645 PGA Boulevard in Palm Beach Gardens.
(PRESS RELEASE)_WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (June 18, 2020) – YMCA of the Palm Beaches and YMCA of South Palm Beach County have announced a partnership with Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation to expand summer day camp offerings and locations in an initiative to meet the increased need from parents who are returning to work. YMCA-led programs will be held now through August 7, Monday – Friday 8 am to 6 pm at three Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation facilities.
YMCA of the Palm Beaches will lead summer day camp programs at the West Jupiter Park and Recreation Center located at 6401 Indiantown Rd. in Jupiter and Westgate Park and Recreation Center located at 3691 Oswego Ave. in West Palm Beach. YMCA of South Palm Beach County will lead a summer day camp program at West Boynton Park and Recreation Center located at 6000 Northtree Blvd. in Lake Worth.
Children ages 5-12 will participate in regularly scheduled physical and educational activities that will promote a healthy lifestyle and academic enrichment.
Both Palm Beach County YMCAs continue to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Camp Association to ensure all camp programs and services are operated safely under their guidance, as well as Florida’s reopening framework and protocols.
“Our summer day camp offers a range of experiences that enrich cognitive, social, physical and emotional growth while helping students develop interests, skills, and knowledge in a variety of areas, all within a safe and nurturing environment,” said Tim Coffield, President and CEO of the YMCA of the Palm Beaches. “This is an opportune time to work more collaboratively, utilize existing park facilities effectively to meet additional needs within the County.”
“Our leaders are committed to providing support for parents returning to work and a safe experience for youth throughout Palm Beach County in an environment in which they can learn, grow, and thrive,” said Jason Hagensick, President and CEO of YMCA of South Palm Beach County.
“This partnership is a great gift to the hundreds of families that were left with extremely limited child-care options due to state and local emergency orders,” said Kathy Bolander, Director of Recreation Services Division of Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department.
Financial Assistance is available through the YMCA. Additionally, Summer Day Camp Scholarships are available through the Palm Beach County Youth Services Department .
To enroll in YMCA of the Palm Beaches led camps, call Tatiana Rego at 561-727-3774 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. To enroll in YMCA of South Palm Beach County led camp, call (561) 395-9622 or visit ymcaspbc.org.
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
GERRY PRONOUNCED GARY
Listen to Chapter One of "Panama Palmer"