Here we are. The last day of June, time to be random (my usual state, but that's another blog).
All week, everywhere we go, we get asked one question:
"What are you guys doing on the 4th?"
We have no answer. As usual with us, we will...just roll with it (thank you, Steve Winwood for the inspirational verbiage).
But, this year in particular, reflecting on our independence from Great Britain takes on a more profound meaning.
Who knows what will happen to that foggy island across the Pond in the coming months and years?
Who knows what will happen to little stretch of North America in the coming months and years?
It, all of it, will be revealed, but until then we will continue to be grateful for all we have in this great country, at present time.
Come Monday, we will probably break out some sparklers, pop some lovely champagne and enjoy an extraordinary fireworks display at the North Palm Beach Country Club we can, very easily, view.
As the late evening sky fills with colorful shapes and sounds, I will reflect on the meaning of the day, and know that on our worst day in this country...it is not so bad.
Plus, as I am a huge Anglophile, I will be firing up my iTunes with that British musician, Steve Winwood, grab Gerry, and get down dancing!
So, cheers to Richard Henry Lee (look him up, if you need to know more, but he sort of got the independence ball really rolling), and the Red, White, and glorious Blue.
We fly it proudly, and we honor our country and forefathers (along with the foremothers who probably did all the writing of the Declaration because, face it, they had better penmanship and the men were probably busy having a 'swift-half' because they were still feeling so British!
Ka-BOOM! -- Pam
By GERRY BARKER
North Palm Beach Life
For several months, a number of local, county and state agencies have been hard at work developing a Master Plan that will create a roadmap for the future growth of the Village of North Palm Beach.
A draft of that plan has been released to the public, and this week I sat down with Village Manager Jim Kelly to get an update on what's next in the planning process.
"The draft is the first iteration of what was discussed in the weeklong Charrette process," said Kelly, as well as incorporating the follow-up studies and presentations. "It's a good start. I had staff look at it to make sure it covered everything. "
Now Kelly said they are ready for the public "to make their comments known," emphasizing again it's an open and consensus-building process. Formal hearings on the draft will be held at the end of July or the first of August.
One of the early comments concerned what probably will be one of the most talked about recommendations of the plan: Reducing US 1 from six lanes to four through the Village, which would be more in line with the traffic volume and provide options for making the thoroughfare more pedestrian and business-friendly.
In this case, the commenter was against it.
While it might be controversial, Kelly indicated there is still a lot of ground to cover before any decision would be made. For the present, he said the discussion will be "on concepts before we get into specifics," and drilling down to lane reductions would come later.
Kelly also pointed out one of the key factors for reducing lanes would be funding. If a reduction is approved, Kelly said it would probably be tied to the Florida Dept. of Transportation's repaving of the roadway, set to happen in 2019.
He pointed out this is what Tequesta is doing right now as part of their own master plan. Once the lanes are reduced in Tequesta, Kelly said North Palm Beach "would be the last municipality in the county to have six lanes on US 1."
Another "big ticket" item on the Master Plan is the Country Club, which is getting its own makeover.
The "latest but not final" conceptual designs have been produced, incorporating all the "wish list" items submitted by the residents. "We took everybody's input and created the design if everybody got everything they wanted," said Kelly. But getting everything on that list comes with a big price tag: $20 million.
Since improvements to the Country Club must pay for themselves, the next step is taking proposals to find out if vendors are willing to support the financing by operating a banquet or restaurant facility. Those proposals are due July 7.
"Once we have the vendor responses and we know the revenue potential, then the council will determine the final scope and the architect starts phase two for the actual design," said Kelly.
As for a timeline for a new country club, Kelly said they should break ground by the end of September, with construction taking "no less than 18 months."
A major objective of the Master Plan is make the Village more attractive to residents and businesses alike. Achieving that goal would broaden the tax base and rejuvenate what city founders created 60 years ago.
"We have a great community and a great location," said Kelly. "After 60 years, it's time to reassess."
Latest Clubhouse Concepts:
Anybody remember the Ice Cream Truck? It was a summer ritual back in the day, when its musical jingle sent neighborhood kids running out of the house, nickels and dimes in hand, eager for a frozen delight.
Today, you can satisfy that craving over at the Marriott Singer Island, where they have revived a summer Ice Cream Truck classic, Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream.
If you want to make it yourself, the Marriott is sharing the recipe:
· 1 qt. heavy cream
· 6 oz. egg yolks (approx. 9-10)
· 10 oz. sugar
· 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
· 2 tsp. orange oil
Bring heavy cream and half of the sugar to a boil. Temper the egg yolks and other half of the sugar into the hot liquid. Cook to 178 degrees. Strain and pour over cream cheese, stirring until fully melted. Add in orange oil.
Cool mixture over an ice bath and pour into ice cream maker; process according to directions until slight firm. Let freeze for 24 hours before scooping.
I found my thrill on Blueberry Hill.
No, not a hill, a donut.
When you live in the Palm Beaches, every Friday (mostly), Jupiter Donuts serves up some extra special delicious-ness (you heard me). Blueberry donuts.
There are two locations, but in North Palm we just zip down to the one on US 1, stand in line and hope for the best -- meaning we hope there will still be some cake blueberry donuts clinging to the shelf.
Today, it was nip-n-tuck as there were only three left by the time we ambled on down to the donut haven.
If you wait until almost ten o'clock, you deserve what you get ... left-overs from all those zany earlybird types who order boxes and boxes.
But, back to today.
As the line inched forward, the three blueberry donuts, stuffed with cream cheese, waited.
The lines moved.
Inching near the counter, the lady immediately in front of us ordered.
The last two cake blueberry, cream-stuffed donuts were ours.
Does not take much to make us happy, huh?
Sing it, Fats!
Opening August 27 is a new The Container Store, taking the spot formerly occupied by Loehmann's over by Total Wine at Legacy Place. You can never have enough containers, right?
Drivers on US 1 in North Palm have no doubt watched the steady progress of the power pole replacement project, which goes through the end of the month. Workers have reached the Country Club and are preparing to tackle the poles on either side of the drawbridge.
We noted to one of the workers, the pole on the south end of the drawbridge looked new.
"Yes," he said, "it's only about a year old. The problem with it is that it's too short -- by about 15 feet."
He said the new poles going in weigh about 75,000 pounds, vs. the 42,000 for the old poles, and are built to withstand 200 MPH winds. Hoisting and placing them in position requires a special crane, and some amazing teamwork.
Let's hope during this hurricane season Mother Nature doesn't test that wind rating.
The Village of North Palm Beach has updated a draft of the Village's Master Plan that was prepared by the Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council. They note the file is large (204 screens, to be exact), but is a wide-ranging overview of North Palm -- past, present and future. Expect a workshop on this "at the end of July or beginning of August. In the meantime, comments are welcomed. The Village would like to thank everyone for their participation in this process." Go here for the updated draft.
More coverage of the Master Plan is here.
Here is a summary of key recommendations:
Read the interview with Roger Amidon, General Manager
More coverage on the Marriott Singer Island
The Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa has officially unveiled the results of a $6.8-million renovation, first noted in our interview with GM Roger Amidon. The new look "blurs the lines between indoor and out, bringing ocean-inspired colors and textures in, while encouraging guests to step out and enjoy the fresh air and beachfront setting."
Here is more from the press release:
A Coastal Welcome, from the Indoors Out
"Dominating the lobby is the inviting, oval-shaped great room where, between soaring wood-paneled columns, conversational groupings of curved-back sofas, lounge chairs, and glass-topped tables encourage guests to gather for a drink or relax for a moment and charge their personal electronics while waiting for friends and family to arrive. Furnishings are light and airy, with upholstery in a textured, natural shade that evokes the Florida sand and accent pillows in ocean blues and greens. The undulating pattern of the great room’s new carpeting is reminiscent of ocean waves, creating a sense of movement that draws the eye outward to a monumental fountain, refinished in opalescent mosaic tiles, that serves as the focal point of the newly renovated patio. Here, guests can lounge al fresco under the Florida sun by day, shaded by patio umbrellas, and starry skies by night."
Inviting Spaces to Drink and Dine
"Floor-to-ceiling windows in the great room and in the bar and lounge flood the area in natural light by day. In the evening, lights are dimmed and the ambience transformed. At the entrance to the bar and lounge is a new communal high top for up to 14 guests, creating a relaxing space to mingle while waiting to be seated for dinner at the resort’s signature restaurant, 3800 Ocean. Charging stations throughout the bar area let patrons power up their personal electronics as they relax. Under-lighting casts the entire bar in a warm glow, while accent lights on the back bar showcase the inventory of bottles. In the lounge area, banquettes are newly upholstered in a pattern of natural and blue with deep ocean blue seats, and tufted with nail head trim. Dramatic hardwood flooring – whose stripe effect of light and dark woods recalls the deck of a vintage Chris Craft yacht – extends throughout the restaurant and lounge and has been sanded and stained to restore its original beauty."
Barefoot Luxury for Living
"Throughout the resort’s 193 one- and two-bedroom guest suites, thicker, more textured carpeting feels luxurious under bare feet and provides more visual interest, with a tonal effect that evokes waves and sand. Walls have been painted in clean white, and sofas and lounge chair fabrics are soft and subtle for a relaxed, coastal feel. New throw pillows with a turtle pattern are inspired by Singer Island’s resident sea turtle population. (They are also a nod to the resort’s ongoing support of the nearby Loggerhead Marine Life Center, through sales of plush turtles that are displayed in-room.) In the guest bedrooms of two-bedroom suites, beds are set against a bold photo mural of driftwood rising out of the sea. The water is tinted bright turquoise in an otherwise black-and-white scene, providing a jolt of color that carries through in the turquoise throw pillows adorning the crisp white bed linens. All guest patios retain their original teak outdoor furniture."
Here's some news from our friends at the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce:
"It's official. The Northern Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce will now go by the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce. Nearly two months after the launch of the Palm Beach North business brand for the region, it seemed fitting that our Chamber should embody the same brand, values, and vision.
"Our new logo is consistent with that of Palm Beach North. The logo is a dynamic representation of all that makes Palm Beach North unique. From our beautiful natural and cultural resources to our active marine, aerospace, and biotechnology industries. We are all connected with the determination and hope to improve our community through the prosperity of our local businesses.
"In the coming weeks you will notice changes related to our new name, logo, and brand. This includes our new web address and updated website, new staff email addresses, and so much more!"
Read more on their website, here.
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"