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Lake Worth Beach represents a different side of Florida. Sure, LWB habitués enjoy the Sunshine State’s classic attractions — sun, sand and water — but this darling community of Palm Beach County (a.k.a. the Palm Beaches) is also an intriguing enclave of grassroots culture. And like most of the state, it has evolved into a year-round destination.
LWB is a vintage town popping with art, crafts, theatre, music, history and funky, small-scale businesses — cafés, galleries and boutiques, many housed in some of the oldest properties in south Florida.
For beach life, boating and buzz, Lake Worth is near the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic oceanfront, and is a short drive from downtown West Palm Beach and the posh resort island of Palm Beach.
Sabal Palm House: To truly experience Lake Worth Beach, an intimate inn is the way to go.
Sabal Palm House is a rare B&B with a rating of four diamonds from AAA/CAA, earned for its warmth, antique decor and welcome amenities such as bathrobes, evening turndown (on request) and Alexa in every room to control music and lighting. Guests are provided with beach gear, and the Atlantic Ocean is about one kilometre away.
The B&B faces the Intracoastal Waterway and is across the street from the Lake Worth Beach Golf Club, so it’s a quiet getaway. The guest rooms and parlour are deeply comfortable, filled with a museum’s worth of antique furniture. The veranda and courtyard are restful, leafy retreats blooming with tropical flora and classical statuary.
Decorated with prints by Renoir and Chagall, Sabal Palm House is an ode to art. A two-storey cottage, it has six guest rooms and two suites, all enhanced with covered balconies, and two with private whirlpool tubs.
The owners of this charming B&B are Angela Brown, who brings hospitality experience from a Waldorf-Astoria resort in Key West, and her husband Greg Brown, who is an executive with Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit focused on affordable housing.
Angela is the cook and her specialties are French toast, eggs Benedict and frittatas. Greg loves the people aspect of a B&B. They have both coped with the challenges of COVID-19.
“My passion is our guests and making their stay as enjoyable as possible,” said Greg Brown. “I want to share my favourite addresses, and Lake Worth is rich with culture and things to do.”
Culture galore: The Cultural Council for Palm Beach County is based in Lake Worth Beach and supports the arts throughout the Palm Beaches, from Boca Raton in the south to Jupiter and Tequesta in the north.
“The region has cool art, family attractions, rare treasures for connoisseurs and world-class shows on stage,” said Bama Lutes Deal, who manages the council’s Cultural Concierge program, which provides visitors with recommendations and custom itineraries.
Lake Worth Beach is an eminently walkable community. Attractions include nearly 30 outdoor murals called concrete canvases, as well as the Cottages of Lake Worth, a cluster of tiny, vintage houses with art deco and Spanish mission architectural details. Maps are available for both, so you can do self-guided tours (lakewortharts.com).
The cultural council’s 1940s building in Lake Worth Beach is a work of art itself. An insiders’ destination, it is home to three progressive galleries highlighting local artists, as well as the Roe Green Uniquely Palm Beach boutique, which carries books and artisanal gifts, also all by locals. A handy first stop to get the lowdown on all events is the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Visitor Information Center. Outside, the building is known for its dramatic Martin Luther King Jr. mural by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra.
Among the most vibrant happenings in LWB are the Lake Worth Farmers’ Market (Saturdays, Oct.-April); the Lake Worth Beach Bonfires (alternating Fridays, from 6 p.m., Nov.-Feb., avoiding turtle nesting season); and the annual Street Painting Festival (set for February 2023), which draws up to 600-plus artists.
Compass (compassglcc.com), one of the largest LGBTQ+ centres in the southern U.S., is based in Lake Worth Beach. It organizes a full slate of community work and events, including Palm Beach Pride, a two-day family-friendly fest and parade in March; the Stonewall Ball in June; and the Gay Chili Cookoff.
For gifts or for collectors, the Benzaiten Center for Creative Arts is a gallery of fine art paired with a glass-blowing foundry that offers demos and private or group lessons.
If you go
Sabal Palm House B&B: 561-582-1090, sabalpalmhouse.com; 109 N. Golfview Rd., Lake Worth Beach, Palm Beach County, Fla. Low season (mid-April to mid-November), approximately US$195-$295; high season (mid-November to mid-April), approximately US$215-$315; including breakfast, bathrobes, beach gear, soft beverages.
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